(RALEIGH) – The Voter Integrity Project is demanding the Wake County Board of Elections clear its voter rolls of 386 deceased citizens. The group says it matched the voter rolls against the same official death records the state Department of Health and Human Services provides to the State Board of Elections each month.
“North Carolina election law mandates a monthly process for election officials to remove the dead people from the rolls,” says project spokesman Jay DeLancy. “One of the big loopholes in our fraud-friendly election laws is that nobody is held accountable if it doesn’t get done,” he says.
Voter Integrity Project research director John Pizzo says he found similar problems in 2010 in Congressional District 13, which includes Wake County. Pizzo says the election officials were notified and given the names of the deceased found on the rolls then. His team was surprised to find 74 of the names of the deseased given the officials were still on the rolls two years later.
“There may be some other explanation,” says Pizzo, “and I would be interested in hearing it, but I’m beginning to think somebody in that office dropped the ball.”
Volunteers working with the Voter Integrity Project filed similar challenges in two other counties. They notified the Alamance County Board of Elections about 123 names of dead people still on the rolls. Volunteers came up with 77 deceased citizens on the rolls in Halifax County. Similar challenges could be filed in other counties in the coming weeks.
A ruling by a federal judge struck a blow to North Carolina’s system of taxpayer-funded political campaigns.
A federal judge struck down part of North Carolina’s public campaign financing system, following in the footsteps of other cases that link political money to free speech.
U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan issued her ruling Friday after the N.C. Right to Life Committee challenged a state law that gives judicial candidates “rescue funds” when outside political groups spend a certain amount against them.
“The North Carolina matching funds statutes (impose) a substantial burden on the speech of privately financed candidates and independent expenditure groups,” the ruling states.
North Carolina has a similar financing program for Council of State candidates (but the funds for that program are drying up).
Under NC’s program of taxpayer-funded campaigns, “rescue funds” are triggered when a candidate relying solely on voluntary contributions – who is running against a candidate taking taxpayer dollars – raises more money than the taxpayer funded candidate has received from the public campaign fund. The rescue funds are intended to ensure that both candidates have an equal amount of money.
In such a situation, however, if you donate money to candidate X who is relying only on voluntary contributions, that triggers the rescue funds (taxpayer dollars) to his opponent. In short, your donation not only helps the candidate of your preference but also the candidate you oppose.
The court was right to strike down the rescue funds portion of this scheme – and this decision will go a long way toward ridding NC of the unjust practice of using taxpayer dollars to finance political campaigns.
Two years ago, the city of Kinston, North Carolina passed legislation via referendum making municipal races non-partisan. The US Justice Department does not agree with the voters in Kinston that non-partisan elections are a good idea and overturned the results.
In the city, where the population is 2/3 black, the referendum passed with nearly 2/3 of voters voting in favor. Black voters made up less than half of those voting in three out of the last four elections in Kinston and it is the implied position of the Justice Department that these voter turnout numbers invalidate the election because it is not representative of the population of the municipality. Principally, the Justice Department argues that because blacks rely on a number of straight Democratic white voters to elect preferred candidates that non-partisan elections will ensure that black candidates do not win.
The position of the US Justice Department is preposterous. In a free, fair and certified election two years ago, the voters of Kinston decided by a large margin to use the non-partisan election method for the city. The Justice Department overturned the decision, essentially, because it argues that without partisan elections, blacks will not be able to rely on white Democrats to vote for black candidates and, as a result, those black candidates will not win.
First, the assumption here is that blacks only run as Democrats and that they only vote Democratic. Another assumption is that voters select their officials on the basis party identification and race and do not take into account the other personal characteristics of the candidates such as integrity and stances on salient issues. Furthermore, the implicit assumption is that blacks do not vote proportionally to their percentage of the population because of some reason other than the individual decisions of blacks whether to vote. Perhaps the Justice Department assumes that the people of Kinston are not smart enough to select the best candidate without the aid of party labels; essentially that voters are stupid.
The US Justice Department derived its authority to invalidate the election from the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The spirit of the legislation is the ensure that no individuals are systematically disenfranchised of their right to vote. If voters were systematically disenfranchised in Kinston, where is the evidence for these violations? It appears that the Justice Department has decided that it is necessary to use the legislation to save the voters of Kinston from themselves by overturning the results of a free, fair and certified election.