North Carolina board removes election officials who refused to certify | Hannah Schoenbaum/Associated Press
North Carolina’s state elections board on Tuesday removed two local election officials who had refused to certify their county’s 2022 results after officials determined they violated state law. The state board voted unanimously to dismiss Surry County elections secretary Jerry Forestieri and board member Timothy DeHaan in one of the strongest disciplinary actions taken against local officials across the U.S. who have delayed or refused to certify election results. Controversies over election certification have roiled mostly rural counties across the country as conspiracy theories about voting machines have spread widely among conservatives. Forestieri and DeHaan had questioned the legitimacy of state election law and court decisions disallowing photo ID checks and voter residency challenges. They falsely claimed in a letter that the vote was “illegal” and “very uncertain.” “These rulings have stripped the election process of the trustworthiness they were designed to protect,” they wrote. “Since then, the general welfare of the citizens of North Carolina has been damaged by a growing lack of trust in our election process.” The two circulated the letter during a canvas meeting last fall when county election officials convened to certify the accuracy of the vote count. DeHaan ultimately signed on to certify, while Forestieri did not.
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