Wake Elections Board Dismisses Most Voter Challenges

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Seventeen of 18 challenges to the status of Wake County voters were dismissed in a Board of Elections hearing Tuesday, prompting the challenger to walk out halfway through the meeting.

Jay DeLancy, executive director of the Voter Integrity Project, left after Wake County Board of Elections members dismissed challenge No. 7 of 15. During discussion of the challenge, board members indicated the dismissal was based on statutes that require them to assume the voter is legal unless the challenger proves otherwise.

DeLancy said nothing, instead packing up his items and letting the door slam on his way out.

Later, DeLancy said he was trying to send a message. To him, it was clear the board had pre-determined their actions.

“I could not believe it with they denied that one … They were going to keep these people on the rolls any way they could even if they had voted after stating they were non-citizens. At that point, staying there was a waste of time.”

How We Got Here
DeLancy originally filed about 550 challenges to Wake County voters, based on information they provided to the court system stating they are not U.S. citizens and yet were also registered to vote. Only legal U.S. citizens are allowed to vote.

At a June 26 preliminary hearing for those 550 challenges, Wake County Clerk of Court Lorrin Freeman testified that those people had signed documents affirming their lack of citizenship and therefore could not qualify for jury duty.

Members rejected most of the challenges based on testimony from Veronica Degraffenreid of the State Board of Elections, who ascertained from DMV records that most held driver’s licenses. People must provide proof of residency, name, age and Social Security number to obtain a license.

Degraffenreid also took DeLancy’s list and found some names not on her list. She ran the same checks and came up with a final count of 21 people “who have not responded to inquiry and have legal presence license or no information at DMV at all.”

Of those, three were not among DeLancy’s challenges and therefore could not be part of Tuesday’s hearing.

The Full Hearing
Wake Elections Director Cherie Poucher sent letters to the 18 remaining challenged voters in an effort to determine whether they are citizens. The letter asked for proof of citizenship or asked the resident to return form requesting removal from the voter rolls.

Learn More about Voter Removal

Of the 18, seven returned proof of naturalization. None had voted prior to becoming citizens and all had become citizens after the jury summons.

Three returned the form stating they were not citizens and requesting to be removed from the rolls. Five are listed as “inactive,” which means if they do not contact the Board of Elections or vote in the next two federal elections, they will be removed from voter rolls as part of regular list maintenance.

Poucher said the final three mailings had been returned as “undeliverable” by the post office. Two of those have each voted once.

Unlike the preliminary hearing, neither DeLancy nor the board called any witnesses to testify. DeLancy said he thought evidence presented in the preliminary hearing would be considered.

“I felt one government agency testifying they were not citizens was enough,” he told board members.

He later told the Record that because both the DMV and Clerk of Court indicated these were not citizens, it seemed he had provided enough proof.

“It’s frustrating,” he said.” I’ve decided I’d do whatever they want to do. There’s nothing I can do about their process because I’m not a lawyer and I can’t afford a lawyer and it takes a lawyer now to do the basic duty of watching the voter roll.”

Poucher later said it’s not uncommon to have non-citizen residents come in with a voter registration card, confused about the process.

“Many people that are not citizens – I shouldn’t say many – do not understand the difference between a green card or a visa and voting,” Poucher said. “That’s going to have to be an educational process for I think everyone to explain that citizenship is different than holding a work card or having a visa.”

What’s Next
Board of Elections Chair Aida Doss Havel suggested members consider turning over evidence on some of the voters to the district attorney for possible prosecution. Member Josh Howard, who was not present, expressed his preference for doing so in a letter to board members.

Members decided to discuss that idea in another meeting when Howard could be present.

DeLancy, who missed that part of the discussion, told the Record possible prosecution is “some consolation.”

Although his mission is to make sure the voter rolls are clean, DeLancy said he is not sure where he will go from here. Meanwhile, he plans to attend a hearing next week on his previously filed challenges to 386 deceased voters in Wake County.

The preliminary hearing will take place during the board’s regular meeting Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 9 a.m. The meeting will take place at the Wake County Commission chambers in room 700 of the courthouse.

