Registration of Voters Sees Surge
In the final 10 days before voter registration books were closed, both Democrats and unaffiliated out-registered Republicans in Moore County.
The county added 302 new Democrats to the rolls, compared to 232 Republicans. Another 289 residents registered as unaffiliated, and 10 Libertarians were added to the voter roster.
Despite a flurry of interest in this year's general election, Moore County did not quite reach the expected 60,000 point. The final number was 59,853, and Republi-cans continue to outnumber Democrats in final totals.
For a few minutes Wed-nesday morning, Elections Director Glenda Clendenin and her staff thought the total might climb higher, but an unexpected package of misdirected forms from the State Board of Elections delivered only a handful of new registrations for Moore County.
No evidence of fraud has turned up in Moore County, although the State Board of Elections is investigating about 135 bogus forms in other counties.
Clendenin said there have been a few problems in Moore County, but she has seen no evidence of intentional fraud.
"It may be fraud, but most cases appear to be ignorance," Clen-denin said.
As for the group known by the acronym ACORN, Clendenin said she had received no large numbers of registrations clearly identified as coming from this Boston-based organization. The full name is Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, and it reportedly has turned in registrations for about 28,000 people in North Carolina.
One questionable registration form did turn up, but it was from an entirely different source, the National Rifle Association.
Clendenin said the mother of a deceased Moore County man returned the form to the Board of Elections with the information that her son died about two years ago. The form was mailed to her residence by the NRA in an effort to register her son, who had been a member of the national organization. The form had not been filled out, and there was no attempt to register the deceased man.
Evidence of the confusion and ignorance showed up in the mail Wednesday, when the Moore County elections office received a package of registration forms mailed from the state elections office. The package contained about 100 registration forms that had been mailed to the state office rather than directly to county offices. State officials had packaged the lot and mailed them to Moore County.
Unfortunately, the package contained only about three for Moore County. Seventy-seven were for Iredell County, three for Harnett County and a few for Lee and Rowan counties.
Clendenin said she had no idea why the mix-up occurred. Some of the forms were outdated and did not have spaces for required information, and other forms had not been completed properly. It was necessary to double-check addresses on the Harnett County forms because most had a Cameron address, which can be either in Moore County or Harnett County.
Before the end of the day, however, Clendenin and her staff had sorted the registration forms and had faxed the non-Moore County forms to elections offices in the other three counties.
"If a package with our registration forms went to some other county, I hope those elections people will be as kind to us as we were to these other counties," Clendenin said late Wednesday afternoon.
The crucial issue with the late arrivals was the opening of the one-stop early voting process Thursday morning. If any of these late registration forms did not reach the correct elections office prior to the opening of one-stop polling places, there is the possibility that some person would not be allowed to vote because the registration form was not recorded in time.
By Thursday morning, the Moore County office had not received a response to inquiries made to the state office Wednesday.
The 59,853 registrants recorded by Wednesday afternoon include 25,663 Republicans, 18,731 Democrats, 15,427 unaffiliated and 32 Libertarians.
The number climbed by 833 between Oct. 1 and Oct. 10, when the books were closed. Oct. 1 was the last previous date on which the county office tallied the registration.
The Oct. 1 total of 59,020 included 25,431 Republicans, 18,429 Democrats, 15,138 unaffiliated and 22 Libertarians.
Clendenin said that a number of both Republicans and Democrats changed their registration to unaffiliated prior to the May primary election in order to vote in the other party's primary. After the primary, many of those registrants did not change back to their previous registration and decided to remain unaffiliated, a status that will not affect their ballot access on Nov. 4.
The registration total was not available when the elections office closed its doors at 7 p.m. Friday. About 231 registrations were received on Friday, but a final total could not be tallied until the mail was sorted on Saturday and Tuesday. Some registration forms were sent by mail and were valid if postmarked Oct. 10. Mail deliveries vary from post office to post office, and all post offices were closed Monday for the Columbus Day holiday.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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