Background: The Lee County Conservative Ballot Political Action Committee decided to make a slight change in its approach to electing conservatives in 2016. In the interest of encouraging cross-over votes from unaffiliated and democrat veterans, the ballot title was changed to read “Conservative and Veterans Ballot.” All veterans – most of whom who were Republicans -were identified in red, and all Republican judges were identified by party, including Justice Edmunds. Approximately 8,000 of these ballots were printed and distributed by conservative volunteers at both early voting sites and at all ten precincts on election day. Hundreds of these ballots were distributed to democrat and unaffiliated veterans and the vast majority of Republican voters entering the precincts. These ballots were so disturbing to the local democrat party that one member suggested bringing baseball bats to the polling places to stop this ballot from being distributed, if necessary.
The Allegation: A complaint was filed with the NCGOP that this ballot was misleading and possibly a violation of the Plan of Organization in that it identified veterans of other parties and might cause some votes to vote for those candidates. As the creator of this sample ballot, the complaint was against Mr. Womack.
The Truth: Jim Womack and the conservative ballot committee carefully weighed the consequences of identifying veterans on our conservative ballot for the first time- this was an unprecedented sample ballot in the state. In sample polling, the team discovered most voters, regardless of party, wanted to see who the veterans were. At least 2000 of these ballots were given to unaffiliated and democrat voters, many of whom who were veterans themselves. Notably, all candidates who were recommended with a darkened circle were Republicans, without exception. While all veterans were identified, only Republicans were recommended for a vote. This was the only conservative sample ballot being distributed in Lee County that contained all races and that correctly identified all Republican judges.
Conclusion: Despite Lee County being democrat-dominated, this ballot was a huge success in swinging cross-over voters. All Republican judges won their races, including NC Supreme Court justice Edmunds by more than 3 points. Trump won by a 13-point landslide. McCrory won by 6.5 points. The Senate and House races were landslides for Burr and Walker- both winning by 13 points. Council of State races for AG, Agriculture, Labor, Superintendent, Treasurer, and Insurance were all won by Republicans with comfortable margins. In every case for statewide races, the conservative and veterans ballot helped swing voters to Republican veterans.
Learn More about Jim Womack here.