BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — From vote buying to violations of a federal law, state and federal elections investigators have their hands full with Bladen county. There’s not one or two but three investigations into recent elections and candidates.
The state is investigating two allegations dealing with vote buying and early voting while the feds are looking into possible violations by two Bladen County Sheriff’s deputies running for sheriff.
According to the Bladen Journal, the first of three allegations deals with the Bladen County Sheriff’s race. The US Justice Department is investigating Capt. Prentis Benston and Lt. Eric Bryan to see if they campaigned while on the job. That’s illegal for federal employees while in public service jobs, without taking a leave of absence, and sheriff’s deputies fall under that law.
The second allegation deals with Bladen County Commissioner Delilah Blanks. Blanks has been a board member since 1988. She allegedly tried to vote twice during early voting.
“For our county to react the way they reacted and it’s gone to the state and federal level, I mean we’re just a little pinhole in the United States,” Bladen Journal reporter Jenny Hayes-Carroll said. “I’ve had several phone calls this morning. They just can’t believe the acts of some of these folks who are in public office and hold public office.”
The third allegation deals with a complaint filed in Raleigh about vote buying in the county.
Blanks claims she was testing the system by trying to vote more than once, but Elections Director Larry Hammond said no one spoke to or approved of Blanks testing the system.
According to the Bladen Journal, Bryan says he did take time off during his run for sheriff.
Calls made to Bladen County Sheriff’s Office have not been returned yet.