In light of the firebombing of a North Carolina Republican party office on Sunday, Emily Weeks, Deputy Communications Director for the state GOP told NBC News “that materials inside, possibly including completed absentee ballots, may have been destroyed.”
Shortly thereafter, other networks and outlets began to pick up on the admission. In several pictures shared widely across social media, Fox News appears to have broadcast the story.
If indeed completed absentee ballots were housed in that office, it could mean that the North Carolina Republican party was intentionally violating North Carolina election laws that state that it is a felony “for any person to take into that person’s possession for delivery to a voter or for return to a county board of elections the absentee ballot of any voter, provided, however, that this prohibition shall now apply to a voter’s near relative or the voter’s verifiable legal guardian.”
That means that it’s not only illegal to collect absentee ballots, but it’s also illegal to deliver uncompleted ballots. So in other words, there should be absolutely no reason why North Carolina Republican Party would have possession of any absentee ballots.
When asked by the New Civil Rights Movement if there was any way North Carolina Republicans could collect absentee ballots, Tracy Ream, the Director of North Carolina’s Orange County Board of Elections said “they cannot do that.” citing the State Board of Elections rules.
Ream told NCRM it “does not make sense” that the GOP would be collecting completed absentee ballots, and said her office has not sent the Republican Party blank absentee ballots. Asked if there was any scenario where they would have possession of absentee ballots, Ream said “it does not make sense” and that her office had not distributed any absentee ballots to the state Republican Party.
So it’s quite curious as to why North Carolina Republican Party Leaders are claiming that there were completed absentee ballots in the building that was firebombed.
Clarification: Dallas Woodhouse, Executive Director for the North Carolina Republican Party released a statement saying “To clarify, no official ballots were destroyed in Orange County firebombing. Thousands of sample ballots and everything else is gone.”
Editor’s Note: While it is not uncommon for political parties to print sample ballots to help remind their voters who to vote for, it is quite uncommon for high up party officials to admit on national news networks that their party was storing completed absentee ballots. Therefore, since the original statement came from a party official, we have provided the above clarification instead of a complete retraction.