© 2020 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Politics
Follow the latest news and information about voting and the 2020 election, including essential information about how to vote during a pandemic and more.

Union County Board Of Elections Hears Voter Challenges Before Certification

Union County Board of Elections members meeting to canvass and certify results of the 2020 election.
Michael Falero
/
WFAE
Union County Board of Elections members meeting to canvass and certify results of the 2020 election.

This article is made possible through a partnership between WFAE and Votebeat, a nonpartisan reporting project covering local election integrity and voting access. This article is available for reprint under the terms of our republishing policy.

County election boards around North Carolina calculated their final vote totals Friday. In Union County, Democratic and Republican board members heard about a small number of voter challenges before certifying the county’s election results.

The board heard 13 voter challenges, where a person’s eligibility to cast a ballot is called into question. These included five cases of people who voted early and then died before Election Day. Elections board staff in Union County look at state death certificates to remove those voters.

The board members also heard about a handful of people who double-voted. Executive director of the Union County Board of Elections Kristin Jacumin said some of these double votes came from people who didn’t understand their absentee ballot had errors that needed fixing. Jacumin said the system makes it possible to remove double votes.

Union County Board of Elections Members observe as staff enter the final ballots into the tabulator after voting to approve them. November 13, 2020
Michael Falero
Union County Board of Elections Members observe as staff enter the final ballots into the tabulator after voting to approve them. November 13, 2020

"You only get one vote," Jacumin said. "So if they go vote Election Day, and have voted by mail or at early voting, we can retrieve those ballots. So we can retrieve that ballot from early voting, and take away those votes for certain contests or for all the contests they voted for. And that way, only their Election Day votes count. So their vote still counted, but it’s only counted once."

One of those double-voters was Richard Becht, who voted early at the end of October and said he never saw his vote history show up on the North Carolina State Board of Election's website. He voted again on Election Day after a poll worker said the county had no history of him voting.

Jacumin said vote records from early voting sites can take days to show up on the state’s website. The Union County board voted to remove Becht’s early vote from the final tally, leaving only his Election Day vote to stand.

Investigators with the State Board of Elections were still looking into his case.

Officially, 131,460 votes were cast in Union County in the 2020 election, more than 78% of the county's registered voters.

The county results will go to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, which will certify statewide results on Nov. 24.

Want to read all of WFAE’s best news each day? Sign up here for The Frequency, WFAE’s daily email newsletter, to have our top stories delivered straight to your inbox.

We Need Your Help Now More Than Ever

WFAE mask

Our newsroom is hard at work covering everything from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to the aftermath of the election, the race for a vaccine and our communities' fight to rebuild. But we can't do it without you. Support our local journalism with a donation of ANY amount, and we’ll send you a free WFAE member mask courtesy of AllDayMask.com of Monroe.