- A North Carolina GOP leader tried to bully an election chief into giving him access to voting materials.
- Reuters reported that the culprit was Surry County GOP Chairman William Keith Senter.
- Senter allegedly threatened the job of Surry County Electoral Officer Michella Huff.
A local GOP leader in North Carolina tried to intimidate a county election chief unless she helped give him unauthorized access to official voting materials, according to Reuters.
Surry County Republican Party chairman William Keith Senter told the chief election officer that she would be fired from her job or take a pay cut if she did not give him access. Senter intended to use the equipment to compile evidence to support unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, Reuters reported.
Since Trump’s loss to current President Joe Biden, Trump and many of his most loyal supporters have pushed for more restrictive election laws and “forensic” audits to examine results in key swing states, including Arizona and Wisconsin. Trump narrowly won North Carolina over Biden by 1%, or about 73,000 votes out of 5.5 million ballots.
Senter told Surry County Electoral Officer Michella Huff she would lose her job if she did not grant her request for access to sensitive voting materials, according to the state Board of Elections. of North Carolina in a series of responses to Reuters.
The board told Reuters that Senter was “aggressive, threatening and hostile” in two meetings with Huff, according to witnesses with knowledge of the meeting.
Huff refused Senter’s demands and was unsettled by the situation.
“It’s a shame this is being normalized,” she told Reuters. “I didn’t expect to get it here in our county. We’re just trying to do our job within the law.”
Senter’s push was a potential violation of North Carolina law, according to Reuters.
Senter declined to answer questions from Reuters about the report.
Mark Payne, a lawyer hired by the Surry County Board of Elections, wrote last week that it was illegal to allow unauthorized people access to voting materials. Additionally, under a North Carolina law, intimidation of an election official may result in an individual facing potential felony charges.
According to the board, Senter and Douglas Frank — who also espouses election conspiracy theories — both saw Huff on March 28, alleging that “there was a ‘chip’ in the voting machines that rang a bell. cell tower on November 3, 2020, and somehow influenced the election results.”
The board called the claim “manufactured misinformation,” according to the report.
At an event where Huff was not present, Senter claimed that he could see his salary reduced if she did not give in to his demands. Huff spoke to Reuters about the threat, which was conveyed to him through someone present who overheard Senter’s comments.
It’s unclear why Senter felt he could have had an impact on Huff’s position as election chief because the GOP-controlled Surry County Board of Commissioners – which he says, backed his plot to penalize her — has no jurisdiction over his position, which rests with the state Board of Elections.