“Found” ballots: Another Reason for SBE Supervision

July 9, 2021 (Raleigh) Bladen County’s 2018 voter fraud scandal, today, showed Voter Integrity Project yet another reason that election officials cannot be trusted to perform their duties without extensive Legislative oversight and an Arizona-style audit of the 2020 elections.

VIP launched a petition page, demanding an audit, after Michigan court documents revealed a modem chip embedded into the motherboard of North Carolina’s most common tabulation machine. According to VIP’s leader Jay DeLancy. “SBE Director Karen Bell’s misleading response made it clear that the machines may be part of the problem.”

But in reviewing the Bladen County episode from 2018’s Congressional race between Mark Harris and Dan McCreedy, the human element also raises concerns.

A Jan 17, 2019 story by WBTV’s Nic Ochsner uncovered news that went against the media lynch mob riled up to get Harris’ Bladen County operative, McCrae Dowless.

The story involved a mysterious missing ballot that came from Bladen County Republican voter, Lee Ann Herring.

On January 17, Ochsner reported that Herring’s absentee ballot was turned in but not counted.

Then, a day after the story, the NCSBE suddenly found the missing ballot, which made it all the way to Raleigh without ever being reported into SEIMS, the state’s monster computer for election data management.

According to the report, Pat Gannon, the Chief Spin Officer for Bell’s enterprise, said SBE investigators found her ballot “in the stack of ballots that had been tabulated by the county board.”

When WBTV pressed Gannon for any evidence that would confirm his claim about the ballot had been counted, he had none.

Gannon’s it-counted-because-I-said-so explanation raised a few eyebrows back then, but people got busy and Dowless never had his day in court.

We only raise the incident now because it serves two reasons for a Legislative oversight audit: First, election officials are more shifty with the truth than Jon Lovitz and simply can no longer be trusted.

Second, we’ve still never learned the truth over both how an elected Republican Congressman got tricked out of his victory and how McCrae Dowless is somehow to blame.

Jens Lutz… Again?!

In late 2018 and early 2019, media reports suggested that Dowless could have pocketed some ballots after harvesting them from voters. There was never any proof of this claim, but uncounted ballots was the circumstantial evidence used against him.

But Lee Ann Herring signed in delivering her ballot and she handed it to Bladen CBE (then) Vice-Chairman, Jens Lutz. What CBE member sits behind the agency’s counter and handles ballots all day?

2018 Bladen CBE Vice-Chair Jens Lutz

Somewhere between Lutz getting Herring’s ballot and the 5 PM board meeting, her ballot disappeared without a trace!

Only after she went public did NCSBE suddenly “find” the ballot and claim–without proof–that it had been counted.

Incidents like this beg for adult supervision of the NCSBE.

Why is the NC Legislature shirking this task?

Could Lutz have been the true culprit all along?

By the way, who deposed Lutz over that ballot he mishandled?