RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Current Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman easily won May’s Democratic primary race for a third term.
After filing a public records request CBS 17 learned that Freeman’s signature is missing on the very paperwork needed to run for office.
Freeman told CBS 17 the first time she was aware that her signature was missing was when the North Carolina State Board of Elections informed her.
“So, on April 26th the Board of Elections staff contacted me and noticed me that the signature had not been on the form, they provided me with an affidavit to have executed what they indicated would fix that problem and that day I went and did that, had it notarized, and hand-delivered it,” Freeman said.
But that notification from the State Board of Elections came after the March 4 deadline to file for office.
“At all points prior to that the board had given me all indications I had complied with their requirements by listing me as a duly filed candidate and we relied upon that and moved on with our candidacy,” Freeman said.
Not only was Freeman’s original paperwork notarized at the filing site, it was also signed by Gary Sims the executive director of the Wake County Board of Elections. However, Sims said it’s up to the North Carolina State Board of Elections to verify that it’s signed by the candidate.
“We’re not actually filing them. We’re just verifying that the information matches the voter registration and double checking so that way whenever they take it to the State Board of Elections to actually file that piece has already been validated,” said Sims.
Whether the Republican party or someone else challenges Freeman’s candidacy remains to be seen.
Freeman said if she had known about the error earlier she would have taken care of it.
“Certainly had at any point the Board of Elections notified me that our filing needed that to be complete I certainly would have done that but again on the day that I filed we went through multiple steps to comply with their process, pay the filing fee, appeared in person, signature form was notified and we left there with the understanding that we had been duly filed,” Freeman said.
In its response to CBS 17’s request for comment, the North Carolina State Board of Elections took responsibility for the issue.
NCBSE spokesperson Patrick Gannon said “when a candidate files for office with the State Board, typically the candidate sits down with a staff person to complete the filing paperwork together, as was the case with Ms. Freeman. Staff typically notarizes the document after instructing the candidate to sign. Although staff are trained to ensure that all aspects of the filing are complete before accepting the filing, in this instance, it appears that staff overlooked the fact that the signature line had not been filled in but proceeded to accept the filing. Staff later became aware of this error, which was in part due to staff oversight, and contacted the candidate to fix the error.”