Grand Jury Indicts former Durham Elections Worker for Altering Ballot Count During 2016 Election

A Durham County grand jury on Monday indicted a former Durham County elections worker on charges related to the mishandling of provisional ballot results during the March 2016 primary election.

The grand jury returned indictments against Richard Robert Rawling, 59, of Cary, on counts of obstruction of justice, a felony, and failure to discharge a duty of his office, a misdemeanor.

Investigators from the then-N.C. State Board of Elections (now called the Bipartisan State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement) found that irregularities resulting from Rawling’s actions were not sufficient in number to affect any contest outcomes. It also found no evidence that Rawling altered ballot counts to support a particular political party or candidate.

The investigation determined that Rawling ran or ordered subordinates to run provisional ballots through tabulators more than once and made manual changes to the ballot count so the results of the provisional canvass would match the number of approved provisional ballots. That was done, the investigation found, to avoid having to report to the Durham County Board of Elections a discrepancy in the number of provisional ballots in possession of the Board of Elections and the number counted on canvass day.

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“The State Board’s top priority is ensuring the integrity of elections so voters have confidence in the process,” said Kim Westbrook Strach, executive director of the State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement. “We will continue to hold accountable elections workers and voters who violate election laws.”

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