Feb 10, 2015 (PINEHURST) The Voter Integrity Project of North Carolina called for the emergency repeal of a “loophole” in last year’s voter ID law; this, in the group’s first of of five election law reform initiatives they’re proposing during the 2015-2016 NC General Assembly. The document, called a “Legislative Advisory,” can be viewed by clicking here. The full “Starting Five” agenda, while not yet released, was briefed to the Moore County VIP team this week, in honor of their recent achievements.
“We call this year’s legislative agenda a ‘starting five,'” said Jay DeLancy, Director of VIP, “but because we’re constantly analyzing cases of vote fraud and looking for preventative strategies, we won’t guarantee to stop with just five reform proposals.”
The group rates the curbside loophole as the most critical patch needed during the Legislature’s 2015-2016 session.
“We’ve asked quite a few lawmakers how the curbside loophole got in there in the first place,” said DeLancy, “but have yet to meet the person who owned up to its inclusion. One highly placed Legislator told us he thought it had something to do with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but even that was speculation.”
For years, state and federal law has allowed curbside voting for any voter who states an inability to walk into the polls or to stand in line, but there is no proof of disability required.
“We’d like drive-by voters to follow the same rules the rest of us follow,” said DeLancy. “There’s just no reason to exempt these voters from proving their identity just because they’re sitting in a car. It might even violate the equal protection concept in our Constitution.”
Several county election officials expressed private concerns to VIP members, worrying that groups may flaunt NC’s voter ID law by abusing the curbside-voting exception, leading to excessively long lines of cars in front of the polls.
“We didn’t do screen captures at the time, but as soon as the bill passed,” DeLancy said, “groups like Democracy NC were highlighting that loophole and this could lead to designed chaos in 2016 if it’s not fixed.”
Their George Soros-backed group still includes the loophole in their summary of the law’s changes, which advises that, “Voters are exempt . . . who use curbside voting because of their age or physical disability.” Instead of a photo,ID the loophole allows voters to show pieces of paper with their name and address on it. Examples include documents such as utility bills, bank statements, paycheck stubs or library cards.
According to experienced curbside voting assistants interviewed for this story, there is no actual “proof” of disability required for people wishing to use this convenience. All they need to do is drive up and keep a straight face while claiming they cannot make the long walk across the parking lot and into the voting booth.
“If their tactics are the same in North Carolina as we’ve observed in other states,” DeLancy said, “long lines caused by lots of people voting curbside will get blamed in the media as being the result of voter ID, instead of on the loophole, which is where the problem lies. We’d like to see the problem fixed before that happens.”
In addition to closing the curbside loophole in NC’s new voter ID law, DeLancy says the group’s other four measures all will have the effect of either making it easier to detect vote fraud or making it easier to prosecute vote fraud perpetrators.
The group plans to release more details on each of their “Starting Five” initiatives over the coming weeks as they urge all of their members to begin discussing the reforms with their individual state legislators and senators.
“We need anybody who cares about open and honest elections to download each Legislative Advisory as soon as we can release it and get on the phone to find out if their reps will sponsor any of these important measures,” said DeLancy. “It’s time to be heard.”
Note: To determine who represents you in the North Carolina General Assembly, please visit their website by clicking here. (It’s best to use the interactive maps. They take a while to load, but it’s worth the wait!)