A protest of the results in a county commissioner race in this southeastern county has blossomed into a full-blown PR fiasco for the local and state elections boards. A significant number of absentee ballots were found on one of the county’s computer network servers accessible to the public. There are questions as to whether those votes were counted. Almost as troubling, if not more so, the personal info of the absentee voters (driver license number, birthdate, last-four of SS#, home address) was all openly available on that server to anyone who bothered to look.
A concerned citizen in New Hanover County has forwarded to us some emails, generated by county employees, from that same public server that are also quite troubling. The emails contained: (1) the administrative credentials for logging-in to and configuring voting machines, and (2) the step-by-step procedure for clearing votes out of machines. (The emails containing that information were dated prior to election day.)
The citizen in question, Chris Anderson, has contacted the state board of elections and state Senate president pro tem Phil Berger about the discovery. Josh Lawson, spokesman for the state board, confirmed in writing to Anderson that the info contained in the emails he discovered does not fall into the category of “public information.”