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Board working to prevent General Election errors
BY TODD LUCK /
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After a tumultuous primary, the
Forsyth Boaq) of Elections is hoping to fix
voting issues ahead of what is expected to
be a very high turnout General Election.
B O E
t h e
BOE meeting that he's expecting a 77 per
cent turnout of registered voters with more
than 92,000 ballots cast on Election Day.
"I will say, Forsyth versus all the other
counties in the state, we turn out," said
Tsujii, who became elections director on
The stakes are high in this election,
with congressional, General Assembly,
local and judicial races. City Council and a
hotly contested presidential contest all on
the ballot. The board is taking steps to pre
vent issues it had in the March 15 primary
from happening again during the June 7
primary for U.S. House of Representatives
and N.C. Supreme Court.
Election volunteer Jane Dougherty
brought up one of those problems during
the public comment session. She was
scheduled to be a judge on Primary Day,
but was called into another precinct in
Kernersville to be a fill-in chief Judge.
Vbters who weren't registered came in
and were given a provisional ballot. Poll
workers also printed out small slips
crammed full of information for those vot
ers to fill out, like their name, address and
Though their vote
most likely wouldn't
count because they're
un-registered, the slip
ensured they would
be registered the next
time they vote.
signature line needed
to complete the regis
tration didn't print
out and Dougherty
said she was unaware they needed to sign,
so those voters remain unregistered today.
"I have to say I'm very distressed
because I work very, very hard to do right
by my voters," she said. "As a.last minute
fill-in judge maybe that's why I didn't ver
bally hear that they should sign that form.
The last time I worked an election was two
years ago, so if I heard it back then I cer
tainly had forgotten it."
This was not isolated to her precinct, as
it happened to 194 voters during the pri
Tsujii said that letters are being sent to
each of those voters in hopes of getting a
signature before the June primary. The sig
nature line not printing out also happened
to registered voters, causing more than 100
provisional ballots to be discounted,Tsujii
has previously said they will not be using
the same program again and will instead
use a manual process. He informed the
board that the State Board of Elections is
still doing its due dili
gence or the March
primary and that staff
is ready if the state
board asks them to
revisit those ballots.
Tsujii met with
Democracy NC lead
ers earlier last week,
who wanted those bal
lots to count, a call the
State BOE would
have to make.
There were also 101 absentee ballots
received at the Forsyth BOE the day after
the primary that were discounted for hav
ing no postmark. Instructions that are
included in the absentee packet will now
highlight the need for a postmark in red.
Forsyth BOE is also adding a sticker about
postmarks to the return envelope included
in the package and the information will
eventually appear on the envelope's flap
when the BOE orders new ones. By state
mandate, any voter that requested an
absentee ballot for the March primary will
also get one for the June primary.
The extremely close South Ward
Democratic contest will be held again dur
ing the June primary because poll workers
accidentally gave some voters the wrong
ballot style that didn't have the race on it,
and others who shouldn't have voted in it
received a ballot that included the race.
Tsujii said poll workers will be getting bal
lots from marked folders this time to avoid
Tsujii said there will also be more
training opportunities, which will include
simulation based training, for poll work
Tsujii is also exploring the possibility
of transitioning from paper ballots to com
puterized voting machines at the request of
BOE member Fleming El-Amin. El-Amin
said it was "archaic in 2016" to still use
paper ballots. During the comment ses
sion, South Ward Democratic City Council
candidate Carolyn Highsmith, who won
the March primary by six votes before the
State BOE ruled to re-do the race, also
asked the BOE to use voting machines
instead of paper ballots, which she said
were error prone and used by only four
other counties in the state.
By state mandate, all BOEs will have
to use a paper based system by 2018. This
means any machine will have to produce a
paper ballot. The touch screen voting
machines used by the county during early
voting will have to be replaced, since the
paper it prints results on is not a ballot.
Early voting for the General Election
will be discussed in upcoming BOE meet
ings. The early voting plan is due to the
State BOE by July 29th.
