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Easy Registration Lets Minor Vote

November 10, 1996

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) _ Registering to vote and casting a ballot has never been easier _ so easy that a 14-year-old boy got away with it.

``I think it’s pretty cool,″ said the teen, a high school freshman who filled out a voter registration form at a rock concert last summer.

``I expected them to be like, `You’re not 18, go away.′ But as soon as I stuck my little paper in the machine, I was like, `Wow, I voted, all right!‴ he told The Herald-Sun of Durham, which did not disclose his name.

He voted a straight Republican ticket Tuesday in state and national races.

At the summer concert, the teen went to a voter registration table, filled out a registration form, listed his birth year as 1956 and signed his real name, the newspaper said.

Falsifying voter registration information is a felony in North Carolina, punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine.

``He broke the law, didn’t he?″ said Durham County Elections Supervisor Carol Booth.

However, she said it would be up to the state Board of Elections to decide whether to prosecute _ if the boy’s identity were known. Calls to the board on Sunday were not answered. And Booth she said she didn’t know of anyone being prosecuted here for registration fraud.

The teen said no one at the registration table or the election polling place asked him for identification.

``I guess they let me vote because I look like I’m 18,″ he said. ``But if they’d looked, I look a whole lot closer to 18 than 40.″

``The law doesn’t say he has to prove anything,″ Michelle Wyatt, voter registration director at the state Board of Elections, told the newspaper. ``This system is based on the idea that we live in a fair and honest society, that we live in a happy, smiley land where people are going to tell the truth and perjury means something.″

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