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North Carolina still has a few glaring weaknesses in our election laws that likely will be exploited in 2024 if left unchecked



 

North Carolina still has a few glaring weaknesses in our election laws that likely will be exploited in 2024 if left unchecked.  Making citizenship a constitutional requirement for voting rights is vitally important.  We applaud the introduction of S630 last year, and its passage this short session would allow the ballot initiative this fall to make citizenship an unquestioned requirement in future election cycles.  Please be sure and move that bill through both chambers.


Second, House Bill 770 (Cast Vote Records) made its way through the House but stalled in the Senate before the end of the long session.  Please complete passage of this bill so we can have access to all the artifacts needed for thorough post-election tabulation audits in 2024 and beyond.  

For this short session there are a few other high risk loopholes you can close that will prevent exploitation of our upcoming election and prevent unnecessary costs for conducting our elections.  They are:


     A.  Same Day Registration (SDR) cannot be adequately regulated and results in disparate treatment of voters.  SDR has not been successfully and fully codified into our statutes and has resulted in federal lawsuits, for and against the practice, dating back to 2013.  SDR address verifications cannot be completed as they are for other voters, leading to some illegitimate votes being cast.  NCEIT strongly recommends SDR be once and forever repealed as a practice in North Carolina as it is in every other Southern State.


     B.  Early voting is much too long in duration and too costly.  The vast majority of the American voting public believes 7-10 days is sufficient for early voting.  Given the many other options available for citizen voting and the significant cost for each day of early voting, it seems appropriate to set the statutory limit of 10 days (including at least one weekend day) for that purpose.  We believe you will get strong agreement from across the county boards of election and county commissioners (who suffer the costs and must budget for early voting) that 10 days is sufficient.


     C.  The proliferation of student identification cards (and imminent approval of electronic student identification cards) is out of control.  Many of these ID's can easily be counterfeited, and most can be issued to foreign students who lack citizenship and have no authority to vote in our elections.  The NCGA should enact legislation to establish much more rigorous regulatory control over the NCSBE in approving ID's used by students.  


     D.  Our voter registration list is still bloated with duplicates, non-citizens, and registrants who have permanently moved.  Conservative estimates are that 14% of our voter list is inaccurate in some way- nearly one million registrants in error.  A number of deficiencies compound this problem or complicate the voter list clean-up.  DMV look-up and voter registration procedures are poorly controlled.  Our state is one of a very few that neglects to interface with the national Electronic Verification of Vital Events (EVVE) database that would help verify citizen births for registration purposes.  Our voter registration forms do not compel the capture of HAVA-required identifying information important for voter list maintenance (either SSN-4 or Driver's License number). The NCSBE has ordered counties to reject citizen inputs on voter list errors, preventing corrective action at county level where it is most appropriate.  These and other deficiencies corrupt our voter rolls making them vulnerable to exploitation and ballot harvesting.


    E.  Our post-election tabulation audits are inadequate for certifying the election and building public confidence in election outcomes.  More than half of our voters do not trust election outcomes.  Poor post-election auditing practice fails to rule out all forms of election fraud, which in turn disenfranchises voters and depresses voter turnout in future elections.  We simply must move beyond the current practice of a "risk limiting audit" process conducted within the state and local boards of elections,  to the implementation of a statistically significant post-election audit of results, using all available election artifacts, conducted by an independent third party (such as the State Auditor).


     F.  Our voter registration form has only recently been updated to require submission of the SSN-4 or driver's license number.  Over 400,000 of the registrants on our voter list are missing that HAVA-required information.  The NCSBE has failed to order local boards to make contact with these voters to collect the required information or to capture that information when registrants present to vote.  As a result, 5.5% of our voter list cannot be adequately cross-checked or properly maintained.  NCSBE should be directed to gather that federally required information to tighten up our voter lists prior to the November election to reduce the risk of voter fraud.


     G.  The biggest vulnerability in ballot fraud across our state is through mail-in voting.  Under current rules, mail-in voting is the one voting method that has the greatest opportunity for fraud, yet is the single most vulnerable because the processing of those ballots lacks transparency and visibility to observers.  The NCGA should enact legislation requiring that local boards of election permit real-time inspection of absentee ballot envelopes as they are being reviewed by local boards prior to those ballots being removed from their envelopes and tabulated at weekly meeting meetings during the election cycle.  This change would then permit the same level of observer scrutiny (and challenge opportunity) that is afforded to in-person voting during early voting and on election day. 


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NCEIT Legislative Priorities 2024 Session

*Priorities This Session: *House BIll 770 (CVR Access) [Senate Rules: Note- was bipartisan in Hse 73-29 w/ 12 Dems] *Senate Bill 630 (Constitutional Amendment Requiring Citizenship to Vote) (Senate

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