We may have entered the twilight zone for democracy in North Carolina. Just as the state is preparing for the November election, the federal government last week dropped a bombshell of a subpoena on 44 eastern North Carolina county boards of elections and the State Board of Elections. The order: Turn over all ballots, poll books, absentee ballot requests, registration applications and other election related documents since 2010. Do so by Sept. 25. That’s was a request for 20 million voting records to be turned over inside a month. While federal officials have pushed their deadline back to after the election, it is by any standard a massive and expensive request. This incredible demand is traced to ICE, the federal Immigration Customs and Enforcement agency. It comes after a federal grand jury’s indictment against 19 foreign nationals for possible voter fraud in our state during the 2016 election.
The Iowa Senate gave final approval Thursday to contentious legislation that will require voters to show government-issued identification at the polls and will reduce the time period for early voting. House File 516 passed on a 28-21 vote with Republicans casting all the yes votes. Democrats and one independent all voted no. The bill now heads to Gov. Terry Branstad, who is expected to sign it. The measure had previously passed the Senate, but a second vote was needed on Thursday because of several amendments approved by the House. There was only brief debate Thursday, but Sen. Tony Bisignano, D-Des Moines, strongly objected to one amended provision. The change pushes back the date for allowing 17-year-old Iowans to vote in primary elections if they will turn 18 by the date of the general election. The change will now take effect on Jan. 1, 2019, instead of being available for the 2018 election. “This change goes hand in hand with a voter suppression bill,” Bisignano said.