Ten Southern civil rights groups sent a letter on Sept. 26 to the U.S. Department of Justice and Immigration and Customs Enforcement protesting the Department's request for North Carolina voting records.
ICE and the DOJ asked in late August for eastern counties in North Carolina to turn over eight years of voter registration records from 2010 through 2018.
The organizations that sent the letter urging the withdrawal of the subpoenas include the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Democracy North Carolina and the ACLU.
"On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write to strongly request that your agencies immediately cease efforts to subpoena millions of North Carolina voter records in what we believe is an unjustified and likely unlawful fishing expedition," the letter said.
The subpoena, which N.C. Board of Elections made public, mandates the state to produce all voter registration applications and related documents between Jan. 1, 2010 and Aug. 30, 2018.
The documents include federal write-in absentee ballots, early voting application forms, provisional voting forms, admission or denial of non-citizen return forms and voter cancellation or revocation forms.
A separate subpoena was also sent to the Pitt County Board of Elections. Requests of the subpoena included all ballots, voting records and voter authorization documents between Aug. 30, 2013 and Aug. 30, 2018.
“Right now, our estimates are in excess of two million documents of various sizes, some of them up to 17 inches long, when you’re talking about ballots," said Gary Sims, the director of the Wake County Board of Elections. "It is very difficult to give a true assessment of time. It’s more than just getting copies, it’s then having to redact confidential information."
Jen Jones, director of communications at Democracy North Carolina, said the exhaustive amount of documentation requested is a source of worry for a state weeks away from beginning absentee voting and early voting.