Attorney General Josh Stein last week awarded the Attorney General’s Dogwood Award to five North Carolinians in the Triad. Among this year’s winners was Surry County Board of Elections Chairwoman Michelle Huff.
Each year, Stein recognizes North Carolina residents who help to make their communities safer, stronger, and healthier.
Huff’s award read in part, “Too many election workers endured harassment and threats while they faithfully oversaw safe, effective elections this year.”
Attorney General Stein said, “Michella has shown incredible commitment to democracy and the truth as she refused to buckle to those who lie about stolen elections. Despite harassment, she continues to work hard to administer elections in her county and maintain integrity in our elections.”
Her commendation was issued for, “Extraordinary demonstration of excellence, dedication, and creativity in pursuing community solutions to our state’s most pressing issues, in alignment with the Department of Justice’s mission of protecting the people of North Carolina.”
Other Triad recipients of the Attorney General’s Dogwood Award were Dr. Virginia Newell, Winston-Salem State University; Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough, Forsyth County; as well as Vernon Gammon and Mike McGaha, of Teamsters Local 391 which serves areas of the central Piedmont and points East.
This is just the latest recognition for Huff after she also received the “Defender of Democracy Award” from the Center for Election Innovation and Research on behalf of all of North Carolina’s election officials along with North Carolina Board of Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell.
Huff, Bell, and North Carolina’s election officials were commended for their work in serving the state’s voters before, during, and after the 2020 elections that created a cacophony of complaint.
North Carolina elections officials received the “Defender of Democracy” award for their work serving voters before, during, and after the 2020 elections. These awards recognize Americans who courageously stood up against efforts to undermine the democratic process.
“These awardees showed exemplary courage and leadership – under enormous pressure – with the highest level of professionalism, commitment to democracy, and dedication to public service,” said David Becker, CEIR executive director and founder.
“In North Carolina, our 100 county boards of elections effectively conducted the 2020 general election, with the highest turnout in state history and during a global pandemic,” Brinson Bell said.
“We thank CEIR for the award, and we stand with elections administrators from across the United States who work hard every day to ensure accessible, secure, and fair elections.”
Since the election of 2020 there has been a growing grassroots chorus from across the country of residents in states both red, blue, and in between expressing deep concerns about elections and even those running them.
To alleviate some of those concerns audits are conducted at the local level and then there are several hand-to-eye checks and audits done across polling places and early voting sites to ensure the accuracy and integrity of outcome.
Bipartisan teams across the state at the county level conducted audits of their ballots to confirm all ballots that were eligible were counted, including those sent in via the absentee process or provisional ballot. Hand recounts were conducted in randomly selected precincts from across the state.
“After extremely hard work by county elections offices across North Carolina, today we made sure that the votes of 3.8 million North Carolinians counted in 2022,” Brinson Bell said this week.
Tuesday North Carolina’s Board of Elections unanimously certified the results of the 2022 general election in North Carolina, “After a thorough canvassing process designed to ensure all votes were tabulated correctly.”
Brinson Bell added, “These audits and recounts once again showed that voters can trust the certified and tested voting equipment to accurately count ballots in North Carolina elections.”
Just over 3.79 million North Carolinians cast a ballot in a midterm election that observers estimated may have a higher turnout due to factors such as the prospect of flipping both chambers of Congress, recent Supreme Court action, and remaining angst on both sides of the political spectrum lingering from the 2020 election, and its subsequent fallout.
Despite those predictions the 51% turnout in North Carolina for the 2022 midterm cycle was down from rate of 53% in 2018.