Millions of N Carolina voting records sought, hundreds given
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina officials said Wednesday they will turn over nearly 800 voter files sought last year by a federal investigation believed to involve voter fraud that sought millions of records.
The state elections board said it is responding to grand jury subpoenas by providing records for 289 people who previously registered to vote in eastern North Carolina and another 500 people outside the region.
The state board had called the subpoenas served on it and 44 county elections boards in August by Raleigh-based federal prosecutors overly broad and unreasonable. Those requests for ballots, poll books, registration applications and other documents totaled more than 20 million records, the state elections board estimated last year.
“I support law enforcement’s efforts to combat election fraud, but the recent federal subpoenas affecting millions of North Carolinians’ voting records were overbroad and highly burdensome to the state agencies,” state Attorney General Josh Stein said in a statement. “I will continue to fight for the integrity of our elections. I will also fight to protect the privacy of law abiding North Carolinians from overreaches by the federal government.
Voting rights activists and Democratic members of Congress criticized the election board subpoenas last year President Donald Trump’s administration interfering in elections and potentially intimidating lawful voters from casting ballots in November’s midterm elections.
Federal prosecutors in August also demanded eight years of voter registration applications from the state Division of Motor Vehicles from foreign-born applicants and from non-U.S. citizens “completed in a language other than English,” according to a copy of that subpoena.
Federal prosecutors had no comment Wednesday in response to the decisions of state officials, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Bobby Higdon said. Higdon hasn’t explained publicly why he sought the documents.
Days before issuing the elections board and DMV subpoenas, Higdon announced charges against 19 non-U.S. citizens for registering to vote or casting ballots illegally.