Hispanic Voter Drive Raises Serious Questions for SBoE

(Raleigh, NC)—SEP 24, 2012—Voter Integrity Project of NC, a non-partisan group advocating for free and fair elections,  today applauded the efforts of Democracy NC which joined forces with several Hispanic advocacy groups to register Latino voters in an organized campaign this week at all Latino Credit Union branches in the state.

“They deserve credit because we agree with them, that all lawful citizens should become informed on the issues and exercise their right to vote,” said Jay DeLancy, Director of VIP-NC. “Our only concern is an apparent lack of safeguards taken by the NC Board of Elections to protect the ballot box against people who register when they are not US citizens.”

Under current election law, if the voters register and check the block affirming their US citizenship, county election officials automatically give any benefit of doubt to the voter and trust the State BoE to conduct their own internal checks to determine the citizenship status of the registered voter, it was learned at a Wake County Board of Elections challenge hearing held August 21, 2012.

When asked about the process to confirm the legality of one registered actual voter who had convinced both the Wake County Clerk of Courts and the NC DMV that she was not a US citizen (even though she voted in 2004), Wake Election Board Director Cherie Poucher said, “I sent the information to the state.  I have gotten no response.  I do not have access to contact [interrupting herself] counties do not have access to contact Social Security or even DMV individually.  It all goes through the State Board of Elections.”

“So while VIP-NC supports all efforts to register legal voters,” the question we hope every legislator and journalist in this state will ask the NC State Board of Elections is what practice, process or policy have they implemented to confirm the actual citizenship of these newly registered voters,” DeLancy said. “At least since 2006, the DMV allegedly knows who is or is not a US citizen, so the public needs to understand if or when the State BoE crosschecks with that agency to determine the new voters’ status.” [See full context of Ms. Poucher’s remark and the Board’s response in pages 26-32 of the hearing’s official transcript, here.]

Restoring trust in North Carolina’s secretive electoral system has been a major goal of VIP-NC and their Director has been alarmed at the amount of opposition their efforts have faced. While the August 21 hearing resulted in none of the non-US citizens being removed over their immigration status; a week later, the board quietly removed them for other reasons and referred 11 over to ICE for further investigation, according to a corrected article in Raleigh’s News and Observer [see last paragraph of their corrected story, here].

“Our ultimate goal is for the public to understand the fragility of our electoral process and then for us to recommend proactive reforms to the State Legislature,” DeLancy said. “Your fellow citizens at VIP-NC are working for free and fair elections for every lawful voter; because every time a vote is illegally cast, a legitimate voter has been disenfranchised.”