Board of Elections warns people to be wary of scams
By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 21, 2012 1:50 AM
Voters should be aware that they cannot vote by phone or use absentee ballots that they did not receive themselves from the Board of Elections, officials are warning the public.
Board of Elections Director Rosemary Blizzard told Wayne County Commissioners last week that people have called her office, asking questions about the practices, and that anyone who is called or told they can vote those ways need to know they are wrong.
"We are beginning to get phone calls, but it is nothing widespread," Mrs. Blizzard said after the meeting. "I would say we have gotten two or three out of the hundreds that we get for other questions. It is something that kind of goes on in every election across the country.
"People just need to be aware that you can get an absentee ballot by mail if you request one. We don't send them out without being prompted by the voter to do so. They can vote early at our one-stop sites or they can vote on Tuesday at their assigned precinct on Nov. 6."
Some myths pop up in every election, she said. In the past, she has heard people say that men vote on Tuesday and women on Wednesday. Another rumor is that one party votes on Tuesday and the other on Wednesday. Neither is true, she said, but people still need to be reminded of the voting regulations every election.
One supposed practice Mrs. Blizzard said she has heard involves telephone calls that ask a respondent to push a phone button to select a candidate. It could be that the person called misunderstood an automated polling question, she said.
"I have not personally spoken with anybody who has gotten that phone call. But the perception was that there may be some individuals, it may have been a phone call about a poll, and (the person) thinking maybe if they had indicated their choice through that phone call that they didn't need to vote. They need to be aware that a phone call will not cover your vote for president or any other contest that we have on the ballot this year.
"I have had two phone calls from voters who had received automated messages that led them to believe that they had received an absentee ballot. I believe the call was encouraging them to go ahead and vote that ballot, and get it back to the Board of Elections office. They were concerned because they had not requested a ballot."
The callers were checking with the Board of Elections to ensure that no one had requested anything in their name, she said.
"I confirmed that in both cases we had not generated an absentee ballot for them," Mrs. Blizzard said. "They had not asked for one that we were aware of, and they did not need to worry about anything floating around with their name on it from us.
"People also need to realize that right now we don't have the manpower or resources to be making phone calls. So if they get a phone call saying it is from the Board of Elections, it is most likely not us and to be wary of that."
If people receive anything that asks for personal information, and are not sure if it is legitimate, they should call her office, Mrs. Blizzard said.
"We did have a caller who said he had filled out a yellow card with his personal information thinking that it was from us," she said. "We had to inform him it was not from us. We are not sure who sent it to him, and where he may have sent his information."
She noted that to register and vote during one-stop, a person must provide some form of identification. If it is a photo identification, it can't be an expired one -- for example an out-of-date driver's license. It can be a pay stub from a government check or utility bill, something that has the person's name and address, she said.
People who do not have the information may still cast a provisional ballot contingent on the information being provided up until the time of the vote canvass on Nov. 16.
If the information is not provided, the Board of Elections can void the ballot.
"However, I strongly suggest that if you start the process of registering at one-stop that you bring everything with you so that you can compete that process and don't have to worry about getting information back to us and running out of time," she said.
Mrs. Blizzard also reminds voters that there are three one-stop locations, with two satellite locations opened during the final week of one-stop.
The Wayne County Public Library location on East Ash Street has the most traffic, and people should consider one of the other locations to avoid standing in line, she said.
One-stop voting continues through Saturday, Nov. 3. It also includes Sunday, Oct. 28.
The hours will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and on Saturday, Oct. 27, and Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wayne County Public Library, 1001 E. Ash St.; First Congregational Church, 215 Sleepy Creek Road, Dudley; and Woodmen of the World Lodge 3733, U.S. 117 North, Goldsboro.
The hours on Sunday, Oct. 28 will be 1 to 5 p.m.
Two satellite locations, Fremont Town Hall and Johnston Ambulance Service on U.S. 70 West, will be open during the final week of one stop voting, Oct. 29 through Nov. 3.