9 Investigates: Audit reveals hundreds of ‘active felons' voting statewide

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Channel 9 obtained a state audit that details problems with active felons voting in the 2016 election.

The audit by state election officials showed 441 suspected cases of active felons, most of whom were registered Democrats and who voted statewide. An active felon is a convicted felon who is still serving his/her sentence. The North Carolina Constitution suspends the voting rights of active felons until their sentences are complete.

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Of the 441, 57 of the active felons were in the Charlotte area, including 14 in Mecklenburg County, 11 in Gaston County and seven in Union County.

“As close as most of the races are these days, I think it makes a big difference,” said Jack Huffman, a Charlotte voter.

The audit said some of the people claimed they did not know they had lost their voting rights upon conviction.

In some cases, they were able to prove their right to vote, while other cases were sent to prosecutors. Officials said Monday they knew of only 17 criminal indictments from those cases.

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Former lawmaker Parker Helms said the numbers don’t prove a widespread problem with fraud.

"I think we have a good election system,” Helms said. “I think there is very little fraud."

Elections officials have been working with public safety officials to educate active felons about the rules.

They’ve also made changes to voting documents and will send a message to voters Tuesday.

"There will be signs in every polling place that remind voters as they go in before they vote,” said Patrick Gannon. spokesperson for the state board of elections. "We want people to be educated."

Of those indictments, most were from cases in Alamance County. The state board of elections said it plans to conduct another audit after Tuesday’s midterm elections.

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