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The Latest | Emergency robocalls correct voting misinformation in North Carolina

Mar 5, 2024, 9:21 AM | Updated: 2:58 pm

The Super Tuesday primaries are the largest voting day of the year in the United States aside from the November general election.

Voters in 16 states and one territory are choosing presidential nominees. Some states are also deciding who should run for governor, senator or district attorneys.

Party primaries, caucuses or presidential preference votes are being held in Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.

Here’s the latest:

Emergency robocalls correct voting misinformation in North Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. — North Carolina officials activated emergency robocalls Tuesday to correct misinformation from a country music radio station serving a western part of the state in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

State Board of Elections spokesperson Patrick Gannon said WKYK, based in Burnsville, North Carolina, reported incorrectly that voting precincts had closed. It said that residents around Yancey County, population 18,000, would have to vote instead at the county board of elections office.

Gannon said the false information appeared “to be an honest, but unfortunate, mistake.”

Within 30 minutes of the radio report, the county’s emergency management office used a subscription-based public safety mass messaging system to issue accurate voting instructions.

WKYK did not immediately respond to a voice message from The Associated Press seeking more information.

Texas governor spends Super Tuesday dealing with wildfires

DALLAS — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott spent Super Tuesday talking to officials in the Panhandle, where multiple wildfires continue to burn.

The Republican didn’t mention politics as he addressed the area’s concerns, including what he called an “extraordinary” demand for hay for cattle.

Speaking in the city of Canadian, Abbott urged residents to remain vigilant with the wildfires still burning.

In the lead up to Tuesday’s primary, Abbott had targeted nearly two dozen incumbents who helped defeat his plan to spend tax money on private schools.

A Biden supporter votes “no preference” over his Israel-Hamas war stance

BOSTON — Marwa Osman, a 35-year-old content creator, says she voted “no preference” to protest President Joe Biden’s policy toward the Israel-Hamas war. Osman opposes sending any U.S. aid to Israel and wants the president to support a full ceasefire between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

“We supported Biden from the beginning and kind of feel betrayed by him,” she said.

If the administration doesn’t change its policy toward the war, Osman says she is considering sitting out the November election.

“I’ll probably not vote or vote for an independent party,” she said. “I just cannot have my vote in good conscience go to something that is aiding to kill innocent civilians.”

CANDIDATE IS MISSING FROM HIS OWN BALLOT

HOUSTON — What to do if you’re a candidate and you don’t see your name when looking over your ballot?

“It was funny because I couldn’t even vote for my own self,” said Texas state Rep. Jarvis Johnson, a Democrat running for the state Senate.

Johnson’s son and daughter and a campaign member were also voting at the same location in Houston, and they couldn’t find his name, either.

An election judge had scanned the wrong precinct code, bringing up the incorrect ballot for Johnson and the others, Harris County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth said.

The mistake was fixed, and staff has been sent to the voting location to ensure it doesn’t happen again, said Hudspeth, who earlier reported that Super Tuesday voting in the county was generally smooth, with problems in just a few places.

Elections there in recent years have drawn attention because of problems ranging from paper ballot shortages to malfunctioning machines to long lines.

A TRANSGENDER CENTER, AND NOW A VOTING CENTER

LOS ANGELES — Voters trickled into the Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center on Tuesday as it served as a voting center for the first time, said Scottie Jeanette Madden, a director of the transgender advocacy group FLUX.

To mark the occasion, the center planned for a DJ and gave out water and snacks, essentially turning the act of voting into a party.

“Our community has emotional boundaries, not geographic boundaries,” Madden said. “You can now come to a place that is safe and affirming and vote, which might not be your local polling place.”

For many years, California residents were assigned to vote at polling places based on their home addresses. The state now lets people cast ballots at any voting center in their county, paving the way for voting at Connie Norman, named for a late AIDS and LGBTQ+ rights activist.

FOR IOWA DEMOCRATS, A BREAK FROM TRADITION

DES MOINES, Iowa — For Democrats in Iowa, this year’s Super Tuesday is a break from five decades of tradition in how the state gets its say in helping determine the presidential nominee.

For 2024, the state party had to reapproach its caucuses. They’re the one-night spectacle in which community members publicly signal their support for a candidate.

This year, Iowa Democrats have quietly filled in the bubble for President Joe Biden or one of his long-shot competitors and slipped the forms into the mailbox. More than 19,000 ballots were requested, according to the party, and roughly 13,000 had been received as of Tuesday morning.

National Democrats reshuffled the primary calendar to prioritize more diverse states than Iowa. The change pushed Iowa from its leadoff position and back to Super Tuesday.

ONLY MINOR WRINKLES IN THE HOUSTON AREA

HOUSTON — Elections in recent years in Texas’ most populous county have drawn attention because of problems ranging from paper ballot shortages to malfunctioning machines to long lines.

But Harris County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth, whose office is now in charge of elections, says that so far on Super Tuesday, things generally have gone smoothly in the area, with problems in just a few places.

Those problems have been dealt with, Hudspeth said, and she’s now taking her “first deep breath for the day knowing that voters are voting, our polls are working, and we’ve been able to address everything.”

HALEY BACKER LIKES CANDIDATE’S ‘RESILIENCY’

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — “It’s time for a woman.”

That’s what Pam Hulstrand, 65, said as she cast her presidential primary ballot for Republican Nikki Haley in Eden Prairie, a Twin Cities suburb.

Haley, she said, is a new leader with experience and confidence.

But Hulstrand also said she’s prepared to vote for Republican front-runner Donald Trump in November if it comes to that. She said she voted for Joe Biden in 2020 but won’t do so again.

Hulstrand is holding out hope that Haley will win the nomination.

“The fact that she’s not giving up says a lot about her resiliency,” Hulstrand said.

Hulstrand, a minister, said she likes Haley’s stances on issues such as what’s taught in schools.

SAY WHAT? A CANDIDATE IS TOLD SHE ALREADY VOTED

HOUSTON — When the Houston area’s top prosecutor went to vote Tuesday, she was told she already had done so.

It took a bit of work, but the hiccup was soon resolved, and Kim Ogg was able to vote in the primary, in which she is seeking a third term.

Ogg says she was told that when her partner cast a ballot during early voting last week, it was mistakenly cast in Ogg’s name.

A county clerk says the mistake was fixed and Ogg got the go-ahead to vote.

BIDEN PREPS FOR THE STATE OF THE UNION

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden spent much of the run-up to Super Tuesday preparing for that OTHER big political event of the week: his annual State of the Union address.

Biden has been holed up at Camp David, the presidential retreat outside Washington, with some of his closest aides and outside advisers, according to a person familiar with the preparations. The person was not authorized to publicly discuss the president’s private preparations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Among those with him: White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reed, senior adviser Anita Dunn, speechwriting director Vinay Reddy, counselor Steve Ricchetti, and Mike Donilon, a veteran Biden aide who recently moved from the White House to the campaign. Also on hand was the presidential historian Jon Meacham, a Biden favorite.

Others are participating virtually, according to the person familiar with the preparations.

The president returns to the White House later Tuesday. The address is scheduled for Thursday.

— Associated Press writer Seung Min Kim

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The Latest | Emergency robocalls correct voting misinformation in North Carolina