NC and Wake GOP Called Out for Mishandling Election Integrity

[Update: John Kane is running for Chair of the NC GOP. The election is June 10.]

Feb 10, 2023 — Raleigh entrepreneur, John Kane, raised eyebrows when he posted a video and penned an email to all 168 Republican National Committee members, accusing NCGOP Chairman Michael Whatley of being “derelict in his duty, ignoring North Carolina statues designed to achieve party parity among election officials in each precinct throughout the state.”

Raleigh entrepreneur and Republican raconteur, John Kane

Kane first got involved in election integrity after his training to become a poll worker for the 2022 elections in Wake County. After initially being assigned to work 14 of the 17 early voting days and on Election Day, but was fired for the first day of early voting.

The Wake CBE employee who notified him initially said the reason he was being released was because they were “overstaffed,” but Kane suspected it was “because I was a Republican.”

Despite the “firing,” Kane still had access to Wake CBE’s training portal, so on Sep 29, 2022, Kane learned through the portal that only 17.6% the county’s 2,454 paid poll workers were Republican. Nearly three times as many (46.2%) were Democrats and 35.2% were Unaffiliated. Of Wake’s 208 precincts, he said 198 were “underrepresented” and nine precincts had no Republicans whatsoever.

When he confronted Wake County GOP Chair, Donna Williams about the problem, Kane said (in the video), “she asked me the difference between a poll worker and a poll observer.”

NCGS §163-42 says “the chairman of each political party in the county shall have the right to recommend
from three to 10 registered voters in each precinct for appointment as precinct assistants in that

Kane surmised that Williams had never nominated poll workers “if she didn’t know the difference” between a poll worker and a poll observer.

Elevating the problem to NCGOP Chairman Whatley, Kane offered to “quarterback” the problem by contacting the party’s (alleged) 5,000 trained poll observers and converting a significant number of them to paid staff. But, according to Kane, Whatley said, “no. We’ve got it covered.”

Two weeks later, Kane followed up with Whatley, asking how widespread the problem was across the state’s other larger counties, but “Michael never responded.”

The day before the election, Kane again checked into Wake County’s partisan staffing levels and learned that Wake’s Republican poll worker level had actually dropped from 433 to 355 and 13 precincts (up from nine) which did not have a single Republican poll worker.

Two hours after Kane pulled the data, he spoke at the Wake CBE meeting and asked about the partisan disparity and, according to Kane, Republican Board Member, Angela Hawkins, “was quick to defend the board claiming there was NOW a republican at every precinct.”

He followed up with Chairman Whatley about the disparity, but he never responded.

Curiosity Killed the Chairman

Giving up on Whatley, Kane sent public information requests shortly after the election for the staffing details in each of NC’s 100 CBEs. As of Jan 30, he had received replies from 39 counties, representing nearly two thirds (63.2%) of the state’s 7.4 million voters, 56.4% of the state’s 2,650 precincts and 12, 493 poll workers.

Explaining his research in an 18-minute video, Kane cited various state statutes, assigning certain staffing duties to the county and state chairmen of each political party.

His findings?

  • 64% of NC Precincts are staffed disproportionately by Democrats, with an average margin 3.1 Dem to 1 Rep.
  • 30.4% of NC Precincts have only 1 Republican, precincts out of an average of 8.1 poll workers
  • 17.34% of NC Precincts DID NOT have a Republican Judge
  • 7.36% of NC Precincts had no Republican employees at all

GOP Leadership Failures

Among the laws Kane’s video cited, §163-41(c) requires the county chairmen to “recommend two registered voters in each precinct . . . for appointment as judges of election in that precinct.” Adding, that the county boards of elections (CBEs) “must make precincts appointments from the names of those recommended.”

NCGS §163-42 says “the chairman of each political party in the county shall have the right to recommend
from three to 10 registered voters in each precinct for appointment as precinct assistants in that

And then there’s this gem:

When . . . assistants are needed in a precinct, an equal number shall be appointed from different political parties.” – NCGS §163-42

Thankfully, not all county GOP Chairs were as incompetent.

As we first reported in September 2021, how the Bladen CBE illegally rejected seven Republican Poll Judge nominees and replaced them with Democrat Judges, resulting in seven of the county’s 17 precincts being governed by three Democrats and no Republicans.

During that affair, GOP County Chairman Wayne Schaeffer sought assistance from NCGOP consigliere, Philip Thomas, who took no legal action on Schaeffer’s behalf, but lamented how they were “hearing similar issues from the counties all across the state.”

Rather than tackling this problem more than a year before the election, the party opted to bring in out-of-state political hacks to recruit poll observers and train them for their assigned duties.

While we at VIP and at NCEIT were happy the party was finally taking on this task, the feedback we received from their trainees indicated the NCGOP training “barely scratched the surface.”

Several poll observers, against NCGOP recommendations, also took NCEIT’s poll observer training. Earlier this week, one such poll observer told me that she “would have been lost without your additional training.”

Moving Forward…

Here’s some unsolicited advice for any ambitious GOP types who want to become leaders withing their party:

Next time, rather than jockeying to undermine the grassroots’ training, spend your time doing the tasks assigned to your office by state law. For starters, I’d hire lawyers who will back up your County party Chairs with election boards start flagrantly breaking the law.

Jus’ saying’…

Click the above image to launch Kane’s video.