Election officials in North Carolina are having a meltdown. With barely 60 days before the crucial mid-term elections, they were handed “sweeping” federal grand jury subpoenas for around 20 million election records going all the way back to 2010. The election boards in 44 counties are supposed to have them rounded up and delivered by September 25.
Given what one woman’s testimony indicated, the move is very necessary. It could be that officials are implicated in a massive voter fraud scheme.
“Starting a sweeping voter fraud inquiry so close to a crucial election could depress turnout,” Myrna Perez with the New York University School of Law fears.
The New York Times reports that she and others are concerned that “naturalized immigrants who can vote legally” and “other groups who may distrust the government” may be afraid to go to the polls.
The other side of the coin is that in 2016, non-citizens were voting illegally and one or more insiders seem to have been helping them do it.
The timing may be a little inconvenient but it’s not a sinister plot to disrupt this election. Last week, the same federal grand jury indicted a total of 18 non-citizens living in North Carolina who voted in the 2016 presidential election.
A nineteenth indictment named the only U.S. citizen, Denslo Allen Paige, for helping her boyfriend register to vote. Some say that what she told the grand jury in her defense likely prompted the much deeper dive.
As described by Huffington Post, “she helped her boyfriend register in the weeks before the 2016 general election because he had been talking a lot about politics.”
Paige insists she “wasn’t sure if her boyfriend, a legal permanent resident, [but not a citizen] was eligible to vote, so when she filled out a voter registration form at an early voting site with him, she left the box asking about his citizenship blank.” She depended on election workers to only approve him if it was legal, she noted.
HuffPost got a look at the actual form and reported that “the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement shows a check mark in the “yes” box asking if the person is a U.S. citizen, but Paige insists she did not check it.”
The grand jury wants to know who did. They also want to know how many other applications were similarly “corrected” illegally by elections workers.
Paige thought “someone would flag the application and send her to a separate table to inquire about her boyfriend’s citizenship status.” Instead, “when she asked if her boyfriend could vote, a poll worker accepted the form and indicated he could cast his ballot, so she thought everything was okay.” Now she faces up to five years in jail for “aiding and abetting.”
“I’m scared to death,” Paige protests. “I really wasn’t sure. I’m an American. What in the heck do I know about foreigners?”
In order to stonewall attempts to determine if there was a conscious and coordinated effort to facilitate allowing illegals to vote, state officials are hiding behind fake claims of hardship and emotional cries of privacy fears.
The federal prosecutors have already reportedly agreed to extend the fast approaching deadline and allow the records to be provided after the election, as long as they get a simple promise that none will be destroyed.
Such requests would be considered, U.S. attorney Sebastian Kielmanovich emailed to Joshua Lawson, the lawyer for the election board, “upon execution of a document to be provided committing to preserve/not destroy the requested information.”
State officials fall back on the position that “among the prosecutors’ demands are millions of secret ballots cast by absentee and early voters whose identities could easily be traced.”
What they don’t say is that would require cross matching document codes from multiple sources and such a project is entirely out of the scope of the grand jury investigation.
On the other hand, in order to find out, one way or the other, if election officials turned a blind eye, or worse, conspired to facilitate illegal aliens to vote, is to look at the whole record collection from start to finish and match it all up. Privacy should not be impacted by that kind of an analysis.
One subpoena went to the elections board for the entire state, asking for “voter registration applications, early voting application forms, and absentee ballot request forms” between 2010 and August of 2018.
Separately, each of the 44 county boards in the Eastern District got one requesting “any and all poll books, e-poll books, voting records, and/or voter authorization documents and executed official ballots.” Those were only for a five-year span from August 30, 2013 to present.
The series of “multi-agency teams developed to target criminal organizations and beneficiaries” behind fraudulent schemes has been working hard in North Carolina, ferreting out document and benefit fraud because it “poses a severe threat to national security and public safety.”
Their efforts paid off with 19 indictments. Nine were charged with “falsely claiming U.S. Citizenship to register to vote in North Carolina, and also with unlawfully voting.” They each face up to six years in federal prison and a $350,000 fine.
Eight more were charged with “voting by an alien,” which can earn up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Mexican national Diana Patricia Franco-Rodriguez, age 26, could spend the next 26 years in federal prison and get a $350,000 fine for “fraud and misuse of visas and unlawfully voting.”