The NCLBC shall exercise unified political power for the betterment of people of color and consequently, all North Carolinians.

State elections board to challenge federal voter records subpoenas

September 7th, 2018

— The state elections board voted Friday to challenge federal subpoenas for millions of North Carolina voter records.

According to elections board Chairman Andy Penry, the process by which U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon issued the subpoenas to 44 counties and the state board was haphazard, violating both protocol and legal requirements for process service. He said some counties had yet to receive theirs at all.

Penry also said the board’s general counsel never received a call or any other advance notice of the request, which arrived via fax at 5 p.m. on the Friday before the Labor Day weekend.

“It simply came out of the blue,” he said. “They were requesting the production of in excess of 15 million documents within 20 days.”

Summing up the events to date, Penry told board members that some subpoenaed counties had contacted state officials with concerns that it was a “fake effort to obtain voter information.”

“The subpoena, which was apparently issued on behalf of [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement], seeks documents that would disclose very confidential information about the voters, including what their ballots actually looked like,” he said. “We have not been given a reason as to why ICE wants that information, and candidly, I can’t think of any reason for it.

“Our General Assembly has told us by statute that we are prohibited from disclosing that information to anybody, absent a court order,” he added. “That’s a good statute, and it’s there for a really good reason. So we are not going to disclose that information at this point.”

After “considerable press coverage,” Penry went on, “the U.S. attorney sent us a letter yesterday – which was our first communication with the U.S. Attorney’s Office – in which some sort of compromise was suggested.”

Federal authorities said they would give counties until January to produce the records and said they didn’t want to see how people actually voted.

However, Penry noted, the subpoenas have not yet been withdrawn.

After more than a half hour in closed session, the board voted unanimously to direct the state attorney general to move to quash the subpoena in federal court. Member Josh Malcolm, a Democrat, said the board “stands ready” to assist any federal, state or local investigation into illegal activity, “but this board will not stand idly by and consent to an agency overreach by the federal government.”

A second unanimous motion unified all 44 counties under the attorney general’s challenge.

Article source:

Back to News »