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By: Erin Smith

Board of Elections1During a meeting of the Bladen County Board of Elections held on Tuesday afternoon, questions were asked of the Board members about an incident that ocurred during the June Primary which resulted in the redaction of one vote.

Bladen County Commissioner Charles Ray Peterson asked the board what they planned to do about the voting irregularities from the June Primary. He asked if the Bladen County Board of Elections would be forwarding the information to the State Board of Elections in Raleigh for an investigation.

During the vote canvass, the Board learned that one voter submitted a mail absentee ballot but he also voted at the One Stop site. Board of Elections Director Cynthia Shaw told the Board that the system catches situations like this when entering the voting history.

At the time, Shaw told the board that when the Board of Elections staff enters a voter’s history, if someone has already cast a ballot elsewhere, it will already be tagged when the staff go in to update. The board redacted the voter’s mail absentee ballot.

“If you vote two times, it’s illegal,” said Peterson.

Board of Elections Chairman Bobby Ludlum said, “We redacted the vote. The poll worker slipped up and let it happen.”

“My point is, it is against the law. I think you are setting a poor example to the community,” said Peterson.

Audience member Walter McDuffie added, “It’s the example. Are you going to set the example it’s alright to vote two times.”

Board of Elections member Brian Hehl said, “We redacted the vote. I make a motion to send it to Raleigh. It didn’t cross my mind. We saw a double vote and we wanted to fix it (by redacting the mail absentee vote).”

Ludlum said that three years ago the Board of Elections encountered a similar problem. He said the poll book was annotated that the person had already voted but she was allowed to vote again. Ludlum said that information was set to Raleigh and an investigation was conducted.

“There was no way to know what the intent was on this one,” said Ludlum.

He emphasized that the vote in question was redacted.

Board of Elections member Al Daniels said the Board needed to follow the process laid out and the complainant should complete the proper complaint form and submit it to the Board.