Statement to voters about election-related mailers, text messages, and phone calls

RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina elections officials are responding to many voters’ questions and concerns about mass mailings, text messages, phone calls and home visits by political and advocacy groups.

View a video of Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell discussing this issue.

Many ongoing outreach efforts by third parties urge residents to request absentee by-mail ballots or register to vote ahead of the November 3 general election. Some mailings include voter registration applications or absentee ballot request forms.

These efforts typically are legal, but they can be confusing or frustrating for voters and erode confidence in elections, especially when they are unsolicited.

The State Board offers to review mailings and other communications for third parties to ensure compliance with state and federal laws and to attempt to avoid voter confusion and anger.

“The State and County Boards of Elections encourage third-party groups to consider the overwhelming toll that misleading or confusing mailings and other outreach efforts take on elections resources and the damage they cause to voters’ confidence in elections,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We need our elections officials to be focused on serving more than 7 million voters during a pandemic.”

For voters, elections officials offer the following tips for dealing with the onslaught of mail, phone calls and text messages this election season:

1) Rely on official sources, especially your state and county elections officials, for accurate information about elections and the voting process. Third-party mailings and other outreach materials may be misleading or false. Go to NCSBE.gov or your county board’s website for accurate and up-to-date information about elections. Follow the State Board of Elections on social media.

2) Check your voter registration status with the State Board’s “Voter Search” tool. If you are not registered or want to update your registration, download, complete and sign a North Carolina Voter Registration Application. Return the application to your county board of elections. If you are an existing NCDMV customer, you can register to vote or change certain parts of your registration online here free of charge.

3) Request an absentee ballot by going to NCSBE.gov and downloading a 2020 State Absentee Ballot Request Form. The law has changed to allow request forms to be transmitted to the county board of elections office via fax or email, in addition to by mail or in person. The status of your absentee ballot request remains confidential – and cannot be viewed in your online voter record – until your marked ballot is returned to the county board office. The voter or voter’s near relative or legal guardian can still contact the county board of elections to receive that information. Absentee ballots will be mailed to voters who requested them beginning September 4.

4) If you have concerns about a mailing, please contact the group responsible for the mailing. There is rarely anything elections officials can do to stop outreach efforts.

5) State and county elections officials are not associated with third-party groups that send out mass mailings or text messages.

6) Elections officials do not randomly call or text residents to encourage them to register to vote or request absentee ballots.

7) Elections officials do not verify the accuracy of data, such as voter record data, provided by third parties in their mailings. State and county elections officials do not go door-to-door to register voters or encourage them to request absentee ballots.

8) Always ask voter registration workers who come to your door to verify their identities and organizations. If someone refuses, call the State Board office at 919-814-0700 and ask for the Investigations Division.

“We know these groups are often well intended and we certainly do not want to discourage folks from being active participants in our democracy,” said Brinson Bell, “but we must make sure that these actions do not prohibit, impair, or cause voters not to be active participants in democracy.”

Pender County Board of Elections opens satellite office in Hampstead

HAMPSTEAD – The Pender County Board of Elections will open a “Satellite Office” at the Pender County Hampstead Annex.

The Satellite Office, will serve residents on Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning Aug. 11. Office hours will be 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

“Opening an additional office will improve access and better serve voters,” said Susan Williams, Pender County Board of Elections director. “Throughout the year, the satellite office will have flexible schedules depending on need during an election-cycle.”

Williams said the Pender County Board of Elections appreciates county leadership which offered the board of elections a space at the Annex, located at 15060 US Hwy 17.

“This provides an opportunity to offer citizens in that heavily populated area the convenience of a satellite office,” said Williams. “We believe the services we can provide there will be a true benefit to voters and candidates.”

The Satellite Office at the Hampstead Annex will be in the downstairs conference room, the first door on the right upon arriving at the front entrance.

The main board of elections office, located at 807 S. Walker St. in Burgaw, will continue normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. A new service window has been installed to assure social distancing.

Board Of Elections Annex Hours

The Board of Elections will have a staff member available at the Pender County Annex in Hampstead on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 am – 4 pm.

We will be located in the conference room to the right as soon as you enter the front door.

Advocacy group sends invalid absentee ballot request forms to 80,000 voters

RALEIGH, N.C. – The State Board of Elections has learned that a voter advocacy group mailed about 80,000 absentee ballot request forms to North Carolina residents with voters’ information already filled out on the forms.

A state law passed last year prohibits election officials from accepting absentee ballot request forms pre-filled “partially or in whole,” and the State Board has instructed county boards of elections not to process such request forms.

