Beware of bogus voter registration calls

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 25, 2004

The North Carolina State Board of Elections (BOE) has received reports that unauthorized calls are being made to citizens informing them that they are not registered voters and suggesting that the individual would not be eligible to vote in the November 2nd General Election unless personal information is provided to the caller.

The State and county boards of elections have the sole responsibility to determine the eligibility of voters.

Under no circumstances has the State Board of Elections or county boards of elections contracted with any outside organization or group to make these calls.

In addition, no group has been authorized to act on behalf of the State or county boards of elections to confirm or verify with citizens their voter registration status.

Voters who desire to verify their registration status may do so in one of the following ways:

* Use the NC State Board of Elections statewide voter registration database found at the following website

* Contact the county board of elections in the county where the voter is registered

* Call the NC State Board of Elections at 1-866-522-4723 (toll free)

The deadline for registering to vote for the November 2nd General Election is Friday, October 8, 2004.

All registration forms should be received by the board of elections or postmarked by this date.

The qualifications for registering to vote in NC are as follows:

* US citizen, by birth or naturalization

* 18 years of age by the date of the election

* 30 days residency in the county and precinct in which you intend to vote

* If a convicted felon, citizenship rights have been restored

Voter registration forms are available online at, at all county boards of elections, public libraries, public assistance agencies, drivers’ license offices, and the Employment Security Commission.

Voters who register for the first time by mail or at a voter registration drive are required to submit additional ID unless the voter possesses a valid NC driver’s license and indicate that number on their registration form.

Acceptable forms of ID include:

* A current and valid photo identification, OR

* A copy of one of the following documents that shows the name and address of the voter:

a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document.

Although no reports are known to have been filed in Bertie or Hertford County, Northampton BOE Director Tonya Pitts stated, &uot;We are receiving reports and information about independent agencies contacting voters by mail as well as by phone, which is to be expected during an election year, but there are some things people need to remember.

&uot;First, although the State BOE requires personal identifying information on voter registration forms, that information is not considered public record.&uot;

Pitts stated that the best way to avoid identity theft is to contact your local BOE Office directly for registration material or any other voting-related questions.

&uot;If anyone receives anything they are not sure of, they should call their local elections office and have them verify the authenticity of it,&uot; she stated. &uot;The most important thing to remember if you encounter these third party groups is not to disclose your personal identifying information, which would include your date of birth, social security number or even your drivers license number.&uot; Marshall Tutor Elections Investigator for the North Carolina BOE also responded stating, &uot;This office has spent quite some time investigating the calls some of your voters were receiving. We felt that it was imperative that we rule out any ulterior motives by the callers and identify the source.&uot;

Marshall stated that most of the recent calls had come from surveys conducted by the national NAACP organization in an attempt to identify citizens who are eligible to vote, but are not registered.

&uot;This is a huge nation-wide operation, hence people in North Carolina are receiving calls from outside the state,&uot; he said. &uot;The problem was that the callers were contacting registered voters and informing them that they were not registered and in some instances the callers were identifying themselves as representatives from the State BOE. Most alarming, some callers were asking for personal information including the voters SSN.&uot;

Marshall relayed that the person in Washington overseeing the operation was already in the process of implementing changes in the program. &uot;They are currently using census information and comparing it to a registered voter list, but as with all programs there are glitches, so some registered voters are getting these calls.&uot;

Marshall stated that the callers have since been instructed not to ask for personal information, which they had been using to further identify the registered voters.

&uot;To keep you informed,&uot; he continued, &uot;some people associated with the Republican Party have also been calling and informing voters that there is something wrong with their registration forms or voter registration. In many instances, voters have been misinformed about whom the caller represents. Some of these callers also reportedly told the voter that they were calling from the BOE.&uot;

For the record, Marshall stated, &uot;No BOE, local or state, would ever call asking for personal information over the phone. NEVER give that information to anyone over the phone. As we approach November, citizens will be inundated with political phone calls, including calls that may have a less than truthful message, so be prepared for it.&uot;