Voter Registration Fraud conviction in Rutherford County
RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. – Pasco Parker, former Lake Lure resident, was convicted today of Voter Registration Fraud, a Class I felony. Judge Robert Martelle presided over the case in District Court on Tuesday morning.
Director of the Rutherford County Board of Elections Debbie Bedford stated this is the only voter fraud conviction she has been aware of during her twenty plus year tenure. In the 2012 General election Mr. Parker voted by absentee ballot in Rutherford County, but also voted by absentee ballot in Florida and in person in Tennessee.
Parker, with counsel Mark Morris, pleaded guilty to the felony charge.
Judge Martelle stated, “I am disgusted by this.”
Parker was sentenced to 6 to 17 months, the maximum permitted, which was suspended and he was placed on supervised probation for 24 months. He was also ordered to complete 48 hours of community service, pay a $250 community service fee, $190 in court costs, and a $500 fine.
District Attorney Ted Bell explained that because voter fraud is only a Class I, the lowest class of felony in North Carolina, Parker could not receive any jail time as a matter of law.
In July of 2015 the Voter Integrity Project’s originally identified five interstate double voters through a research project called FLANC (short for Florida and North Carolina.)
Jay DeLancy, VIP’s Director stated, “Our analysis suggested that he voted in both North Carolina’s and Florida’s November general elections in 2004, 2008 and 2012, before he covered his tracks by requesting to be removed from NC’s voter rolls, but the evidence didn’t go away.”
After tracking Parker to Tennessee and consulting with the State of Tennessee Coordinator of Elections, Mark Goins, the VIP group learned Parker voted there in 2012. Parker apparently used different Social Security numbers on his registrations in NC and Tenn. All of Parker’s votes were counted in the various states’ elections.
“In general, such a deliberate act by somebody who routinely votes in multiple states, suggests he may have been trained on how to succeed at vote fraud without getting caught,” DeLancy added.
The Lake Lure Police Department had issued an arrest warrant for Parker in early 2014. However, Parker was unable to be served in NC. Parker had no party affiliation in either state; this allowed him to vote in either side’s primary.
“Mr. Parker’s actions affects all of us. The integrity of our election process forms the very foundation of our system of government, and it is extremely offensive when someone such as Mr. Parker thinks his choice in the election should count more than the rest of ours.” District Attorney Ted Bell stated.
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“I believe Mr. Parker should go to prison for his actions, but that simply could not be done under the law. However, I am pleased with the conviction,” Bell said.
These cases are usually very difficult to prosecute because they have to prove that the defendant is the one who actually voted.
“Proving a specific individual is actually the one who voted is very difficult because all it takes to cast a ballot is to recite a name and address to the poll workers. Without requiring an ID it is almost impossible to prove that the person charged is the one who voted,” said Bell.
Parker was extradited from Tennessee on Monday. The Parker conviction ended a multi-year, multi-state voting investigation of NC voter fraud in this matter.