Local News

Attorney General Investigating Voter-Registration Web Site

Posted March 24, 2008 7:04 p.m. EDT
Updated March 25, 2008 2:30 p.m. EDT

— A company that claims to take a hassle out of registering to vote is under scrutiny from state officials.

“They (IWantToVote.com) were asking for things like Social Security numbers, which we don't require,” said Gary Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections.

IWantToVote.com offers to help folks register to vote if they provide personal information and pay a fee for postage, technology and material. A credit or debit card number is required for the consumer to receive a completed application that he or she then has to submit.

The state Board of Elections became suspicious of the Web site's motives, along with the potential for identity theft, and asked the state Attorney General's Office to investigate.

“In fact, voter registration is a free process for the voter and they were trying to charge a $10 processing fee,” Bartlett said.

The Web site has ties to Oklahoma, where the Better Business Bureau has received a complaint. A consumer who registered with the Web site said he was charged $16 initially and $10 every month since October.

“I think it hurts. It just makes people more suspicious,” said Bob Hall, executive director of watchdog group Democracy North Carolina.

Hall said he worries that inquiries into voter registration groups, like IWantToVote.com, could hurt agencies like his own. Democracy North Carolina also directs people to registration applications.

“You can just go to the library – any library has them. High schools have them,” he said.

IWantToVote.com considers itself a convenience service and therefore requires a fee. The company's contact information does not include a phone number, and WRAL's e-mails to the Web site were not answered Monday.

IWantToVote.com will allow you to download an application on your own if you choose not to use the service.

The State Board of Elections was alerted to the Web site after a citizen complaint and calls from staffers at the General Assembly.

Registering to vote is free and convenient through a number of state agencies, including any Division of Motor Vehicles driver's license office if people are there on DMV business.

You can also pick up a form at any public library or high school, or you can contact the Board of Elections to get a registration form mailed to you.