RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – After a statewide effort, the Green Party said it submitted more than the 13,800 signatures needed to be on the fall ballot in the North Carolina U.S. Senate race.
Since then, the Michigan Elections Bureau has removed five of 10 gubernatorial candidates after they found invalid petition signatures in that state.
First Choice Contracting is one of the companies facing questions in Michigan. The same contractor was also hired by the North Carolina Green Party to help gather signatures.
Matthew Hoh is the likely Green Party Senate nominee.
Hoh was asked by CBS 17 whether he feels 100 percent confident that what was approved by county boards of elections are indeed valid signatures.
“I do. I do. The counties took months to go through those signatures and the State Board of Elections has had 30 days or almost thirty days to review these. And there has been nothing that has been validated, that has been disproved, that has shown to be fraudulent or incorrect or not authentic,” Hoh said.
The Green Party is required to gather enough signatures to appear on the ballot because it did not reach the necessary threshold of votes in the last statewide election.
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee is raising questions.
“Since the North Carolina Green Party hired a petition gathering firm with a documented record of committing fraud, we’re reaching out to voters to ensure they have not been deceived,” said DSCC spokeswoman Amanda Sherman Baity.
Hoh said the party did hire First Choice contracting to gather 2,000 signatures but they failed to do so.
“So in a month’s time, they collected 50 signatures. At that point we said, ‘thank you very much but we’re not going to continue on with you,’ the contract was ended, they refunded the money in full to us and that’s the last of it for First Choice with us,” said Hoh.
In an email to CBS 17, North Carolina Green Party co-chair Tony Ndege said:
“NCGP canceled our contract in full because they weren’t collecting signatures over a few weeks, only about 100. The contract was canceled months before the revelation in Michigan. We have no other evidence to believe that the handful of signatures we did receive from First Choice petitioners were fraudulently obtained. They simply did not focus on our contract because they had a far more lucrative contract. In contrast we submitted over 22,000 signatures and over 16,000 valid signatures.
We received a full refund from First Choice and this is in the state financial reports as well.
That proof is in the Expenditures section of the first quarter 2022 report, which can be found at the state board of elections campaign finance report search tool at https://cf.ncsbe.gov/CFOrgLkup/ReportDetail/?RID=197127&TP=REC/ “
The North Carolina State Board of Elections told CBS 17:
“The State Board is aware of the Green Party’s connection with First Choice and reviewing irregularities on the petition sheets – as it routinely does – to ensure signatures provided toward recognition of the Green Party are valid.”
According to the NCSBE agenda, the board is scheduled Thursday to decide whether to recognize the Green Party for the fall ballot, which is dependent on the signatures.
Hoh believes the effort by another party isn’t about him.
“I think they’re going to use anything they can to keep us off the ballot. They’re threatened by us, they are afraid of us, this is not about keeping Matt Hoh off the ballot, this is not about keeping the North Carolina Green Party off the ballot. This is about keeping issues that working families depend on, life and death issues for working families,” he said.
CBS 17 reached out to First Choice Contracting for comment.
As of this publishing the company has not yet responded.