VIP Blitzes Same-Day Registration Issues in Special Election

SDR . . . Flawed By Design

Aug 28, 2019 (Fayetteville) Voter Integrity Project Lead Analyst, Jerry Reinoehl, today released the first batch of letters directed at all Same-Day Registration (SDR) voters in North Carolina’s 3rd, 9th, and 12th Congressional Districts as part of a research blitz that will help determine the extent of fraud involving the practice.

“We’ve conducted more limited mailings of this type in the 2018 election,” said Reinoehl, “but this one involves a survey to all SDR voters and should help Legislators make more informed decisions.”

The first batch of survey letters to SDR voters went out today.

Voter Integrity Project’s 2018 research, also by Reinoehl, that targeted SDR and Provisional voters found more than a hundred whose addresses were bounced over nonexistent addresses or occupants who did not know the voters and returned them to the post office.

“If you’re going to steal an election,” said Reinoehl, “the best way is to do it with SDR, because those votes are all going to be counted.”

This particular project concentrates on North Carolina’s two special Congressional (CD-3 and CD-9) elections and Mecklinburg County’s municipal elections because of the limited number of SDR voters expected in these races.

“The patterns of Same-Day Registrations in the ninth district are already raising eyebrows,” said Reinoehl. “The facts point to some sort of organized machine-type activity that’s hard to fight.”

To date, election boards in the 9th District have received 110 Same-Day Registration ballots, compared to 38 in the 3rd District and 32 in the municipal elections around Charlotte (12th CD).

Iterative Research Process

VIP has conducted numerous research projects into the efficiency of the SDR process, dating back to 2012’s general elections. The group then applies the findings from each project to redesign future projects to be more effective. They borrowed their methodology from the Association for Qualitative Research’s best practices.

“We did our most labor-intensive SDR research project on the Saturday after the November election,” said Jay DeLancy, VIP Founder. “It involved knocking on the doors of SDR voters to confirm their residency in the precinct.”

The team worked several hours, either talking to the new voters or to their neighbors, to see if anybody knew them.

“By the end of the day, we had confirmed 18 were legit and two were not,” said DeLancy. “In one of the illegitimate cases, the resident did not know the SDR voter who used their address as a residence and the other used an address that did not exist.”

Under North Carolina law (§163A-1367), all SDR votes count unless they can be proven to be fraudulent, but that verification process takes several weeks and elections are decided in a matter of days. Elsewhere, (§163A-877) makes removing registrations–even the fraudulent ones–into an eight-year process, assuming nobody uses the registration to vote again.

“SDR does help some irresponsible voters to update their records at the polls,” said DeLancy, “and I’ve personally observed election officials accept illegal proof-of-address documents. That’s why we would push for reforms requiring election officials to retain a copy of any documents the SDR voters use to establish residency.”

Courtroom Evidence

In 2013, VIP applied lessons learned from a robust SDR project conducted by NC Civitas, and hastily discredited by (then) State BOE Executive Director Gary Bartlett. He criticized their mailings for being sent too long after the May 5, 2012 election to be of any good. The media used Bartlett’s spin to discredit the research and to keep the public in the dark about the design flaws inherent to SDR.

“We loved their work,” DeLancy said, “but Bartlett claimed most of the SDR voters were students who had either graduated or left town just a few days after the election.”

In response, VIP analyzed the voter verification process required under state law and made a series of public record requests to reveal 64 SDR voters whose residency could never be confirmed after Buncombe County’s November 2012 election. One County Commission race was decided by just 18 votes and the Democrat win wrested control of the commission from the Republicans.

“The impact of that project reached all the way into the trial over the omnibus election integrity law, enacted that same year,” said DeLancy. “One of the defense attorneys congratulated us and even thanked us for showing them how to discover the evidence.”


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