GOP state lawmaker threatens to bring police to inspect voting machines in Democratic county

Durham County has a large Black population and is reliably Democratic area

Eric Garcia
Friday 08 October 2021 18:12 BST
<p>North Carolina state Rep Jeff McCNeeley, a Republican, speaks at a news conference with other legislators.</p>

North Carolina state Rep Jeff McCNeeley, a Republican, speaks at a news conference with other legislators.

A Republican state legislator in North Carolina backed down from threats to force his way into Durham County’s elections offices, with or without the cooperation of state or county election officials, WRAL reported.

Rep Jeff McNeeley, who represents Iredell County, initially said that the decision to target Durham County came from a “random drawing” out of a hat, despite the fact that the county, which has about a 37 percent Black population, was a deciding factor in the 2016 gubernatorial race that helped Democrat Roy Cooper beat incumbent Pat McCrory.

Mr McNeeley said he heard “many, many millions of accusations,” of “machine tampering and votes being switched because of modems”, despite the fact that North Carolina law does not allow for voting machines to be connected to the internet.

"We look forward to working with them, proving that our elections were true and were valid and there was nothing wrong with them. If that's not the case, then we look to do an investigation, and if there needs to be criminal charges, they will be filed," Mr McNeely said.

“We will also be accommodated and assisted by the police in our investigation, and they will be the ones that will help us go and find any evidence and help us secure it,” the lawmaker added, according to WRAL.

Donald Trump won North Carolina in 2016 and in 2020, despite the fact Mr Cooper won election and then reelection.

Mr McNeeley, as well as Reps Larry Pittman and Bobby Hanig all said they did not believe Joe Biden fairly beat Mr Trump despite the former president’s victory in the state.

But Katie Brinson Bell, who directs the state’s elections, has told conservative members of the North Carolina General Assembly that unauthorised people are not allowed to inspect voting machines.

“Only county election officials or state election officials are allowed to do anything to the voting equipment. The public is allowed to observe when we test and secure and audit our voting equipment, which we do with every single election. But to actually give access to anyone would be a violation of law,” she said.

Eventually, Mr McNeeley said he would only drive by the building where Durham County Board of Elections keeps voting machines to ensure they were secure.

Ms Brinson Bell excoriated Republicans afterward.

“It's a shame that we're hearing this when we have certified that election. The very elected officials who were elected through that process have taken their their seats in office, including some of the ones that are questioning these elections,” she said.

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