RALEIGH – When it seemed the plots couldn’t get any thicker this political season, the DOJ/ICE/DHS subpoenaed 44 counties in the Old North State for EIGHT years of voting records. The counties scoffed at the heavy lift right before an elections, the state board lodged informal protests, and now the state board is planning to formally challenge the subpoenas.
“According to elections board Chairman Andy Penry, the process by which U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon issued the subpoenas to 44 counties and the state board was haphazard, violating both protocol and legal requirements for process service. He said some counties had yet to receive theirs at all.
Penry also said the board’s general counsel never received a call or any other advance notice of the request, which arrived via fax at 5 p.m. on the Friday before the Labor Day weekend.
“It simply came out of the blue,” he said. “They were requesting the production of in excess of 15 million documents within 20 days.
“The subpoena, which was apparently issued on behalf of [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement], seeks documents that would disclose very confidential information about the voters, including what their ballots actually looked like,” he said. “We have not been given a reason as to why ICE wants that information, and candidly, I can’t think of any reason for it.
“Our General Assembly has told us by statute that we are prohibited from disclosing that information to anybody, absent a court order,” he added. “That’s a good statute, and it’s there for a really good reason. So we are not going to disclose that information at this point.”
The urgency subsided Thursday, though, when the U.S. Attorney General reached out to the state board and reportedly offered a compromise. It included delaying the subpoenas, and avoiding the collection of sensitive information in the request.
“In fact, federal investigators may not need completed ballots at all as they delve North Carolina voting records as part of a grand jury investigation connected to U.S. immigration enforcement. U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon’s office agreed Thursday to work with state and local elections officials to dial back a request that once seemed likely to pull 20 million voting records, saying concerns over voter privacy and election officials’ ability to prepare for the November elections while also pulling documents had not fallen on deaf ears.”
So the Left can catch their collective breath after their hysterical claims of racist GOP conspiracies. The DOJ will be needing those documents by January, however, meaning the SBOE challenge is likely going to be a protracted affair and the Left’s hysteria will make its return in 2019.
Despite the compromise, the subpoenas are actually still active, leading the SBOE to vote to have the state attorney general quash the subpoenas in federal court.
Timing and elections issues aside, it will be very interesting to see what exactly the federal authorities (and a grand jury) have caught the scent of in Eastern North Carolina.
Read more here.