Hundreds Vote Illegally in North Carolina after Court Bans Election Integrity Law
Obama Justice Department holdovers must be pleased with their work. In July 2016, they were successful in undoing North Carolina’s voter integrity laws in order to allow all manner of illegal voters the ability to cast ballots. Our Corruption Chronicles blog tells thestory.
Less than a year after a federal appellate court sided with the Obama administration to strike down North Carolina’s election integrity reforms, a state audit reveals that hundreds of votes were illegally cast by felons and non-citizens in just one election.
Voter impersonation, double voting and irregularities in absentee ballots sent via mail also tainted the election, according to the investigation conducted by the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE). The probe analyzed records from the 2016 general election.
State auditors found that about 500 ineligible people voted in 2016, more than 440 of them felons. Dozens of non-citizens from 28 different countries also cast ballots, the probe found. “A number of non-citizens said they were not aware that they were prohibited from voting,” the report states. “Interviews and evidence show that some non-citizens were misinformed about the law by individuals conducting voter registration drives or, in at least one document case, by a local precinct official.”
North Carolina authorities are also investigating 24 substantiated cases of double voting in 2016. “Some violators appear to be ‘testers’ trying to find holes in the system,” according to the report. “Others claim property ownership in multiple jurisdictions should allow them to vote in each, and others brush past the law to support their candidate by any means necessary. Additionally, a case that initially appears to be a double voter—an individual who votes twice—may actually be a case of voter impersonation—an individual who casts a ballot using the identity of another person.”
The NCSBE concedes that there are probably many more cases of double voting but identifying them is difficult and there’s no reliable method to consistently find them and other types of election fraud. “While no audit exists to catch all possible cases of voter impersonation, double voter or deceased voter audits may detect such cases,” the report says. This brings up another alarming point; if duplicate registrations are voted, there’s no way to tell if that’s fraudulent voting by a single individual—which everyone assumes—or impersonation fraud. Even in the North Carolina probe, we’ll never know if that’s the whole number. “These kinds of stories are a feature of every election and that’s despite the fact that most states often don’t even track these crimes in a systematic way,” said Robert Popper, a former Deputy Chief of Justice Department Voting Section who heads Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Project. “Some states admit they don’t track them at all,” Popper added.
Judicial Watch has been heavily involved in the North Carolina case and in 2015 filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in opposition to a lower court ruling preventing the state from implementing its election integrity reform law. Passed by the legislature in 2013 the measure requires voters to present a photo identification, eliminates same-day registration, shortens the early voting period from 17 to 10 days and requires voters to cast ballots in their own precinct. The Obama administration joined a group of leftist organizations to challenge the law in federal court, alleging that it disparately and adversely affects minority voting rights. A federal judge, Thomas D. Schroeder, rejected the claims and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled against North Carolina just prior to the November 2014 elections. State officials asked the Supreme Court for a temporary stay of the Fourth Circuit’s ruling and the high court granted it, allowing North Carolina’s election integrity rules to be used in 2014.
In its unanimous decision, the three-judge panel from the Fourth Circuit wrote that North Carolina’s voter integrity law harmed blacks, who overwhelmingly cast ballots for Democrats. “The new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision” and “impose cures for problems that did not exist,” the appellate ruling states. “Thus the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation.”
Under the racial “disparate impact” theory, which is at the heart of the controversial 2014 Fourth Circuit opinion, a law can be struck down if it statistically disadvantages a minority group, even if that negative impact was neither foreseen nor intended. This decision was temporarily stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court prior to the 2014 mid-terms. The broader view of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) adopted by the most recent 2016 Fourth Circuit decision says that a violation occurs when voting practices are motivated by a discriminatory intent even without evidence of any racially disparate effects on the minority group. This decision is currently pending before the high court.
Just when you think we’ve learned most of what there is to learn about Hillary Clinton’s emails a new mole pops up out of the hole.
This week Judicial Watch released State Department documents including a declaration from FBI Special Agent E.W. Priestap, the supervisor of the agency’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email activities, stating that the former secretary of state was the subject of a grand jury investigation related to her BlackBerry email accounts.
The declaration was produced in response to Judicial Watch’s lawsuit seeking to force Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to take steps to “recover emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton” and other U.S. Department of State employees (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Rex Tillerson (No. 1:15-cv-00785)). We originally filed the lawsuit against then-Secretary of State John Kerry. The Trump State Department filing includes details of the agency’s continuing and shameful refusal to refer the Clinton email issue to the Justice Department, as the law requires.
In the filing, Priestap declares under penalty of perjury that the FBI “obtained Grand Jury subpoenas related to the Blackberry e-mail accounts, which produced no responsive materials, as the requested data was outside the retention time utilized by those providers.”
On April 30, 2015, Judicial Watch sued Kerry after the State Department failed to take action on a letter sent to Kerry “notifying him of the unlawful removal of the Clinton emails and requesting that he initiate enforcement action pursuant to the [Federal Records Act],” including working through the Attorney General to recover the emails.
After initially being dismissed by the district court, Judicial Watch’s lawsuit was revived on appeal by a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on December 27, 2016.
While at the State Department, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conducted official government business using an unsecured email server and email accounts. Her top aides and advisors also used non-“state.gov” email accounts to conduct official business. Clinton left office February 1, 2013.
The FBI convened a grand jury to investigate Hillary Clinton in 2016. Why is this information being released only now?
It is disturbing that the State Department, Justice Department, and FBI are still trying to protect Hillary Clinton. President Trump needs to clean house at all these agencies.
Hillary Clinton’s wasn’t the only Obama administration email scandal. Another continuing email scandal centers on Jeh Johnson, Obama’s Homeland Security secretary. We have another court hearing on the issue Monday afternoon (May 1). We have a pending Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking emails “relating to official United States Government business sent to or from” former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and three other top Homeland Security officials who used “non-‘.gov’” email addresses (Judicial Watch, Inc., v. United States Department of Homeland Security (No. l:l6-cv-00967)).
The hearing will focus on whether the Department of Homeland Security violated FOIA by not producing any records responsive to Judicial Watch’s original December 29, 2015, request from the agency officials’ non-government email accounts. The agency claims the emails are essentially inaccessible and it is too troublesome to recover them.
We previously obtained and made public 215 pages of documents containing official emails sent through the private, unsecure email accounts of Johnson, former Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, former Chief of Staff Christian Marrone, and former General Counsel Steven Bunnell. The documents include emails discussing high-level meetings Johnson was to have with the Kuwaiti ambassador and Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry officials, as well as a West African $4.5 million online consumer fraud scam using Johnson’s name.
Prior to the Obama administration’s leaving office, Judge Moss ordered the Department of Homeland Security to preserve email records sought by Judicial Watch “to minimize the risk of an inadvertent loss of potentially responsive emails.” In petitioning the court for the preservation order, Judicial Watch argued:
A court order requiring preservation of these emails is particularly necessary now as DHS has suggested that these officials may have been acting without authorization by sending emails from these accounts … As such, there is no assurance that these officials will abide by a “request” by the agency to preserve these emails, particularly after their employment ends.…
Jeh Johnson and other top Obama Homeland Security officials, like Hillary Clinton, seemed to think the rules are for the little people. We already uncovered documents revealing that Secretary Jeh Johnson and 28 other agency officials used government computers to access personal web-based email accounts despite an agency-wide ban due to heightened security concerns.
And yet another Obama government agency gamed Congress about emails. We found other documents that reveal Homeland Security officials misled Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) when Perry specifically asked whether personal accounts were being used for official government business.
I’ll keep you apprised of developments in this lawsuit as events warrant.
Until next week,