Four candidates running for local office were mistakenly identified as felons for several weeks on the Johnston County Board of Elections website. Three of the candidates are running for the Johnston County Board of Education and one is a candidate for the Johnston County Board of Commissioners.
Candidates are required to fill out a Notice of Candidacy Form when they file for office at the Johnston County Board of Elections Office in Smithfield. An error by election staff identified school board candidates Lyn Andrews, Mark Lane, and Chuck Williams as felons. Justin King, a candidate for county commissioner, was also mistakenly identified as a felon. None of the candidates are felons.
The Board of Elections is required to ask every candidate when they file if they are a convicted felon. The Felony Disclosure is then marked Yes or No on the Notice of Candidacy. All four candidates answered No but the forms were marked Yes, mistakenly identifying them on the public documents as felons. The documents were then posted to the Board of Elections website. Elections officials learned of the error when contacted by JoCoReport.
Johnston County Board of Elections Director Leigh Anne Price said, “Lyn Andrews, Mark Lane, Chuck Williams, and Justin King’s Notice of Candidacy indicated they had been convicted of a felony when in fact they had not. When they came in to file, the question was asked of each had they been convicted of a felony. They all answered no but I failed to indicate it in our system. I have updated our website with the correction.”
The Board of Elections also posted a notice Monday on their website indicating “an administrative error occurred” and that “none of the candidates have been convicted of a felony.”
Justin King responded saying, “I appreciate the Board of Elections immediately correcting their clerical error. I would like reiterate that I have never been charged, nor convicted of any felony crime. My criminal background history is screened periodically by the NC Department of Insurance and FINRA to maintain my insurance and securities licensing. I would not be allowed to hold any insurance or securities license with a felony conviction.”
Mark Lane said, “As far as I’m concerned it’s not a big deal. It seemed like a big deal to start with but it was an error that has been corrected.”
Lyn Andrews agreed saying, “It was a mistake. Based upon my understanding the information has been corrected. I’ve certainly never been convicted of a felony.”
Chuck Williams did not release a statement but told JoCoReport Monday that he did not believe the Board of Elections error would cause any of the candidates to lose any votes.