Elections officials to hand federal investigators data on hundreds of NC voters
The State Board of Elections now says it will supply registration records for nearly 800 North Carolina voters in response to a subpoena from U.S. Attorneys, part of a secretive federal election fraud probe that cast a net across millions of voters statewide last fall.Posted — Updated
In a memo sent to county election boards Wednesday afternoon, election officials said the state Attorney General's Office directed them to provide records on 289 voters previously registered in eastern North Carolina counties, as well as 500 others in counties across the state.
It's unclear who those 789 voters are or why federal investigators are interested in them.
State elections officials declined to comment Wednesday, as did the office of U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon, where the subpoenas originated.
But in a statement, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said that, while he supports efforts to combat elections fraud, the subpoenas "were overbroad and highly burdensome to the state agencies."
The state has pushed back since last fall against the subpoenas, which originally demanded years' worth of registration and voting data on nearly 7 million North Carolina voters just six weeks before the November election.
The memo sent to county boards Wednesday provides little detail on which registered voters, specifically, are the target of the data request. The Eastern District under Higdon's jurisdiction is made up of 44 counties, and the narrowed demand in part seeks records for 289 voters previously registered there.
But the memo notes that two-thirds of those targeted voters were inactive as of 2017. And half of the counties in the Eastern District have five or fewer of the registered voters in question. In 10 counties, there are none at all.
State elections officials plan to follow up with additional instructions for each Eastern District county, a list that includes Wake.
"We'll comply completely with whatever directive we receive," Wake County Elections Director Gary Sims said Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the state has been embroiled in a separate investigation by the State Board of Elections over absentee ballot irregularities in the 9th Congressional District. That probe has put the certification of the 2018 election results in the district, where Republican Mark Harris led his Democratic opponent by 905 votes, on hold.
In his statement Wednesday afternoon, Stein indicated the production of records from the 789 voters will be enough to satisfy federal investigators.
"I look forward to this issue being resolved soon so that state and federal officials can focus on investigating the alleged election fraud in the 9th Congressional District," the statement read.
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