An appeal to the North Carolina Board of Elections over protests regarding absentee-ballot voting in this fallâ€™s Lincolnton city elections has been temporarily withdrawn.
The decision appears to be part of a wait-and-see strategy from those who lodged the protests, because of an ongoing criminal investigation into a related voting irregularity.
According to email correspondence between the protesters, their attorney and Lincoln County Elections Director Bill C. Beam, the appeal had been scheduled to be heard by the North Carolina elections board at a Dec. 22 meeting, but was removed from the agenda after a withdrawal by the protesters.
Following the Lincoln County Board of Electionsâ€™ dismissal of the protests at the beginning of December, those involved with the case confirmed to the Times-News that they would take the matter to the state. The local board had decided there was a lack of sufficient evidence of misconduct that would cast doubt upon the election results.
An email from their attorney, Marshall Hurley of Greensboro, it was noted that the protesters â€œhave authorized withdrawal/dismissal of their appeals without prejudice, with the understanding that they may petition the state Board of Elections in the future to investigate election irregularities if warranted by the evidence.â€
Sources involved in the protests told the Times-News that they have been advised to delay their appeal until an outcome is reached by the local district attorneyâ€™s office in a possible voting fraud incident.
As previously reported, the two-time voter case, in which Alonzo Odom was found to have voted twice using different types of absentee ballots in October, has been handed over to the Lincoln County DAâ€™s office for potential prosecution, following a state investigation.
Assistant District Attorney Mike Miller told the Times-News earlier this month that he had received the state investigative report and that his office was reviewing it, with no decision on charges as of yet.
Tim Shain â€” who lost his bid for the Ward IV council seat to Democratic incumbent Larry Mac Hovis and was granted power of attorney during the local hearing by his father-in-law Ed Mills, who had filed a protest letter â€” sent the Times-News a statement regarding the reasoning behind the withdrawal of the complaint.
â€œAt this time, with much consideration (and) after consulting with legal counsel, the complaints that were filed with (the) local and state board of elections have been withdrawn without prejudice,â€ he wrote. â€œThis was necessary to allow interviews and sworn statements to be finished up.â€
â€œThe district attorney has at least one case on his desk, and the outcome of this case will have weight on complaints filed with (the) local and state board of elections,â€ he continued.
â€œAt this time, the complainants reserve the right to refile the complaint in due time.â€