UPDATE: N&O CORRECTION
Without quite reversing itself after last week’s embarrassing hearing, the Wake County Board of Elections, during today’s regularly scheduled meeting, by a 2-1 vote, agreed to remove 11 non-US citizens from their voter rolls and refer them over to the District Attorney for prosecution.
“The Board restored their reputation this week,” said Jay DeLancy, the citizen who challenged the voters and head of Voter Integrity Project of NC. “Everybody in that room last week knew that these 11 people should come off the rolls and be prosecuted for the felony crime of voting while not a US citizen.”
Board member, Josh Howard, absent from last week’s meeting, objected to the Board’s shocking decision to deny the challenges of the confirmed non-US citizens, thus keeping them on the voter rolls. In this week’s meeting, Howard motioned to remove the non-US citizen voters based on prima facie evidence of non-residence that resulted from numerous letters mailed during the challenge process to the voters, but never returned.
“Last week, we watched common sense get mugged by pure politics,” DeLancy said. “It was the same sort of Democracy we see when two wolves and a sheep vote on what to have for lunch.”
Kristy Talley, the lone Board member who opposed removing the non-US citizens from the rolls again this week had pushed to a majority last week by asserting that VIP-NC had not met the “burden of proof” required to remove voters from the rolls. This was despite the fact that the non-US citizens had convinced both the Wake Clerk of Courts office and the NC DMV that they were not US citizens.
“I have to respect Ms. Talley’s intellectual consistency, based on the idea that everybody has a right to vote,” he said, “but it seemed extreme when she acted to extend that privilege even to non-US citizens and dead people.”
At a separate hearing held earlier today, Talley cited the same “burden of proof” argument as she voted against carrying forward DeLancy’s challenges of 12 registered voters who, his group says, have died out of state. The 12 were the only voters still unresolved from the 386 deceased voters whom DeLancy had challenged in late June, on behalf of his group, Voter Integrity Project of NC. The other 374 voters have now been removed from the voter rolls.
“We were glad that the board took the matter of dead voters a lot more seriously than they viewed non-citizen voters, last week,” he said, “but they made up for last week’s train wreck and did the right thing after all!”
Lost in the excitement was the fact that a VIP-NC researcher testified in today’s hearing that he had identified more than 660 other deceased voters who were still on Wake County’s voter rolls and turned the names over to the Board. They found the voters by modifying their original software to avoid eliminating matches that had minor differences.
“In the past, our software would eliminate a match between the death list and the voter rolls because it wasn’t exact,” said John Pizzo, Director of Research for VIP-NC. “This resulted in our not seeing the record if a voter’s address was ‘West Millbrook’ on one list and ‘W. Millbrook’ on the other, so this revision gave us a lot more deceased voters.”
Exactly how many more, Pizzo was not ready to disclose, but the number of deceased voters in Wake County jumped from 386 to just over 1,000, according to his testimony. The group’s volunteer researchers are currently reviewing all past work on the deceased voters to determine a final count for the entire state.
“The problems we have encountered in this process have been really helpful,” Pizzo said, “and it also tells us that some of the reasons that deceased voters have remained on the rolls had more to do with bad programming than with bad government employees.”
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.