Event Summary: 8:30 AM, Tuesday, August 21, in front of Wake County Public Safety Center
Optics: A media avail by the VIP-NC Director, followed by “quasi-judicial” hearing to be conducted at 9:00 in room C170 of the Public Safety Center, 330 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC.
RALEIGH, NC–Today at 9 AM, at the Wake County Public Safety Center, the Wake County Board of Elections will resolve the remaining 18 voters whom the Voter Integrity Project of NC (VIP-NC) identified as being non-US citizens who are registered to vote.
VIP-NC, a Raleigh-based statewide grass roots organization, originally challenged 553 Wake County registered voters who were excused from jury duty in the Wake County Court system after proving they were not US citizens; but the Wake BoE dismissed the challenges of all but 18 voters because the State of Board “Election Assistant,” Veronica DeGraffenreid, testified that they were all US citizens and must have lied to duck jury duty.
“We will be surprised if the Wake Board [of Elections] sustains any of our remaining challenges,” said Jay DeLancy, VIP-NC Executive Director, “since the few they carried over from our preliminary hearing were only the ones who actually obeyed North Carolina’s tighter driver’s license laws.”
The state’s DMV laws required no proof of US citizenship until the 2006 Technical Corrections Act forced driver’s license applicants either to prove their US citizenship or to prove their “Legal Presence” status and receive “LP” designation on their licenses.
“What amazed us was when Ms. DeGraffenreid said that anybody missing the LP code on their DMV record is a US citizen,” DeLancy said. “Since we have proof that some people getting licensed in 2005 had expiration dates as late as 2013, we reject the claim that 510 of the voters were US citizens.”
Today’s hearing will only address the fate of the remaining 18 voters, some of whom may actually show up for the hearing.
“Several of these law-abiding immigrants called me as soon as they received their hearing notices,” DeLancy said, “and part of my ministry to them was to calm them down and to walk them through the paperwork.”
Those remaining challenged voters were given the choice to either confirm their current status as US citizens or to be voluntarily removed from the voter rolls. Another small group could be removed if they failed to respond to multiple requests for clarification from the Wake BoE.
“We are saddened that the only voters still being investigated are the ones who actually obeyed the law,” DeLancy said. “Gone are any non-citizens who gamed the law by obtaining their licenses BEFORE the 2006 law took effect.”
VIP-NC has been criticized in some circles for causing this much administrative work for the removal of only a handful of non-US citizens, but their leader is not bothered by the complaints.
“A couple of extreme left-wing blog sites and one irresponsible print reporter who never got our side of the story raised that complaint,” he said, “but they just want to shut down anybody who tries to clean up the voter rolls before November.”
NC law (NCGS 163-90.1) allows for challenges if “the challenger knows, suspects, or reasonably believes such a person not to be qualified and entitled to vote.” Denial of citizenship is considered to be reasonable belief.
Another factor in this complex challenge process involves those people who may have perjured themselves by denying their actual US citizenship in order to avoid jury duty. This practice would lend credence to the citizenship assumption made by the State BoE but could also cause legal troubles for the alleged perjurer.
“Those 510 names were supposed to be turned over to the office of the Wake District Attorney,” DeLancy said, “but their prosecution would be surprising since voter fraud doesn’t seem very high on their list of priorities.”
VIP-NC is a non-partisan not-for-profit organization that works for “free and fair elections” by researching the voter rolls in order to remove fictitious or other illegally registered voters and by training volunteers to monitor elections at precincts across the state in order to ensure that no voters are disenfranchised.