The State Board of Elections will not be able to verify before the early-voting period begins today whether all of the nearly 10,000 names that it has flagged as belonging to possible ineligible voters are in fact ineligible, according to interviews with elections and transportation officials. Elections officials estimate that most are likely eligible to vote, but the uncertainty has led some state lawmakers to question why the verification process is happening now. The Winston-Salem Journal reported Wednesday that, according to the SBOE, a specific search of those 10,000 names on the state’s voter rolls turned up 145 that belong to immigrants in the U.S. under the federal program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which provides qualified applicants with a two-year reprieve from deportation. The number has been pared down to 119 after more research, said Josh Lawson, a spokesman for the SBOE. “Zero” DACA license holders have cast a ballot, he said. Mike Charbonneau, the deputy secretary of communications at the N.C. Department of Transportation, provided information on where some of the DACA license holders registered to vote.
Of the DACA license holders on the voter rolls, Charbonneau said, 11 registered to vote at DMV offices. Of those, three registered to vote while obtaining a DACA license. The eight others had registered to vote at a DMV before obtaining a DACA license. On the three who registered with a DACA license, Charbonneau said, it is still unclear how it happened. When a DMV license examiner plugs into his or her computer screen that someone is obtaining a DACA license, there “should not be a prompt for registering to vote,” he said.
Any person can register in a number of ways, by filling out a form at a board of elections office, for example. The DMV focused on possible registrations at DMV offices, Charbonneau said. More research is under way to pinpoint those DMV locations, Charbonneau said.