Last week we reported on a voter who, the day before she cast a ballot in the Durham County municipal elections, was arrested in Wake County and had given the Wake County Magistrate a Miami, Florida address. North Carolina requires a voter to be a resident of North Carolina in order to vote.
The voter’s name is Ivanna Cristina Gonzalez, she’s registered to vote in Durham County and she was arrested for obstructing traffic and resisting a law enforcement officer during a protest against House Bill 318. HB 318 banned sanctuary cities in North Carolina and had just been signed into law. She was arrested on October 29 and she voted on Saturday, October 31 using a Durham address.
Michael Perry, director of Durham County’s Board of Elections told Civitas today that there had been a challenge to Gonzalez’s vote and also her voter registration. He said that the county board had met last night and had moved to hold a full hearing on the matter.
Perry also said that he would be contacting the State Board of Elections about the challenged vote but indicated that the challenge was “technically late”. He said that the challenger had gone to Gonzalez’s precinct on Election Day (the challenger and Gonzalez share the same precinct) and attempted to challenge her vote then, but was turned away by the election’s officials. Ultimately the challenge was made on the Friday after Election Day.
After talking with director Perry, Civitas called the person who challenged the vote. The challenger indicated that he attempted to contact Perry on Wednesday to report that he had attempted to challenge Gonzalez’s vote but was told by the precinct officials that he could not challenge a vote unless the person he was challenging was attempting to vote at the time of the challenge. Perry returned the challengers call the next day, Thursday, and arranged a meeting for Friday – the day the official challenge was completed.
Will Durham County ignore a voter's challenge? Or will they follow the law, even though their precinct officials stumbled on Election Day? We will soon see. Today is the day that all county election boards carry out a canvass to, according to the U.S. Elections Commission; “account for every ballot cast and ensure that every valid vote cast is included in the election totals. This involves accounting for every absentee ballot, every early voting ballot, every ballot cast on Election Day, every provisional ballot, every challenged ballot, and every overseas and military ballot.”
Gonzalez works for Blueprint NC as its Project Coordinator. Blueprint NC was formed as a membership group by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in 2006 to help “progressive” advocacy groups coordinate activities and messaging. The organization is famous for the Blueprint strategy memo that described the game plan “progressive” groups should use to attack North Carolina’s Republican leaders. Blueprint NC’s strategy memo recommends its members to “Eviscerate, Mitigate, Litigate, Cogitate and Agitate the leadership and weaken their ability to govern.”
Civitas called the State Board of Elections for clarification as to the status of the Durham County challenge as of the publication of the blog we have not talked to them.