by Dr. Andy Jackson
Director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity, John Locke Foundation
As part of our review of the 2020 election, we found a problem with same-day voter registrations being denied but the ballots associated with those registrations still being counted (page 106):
People seeking same-day registration must present election officials with documentation showing their names and addresses. This documentation is usually a driver’s license but can also be some other form of government-issued photo ID or a copy of a recent utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck stub, or other government document showing the voter’s name and address. Voters with a North Carolina college ID can register if they also have documentation indicating that they live on campus.
Recognizing that some of those documents could be outdated, forged, or inaccurate, county election boards must also verify the registrant’s address by sending a verification mailer (the voter registration card) to the address on the registration. What happens if the county board cannot verify the address? Surprisingly little, as can be seen from instructions to same-day registrants from the SBE:
In the event the county board of elections cannot verify your address, your voter registration application will be denied and your absentee vote may be subject to challenge. If challenged, you will receive an appropriate notice. The notice will give you instructions on how to appeal the challenge and you will be asked to present additional documentation that verifies your name and address. (Emphasis added.)
That sets up a concerning situation in which a ballot from someone who is not legally registered to vote in North Carolina will be counted unless someone challenges that ballot. The John Locke Foundation made a public records request to the SBE on May 27, 2022, asking for the number of same-day registrations in the 2020 general election in which registrants’ addresses were not confirmed. As of the date of publication in October 2022, the SBE has not provided that information.
Six months later, we still have not received that data from the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
There appears to be a related problem going on in Watauga County. Here the allegation is that ballots associated with same-day registrations cannot even be challenged:
[Nathan] Miller states that the Watauga Board of Elections “has essentially created a category of voter that is unchallengeable, i.e. a voter who registers and votes during the early voting period.”
Therefore, “this new category of voter treats other voters differently, is contra1y [sic] to North Carolina law and calls into question the overall integrity of the election,” Miller states in his complaint.
Watauga County Superior Court has set a preliminary injunction hearing for November 28.