Published: Oct 30, 2012 05:00 PM
Modified: Oct 30, 2012 05:09 PM
MORRISVILLE - Former Town Councilwoman Linda Lyons faces voter fraud-related charges after allegedly trying to vote twice during last years election, according to a Wake County prosecutor.
Lyons is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 19 on the misdemeanor charge, said Wake County Assistant District Attorney Steven Saad.
If convicted, Lyons could be sentenced to up to 120 days in jail, he said.
Lyons, who had served 12 years on the Morrisville Town Council, was running for re-election last year when she faced allegations that she violated state election laws by mishandling absentee ballots, improperly witnessing absentee ballots and trying to vote twice.
She lost her seat by three votes after an appeal to the state elections board dragged on for several months.
The Wake County Board of Elections requested an investigation by the Wake prosecutors office, which forwarded the case to the State Bureau of Investigation. The bureaus investigation lasted 10 months.
After looking at the complete SBI report, we felt like the only charge that needed to be issued was the attempt to vote twice, Saad said.
Lyons filed an early-voting ballot Oct. 24, 2011, and then attempted to vote again on Election Day at her precinct, officials at the county board of elections said at the time.
I forgot I had voted earlier, Lyons had said. Do you know how much I have going on? Ive been campaigning, taking care of my father, and Im a single parent. I forgot.
Councilman Steve Diehl delivered absentee ballots collected by Lyons to the elections office. Under state law, only family members can drop off voters absentee ballots.
Diehl and Lyons said it was a misunderstanding and that the instructional elections material given to candidates was unclear. Lyons was also accused of serving as a witness for absentee ballots. Candidates who are running for office are not allowed to sign off on the ballots certifying the identity of the voter.
Diehl does not face any criminal charges.
I felt all along I wasnt doing anything wrong, Diehl said. There was no intent. All I did was what you would do if a friend asked you to drop something off. It was all done in complete innocence. Im just happy its been resolved and its over with.