WWII vet charged with voter fraud

Leland Lewis

August 18, 2011 6:51:05 AM PDT
Authorities charged a sixth Wake County resident with voter fraud Tuesday. Five others were arrested and charged last week.

Leland Lewis, an 89-year-old World War II veteran, is accused of voting twice in a 2010 election, He says he did it to prove a point.

"It's pathetic," Lewis said describing North Carolina's election system.

Lewis said his motivation to vote twice was to show problems with North Carolina's election system.

"In fact, I've talked to two people who called me this afternoon who work at the polls and they said it's pretty pathetic," he added.

Lewis's story dates back to last October when he says he arrived at the Optimistic Center in Raleigh to vote early.

"I said, 'Oh, I'm going to vote the front side,' so I voted the front side and deposited it," Lewis said.

Days later on Election Day, he showed up at his regular precinct at Saint Raphael's Catholic Church where he said officials told him, "'Yeah, you can vote,' so I took a ballot and marked the backside of it."

After providing his personal info and casting a second ballot, he purposely alerted a precinct official.

"I told her what I did figuring that she's going to report this, which she should, that's her job and maybe I'd get a call," Lewis explained. "I didn't get a call."

Lewis contends he contacted elections officials numerous times after that day but didn't have much success.

He also says he used the two occasions to only vote once since he marked opposite sides of the ballot each time he voted.

"I'm trying to contact these people," Lewis said. "I'm not hiding anything."

Still, it landed him in jail. He posted a $10,000 cash bond one day after his 89th birthday.

"This system's broken. I voted already, and I shouldn't be able to get another ballot," Lewis said.

The other Wake residents accused of fraud were arrested last week. Four of them are charged with voting twice in the 2008 presidential election.

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