t’s not every day that a Wake County Elections Board hearing is the setting for a temper tantrum. That’s what happened today when the Voter Integrity Project’s Jay DeLancy snatched his microphone off the board’s table mid-meeting, kicking glass doors open in front of him as he stormed out of the meeting room in the Public Safety Center. He slowed down once he realized news cameras were chasing him. Earlier this year, DeLancy brought the Wake Elections Board some 550 challenges to voters he says are not legally entitled to vote in the US – proven, he says, by DMV and jury duty records that say they’re not citizens. Elections board investigators and voting-rights advocates who looked into the allegations say DeLancy used old DMV records and mismatched names, and failed to understand how the county collects data. Only 18 challenges rose to the level of further investigation. All 18 were dismissed today.
One voter was removed according to state law. Several others requested their own removal. About half supplied evidence of their eligibility to vote. Most of the rest were registered but had never voted. DeLancy said he’s frustrated. He believes he had sufficient evidence to prove the registered voters are not US citizens, even if the Elections Board disagrees. He singled out one record – a man with a Hispanic name who voted in 2008, but who told the county he was ineligible for jury duty and did not reply to two letters from the elections board. Had the letters been returned undeliverable to the Elections Board, staff said, that would have been cause to declare the voter ineligible. But the letters weren’t returned – they just weren’t responded to.
According to election laws, those facts aren’t enough to take away someone’s voter registration. Because voting is a constitutional right, the law sides with the voter unless there’s material evidence to prove he or she is ineligible. DeLancy felt he provided that evidence, but the elections board didn’t want to hear it.