Criminal investigation into voting irregularities started in January, new reports after primary

Criminal investigation into voting irregularities started in January, new reports after primary
Absentee ballot results are printed at the New Hanover County Board of Elections (Source: WECT).

RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - State criminal investigators have been probing voting irregularities centered in Bladen County since January, WBTV has learned.

The criminal probe is being handled by Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

Freeman confirmed to WBTV that her office began investigating voting irregularities in January 2018, after the district attorney whose district includes Bladen County, Jon David, recused himself and asked her to handle the investigation.

Specifically, Freeman said, the inquiry has centered on questions regarding absentee ballots and was prompted by information her office received from the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

Freeman was responding to questions from WBTV regarding whether her office had received new criminal reports of voting irregularities this year, specifically this past spring following the primary contest in the 9th Congressional Race in which Mark Harris beat incumbent US Congressman Robert Pittenger in the Republican primary.

“During the course of that investigation we received additional information of potential ongoing voting irregularities occurring during the 2018 primary and general elections,” Freeman said. “Our investigation is ongoing.”

The NCSBE is continuing a separate administrative investigation into the claims, Freeman said.

WBTV has made multiple public records requests for information related to the board’s ongoing probe. The state’s Public Records Act requires at least some information to be made public but, to date, the board has refused to release anything.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on 12/6/18 to reflect a clarification by Freeman regarding a fact she misstated in a previous response to WBTV.

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