‘If I knew I couldn’t vote, I wouldn’t have voted’: Felon faces up to 2 years in prison for voting

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ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. -- A Triad man says he could go to prison for voting.

Anthony Haith is a husband and father. He has two jobs. He thought he was doing something good when he voted in the 2016 presidential election.

“I wanted to make a difference in our community and get someone better in office,” Haith said.

Haith spent two months in prison more than 10 years ago on drug charges. Now he faces up to two years behind bars for voting while on probation for another charge last year.

It is illegal for a felon to vote while in prison or while under supervision.

Haith said he had no idea he couldn’t vote.

“I wouldn't have even voted,” Haith said. “I wouldn't have risked my family like that.”

We reached out to the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

A spokesperson told us Haith should have read the fine print on the voter registration form he filled out during early voting, but this mix-up happens to a lot of felons.

According to their audit, 441 felons voted in the presidential election last year.

”It sounds like a lot of the folks like the gentleman you were talking about probably did not realize that they shouldn’t vote as felon,  although the voter registration does include the wording,” said Patrick Gannon, the public information officer for the state board. “Sometimes people don't read the small print.”

Gannon says the board of elections is working with the court and prison system to make sure felons are informed. The board also changed some of the voting paperwork since last year so that it is easier for felons to see the rules.

But once felons vote illegally, it is out of the board of elections hands.

“It's up to the prosecutor or the district attorney to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to attempt to prosecute,” Gannon said.

The Alamance County District Attorney’s Office sent FOX8 a press release saying 12 people in the county face up to two years in prison.

In a statement District Attorney Patrick Nadolski said, “It is important that we work to preserve the sanctity of our election system; and, we must, at the very least, require each citizen to act in accordance with the law.”

Haith hopes his indictment gets throw out. He has a court date scheduled in two months and says he can’t afford the lawyer fees.

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