A fight over vote-counting that stretched beyond Election Day offers a likely preview of how Republicans may attempt to re-do North Carolina’s ballot-access laws in 2017. Earlier this month, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory conceded his narrow loss to Democrat Roy Cooper several weeks after the Nov. 8 general election. His concession followed a protracted debate over how ballots were cast, though the tug-of-war has implications beyond the election cycle. North Carolina voting-rights activists say little or no evidence of fraud has been found despite weeks spent reviewing formal complaints. But on Wednesday, the conservative-leaning Civitas Institute said it has formally requested information from six county elections boards and the state that could serve as evidence for changing voting laws at the General Assembly or as the basis for legal action.
The move follows the group’s post-election lawsuit, later withdrawn, that argued that the same-day voter registration process is flawed. “We need to change the way we verify voters in this state,” Civitas President Francis De Luca said in a phone interview.
Separately, in the weeks after the election, Republicans lodged protests in half the state’s 100 counties that ballots by felons, dead people or people who voted in another state should be thrown out. But despite nearly three weeks of looking for evidence, Republican-led state and county elections boards dismissed virtually every complaint.