Four national and state voting-rights organizations are threatening to sue North Carolina for what they contend are Gov. Pat McCrory administration’s violations of a federal law that requires the state to help poor people register to vote. The coalition gave written notice to the State Board of Elections and the state Department of Health and Human Services on Friday, triggering a 90-day period for the state agencies to comply with the law or face a lawsuit.
The groups contend that the number of voter registration applications from public assistance agencies have dropped by more than half. They fell from an average of 38,400 between 2007 and 2012 to an average of 16,000 in the past two years, according to an analysis by the watchdog group Democracy North Carolina.
Although the recent drop coincides with McCrory’s first two years in office, the groups point out that a similar drop occurred 10 years ago when the state was under Democratic control. Voting-rights organizations at that time prompted the state to do a better job of increasing registrations from public assistance agencies.