State board orders new Pembroke election

Staff report

December 20, 2013

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Board of Elections on Friday ordered that a new election be held for Pembroke Town Council and that all allegations of possible voter fraud be handed over to the local District Attorney’s Office to see if criminal charges are warranted.

The board held hearings on the matter after allegations of fraud during early voting, specifically people voting out of district. In the race for Town Council, Channing Jones, a challenger, appeared to have won election to one of two available seats, but there was a tie for the second seat between incumbent Allen Dial, who was seeking his fifth term, and challenger Teresa Locklear. Dial won a draw of a card for the seat, but the county Board of Elections, after hearing allegations of fraud, sent the matter to the state board.

Those races are for four-year terms.

There was a separate race in Pembroke for the remainder of the two years on the term of Robert Williamson, who died in early 2012 shortly after taking office. In that race, Mitch Lowry appeared to win election by four votes over former Pembroke Councilman Larry McNeill.

The new election affects both races.

District Attorney Johnson Britt said Friday afternoon that his office would review the information provided and the transcripts from the hearings in Raleigh.

“There were apparently some people who voted who shouldn’t have,” Britt said, “but we will also look at how the elections were orchestrated, and the primary focus will be on those people.”

He said the allegations “opens the eyes to the problems of early voting.”

It’s unclear when the election will be held. Stricter laws regarding early voting take effect in 2014.

The Robesonian will update this story on its website tonight, and in Saturday’s print edition.