(This article first appeared on www.nccivitas.org)
- State Board of Elections director recently announced intentions to introduce online voter registration
- SBE bureaucrats, however, do not have authority to make such significant changes to NC election laws
- Legislators need to push back against the George Soros backed elections agenda
State election officials are once again pushing for online voter registration, are Republicans helping them?
During a Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee meeting on December 15, 2017, Kim Strach, executive director of the State Board of Elections (SBE) informed committee members that SBE administrative staff was in the process of working with the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (NC DMV) to develop and implement online voter registration for the state of North Carolina.
A distinction must be made between the administrative staff of the State Board of Elections and the board because, at this time, there is no “Board of Elections.” Governor Roy Cooper has refused to appoint board members because of changes made to the board’s makeup in legislation passed in 2017. Session Law 2017-6 would have merged the State Board of Elections and the N.C. State Ethics Commission into one agency, overseen by an eight-member Bipartisan State Board of Elections & Ethics and Enforcement agency. Cooper opposes an eight-member board made up of four Democrats and four Republicans and won his case in the Supreme Court in January. The case has been remanded to the Court of Appeals.
Strach’s announcement about her intentions to introduce online voter registration in North Carolina didn’t seem to surprise committee members. No one asked a question as to the appropriateness of the administrative staff deciding and moving ahead with a change that would require the legislature to make changes to existing election statutes.
The next question should have been obvious; where does the SBE’s administrative staff – all state employees – get the power to develop and implement changes that would introduce new policies and procedures that fundamentally change the ways in which North Carolinians can register to vote and that is contrary to existing election law? All without an appointed board to provide oversight and supervision. While this is an interesting question, we’ve seen this SBE staff attempt to implement online voter registration before without board or legislative approval.
Shortly before the presidential election in 2012, apparently without the knowledge of the SBE members, SBE staff at the time under the supervision of former director, Gary Bartlett, appeared to successfully subvert state law to facilitate online voter registration. Civitas determined that they lied when they claimed the NC Attorney General’s Office conferring with SBE staff on the issue, and avoided oversight by their own board and the legislature. The result was to illegally add thousands of people to the North Carolina voter rolls.
In February 2013, Civitas Institute documented this, in an article titled Elections Bureaucrats Ran Amok:
“how SBE bureaucrats conspired with a private company, working for the Obama campaign[i], to facilitate a form of online voter registration for the 2012 General Election – in violation of state law. It’s a classic example of how bureaucrats ignore the democratic process and hijack an agency for partisan purposes.”
Then in 2016 just before the presidential election, SBE staff appeared to violate state law once again when they sent instructions to all 100 counties to disregard the law that requires signatures on certain voter registration forms. SBE staff, without the knowledge of board members, instructed the county Boards of Election directors to move DMV registration forms from the “incomplete queue” to the “review queue.” Then staff made it clear that the local boards would “not need to wait for a signature because the voter is registered (active or inactive).”
State law requires the signature of the voter when the individual changes information regarding their voter registration. For some reason, just before early voting commenced, a state employee decided to subvert law and policy. The action was unprecedented and alarmed county board of elections’ directors around the state.
In the December 2017 SBE meeting, just minutes before her comments regarding online voter registration, Kim Strach, informed the Committee that the SBE “had been dealing with a lot of investigations with voter registration fraud.” Strach said that they had received voter registration forms (mostly changes to existing voter’s information) that included the voter’s correct date of birth, driver license number, etc., but the signatures did not match the one’s in the Board of Elections’ files. Strach’s suggestion that North Carolina utilize another form of voter registration, even more vulnerable and open to fraud and hacking, further threatens the integrity of the voting process.
So back to that question: Where exactly does the SBE’s administrative staff, all state employees, get the authority to develop and implement new policies and procedures that would change the way North Carolinians register to vote?
There can only be one answer: the State Legislature is the only entity that could allow and assist the SBE to implement online voter registration. For seven years, the Republican-led legislature has failed in its attempts to introduce security measures into North Carolina election processes. Proposals to require voter ID, eliminate same day registration, shorten early voting periods and eliminate out-of-precinct voting all met slow, expensive deaths in the courts. These failures lead us to another question, one that we can’t answer: Why would the Republicans now agree to one of the Left’s favorite pet projects?
Evidently, no one on the committee knew that George Soros, the billionaire financier of the American left, considers online voter registration, along with automatic voter registration, to be a “game changer” for progressives in the elections leading up to and including the presidential election of 2020. Soros is a founding member of the Democracy Alliance, the secretive donor coordination organization that has been credited with directing more than $500 million to political non-profit groups and campaign committees in order to elect Democrats and push radical progressive policy.
According to the Democracy Alliance:
Automatic voter registration (AVR), in particular, is one of the largest “game-changer” reforms, ensuring:
- That millions of voters are added to the rolls automatically when they interact with government agencies;
- That once citizens are signed up, they remain registered when they move within a state;
- That citizens can register to vote online; and
- That people can update their registration information at the polls.
It is no mere coincidence that Democrats have introduced at least three bills that would implement automatic/universal voter registration. Senate Bills 704 and 646 and House Bill 881 are waiting for the Republicans to pass legislation that would allow for electronic signatures and make way for online voter registration.
Here’s another question worth asking; Why would Republicans — most of whom campaigned on securing our elections – agree to help the SBE administrative staff implement legislation that would make our elections system even more vulnerable and at the same time make it more difficult to determine who is registering to vote? The implementation of online voter registration will only further erode the integrity of our system of elections.
Online registration would make our elections far less reliable. The SBE needs to clean up their existing problems, they certainly don’t need to introduce new forms of registration that promise to be problematic. Moreover, requiring voters to provide “real” signatures when registering to vote of making changes to their registration is a sensible safeguard to reduce opportunities for fraud.
Legislators need to first and foremost protect the integrity of our elections – not implement George Soros’ agenda.