Votes are challenged

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 27, 2004

While many races were decided definitively Tuesday night, and campaigning will certainly lessen over the next few weeks, the Greensboro mayoral race has heated up, with more than 150 absentee ballots having been challenged by a poll watcher for mayoral candidate Vanessa Hill.

“We’re working on that today,” Hill said. Tuesday evening, following the election, Hill had noted that she had proof that some of the absentee voter addresses were bogus addresses, and said she would have won outright had those votes not been counted.

“Hopefully by next week we’ll have something to report,” she said.

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Greensboro City Clerk Lorri Cook confirmed that the challenged absentee ballots had been handed over to District Attorney Ed Green, as is required.

Green said absentee ballots can only be challenged if they are considered improper.

“If an absentee vote is challenged, that falls under voter fraud,” he said. “Then the district attorney’s office and sometimes the attorney general’s office will be called and we will investigate it.”

He said investigating voter fraud is a difficult task because a the improper address has to be confirmed and documented with something that can be shown to a grand jury.

“It takes a while to investigate, and it won’t be until months later, after the election is over, that something is determined,” he said.

However, voter fraud is something Greene said he and the attorney general’s office take very seriously.

“We or the attorney general’s office would be very interested if voter fraud was reported,” he said.

As for Greensboro, for now, residents are looking at a runoff between Hill and Johnny “J.B” Washington.

Hill said in addition to her work trying to clear up concerns over absentee ballots, she is also campaigning for the Sept. 14 runoff election.

Washington had not returned a call by presstime Thursday.