Elections officials dropped an investigation into 2003 "American Idol" runnerup Clay Aiken's voter registration on Wednesday, weeks after the singer ruffled feathers by slamming some local school board candidates on his blog.
The Wake County Board of Elections agreed there was enough evidence to indicate Aiken likely voted unlawfully there while living in a neighboring county. But the board declined to seek a more thorough review with the State Board of Elections, which had the small potential to lead to a criminal prosecution.
There was no evidence presented that Aiken deliberately sought to violate election law, and Aiken wrote a letter asking officials to remove him from their voting rolls.
"In this case, I think this should be over and done with today," board chairman Sharon Everett said before the 3-0 vote.
Aiken's registration got attention after he criticized Wake County school board candidates last month in a blog posting, calling them "selfish idiots" intent on damaging a school system.
Four candidates backed by the local GOP ran and won on a platform of changing the Wake County schools policy that uses student reassignments and busing to achieve economic and racial diversity. The program is considered a national model.
Wake Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope filed a complaint because Aiken voted in Wake County elections with voter registration that listed his mother's address in Raleigh. Pope presented evidence showing Aiken has lived in Chatham County since at least 2006, including a TV news segment of the crooner showing off the home to a reporter.
Aiken said he did nothing wrong Wednesday in a blog post.
"I've remained registered at the permanent address that I've long used here in Wake County because I consider Raleigh home," Aiken wrote. "While I believe my registration is perfectly valid, I've decided to change my registration from Wake County rather than get into a technical dispute."
Pope said he didn't file the complaint as retribution for Aiken's criticism, but as a way to raise awareness about voter registration rules. He said people who move need to change their registration.
"We would certainly look at this as an opportunity to educate the general public," Pope told the board. "We're not looking to throw Mr. Aiken in jail or anything like that. ... he certainly can say anything he wants to say."
Aiken, in his blog post, characterized the challenge as an "attack" and said the efforts "show the lengths to which some folks will go to silence an opposing view."
Aiken, 31, has released several albums since his No. 2 American Idol finish in 2003 and had a role in the "Monty Python's Spamalot" on Broadway. He announced in September 2008 that he is gay and has a son conceived through in-vitro fertilization with a female friend.