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The Daily Tar Heel

NC NAACP files lawsuit claiming North Carolina suppresses voters

“The Tar Heel state is ground zero in the intentional, surgical efforts by Republicans to suppress the voice of voters,” Rev. William Barber, president of the N.C. NAACP, said in a press release.

Allied Progress, a nonprofit organization that works to hold special interest groups accountable, released a report Oct. 26 calling out election officials for allowing partisanship and racial animus to influence their policy decisions.

Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress, said he thinks there are good Republicans and Democrats, both of which can administer free and fair elections.

“But when an election official expresses a partisan motivation for changes to the system, whether it’s in how the election will be administered or what they’re going to do with early voting or what they’re going to do with voter registration — that’s when it becomes problematic,” he said.

The N.C. NAACP said voters’ registrations were cancelled after single mailings ware returned to the sender as undeliverable — which suggested a unconfirmed change in residence — and some residents were not notified that their voter registration was challenged.

The N.C. NAACP said the The National Voting Registration Act only allows states to cancel voter registrations if the voter confirms the change in residence in writing or if the voter, after receiving a notice, fails to respond or vote for two federal election cycles.

Frisch said there are local officials with partisan motivations or racial animus who have worked to cut down on early voting — which he said is particularly popular among African-Americans and Democrats.

The N.C. NAACP also said in a press release there were voting irregularities last week in voting machines, after there were complaints that machines in Cumberland, New Hanover, Mecklenburg, Iredell and Catawba Counties were malfunctioning and in some cases selected the wrong candidate.

Kristin Mavromatis, spokesperson for the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections, said over 150,000 votes had been cast in Mecklenburg as of Monday, and she has received 34 complaints of touch screen voting machines selecting Donald Trump when Hillary Clinton was touched and two of the opposite.

“Of the three that I did actually speak to who was the voter, in each instance they advise that they were able to cast the ballot as they wanted, they just had to deselect and reselect,” she said.

Amanda Duncan, director of the Catawba County Board of Elections, said neither she nor the president of the local NAACP has received reports other than user error as of Monday in Catawba polling centers.

“I just want to make sure our citizens know our machines are working correctly,” she said.

Becky Galliher, director of the Iredell County Board of Elections, said these claims must be an error because Iredell County is only using paper ballots, not polling machines.

Mavromatis said the current voting machine technology has been used statewide since 2006 and 23 counties in the state use the touch screen systems.

“It’s the same as your iPhone — do you have any idea why when you hit an M an I comes up?— it’s a touch screen,” she said. “People want to act like the machine is miscalibrated — I’m confident in those machines, and I would say, and nobody wants to hear this, that 90 percent of the time it’s just the machine thinks it was touched in that location.”


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