The advocacy group, The Center for Voter Information (CVI) in Washington, D.C., halted additional mailings with pre-filled voter information after N.C. elections officials informed the group of the issue.

CVI plans to send about 400,000 additional mailings to N.C. residents, but they will include blank absentee ballot request forms, which are valid.

County boards of elections that receive an invalid absentee request form will send a letter to the voter informing them of the issue. The letter will include a blank request form for the voter to return.

The State Board urges voters to discard any absentee ballot request form they receive that includes pre-filled voter information.

CVI asked State Board staff to review a sample mailing in April, and State Board staff did not catch the pre-filled forms at that time. However, CVI sent some mailings before forwarding the final product to elections officials for review. Election officials discovered the issue after these mailings were sent to voters.

“We will do our best to review mailings and other voting information distributed by third parties when requested and when resources allow for it,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the N.C. State Board of Elections. “However, it’s ultimately up to advocacy groups to ensure their mailings do not confuse voters or potentially affect their ability to vote in an election.”

All registered voters in North Carolina may request an absentee by-mail ballot. The official 2020 State Absentee Ballot Request Form is available for download from the State Board website. Voters may also pick up a request form from their county board of elections or call their county board to request a form.

The Pender County Board of Elections is located at 807 S. Walker St., Burgaw. The telephone phone number is 910-259-1220.

For the Nov. 3 general election, the deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is Oct. 27. Voters may request a ballot now. Starting in early September, ballots will be mailed to voters who request them.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: NO PHOTO ID

“Voters will not be required to show photo ID for the upcoming election. In a December 31 order, a federal district court blocked North Carolina’s voter photo ID requirement from taking effect. The injunction will remain in place until further order of the court.”

Visiting the Office

PLEASE BE ADVISED: As Stay at Home orders are lifted, we ask that the public only enter through the front doors of the Election Office.  Parking is available on the side of the building.  Pender County Board Of Elections will continue to provide normal services to citizens of Pender County.

  • Any Voter who needs to pick up a form may come into the office. Or  call (910-259-1220) or email us (penderboe@pendercountync.gov), we will be happy to send forms via email or mail them to you.
  •  Also you may find your forms here on our web page, or at the State website ncsbe.gov
  • Forms are also available at the Pender County Annex.

Please reach out to our office for any assistance you need from us during this time.

MONTHLY BOARD MEETING

Pender County Board of Elections will hold a Special meeting July 27th at 6pm.

DUE TO COVID 19 this meeting will be available via teams meeting.

to call in please use the following.

1-980-729-7607

conference id 128104442

 

 

Pender County Board of Elections warns of voter registration scam

State Board Investigating Possible Text Messaging Scam

Raleigh, N.C. – The State Board of Elections is investigating a possible scam targeting North Carolinians with unsolicited text messages regarding their voter registration status or asking them to register to vote.

Recipients of the text messages should not click on the link embedded in the text and delete any such text messages from their phone.

The link sends recipients to what purports to be Vote.org’s website, but Vote.org officials confirmed Thursday that they are not sending the text messages.

The State Board is investigating and will alert state and federal authorities about the issue.

The State and County Boards of Elections have received numerous calls and emails from concerned recipients of the text messages.

“We know these texts can be confusing to voters, and we take this situation very seriously,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We urge all North Carolinians to get information about voting and voter registration from trusted, reliable sources, including your state and county boards of elections.”

Voters can check their registration status at any time using the State Board voter lookup tool here: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/.

If you would like to register to vote, the voter registration application can be found here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/dl.ncsbe.gov/Voter_Registration/NCVoterRegForm_06W.pdf.

For more information on voter registration in North Carolina, visit the State Board website at https://www.ncsbe.gov/Voters/Registering-to-Vote.

Vote.org also released a statement on Thursday:

“We at Vote.org take voter integrity and protection very seriously and ask that voters reach out directly to officials if they believe they have been contacted without solicitation. Text messages received in the last week were not that of Vote.org. We will continue to protect your vote, stay in communication with the North Carolina State Board of Elections and encourage voters to reference state registration websites and our official platforms at Vote.org. All communications received from Vote.org are marked as being such and can be found on official platforms.”

Pender County residents with questions regarding voter registration may call the Pender County Board of Elections at 910-259-1220. Due to COVID-19 CDC recommendations, the office is closed to the public, but staff is working. Residents with paperwork to complete can leave it in the drop box at the Board of Election on South Walker St.

 

 

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