The Citizen-Times reports that last week’s charge by Republican officials that James Taylor’s North Carolina concerts in support of Senator Barack Obama amounted to vote-buying have been dismissed by the Buncombe County Board of Elections.
Following at times heated discussion, the board voted 2-1 to dismiss the charges. The vote split along party lines with Chairman Jones Byrd and Secretary Lucy Smith, both Democrats, voting to dismiss. Republican board member Robert Van Wagner, voted no.
Jones said people bringing the charges failed to produce witnesses who would swear they had been given tickets to the Oct. 19 James Taylor concert in exchange for voting.
“I don’t think it’s fair to accuse someone of being a felon without any substanitive evidence of it,” Byrd said.
Those making charges said it was difficult for them as ordinary citizens to investigate and they wanted a body with investigatory power, such as the district attorney, to at least look at the issue.
The chairman of the Republican district that brought the charges plans to appeal to the North Carolina Board of Elections.