Voter Integrity Project of NC (VIP-NC) offered high praise Tuesday for the Alamance County Board of Elections, which sustained all 123 challenges against deceased citizens who the group found were still on the voter rolls.
“Kathy Holland’s team worked tirelessly to investigate our claims,” said Mike Kelley, the local resident responsible for the challenges, “and they verified that 116 were deceased and that seven would require a little more time before the confirmation of their deaths can be completed.”
Three of the seven that still remained under investigation were not on the original reports that county boards receive each month from the State Board of Elections; but were later found to have died outside the state, leading to the delay in the investigation.
“Our goal is that none of these people will ever fall prey to an identity thief at the ballot box.” He said. “We don’t want anybody’s vote to be nullified by fraud.”
Kelley’s action is part of a coordinated statewide effort by Voter Integrity Project of NC to clean the voter rolls in accordance with state and federal laws that order the county boards of election to periodically review the rolls and to remove any deceased voters.
In late July, the VIP group challenged Wake County to remove 386 deceased voters, and challenged Halifax County to remove 77 deceased from their rolls.
“People from all across the state are worried about stories of dead people magically voting in Chicago,” said Jay DeLancy, VIP Executive Director, “so volunteers have joined us to encourage election officials to clean up our voter rolls and prevent the potential for that kind of corruption in North Carolina.”
Other citizen groups have relied on obituaries to highlight the potential flaws in North Carolina election laws, but VIP-NC matched the voter rolls against the same official death records provided by the NC Department of Health and Human Services monthly to the State Board of Elections to arrive at their conclusions.
“North Carolina election law mandates a monthly process for election officials to remove the dead people from the rolls,” DeLancy said, “but our investigations seem to indicate some problems where hundreds of them somehow slip through the cracks and remain on the active voter list.”
NC General Statute 163-82.14 (b) requires the state election officials to “distribute every month to each county board of elections the names on that list of deceased persons who were residents of that county,” and each county is required to remove “any person the list shows to be dead.” Section 8 of the 1993 Help America Vote Act also requires this process on a regular basis.
“Our research suggests that this system is broken,” said DeLancy, “so over the next few weeks, we will give the citizens of North Carolina a look at how this task is being managed by election officials in their own counties. Some counties’ election boards are using real initiative to overcome the problem of incomplete mortality data, while other counties seem less concerned.”
The group announced last month that, upon completion of their research, they will release a complete ranking of how well the state’s 100 county Board of Election offices manage the removal of deceased voters.
“We are absolutely blown away by the sense of stewardship that some election boards show toward their important jobs,” DeLancy said, “and are deeply concerned by the laxity of others.”
Voter Integrity Project was instrumental in hosting a May 2011 rally in support of the voter photo ID bill that was approved by both houses, but failed to attract the five Democratic legislators necessary for an override.
“The sad part about this entire effort is that none of it would have been necessary if Governor Perdue hadn’t blocked the photo-voter ID bill,” DeLancy said. “Unless she calls the General Assembly back into emergency session, she will go down in North Carolina history as the last Governor who had a clear shot at preventing massive election fraud in North Carolina, but instead bowed down to political pressure.”
VIP-NC is a non-partisan, volunteer organization that works for “free and fair elections” by training volunteers to research the voter rolls in order to remove fictitious or other illegally registered voters, and to monitor elections at precincts across the state in order to ensure that no voters are disenfranchised.