Troubling Mistakes, Irregularities Found In Forsyth County Election
Last week was a tough one for the Forsyth County Board of Elections. A two-day recount for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools at-large race wrapped up Friday evening, confirming Democrat Katherine Fansler lost the seat to Republican Mark Johnson. Fansler had requested the recount earlier in the week after problems surfaced that included faulty machines, ballots that were not initially counted, others that were lost, and some that were counted twice.
WFDD's Emily McCord spoke with Jordan Green with Triad City Beat, who has investigated the many issues plaguing the Board of Elections. He paints a picture of election night that began with Democrats confident as early returns showed them with a promising lead. But overnight, when the complete totals were counted, the outcome was very different.
Green says since then, many issues were uncovered. To start, he says there were several precincts where the chief judge wasn't able to read the ballots. They were partially counted when they were brought to the office downtown, "and the Forsyth County Board of Elections thought that they had erased the original partial count to do a second full count. But they hadn't. So, those precincts counted twice and they didn't discover the mistake until the following day."
Green details other issues with machines not working properly, curbside ballots that were temporarily misplaced, and in 41 instances, people who voted twice. Green reports that elections director, Steve Hines, indicated that there may also have been people that were frustrated with waiting and left before casting their vote even during the early voting period.
"I mean the lines are really unlike anything that I have seen or heard about in the triad in the last 10 years. People were waiting three and a half hours to vote on the last day of early voting," says Green. "I think there is a real legitimate question about whether those long lines suppressed the vote for Democratic candidates such as Kathie Fansler, who fell about 300 votes short of winning her race."
Green's full report on the election night problems in Forsyth County can be found here.