Lenoir County Election results held up by trio of corrupt flash drives

Lenoir County Election results held up by trio of corrupt flash drives

One of the three corrupt flash drives is held by Lenoir County Board of Elections Chairman Tommy Pharo during Wednesday’s press conference at the BOE headquarters. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News


The wait is over and a set of triplets was to blame.

On Wednesday at 12:42 p.m., the results of all races in Lenoir County were on display on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website. While most of the state had its results on Election Night one day prior, including Jones County (8:26 p.m.) and Greene (8:58 p.m.) issues with a trio of corrupt flash drives during early voting affected Lenoir.

A press release from the Lenoir County Board of Elections stated “on November 6, 2018 while calculating results, we found discrepancies in the one stop voting numbers and the numbers being reported did not agree. It is our hope to resolve this issue as soon as possible. The North Carolina State Board Elections has been notified and they are currently assisting in the resolution of the discrepancies in the One-Stop voting numbers.”

Lenoir County BOE Chairman Tommy Pharo said even though the equipment delayed results, there weren’t any missing ballots of the 19,391 cast in the area.

“It was 869 votes between Saturday (Nov. 3) and (Tuesday) night that were missing,” Pharo said. “We knew they were there somewhere, but we just had to find them and that’s why we couldn’t give direct answers (on results). Rest assured, every vote counted.”

Of the three cards affected, two took place at Tanglewood Church in Kinston and the third at Moseley Hall in La Grange. In one case, a voting machine was shut down at Tanglewood on Oct. 23.

Lenoir County BOE Director Dana King said the equipment used in the 2018 Election won’t be used again.

“This is our last election with this equipment,” King said. “For 13 years we’ve used these (and) we have to have new equipment by Sept. 1, 2019. (Right now) we’re deciding what equipment to purchase (and) the companies have to be approved by the state to sell to us.”

Lenoir County BOE Vice-Chairman Courtney Patterson said there will be a transition to another method for the next election, which should help out.

“The General Assembly has signed legislation that requires by Sept. 2019 that every polling place in North Carolina (to) use a paper ballot, so we will not be able to use the electronic equipment,” Patterson said. “(In this election) those (869) votes were not reported, but they did exist. We found them and we were able to make sure they were counted. It was a flash drive error and it was verified by paper.”

 Canvassing will begin on Nov. 16.


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