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Cooper Veto Dashes Re-Election Hopes

Nov 6, 2019 (Raleigh) In a move that’s sure to fracture his own party’s base, NC Gov Roy Cooper, today, vetoed Senate Bill 250 (titled, “Remove Foreign Citizens from Voting Rolls”), by claiming in his veto statement, “the law already prevents non-citizens from voting and has legitimate mechanisms to remove them from the rolls,” without specifying what law or what procedures he believes are in the law.

NC Gov Roy Cooper
NC Gov Roy Cooper vetos a bill that would have directed election officials in how to detect and remove non-citizen voters from the rolls.

“If the Governor’s claims were actually true,” said Jay DeLancy, Founder of the Voter Integrity Project, “then our state would not be in a federal lawsuit over their refusal to prove any non-citizen voter list maintenance.”

The bill pitted the interests of voters concerned about election integrity against those of groups who actively promote voting rights for non-citizens.

“The Governor’s veto means that he cares more about non-citizen voters than about any lawful voters who helped elect him in 2016,” DeLancy said. “We hope the public sees this clearly.”

The ongoing federal lawsuit was filed against the NC State Board of Elections (NCSBE) by the Public Interest Legal Foundation, headed by former DOJ Voting Rights attorney, J. Christian Adams. The legal action was triggered by the NCSBE’s denial of a PILF public information request for the agency to show records of non-citizen voter list maintenance, as allowed under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (52 U.S. Code § 20507).

“If the State already had procedures on the books that they were using to identify and remove non-citizen voters,” DeLancy said, “then why are they still fighting in federal courts to withhold those procedures from public inspection?”

Voter Integrity Project Founder, Jay DeLancy

Cooper’s claim also contradicts the agency’s October 25, 2018 admission that “We [NCSBE] do not have a regular voter list maintenance process to identify and remove non-U.S. citizens from the voter rolls, at least partly because there is no comprehensive database to rely upon.”

DeLancy predicted the move would not bode well for Cooper’s reelection hopes.

“The last North Carolina governor who vetoed a bill [voter ID] that would have enhanced election integrity wound up not running for a second term,” he said. “We’ll soon see if voters will shun Governor Cooper for siding with illegal non-citizen voters.”

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[Full Disclosure: The Public Interest Legal Foundation has represented the Voter Integrity Project – NC in VIP’s 2016 lawsuit against the Wake County Board of Elections. The case was settled during mediation with the Wake CBE agreeing to provide certain information on a recurring basis and to explore certain improvements to their list-maintenance procedures.]

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