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Wake County Elections Director & BOE Sued: Unconstitutional Retaliation Against Elections Observer


Contact: Lynn Bernstein, Transparent Elections NC, 910-764-8328

Tyler Brooks, attorney, 336-707-8855

Case # 5:22-cv-00277-BO

Link to Complaint:

RALEIGH, NC – A well-respected Wake County elections observer filed a lawsuit today against the Director of Elections for Wake County, Gary Sims; and against the Wake County Board of Elections, seeking relief and redress for actions that have deprived her of her constitutional rights. The Complaint lists several egregious actions by Director Sims and the board that were taken against Lynn Bernstein, founder of Transparent Elections NC, but focuses on a May 14th trespass notice issued to her, without cause, by order of Director

Sims. This trespass notice has the effect of banning Ms. Bernstein for life from observing elections, attending Board of Elections meetings, serving as a poll worker, or voting in person at any early voting site or at her precinct because she will be arrested if she steps foot on property under the control of the Wake County Board of Elections.

The trespass notice was issued to Ms. Bernstein even though she never entered the open gate to the Board of Elections facility on May 14th, which is confirmed by surveillance video. She was looking for a legal place where she could hold a small, peaceful protest on Election Night to bring attention to the fact that Director Sims and the board do not allow public observation at the elections facility after the polls close at 7:30 pm. Election night is when the results poll tapes for early voting and absentee-by-mail should be available for public viewing. This is also the time when critical election materials are brought back to the board warehouse and the electronic vote count is sent to the state.

Ms. Bernstein brings exceptional qualifications to her role as an election observer and monitor. She is a trained International Elections Observer; a member of the Election Verification Network; a member of the National Voting Rights Task Force; a member of the Carter Center Advisory Council for Fair, Safe and Secure Elections in North Carolina; a Board Member of AUDIT USA Elections; and an active member of the Wake County Democratic Party, serving as a Board Member for the Democratic Women of Wake County and as a Member of the Executive Committee for the NC Democratic Party Disability Issues Caucus.

In addition, Ms. Bernstein’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and her work experience in the aerospace industry allow her to use her technical experience to advocate for increased security, accuracy of election equipment and comprehensive uniform processes.

“I have never created a disturbance. I always act professionally and respectfully and have always followed the

law. I’m being singled out and punished for exercising my constitutional right to speak at board of election meetings and observe and improve elections procedures,” Ms. Bernstein said. “Being trespassed and banned from election properties is a clear retaliation against me.”

Ms. Bernstein’s nonpartisan efforts have made a difference in North Carolina. To list just a few examples, she helped Guilford County save $5.8 million by successfully advocating for its purchase of a hand-marked paper ballot voting system instead of more expensive and less secure ballot-marking devices for all voters. (Guilford County used the millions saved on raises for its school bus drivers and air conditioning in some of its schools.) The North Carolina State Board of Elections adopted her suggestion for improving the transparency of the selection process for randomly determining which precincts will be audited. And due to her advocacy, the State Board of Elections directed Wake County to correct its improper procedures for processing absentee-by-mail ballots, which drew the ire of Director Sims and the Wake County Board of Elections. Bernstein’s advocacy also prompted a statewide directive from the State Board of Elections to ensure all counties were following the correct procedures for handling absentee-by-mail ballots.

Ms. Bernstein is a longtime advocate for evidence-based elections that are worthy of the public’s trust. Director Sims and some members of the Wake County Board of Elections have expressed annoyance with Ms. Bernstein’s attention to proper election procedures and best practices, and Director Sims has physically and verbally intimidated Ms. Bernstein on more than one occasion, including a witnessed incident that is described in the Complaint. The Complaint asks the court to revoke the trespass against Ms. Bernstein so that she may continue to pursue the civic duties that are so important to her and that benefit North Carolina elections and voters. The Complaint also seeks compensatory damages for the violation of Ms. Bernstein’s constitutional rights.

“I do this work because I believe that for our democracy to survive, voters must have confidence in election results, which can only be achieved with elections that are transparent, trackable, robustly audited, and publicly verified,” Bernstein said. “Everything I do is aimed at greater transparency, improved security, and increased voter confidence.”

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Link to Complaint:

(Please note: The bold italics are the website owners. ATP)

Please check out Lynn Bernstein's website with invaluable information on election integrity:


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