It all began with a Facebook post where Robert John Dougherty III claimed to have voted multiple times and under many different names.
The “joke,” as he called it, outraged many internet users and prompted the North Carolina State Board of Elections to investigate the claims of voter fraud.
On Wednesday, the board cleared Dougherty of any wrongdoing.
The registered Democrat, who received death threats for the posting, provided a sworn statement to the state board of elections on Monday saying he has never committed voter fraud in North Carolina or any other state.
Investigators reviewed Dougherty’s voting records and interviewed some of his Facebook friends before confirming that he had committed no wrongdoing.
“We take very seriously all claims and allegations of voter fraud,” said Kimberly Westbrook Strach, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “Anyone who indicates on social media or elsewhere that they have committed voter fraud or violated any other election law in North Carolina will be investigated, and if substantiated, referred to the appropriate District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.”
Voter fraud allegations have been a regular feature this election. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly insisted that the election is rigged against him even though voters are more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit in-person voter fraud.
The NC NAACP is currently suing election boards in Beaufort, Moore and Cumberland counties for canceling thousands of voter registrations, under claims of fraud, because a mailing to the voters’ addresses was returned as undeliverable.
Rev. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, said during a press call last Thursday that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) and other elected officials have used voter fraud claims to enact strict voter identity restrictions in 2013.
The voter ID law, which a state appeals court struck down in July, allowed GOP lawmakers to implement identity requirements, reduce the number of early voting days and to change registration procedures in an attempt to stop black voters from casting ballots.
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