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Politics

Investigation ‘Ongoing’ Into Voter Assistance Violations In Anson County

Outside Anson County early voting site
Greg Collard
/
WFAE
Campaign signs outside Anson County early voting site

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.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections says investigators are still trying to get to the bottom of claims of voter assistance irregularities in Anson County. In November, a video surfaced showing a man accompanying a voter inside the early voting site and standing with him at the voting machine.

The man at the center of the allegations, John Montgomery, was campaigning for his wife, Dannie Montgomery, the Democratic candidate for register of deeds. A report on WBTV identified the man in the surveillance video as John Montgomery.

According to state law, voters who need assistance must request it from the chief judge when they enter the precinct. Voters have to identify who they want to help them.

It’s unclear from the video if the voter seen with the campaign worker spoke with the chief judge —the local board of elections director — and requested assistance.

“That investigation is still ongoing,” says Patrick Gannon, a spokesperson for the State Board of Elections.

Gannon wouldn’t say what steps investigators have taken or whether John Montgomery has been interviewed. The state board has not said when the investigation will conclude.

While Gannon would not give details about the Anson County case, the state board’s website says the steps of an investigation can include “extensive analysis of data and interviews of witnesses and subjects. The state board's chair, or in the chair’s absence, any two board members, may issue subpoenas when necessary to gather evidence.”

Greg Eudy, the incumbent and winner in the register of deeds race, was one of the people who filed a complaint about voter assistance violations. He says he has “not heard anything” about the case and has “not been contacted by the state board.”

Eudy helped bring the case to light in October when he told the Anson County Board of Elections that he saw John Montgomery escort voters inside the precinct. The board received 30 complaints, mostly about John Montgomery.

When the complaints were filed, John Montgomery declined an interview with WFAE other than to say he is “not guilty of anything.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop chimed in on the case on his Facebook page. He shared a cellphone video showing a man he identified as Montgomery escorting a voter inside the precinct. Bishop wrote that “Anson County early voting is being run by gangsters.”

At the time, Gannon said state investigators were in Anson County looking into the claims.

Then last month when the video from inside the precinct became public, Gannon said the state board “recently received additional evidence and the Investigations Divisions is reviewing it.”

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