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Local election chief threatened by Republican leader seeking illegal access to voting equipment

Credit Rawstory Bob Brigham April 23, 2022

An illegal effort to audit voting machines in North Carolina was revealed on Saturday in a bombshell new report. "A local Republican Party leader in North Carolina threatened to get a county elections director fired or have her pay cut unless she helped him gain illegal access to voting equipment, the state elections board told Reuters. The party official, William Keith Senter, sought evidence to support false conspiracy theories alleging the 2020 election was rigged against former U.S. President Donald Trump," the wire service reported Saturday.

Reuters identified Senter as chair of the Surry County Republican Party. His threats were directed at the county's selections director, Michella Huff.

"Senter was 'aggressive, threatening, and hostile,' in two meetings with Huff, the state elections board said, citing witness accounts," Reuters reported. "Huff, who refused Senter's demands, was disturbed by the incident of political intimidation. Such threats have become common nationwide since the 2020 election. Reuters has documented more than 900 threatening or hostile messages aimed at election officials in a series of investigative reports."

Huff is a former Republican now registered as an independent.

"Senter's demands are a potential violation of state law. In a legal memo responding to community calls for a "forensic audit" of voting machines, Mark Payne, an attorney retained by the Surry County Board of Elections, wrote this week that it was illegal to provide access to voting machines to unauthorized individuals. Anyone threatens or intimidates an election officer could also face felony charges, according to a state statute," Reuters reported. "Senter and a prominent pro-Trump election conspiracy, Douglas Frank, met with Huff on March 28, claiming 'there was a 'chip' in the voting machines that pinged a cellular phone tower on Nov. 3, 2020, and somehow influenced election results," the state election board said, calling the claim 'fabricated disinformation.'" The March 28 meeting occurred 458 days after Joe Biden was sworn in as president. "Exactly how Senter planned to retaliate against Huff remains unclear. He claimed to have the backing of Surry County commissioners, all five of whom are Republican, to take action against her. But neither Senter nor the commission has any official power over her job, which rests with the state election board. The state board has three Democratic members and two Republican members," Reuters noted. Read the full report.

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