by Dr. Andy Jackson
Director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity, John Locke Foundation
(Photo of Mark Meadows by Gage Skidmore)
The Asheville Citizen Times reported today that former congressman and Trump administration chief of staff Mark Meadows can no longer vote in North Carolina:
Macon County Board of Elections Director Melanie Thibault confirmed April 12 that she had removed Meadows the prior day from the county’s active voter list.
Thibault said she consulted N.C. Board of Elections staff in Raleigh after finding records that Meadows was registered both in Virginia and North Carolina.
“What I found was that he was also registered in the state of Virginia. And he voted in a 2021 election. The last election he voted in Macon County was in 2020,” she said.
Meadows will have to reestablish residency in North Carolina before he would be allowed to vote here again.
Meadow’s loss of voting rights in North Carolina is not directly related to allegations that he committed voter registration and voter fraud in 2020 by registering to vote at a place he never maintained as a residence and then voting absentee by mail with that registration. Meadows’ likely defense is that he was allowed under North Carolina law to maintain his residency here while serving in Washington (GS 163-57(8)):
If a person removes to the District of Columbia or other federal territory to engage in the government service, that person shall not be considered to have lost residence in this State during the period of such service unless that person votes in the place to which the person removed, and the place at which that person resided at the time of that person’s removal shall be considered and held to be the place of residence.
Meadows’ last permanent residence in North Carolina before serving in the White House was not in Macon County, however. It was in Transylvania County. That may weaken his defense.
It is not illegal to be registered to vote in two states. However, Meadows should have been removed from Macon County’s voter rolls months ago. The fact that he was not removed until after his alleged voter registration fraud made headlines highlights the need for North Carolina to join an interstate compact to crosscheck voter registration data with other states:
The Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) is a nonprofit corporation registered in Delaware with a stated goal to “improve the accuracy of America’s voter rolls and increase access to voter registration for all eligible citizens.”
It accomplishes those goals through systematic sharing of data between member states and from national sources such as the US Social Security Administration’s death index and data from the US Postal Service to member states. The data shared includes names, addresses, dates of birth, and the last four digits of social security numbers. All personal data are encrypted to help prevent the kinds of security breaches that had plagued the Crosscheck program. According to ERIC, they helped member states identify 1,524,301 interstate duplicates (“cross-state movers”), 1,249,344 in-state updates, 136,091 in-state duplicates, and registrations for 72,986 deceased voters.
If North Carolina were a member of ERIC, Meadows would likely have been removed from our voter rolls months ago. The North Carolina State Board of Elections is already authorized by law to join interstate data-sharing compacts, but the General Assembly has not provided funding for the board to join ERIC. It should do so at the earliest opportunity.