Pender County responds to report's claim of low voter access - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pender County responds to report's claim of low voter access

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Pender County ranks as one of the worst counties in North Carolina when it comes to voting access, according to a recent report. Pender County ranks as one of the worst counties in North Carolina when it comes to voting access, according to a recent report.
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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Pender County ranks as one of the worst counties in North Carolina when it comes to voting access, according to a recent report.

The Center for American Progress Action Fund studied 2012 election data from nearly 80 counties across the state.

The report considers aspects like voter turnout rate, voter removal rate and the rate at which a county rejects absentee ballots.

Pender ranked number 2 overall for voting access, according to the report. The score includes a top ten ranking for the county's rate of rejecting absentee ballots.

Members of both the state and local board of elections said they were shocked and surprised by the report. A member of the General Counsel for the State Board told wect.com that he has no idea how the ranking was generated or where the information came from. He says no one from the group has contacted them. The state representative also said the state has no issues or concerns with Pender County when it comes to voting access.

The director of the Pender County Board of Elections, Dennis Boyles, said the office does everything possible to make sure all voters have access to polls and all qualified votes are counted.  The state confirmed Pender County is in full compliance.

Boyles said the numbers listed in the report, like voter turnout, are fairly accurate.  The report says Pender has a 65 percent voter turnout rate, which local and state elections officials say is good and above the national average.

The report also claimed Pender has a 2.8 percent rejection of absentee ballots, which both the state and local board of elections said isn't concerning.

Boyles says he doesn't understand how the numbers were turned into the very low ranking.

"We can't figure out how they based their rating, they rated us as the second in the state, and you look at our numbers and our numbers follow all of the other numbers in the state," said Boyles.

Bladen, which sits at number 25 overall, has a provisional ballot rejection rate above 80 percent, which is the fourth highest in the state.

The remaining counties in the Cape Fear area include New Hanover at 28, Brunswick at 56 and Columbus at 68.

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