Thursday, November 09, 2006

November 8 OTR: Did Mike Nifong Win the Durham DA Election?

Yesterday on OTR, Greta Van Susteren reported
the results of the Durham, NC district attorney
election. Mike Nifong, the DA prosecuting the Duke
Lacrosse rape case, won the election with 49% of
the votes. Lewis Cheek trailed Mike Nifong with 39%.

I have a problem with this report. These numbers do
not include any of the provisional ballots according
to News and Observer:

"Nifong, on the ballot as a Democrat, received 26,116
votes or 49 percent, according to unofficial results
that exclude provisional ballots."

Why are the provisional ballots important? They are extremely
important, because a Duke University group, Duke Students
for an Ethical Durham was formed to register as many students
as possible before the October 13 deadline. However, the students
also had another requirement in order for their name to appear
on the precinct list according to Mike Ashe, director of elections
for Durham County in an article in the Duke Chronicle:

"Students may either go to their old precincts to
get transfer forms and then vote at their new
precincts, or they may vote using provisional ballots
at their new precincts, he said."

Most of the students' old precincts are several states away
and they were in the middle of a school semester. I take that to
mean that most of the Duke students that just voted in this
election were given provisional ballots and their votes have
yet to be counted.

This leaves me very eeerie about the election results. Provisional
ballots are controversial and sometimes the subject of voter
corruption. Having a select group of voters restricted to using
provisional ballots, especially in an election like this when
that group is large and likely containing votes for the opponent
of the winning candidate is troubling. When will the provisional
votes be counted? According to Durham News:

"Provisional ballots are returned to the Board of
Elections office in a sealed bag and are researched
to verify that the voter was eligible and filled out
the correct ballot."

One by one, that could take weeks.

No comments:

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from