Feds subpoena election records

Published 10:57 am Monday, September 10, 2018

Officials with the local Board of Elections offices in the Roanoke-Chowan area, as well as 39 other counties in eastern North Carolina, are waiting for direction on how to proceed with the task of providing eight years of election records to the federal government.

On Friday of last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina subpoenaed records from the state board of elections and 44 county elections boards in the eastern part of the state. An email from the state board indicated that the subpoenas were requested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The R-C News-Herald obtained a copy of a generic subpoena sent to the state board and the 44 counties. It specifically asks for, “Any and all voter registration applications and/or other documents, as identified below, that were submitted to, filed by, received by, or maintained by the North Carolina State Board of Elections from January 1, 2010, through August 30, 2018, within any of the counties in North Carolina.”

That documentation is to include, but not limited to, Standard Voter Registration Application forms, Federal Post Card Applications, Federal Write-In-Absentee Ballots, One-Stop (Early Voting) application forms, Provisional Voting forms, N.C. Absentee Ballot Request forms, any and all “Admission or Denial of Non-Citizen Return Form” that were generated by the North Carolina State Board of Elections, or were caused to be generated by the North Carolina Board of Elections, and/or the Ethics Enforcement Office, and any and all Voter Registration Cancellation or Voter Revocation forms that have been generated by the North Carolina State Board of Elections, and/or the Ethics Enforcement Office.

For the local Board of Elections offices in the Roanoke-Chowan area, all of which have a small number of employees, the request for this large volume of documents stretched over an eight-year period is a mountainous task. Additionally, the request comes at a time where election boards across the local area and statewide are in their final preparation stages for this year’s General Election on Nov. 6. Early voting for that election begins in mid-October.

“It’s overwhelming,” said Taneshia Mangum, Director of the Northampton County Board of Elections, the lone full-time employee that office. “I’m trying to figure this out and contemplate in my mind how to gather and submit all these requested documents.

“Our county attorney has been made aware of this request. We’re all waiting on a teleconference with the State Board on Friday of this week where we will hopefully learn more about this request,” Mangum added.

Like Magnum, Shelia Privott is the only full-time employee in the Hertford County Board of Elections office where she serves as the Director.

“I do have a part-time person, but she works less than 20 hours a week,” Privott stated. “We’re waiting on the state board to give us some direction on Friday. We will do as we are instructed to do.”

Subpoenas were also sent to the board of elections offices in Bertie and Gates counties. Other counties receiving the subpoenas were Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Tyrrell, Vance, Wake, Warren, Washington, Wayne and Wilson.

The deadline for submitting the documents is Sept. 25. The subpoena did say that the materials can be shipped by dedicated courier or through the U.S. Postal Service.

The subpoena included a letter from Robert J. Higdon Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, that stated those responsible for sending the requested documents had the opportunity to complete a Business Record Affidavit pursuant to Rule 902 (11) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, as amended December 1, 2000.

“By submitting this affidavit with the requested documents, you may avoid the need to appear at trial to testify to the authenticity of these records,” Higdon wrote in the letter.

It is not known whether this request has any ties to a press release sent Aug. 24 from Higdon’s office detailing criminal charges filed against 19 foreign nationals for casting ballots by an alien during the November, 2016 General Election.

Those charges were filed after a federal grand jury in Wilmington returned indictments against those foreign nationals for allegedly filing false claims of United States citizenship in order to register to vote, and voting by an alien.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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