In 2010 a Lenoir County, NC poll worker committed fraud by voting for one of her family members. Five years later, after the case was handed to District Attorney Branny Vickory, there is no news of her being prosecuted. Branny Vickory, in a 2013 Kinston Free Press article, stated the case remains open. Since then, a new District Attorney has replaced Vickory and still no news. By now it should be completely obvious that the integrity of our voting system is not supported by the personal integrity of its voters.
In April, 2014 an audit by the NC Board of Elections in Raleigh suggested voter fraud in the 2012 Presidential election when it uncovered 765 registered North Carolina voters had cast ballots with duplicate registration in other states. Prosecuting offenders is not easy as this Civitas article explains. In 2013 North Carolina’s Civitas Institute uncovered a plan by the Obama campaign to register at least 11,000 people via the internet. That’s illegal.
On June 25, 2013 the Supreme Court of the Untied States ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was unconstitutional effectively eliminating federal oversight over portions 16 states where the US Department of Justice has jurisdiction over changes to their voting laws or practices do not “deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group”, before those changes may be enforced. Shortly before Shelby, a similar challenge, Nix v. Holder for reversal of Section 5, was determined to be moot by SCOTUS after AG Eric Holder granted preclearance to Kinston for nonpartison municipal elections. His intent was to shelter and protect the Section 5 provision, since once reversed, could never be revived.
Together, these SCOTUS cases opened the door for North Carolina to legislate what is known as the Voter ID bill, H.B. 589 a month after the Supreme Court case. Kinston/Lenoir County played a significant role in North Carolina’s Voter ID legislation. Otherwise, like South Carolina, NC would have been subject to the scrutiny of the USDOJ. In South Carolina’s case it took more than $3.5 million in tax dollars defending their legislated Voter ID bill. Unfortunately, immediately following the ratification of NC’s H.B. 589 there was backlash from minority groups claiming a revival of “Jim Crow”. The NAACP filed suit which brings to the present.
This week a trial began in a federal court in Winston-Salem . According to the Winston-Salem Journal, the North Carolina NAACP, the League of Women Voters, the U.S. Department of Justice and others are suing North Carolina and Gov. Pat McCrory over the 2013 Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA). Thus far, witnesses have testified and in reading some of the testimony they claim to be disenfranchised or inconvenienced based on their race or economic status. Complaints include 1) they could not vote out of precinct, 2) they recently moved in state and could not register 3) no same day registration and so on.
The NC Legislature recently passed legislation that softens voter requirements. Whether these provisions will be looked upon favorably by the presiding federal Judge remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it’s high time for the integrity of our ballot process to become expected and for those willing to test that process to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law..