The New Phantom Menace

Nov 28, 2023 – Sometime during today’s NC State Board of Election canvass meeting, they will address a HAVA complaint, filed by the NC Audit Force, involving the SBE’s abuse a convenient provision of NC law (NCGS §163-82.4(b)) that gives election officials a seamless way to register as many non-citizen or other illegal voters as needed.

The provision in the law is a loophole for people registering to vote claiming NEVER to “have not been issued either a current and valid drivers license or a social security number.”

At first, we thought this law conflicted with federal law (42 USC 15483 Sec 303 Sec (a)(5)(A)(ii)) because it says, with only one exception, “an application for voter registrationf for an election for Federal office may not be accepted or processed b y a State unless the application includes . . . the applicant’s driver’s license number; or . . . the last 4 digits of the applicant’s social security number.”

Seems simple enough, but that one exception that inept law mentions is for applicants who have “not been issued a current and valid driver’s license or a social security number.”

These voters can play a vital role in certain types of illegal voting, but instead of minimizing the number or such voters, our NC State Board of Election conveniently DOES NOT REQUIRE voters to provide this information in the part of the application form that asks for the information.

Instead, it conveniently offers a checkbox inviting voters to check if you do not have a driver license or Social Security number.” Somewhere on the back of the form, in the “instructions” section, they mention additional rules for such voters, but Instead, of reading all of that mice type, most people just fill out the form and hand it to somebody.

Fields in red text are required.

We’re at a complete loss to imagine what sort of legal voter could survive in America with neither a valid driver’s license number nor a social security number, but we can imagine some illegal types.

Thanks to a few well-targeted public information requests from NC Audit Force, the SBE was forced to confess that as of March 16, 2023, there were 429,725 registered voters missing both an NCDL and an SSN-4.

Who are these people?

There could be more, but in general, we see three main types of voters able to use this loophole.

  1. Non US citizens.
  2. Virtual or phantom voters.
  3. Truly unfortunate people who were denied their basic civil rights (except for their vote).

In all three of these cases, something illegal is going on.

In the first case, noncitizens are flooding onto the voter rolls. In the second case, people can impersonate others by using any of several gaping “exceptions” rigged into our state’s weak voter ID law. In the third case, someone is being imprisoned by others and desperately need Social Services intervention.

Of course, thanks to the way the SBE designed their registration form, a large amount of the 430,000 voters could also be people who were just too too lazy to provide that information. They do this simply by checking a block.

Then, in order to vote, they would provide an official looking piece of paper with their name and address on it.

That piece of paper, commonly called a HAVA ID, is allowed under the federal Help America Vote Act. You can either read more about those fake forms of identity by clicking on the graphic below.

Bottom Line

As we learned in 2020, loopholes are never a problem until they become one.

In 2020’s case, enough voters exploited weak absentee voting rules in many states that they could stuff the ballot box or drop box with thousands of unverified voters.

Meanwhile in 2023, North Carolina only endured a few hundred people voted this past November with the dangerous “Reasonable Impediment” loophole, but nothing in the law would prevent 430,000 that way this coming November.

There are a few easy ways for the Legislature to minimize this risk, but will they do it in time?