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Photos by Tcvin Stinson
Students from the three universities in Winston-Salem listen during the rally
held outside the Forsyth County Courthouse on Sunday, April 24 to urge Roy
Cooper to free Kalvin Michael Smith and others.
More than two dozen students gathered for a rally and march demanding the
immediate release of Kalvin Michael Smith and Dontae Sharpe. Before march
ing to the courthouse, students and other residents gathered to discuss the two
Students send another
message to Cooper
Rally and march held
to urge attorney
general to release two
wrongly convicted men
BY TEVIN STINSON
More than two dozen students inarched
through downtown last Sunday evening
demanding N.C. Attorney General Roy
Cooper free Kalvin Michael Smith and
others serving prison sentences for crimes
they didn't commit.
As the students from Salem College,
marched to the
shouts of "free
Kalvin now" and
"Cooper do your
job" could be
Michael Smith is
serving up to 29
years in prisbn
for the 1995 assault of Jill Marker at the
Silk Plant ForeSt store that left her with
server brain injuries and blindness.
Although police have no physical evi
dence linking Smith to the crime, and no
witnesses placing him at the scene of the
crime, Attorney General Roy Cooper
refuses to do anything in Smith's case.
Over the years. Smith has had many
appeals denied. The latest appeal in the
Smith case involves accusations about the
lead detective. According to court papers.
Detective Don Williams told his brother
Ricky William!-, that he believed a white
man committed the Silk Plant Forest
The Silk Plant Forest Truth
Committee, the N.C. NAACP, the students
from the three universities and number of
other organizations have held a number of
rallies and other events to persuade
Cooper to Free Smith. Last month students
delivered a banner to Cooper's office with
more than 200 signatures demanding
During a press conference held earlier
this year, Wake Forest professor of reli
gion Dr. Stephen Boyd said it is important
that the younger generation get involved
because they are the voices of the future.
He mentioned students have been studying
the case for months and are committed to
carrying on the effort.
"The students are excited about carry
ing on the fight," Boyd said.
Boyd, who recently released a book
discussing the handling of the Darryl Hunt
trial entitled "Making Justice Our
Business: The Wrongful Conviction of
Darryl Hunt and the Work of Faith," said,
"Thirty-three judges denied Hunt's
appeals and when the DNA came back,
they were all wrong and that's what it is
Before marching to the courthouse, co
chair of the Silk Plant Forest Truth
Committee Ann Donovan gave students an
update on the fight to free Smith. She said
Cooper continues to tell the public that
only a court of law can overturn Smith's
conviction and free him from prison.
"That may be true, but Roy Cooper
could and should join with the defense and
movement to free an innocent man,"
Smith's father, Augustus Dark, told the
students that he was grateful for all they
have done to prove his son's innocence.
He also told the students to continue the
fight for others who are wrongfully con
victed as well.
Students also called for the immediate
release of Dontae Sharpe. Sharpe is serv
ing a life sentence for the murder of
George Radcliff, who was found shot to
death in his pickup truck in West
Greenville, N.C. on Feb. 11,1994.
Sharpe has maintained his innocence
since the day he was arrested. He even
denied a plea deal offered by the Pitt
County District Attorney Office.
According to reports, a number witnesses
have recanted their statements as well.
Similar to Smith, Sharpe has filed
appeal after appeal, but has seen no
WSSU associate professor of political
science and former leader of the local
chapter of the Black Panther Party, Dr.
Larry Little, recently made a ? public
demand for the immediate release of
Smith and Sharpe as well.
"We continue to lag behind in the area
of social justice," he said. "Keep fire on
Attorney General Roy Cooper. He could
have stopped this a long time ago." ^
' Youth Chorus
Spring Choral Concert
"Kaleidoscope of Spirit & Song"
Saturday, April 30,2016
Ardmore Baptist, 501 Miller St.
Directed by Dr. Sonja Sepulveda
Ticket Prices: Adults $15, Students/Seniors $10
Order tickets online at wsyouthchorus.com
or call 336-703-0001 for ticket info
0 i * B P o I
'SJSl 3**. SATVM J?# * I