With apologies for the length of this post, there is no short explanation of how HB 836, the 2015 “technical correction” to NC election law, re-opened the door to massive vote fraud by way of illegal-immigrant voting. Such a dramatic modification was no accidental oversight, and more than a few Republican legislators expressed shock when we explained this provision of the law to them. One even vowed “to get to the bottom of it” (before he suddenly quit returning our calls).
In any case, NC election law needs to be corrected with a series of roll-call votes, so the public will finally know exactly which lawmakers covertly supported gutting the voter ID laws and adding the precise language that will enable tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to vote in the 2016 general elections.
Come Ye’ Huddled (Illegal) Immigrants
In order to understand the non-citizen implications of HB 836, you would need to remember the news from 2005 on this subject. The internet is fairly well scrubbed of this news thread, but Lexis-Nexus saved the day. It helped us find a Greensboro News & Record article that accidentally conducted a public service and left an embarrassing story on their site. (See story by clicking here.)
The Cliff Note version is that NC’s DMV was too vocal at inviting illegal immigrants to get a license without proof of citizenship. Eventually, Florida began excluding NCDLs from their reciprocity program. In other words, they blew the whistle on NC’s DMV for issuing licenses to illegal immigrants.
NC’s General Assembly was eventually shamed into enacting law, ordering DMV to start requiring proof of citizenship, sometime off in the distant future. Then news stories began popping up, showing DMV offices flooded with applicants during the waning days of the more lax rules.
Signaling the problem as early as 2001, a Sep 20, 2001 News & Observer story had this damaging headline: “Lacking ID, immigrants flock to state DMV offices.”
The alarm of the story (paragraph 3, enlarged below) said, “Word has spread among undocumented immigrants in nearby states that North Carolina is the place to come for a driver’s license or state-issued ID card. Unlike many other states, North Carolina does not require a Social Security number or even proof of residency to get a license or ID.”
The problem still lingered in (Jan 24) 2004, when the N&O headline blared, “Crowds Crush DMV Offices.” Among the tidbits in the story, we learned “more than 250,000 immigrants from Mexico live in North Carolina,” and the “crush of immigrants seek licenses before the state stops accepting Mexican identification cards. . . . ”
The legislature managed to write enough loopholes into that 2004 legislation that it took a 2006 bill in 2006, to finally halt the illegal-immigrant gold rush at DMV, but the 2004 story continued, saying some customers “camped out overnight” at a Durham DMV office and that “people waited half a day or more for service.” Officials anticipated the problem getting worse during the final week before the deadline.
In a law that took effect July 26, 2006 (click here and search on “§ 20-7”), the door was finally slammed and the last of those driver’s licenses expired eight years later on Feb 2, 2013. Just 90 days after that, the opportunity ended for people hoping to use those licenses as voter ID.
Come Ye Huddled (Illegal) Voters
By extending that deadline from 90 days to 1,460 days (4 years), HB 836 allows tens of thousands of those expired licenses to be used for voting purposes through the November 2016 elections. We’ve heard no coherent explanation as to why the expiration deadline was extended, so we’ll ask our statewide network of supporters to sort that question out with their individual legislators.
Not that Senator Rucho and Rep Lewis are interested. . . but we recommend three corrective actions:
We heard all of the excuses about why HB 836 was needed as emergency legislation, but no lawmakers we’ve asked have been able to utter a coherent explanation on why they reopened the door to non-US citizens voting in NC elections.
- Change the expiration period back to 90 days, just as it was passed, in a deliberative way, two years ago.
- Launch an independent investigation of both the DMV and the SBOE to determine, once and for all, exactly who registered to vote through DMV before proof-of-citizenship was required AND whose licenses were not renewed. This alone doesn’t constitute a crime, but that final data should be treated as evidence. We’ve suggested to lawmakers how conduct this research, but we’ve only heard crickets in response.
- Which brings us to the final corrective action for lawmakers: Quit spinning and start listening to your constituents. A whole lot of you received an electoral mandate to clean up vote fraud and that includes not letting illegal immigrants vote in our elections! If your former voters sense that you’ve dropped the ball on this matter, they may judge you to be as corrupt as your predecessors . . . and they will stay home.
The remainder of this article elaborates on how the law evolved from a ten-year expiration period (under the House version of HB 589) to a 90-day expiration (in the Senate version) and suggests the new four-year expiration was a deliberate attempt to allow tens of thousands of non-US citizens to vote in the 2016 election.
