RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – There is currently a criminal investigation after a third party hoped to get on North Carolina’s statewide fall ballot.

The NC Green Party delivered what it hoped were enough petition signatures for a U.S. Senate run. The party was required to get 13,865 signatures because it did receive enough votes in the last gubernatorial election to meet the necessary threshold.

After going into closed session Thursday morning, the North Carolina State Board of Elections said there is evidence that some signatures are fraudulent.

The state board was first notified by several county boards of elections that there were irregularities.

The NCSBE said there are criminal penalties if the allegations are proven to be true.

When the Green Party’s attorney, Oliver Hall, asked the board whether the votes in question would bring them below the required number of signatures, the board chair said he could not comment on a criminal investigation.

The NCSBE voted to not certify the Green Party as eligible to be on the fall ballot.

NCSBE staff recommended the North Carolina General Assembly pass a law making it illegal to pay for signatures gatherers per petition signature.

In statement Green Party Chair Tony Ngege said:

“In a Democracy the majority should rule. Our petitions far exceeded the threshold and any signatures submitted by petitioners. Their voices should be honored according to the State Statute “immediately and forthwith. In North Carolina, anyone can collect and turn in petition signatures as they are certified by county boards.”

This decision was grossly undemocratic and unethically overruled the decisions of the county boards. There are clearly very powerful forces applying tremendous pressure and vast resources to silence us and the message of ending wars for profit, living wages, and political independence for working people. We are not deterred because we know that history will absolve us.”

This is a developing story and will continue to be updated.