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North Carolina man guilty of bad joke, not voter fraud

Updated: Jim Turner of Pine Knoll Shores is getting a crash course in social media.

The 69-year-old of Pine Knoll Shores writes a column for a local publication called Shoreline, and he took to Facebook last Friday with a comment he intended as a sarcastic joke for his daughter and intended for a narrow circle of friends: "I voted once in Beaufort, once in Henderson, twice in Emerald Isle and will vote in my precinct," he said.

Turner made the comment on Barack Obama's fan page, and in the days since has seen firsthand that what happens on Facebook doesn't always stay there.

Many are anxious to show concrete examples of voter fraud this election cycle, and someone captured an image of the comment and made it spread like wildfire through social media and blogs.

More than 4 million people have seen the post, according to Marshall Tutor, lead investigator for the state Board of Elections; he said an investigation determined that multiple ballots were not cast by Turner and confirmed the post was in fact a botched joke.

"My daughter says 69-year-old men without basic computer knowledge should not play on Facebook," Turner said in an email. "She’s right!"

The comment was widely taken at face value and struck a nerve with many, as there was a full-on attack against Turner by people who saw what he said.

His home phone number and address were published on blogs. So were pictures of his wife and grandchildren. His daughter told a reporter from local TV station WITN that death threats and constant calls were enough to push her parents to temporarily leave home.

Turner expressed regret for stirring up controversy and concern for his family. He said it all comes down to a misunderstanding: "My neighbors here on the coast have become very familiar with my sarcastic take on life," he said. There would not "have been an issue if the people who know me and my 'way with words' were the only people who read them."

Gary Bartlett, state elections director, said the comment and the reaction it drew are both unfortunate.

"This is not a joking matter," Bartlett said. "Everyone takes voter fraud seriously, and this kind of thing just hurts the confidence people have in their elections."


Comments

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You make no sense

How is this a hate crime?

The public questions the integrity of the vote.

I was glad I didn't face New Black Panther members at my voting place. Gee, you think in 4 years Attorney General Eric Holder would have taken steps to prevent a repeat, as we are seeing in Pennsylvania again. Instead, we posters scratch around like chickens in the dirt discussing these matters for which there ARE tax paid State Of NC Employees that should be insuring the integrity of the vote.

imagine if everyone who

imagine if everyone who posted about obama being born in Kenya or a muslim received the same scrutiny.  the internet would overheat and explode.

Joke vs Capital Crime ???

The difference between "harmless joke" and "capital crime" is, as with all things political.... in the eye of the beholder.

This man is presumed to be an Obamian, so the N&O gives him the benefit of the doubt - "harmless joke".  We'll see how the N&O views the next supposed "hate crime" joke.

Wrong!

You are incorrect in your statement that he voted for Obama.  Try reading without a bias.  He stated that he posted his comment on an Obama website.

Radical Republican Nut Jobs

Notice the guy says he voted for Obama and ended up getting death threats not to mention endless abuse and harrassment from radical Republicans.

There's a decidedly dangerous element to the worst of the radicals these days. For whatever reason, the police state that will set up a roadblock to make sure your insurance sticker is up to date won't act on terroristic threats made by these nut jobs.

Here in NC two republican extremists deliberately committed voted fraud to further their voter suppression agenda, but nothing happened on that either.

I think the people that harrassed and threatened this man should be arrested and prosecuted. Their angry rants and threats will absolutely transition to actual violence if they are not stopped.

Jokes that don't make people laugh

"Vote, and vote often"  is a common joke about voting more than once.

Unless someone admits to it, how would they be caught? Ocassionally a student will get caught voting at home and at college, but none is ever prosecuted. They say they forgot, in defense, and that makes more sense in these days of early voting.

Someone voted for my spouse and I. We had to do provisional ballots in the kitchen which were held in case the election was close. 

My precinct will still not look at my voter card issued by the Board of Elections. Why do we get the little cards in the mail? I'm for having ID to protect the integrity of the vote, but someone still has to check names at different areas of the state and country. 

facecrook

Hilarious!

"Typical Liberal Media" is SO 2008

Has no one told you? It's 2012. Get a new whine. You're going to need one on Wednesday morning. 

Typical Liberal Media

The "non mainstream media" has been covering this event for over 24 hour but the "lame stream  media" gets wind of it 24 hours after the fact and quickly attempts to write it off as a joke...voter fraud is a problem and people like this guy just perpetuate just how easy it is to "vote early, vote often"

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