Advocacy groups and citizens sued North Carolina government leaders Tuesday over what they called a poor effort to fix previously disclosed problems that kept motorists and public assistance applicants from getting properly registered to vote. The state’s elections chief contends that many problems already have been addressed and registration levels are rebounding. The lawsuit in Greensboro federal court comes several months after watchdog organizations wrote elections and health officials and the Division of Motor Vehicles threatening litigation unless they rectified issues associated with carrying out the 1993 federal “motor voter” law. The concerns haven’t been addressed sufficiently, the lawsuit said, and now a court needs to intervene and ensure compliance.
“These North Carolina agencies have dragged their feet on fixing the problems we identified in our letters, and it has become clear that federal litigation is necessary to bring North Carolina into compliance” with the National Voter Registration Act, said Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, in a statement. His group is one of the plaintiffs.
But State Board of Elections Executive Director Kim Strach, who is among the named defendants in the suit, said her agency took swift action to address concerns. She also said she was impressed with efforts by the DMV and the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees public assistance programs, to comply.