Forsyth County’s recent election protest was one of 13 filed statewide after the midterms this year. Each complaint alleges some kind of irregularity or misconduct. 

Katelyn Love, former general counsel for the State Board of Elections, says that number is pretty typical, if not on the low side. Over 100 protests were filed in one extremely close race in 2020. 

“There are 100 counties in North Carolina, and you have literally thousands of poll workers working, you have possibly millions of voters," said Love. "And so it's not unusual that something could go wrong. It may be a minor issue, or, you know, somebody's just unhappy with how things were handled. And so this is the process for that to be handled.”

She says protests don’t indicate that election results shouldn’t be trusted. Most of the time, she says, protests are dismissed. 

“It doesn't mean that people can't have confidence in the results of the election," says Love. "For an election protest to be successful, it's not just the irregularities that occurred, but there also must be a showing that they were outcome determinative. And so that, in a lot of cases, that's really the area where there just isn't evidence showing that that happened.”

At least seven protests, including the one filed in Forsyth County, have been appealed to the State Board of Elections after being dismissed at the county level. If the state board also dismisses their claims, protesters could bring their complaints to the court system, though Love says that’s rare.

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