“I don’t plan to walk out of that one,” DeLancy said.

4 thoughts on “Wake Elections Board Dismisses Most Voter Challenges

  1. Jay DeLancy, executive director of the Voter Integrity Project, left after Wake County Board of Elections members dismissed challenge No. 7 of 15.

    “I could not believe it with they denied that one … They were going to keep these people on the rolls any way they could even if they had voted after stating they were non-citizens. At that point, staying there was a waste of time.”

    Actually, voter #7 did not “state they were non-citizen”, they were one of the voters who had not responded. State law does not allow for voters to be removed just because someone suspects they are not a citizen. Mr. DeLancy was told at the last hearing that he would have to offer further proof on these voters, and instead tried to divert to voter ID, registration, and DMV and passport procedure.

    Unfortunately for Mr. DeLancy, and by extension the rest of us, if he had bothered to listen with non-activist ears, he would have been impressed that the BOE had, through existing law and normal procedures, already started the removal process on five of these voters (and only one had ever voted – 8 years ago) due to inactivity. Of the remainder, three could not be determined (only one had ever voted – once) and three were removed as non-citizens (once again, only one had ever voted – once, 11 years ago) and seven proved their citizenship. This means a grand total of one “illegal” vote, and two “undetermined” votes cast over an 11 year period of time.

    If this is the extent of voter “fraud” in Wake County, we should all be impressed at how the BOE runs elections that are not only voter friendly, but secure as well.

    No system is or ever will be 100%, but I’d say this is pretty darn close.

  2. My wife was one of the 18 that were challenged. She became a naturalized citizen in 2011 and then she registered to vote. The main difference between a green card holder and citizen is right to vote and this guy is trying to take it away from people? We were given a copy of his complaint. He is stating under oath that she is not a citizen. Well we just sent a copy of the certificate of naturalization. What proof did this idiot have? If he did not have any proof m then he should tried for lying under under oath/perjury.

    I am ashamed that in the world’s first democratic country, people are trying to keep legal voters away from voting so that their candidate can win.

  3. “He is stating under oath that she is not a citizen.
    …………
    If he did not have any proof m then he should tried for lying under under oath/perjury.”

    I agree. My understanding is that “to make a proper challenge, the challenger must be a registered voter IN THE PRECINCT” and provide PROOF, not conjecture, that a voter is ineligible.

    One of the problems with trying to use one database to “prove” something in another is the high rate of data error. This is why they are considered to be a starting point for investigation, not proof. It would be a travesty for a voter to be disenfranchised because someone presses the wrong button, a spelling error, or forgot to add Jr. or Sr. to a name. Of all the “hundreds”, “thousands”, and “millions” of supposedly illegal voters these “non-partisan” groups say they have found, they have results much like those here in WC – three people improperly registered, with a grand total of one improper vote, ONE! And that was 11 YEARS AGO!

    Thankfully,both state and county BOEs take their jobs, and the law, seriously, and stuck with the procedures already in place that have resulted in elections that are both user friendly and secure.

    Nobody should feel intimidated when doing what so many of us take for granted, and I hope your wife doesn’t feel she is unwelcome at the polling place. I, for one, feel she is more of a “real” American than the 40% -to 50% of us that can’t be bothered to exercise their most fundamental right – the right to vote.

  4. Why does the fact that a potential voter in NC has a NC drivers license prove that potential voter has a right be get on or stay on the NC eligible voter rolls?

    According to the NC DOV web site, an NC resident but, non US citizen can get a NC drivers license if he or she ” provides documentation issued by the U.S. government indicating legal presence:”

    NC DOV Proof of Residency Acceptable Documents
    Listed below are acceptable documents you can use for a non U.S. Citizen:

    I-551 Permanent Resident Card
    Machine Readable Immigrant visa
    I-766 Employment Authorization Card
    Temporary I-551 stamp on I-94 or Passport
    I-327 Re-entry Permit with supporting immigration documentation
    I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
    I-20 accompanied by I-94

    Nothing on the NC drivers license indicates US citizenship or lack of it.