07/22/12 — Election protest not filed formally

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Election protest not filed formally

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on July 22, 2012 1:50 AM

Tondalayo Clark has indicated her intention to challenge the results of the District 4 election in advance of Tuesday's official canvass, although she has not filed a formal request to the Wayne County Board of Elections.

The unofficial totals from the election show incumbent the Rev. Charles Williams with 200 votes to Ms. Clark's 190.

Wayne County Board of Elections Interim Director Beverly York said Friday she had mailed Ms. Clark the required paperwork for the challenge in response to a letter received from Ms. Clark Thursday.

The letter elaborates on several concerns Ms. Clark has with the election process.

In the letter, Ms. Clark said she and District 1 candidate Kyle Pritchard's mother were together at the Wayne Center precinct on election day where Mrs. Pritchard informed her that she had witnessed an election official open the ballot box inside the precinct after about 10 voters had cast their votes. When questioned, the official said the precinct number had not been written on the ballot, something he had to correct as part of regular procedure.

Ms. Clark notes that ballots are bundled in groups, meaning they would all be labeled as from the same precinct. She also said that after voting begins, the ballot box is not to be opened unless there is a malfunction.

She also lists a number of factors that made this year's city election unorthodox, from the uncertainty of its date to resignations of key figures who work at the Board of Elections, including Vickie Reed, the former director. She also said that, with four of six precincts reporting, she was in the lead but then later lost that lead when the last two precinct's returns were received.

That discrepancy is a likely reference to the coverage from Time Warner Cable's news channel, News 14 Carolina, which incorrectly had Ms. Clark's vote totals switched with her opponent's with four precincts reporting on election night.

"There are too many discrepancies in this entire process," Ms. Clark wrote in closing.

To that end, she said she doesn't necessarily want a recount, but is nevertheless challenging the results of the election.

Williams has said he does not anticipate any changes to the outcome of the election stemming from Ms. Clark's challenge.