If the Republican-controlled legislature fails to close this loophole, they may see third-part rumblings among their base, so we suggest they wake up and smell the napalm.
The Short History of Some Sneaky House Legislation
This issue quietly slept until (then) NC House Speaker, Thom Tillis, stood beside Elections Committee Chairman, David Lewis, to unveil their comprehensive election law reform package, called HB 589, in the Spring of 2013. While it was a “committee” product, one member told us it was foist upon them in one package, with Lewis simply asking, “what do you think?” Obedient (i.e. younger) committee members were expected to keep their mouths shut and let the boss have whatever he wants. Among the more troubling aspects of the House version was a provision to allow voters to use DMV products (licenses and ID cards) that had expired for up to ten years.
Learning of this provision for the first time at the press conference, VIP Director Jay DeLancy reminded Rep Lewis of DMV’s sordid history non-citizen licenses (at the 20:05 mark on this video) and asked if anything in their law that would prevent those persons from voting.
Before Speaker Tillis filibustered the question, Rep Ruth Samuelson answered based on her assumption that DMV had not given any of the new drivers a voter registration at the same time. (For more on this subject, please see Footnote 1, below.)
State Senate to the Rescue!
Despite the pleas of VIP supporters, the House bill retained the language; so we began to focus on the Senate and they dropped the controversial language, requiring an unexpired license (or ID card) unless the voter was elderly and no longer bothering with renewal.
At the time, we viewed expired licenses as one of the larger loopholes in the House version because a great number of non-US citizen with an NCDL were probably already registered to vote. At the time, we assumed only incompetence would prompt a DMV employee to register the new applicants for voting; but given the way that same agency sabotaged the “free” voter ID program, it seems plausible that agenda-driven DMV workers may have deliberately pumped up the voter rolls between 2001 and 2006 with non-citizen applicants.
Somewhere in the final version of HB 589, drivers were given up to 90 days to vote with an expired license. We didn’t fight it, since a driver with an expired license normally gets a warning for the first 30 days and a ticket thereafter. Thus, 90 days seemed generous and the issue was settled . . . we thought.
Pass Before Reading!
This summer’s breathless introduction and passage of HB 836 alarmed us about like when your high school sweetheart shows up at the 20-year reunion, real drunk, and starts yelling that you were the source of every problem in his/her life.
But even that doesn’t express how shocked we were to see a new four-year grace period for expired licenses.
Let’s see, eight years of usage plus four years of expiration means NC law will allow people to vote in 2016 if they can dig up a license issued anytime after November 9, 2004 and before July 26, 2006. If such a voter later obtained a SSN-based license, he or she was probably a good citizen; but the ones who mysteriously failed to renew the license pose a serious risk of stealing votes after they illegally entered the nation, legally obtained a NCDL and illegally registered to vote as a means of improving their I-9 documentation.
“But wait,” one may argue, “the DMV would never register them to vote!”
Would that be the same DMV that illegally refused to issue free voter ID cards to indigent persons seeking the card they would need to vote after NC’s voter ID law takes full effect in 2016? Would that be the same agency whose actions caused the Legislature to panic and pass this epic failure of a law?
NOTE – In 2012, VIP challenged 528 registered voters who had evaded jury duty by telling the Wake County Clerk of Courts they were non-US citizens. Of those voters, 130 made the declaration after they had already voted, which (if true) is a felony.
Our ignorance of the “quasi-judicial process” allowed the Wake County Board of Elections to dismiss all of our challenges. Eighteen of them even had confirmation from DMV that they weren’t citizens, but the kangaroo court proceedings wound up dismissing all of our challenges.
Mysteriously, one week later they quietly voted to remove 11 of our challenged voters for reasons NOT involving their citizenship status. And then, without further comment, they made criminal referrals to ICE for each of them.
We have reason to believe that politicians in both major parties do not want the public to grasp the total number of non-US citizens registered to vote in NC. We reached this conclusion after neither the Legislature nor the DMV was the slightest bit interested in a proposed line of research that VIP offered to conduct with their cooperation.
House 589 – http://www.ncleg.net/Applications/BillLookUp/LoadBillDocument.aspx?SessionCode=2013&DocNum=4358&SeqNum=0
Senate 589 — http://www.ncleg.net/Applications/BillLookUp/LoadBillDocument.aspx?SessionCode=2013&DocNum=7216&SeqNum=0
836 — http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Bills/House/PDF/H836v6.pdf
To review all of the reasons VIP opposes the nefarious actions and fraud-friendly provisions of HB 836, please visit our hub site on the problem by clicking here.