Group takes action after they claim Meck DA declined to prosecut - | WBTV Charlotte

Group takes action after they claim Meck DA declined to prosecute alleged voter fraud

(Source: WBTV/File) (Source: WBTV/File)

Members of the Voter Integrity Project filed a petition on Monday asking the Mecklenburg County Superior Court to appoint a special prosecutor to look into two cases of voter fraud involving Mecklenburg County voters.

The group claims those two voters voted twice in two different states during the 2012 election. The group argues they gave this information to Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray to prosecute, but Murray declined to do so.

Jay DeLancy, the CEO of the group, described the DA's response.

"My chances of winning and tying up all these resources for this are so slim," DeLancy said. "I am not going to do it."

DeLancy believes all Murray had to do was present the case and it would have been handled.

"Our argument to him was, you get in front of a jury and they'll understand," DeLancy said. "Your average person would know that if a person actually signs the ballot and voted in two places, then they know what they are doing."

The petition lists Sammy Nichols and Janelle Renee Jenkins as the voters who double voted. Voter Integrity Project wants to warn President Donald Trump about the DA's inaction to prosecute voter fraud. Recently, Trump nominated Murray for U.S. Attorney.

"We want the President to know that the person he is hiring to come will not prosecute voter fraud, and I believe that is high on the President's agenda," Voter Integrity Project Member Robert Diamond said.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) has responded to Voter Integrity Project concerns.

Joan Fleming from NCSBE wrote, "They were declined due to lack of evidence of intent, lack of prosecutorial resources for low level felony matters, and because the SBE investigations had the overall positive net effect of causing both voters to cancel their duplicate registrations, making it unlikely they would ever become repeat offenders. These appear to be well cited reasons for declination."

The group is not satisfied and hopes a Superior Court judge will see things their way.

Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray also responded to the Voter Integrity Project. He sent WBTV this statement:

The District Attorney’s Office has had extensive communication with the Voter Integrity Project. District Attorney Murray hosted a meeting with representatives of this organization in which he had an open conversation about the applicable laws and the evidence that would be required to prove a defendant guilty of voter fraud. That conversation has since been mischaracterized by the Voter Integrity Project.

DA Murray provided an in-depth explanation surrounding the issue of proving intent in voter fraud cases. The Voter Integrity Project has asserted that the fact that someone cast two ballots is proof enough of intent. That is not supported by the law. State law says it is unlawful “for any person with intent to commit a fraud to register or vote at more than one precinct or more than one time, or to induce another to do so, in the same primary or election, or to vote illegally at any primary or election.” This means that to prosecute someone for double voting, this office must prove that the person actually intended to fraudulently vote at more than one precinct. 

The Voter Integrity Project has taken issue with two particular cases, but has not provided the public with the full facts. Here are those facts according to the DA:

In one case, a woman was registered to vote in Florida. She requested and later cast an absentee ballot in the 2012 election in Florida. Soon thereafter, she moved to Mecklenburg County after getting a job at a local school system. She moved here in time to register and vote for the 2012 election. After being notified of an allegation of double voting, DA Murray requested an investigation by the SBI. The SBI found that when she cast her vote in Mecklenburg County, she listed her prior voter registration in Florida because she had been told that the North Carolina vote would cancel her vote in Florida. The SBI interviewed Michael Dickerson, director of the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections, and he confirmed that, in such a situation, the processes in place were supposed to generate a notice from Mecklenburg County to Florida, alerting Florida that she had voted here. It appears that the system is designed to provide this notice to the previous registration location because voters who have become residents of a different jurisdiction prior to an election have the right to vote in the local and state elections where they now reside, as well as the national elections in which they could have voted prior to moving. The woman in this case was surprised and frightened by an SBI agent’s appearance at her door. She was fully cooperative, and she clearly believed she had acted in accordance with the law. And in fact, her vote in Florida was not counted. After a review of the evidence, this office found she did not commit a crime.

The other case involves a man, now age 69, who travels between North Carolina and Florida and inadvertently voted in both states in the 2012 election. When he was interviewed by investigators about the incident years later, he acknowledged that he had registered and voted in person in Mecklenburg County. He said his son mailed an absentee ballot to him from Florida. He told investigators that he filled out the ballot, and he may have mailed it in error, but he did not recall whether he personally mailed the ballot or whether someone else mailed it for him. He said he thought obtaining his North Carolina driver’s license would have canceled his Florida voting registration. And in fact, when someone registers to vote in North Carolina, a notification generated by the registration system is supposed to be sent to the state in which he was previously registered. In this case, it appeared the man did not have any intention to commit voter fraud.

The District Attorney’s Office is charged with enforcing the laws of North Carolina and seeking justice. The decision to prosecute a defendant is based solely on the available evidence. This office prosecutes crimes of every level every day. But prosecuting people when sufficient evidence does not exist simply for the sake of media attention to the Voter Integrity Project’s cause, as the Project suggested in a press release that this office should do, is simply wrong and unjust. This office does not – and will not – operate that way.

The mission of the District Attorney’s Office is to do the right thing every time. That is what this office has done in each of these cases.

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