Voters and candidates claim election fraud at Bladenboro townhall

BLADENBORO, NC (WBTV) - Voters, candidates and advocates all demanded action at a town-hall meeting in Bladenboro Tuesday focusing on allegations of election fraud. Bladen county voters who wondered if they were victims of election fraud stood up and directed questions toward experts investigating the depth of absentee ballot irregularities in Bladen and Robeson counties.

The town-hall was hosted by the NC NAACP, Southern Coalition for Justice, Progress NC Action and progressive organizations.

Voter Cetire Retamar told the crowd that she had received an absentee ballot even though she never requested or applied for one.

“When that absentee ballot came in I was like I don’t know,” Retamar said.

WBTV has records of all absentee ballot requests and confirmed that Retamar received an absentee ballot. She says she voted early and in-person which records all corroborate.

Retamar’s question, and others, is why did she get an absentee ballot. Another voter also claimed that people came to pick up her absentee ballot during the 2016 election. After a local politician named Michael Cogdell helped her file a complaint she says the absentee ballot was mailed back to her.

Allison Riggs with the Souther Coalition for Social Justice said the data she has received from elections offices indicates a racial discrepancy in whose absentee ballots made it back to elections offices.

She said that in one Bladen County precinct 332 black voters requested absentee ballots but 196 were never returned.

NC NAACP President William Barber II told the crowd that they should demand hearings from state legislators in Raleigh to discover the extent of the absentee ballot irregularities and how long the issue has persisted.

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