Voting rights advocates call for removal of two Surry County Board of Elections members after refusal to certify 2022 election results violates lawful duties & oath
SURRY COUNTY, NC — On Friday, November 18, 2022, the Surry County Board of Elections held an official county canvass meeting to certify results for the 2022 midterm election. Two Surry County Board of Elections members, Jerry Forestieri and Tim DeHaan, presented a letter baselessly calling into question the credibility of the 2022 elections in North Carolina. The letter was signed by them using their full titles as Secretary and Member of the Surry County Board of Elections, respectively, and they presented this letter during the course of exercising those duties.
The letter’s inflammatory language is dangerous misinformation that constitutes an attack on North Carolina’s laws, election integrity, and voter confidence. Forestieri and DeHaan asserted that they “don’t view election law per NCSBE as legitimate or Constitutional,” and go on to describe North Carolina election law administered by the North Carolina State Board of Elections as “grotesque” and a “perverse sham of our real election laws as enacted by our General Assembly.”
As the meeting recording indicates, Forestieri and DeHaan introduced this letter with the objective of appending it to the formal certification of Surry County’s canvass results. After the Surry County Elections Director received guidance from counsel at the State Board of Elections that the letter could not be included, Forestieri refused to sign off on Surry County’s official results due to the concerns reflected in the letter. While DeHaan did approve the official election results, he made no efforts to disclaim the statements made in the signed letter, nor did he ask to have his signature removed from that letter, which was made public at the canvass meeting.
Forestieri and DeHaan’s efforts to baselessly undermine the canvass of election results for Surry County constitute a violation of their oath of office and duties to complete canvass, which requires their immediate removal.
On Friday, a coalition of voting rights advocates submitted a letter to the State Board of Elections expressing deep concern regarding the conduct of these two Surry County Board of Elections members, Jerry Forestieri and Tim DeHaan, during the 2022 election canvass period, and urging the State Board to take immediate steps to remove these board members for violating the oaths of their office and their duties under applicable law.
Advance North Carolina (Advance Carolina) educates and mobilizes African-American and progressive voters to take charge of their communities amid inclusive, committed and authentic engagement in order to advance community-based political solutions. Learn more at advancecarolina.org.
Common Cause North Carolina is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process. Learn more at commoncause.org/north-carolina.
Democracy North Carolina is a statewide nonpartisan organization that uses research, organizing, and advocacy to strengthen democratic structures, build power among disenfranchised communities, and inspire confidence in a transformed political process that works for all. Learn more at democracync.org.
North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections is a coalition of organizations dedicated to improving the vitality of North Carolina elections and defending the independence of the executive, judicial, and legislative branches from special interest influence. Learn more at ncvce.org.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing, and communications. Learn more at southerncoaltion.org.
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