- Yet another state elections official may be violating state law
- Official tells local boards to ignore statute requiring signatures on voter registration forms
- Her actions regarding online registration have raised questions in the past
Susan Myrick and Francis De Luca
On the heels of the scandal involving a State Board of Elections’ (SBE) employee, Dr. E. Lee Cooley, who was recorded teaching the public and political operatives how to commit voter fraud, Civitas now has an email that suggests another SBE employee is directing the local boards of elections to violate another provision of the North Carolina election law.
Veronica Degraffenreid, the SBE’s election preparation and support manager, sent instructions to all 100 counties to disregard the law that requires signatures on voter registration forms. She instructed the county directors to move DMV registration forms from the “incomplete queue” to the “review queue,” and she made it clear that the local boards would “not need to wait for a signature because the voter is registered (active or inactive).”
The Incomplete Queue is where incomplete voter registrations (including changes to voters’ existing records) are stored until the elections board can communicate with the prospective voter and acquire all required information, including signatures. Once all the required information is attained, then the registration can proceed through the voter registration process.
Degraffenreid appears to have sidestepped the statute that requires a signature as part of the registration process, including changes in voter registration.
NCGS 163-82.6 (b) Signature – The form shall be valid only if signed by the applicant.
Degraffenreid’s recent end run around the required signature statute brings to mind a Civitas investigation documented in this 2013 article, titled ”Elections Bureaucrats Ran Amok.” Degraffenreid played a prominent role in setting up a meeting between an Obama campaign operative and then-Director of the State Board of Elections Gary Bartlett. She ended up being the point of contact for the collaboration with Democratic operatives that would drive that year’s effort to put voter registration online – a move clearly against the law. The 2013 article state:
In what appeared to be a move to head off any problems at the local level, on September 18, 2012 the SBE notified the 100 counties to expect a new kind of voter registration. Veronica Degraffenreid sent the email to the County Directors[xix], explaining, describing and defending the new registrations. This email explanation went out just over a month after the SBE had election representatives from across the state at a training session in Chapel Hill – at which they never mentioned this new kind of registration.
Her email went out a day after Gary Bartlett received an email from George Gilbert, Guilford County BOE Director, reporting that they had received “a good number of registration forms from Allpoint Voter Services.” Gilbert went on to say they contained signatures that were “immediately suspect.[xx]” The timing of the responses to Meads and to the counties raises the question of when, if ever, the state SBE would have brought the online registrations to the notice of the counties. Were SBE bureaucrats hoping no one would bring up the online registrations until after all the votes were certified?
This year Degraffenreid seems to be in the middle of another scheme to bring online voter registration in through the back door by allowing changes to voter registrations without signatures. Her recent email to the 100 counties directing them to release some DMV records from the incomplete queue, including the ones that needed signatures, came one day after another email she sent to the directors. That email relayed to the directors that she was working to “assist the counties with the volume of records in your incomplete queue, as well as ensuring that voter records are properly updated in accordance with federal and state law.”
Degraffenreid’s subsequent email made no mention of an opinion from counsel or even the director of the SBE. She just instructed the counties to go ahead and move the DMV records through the voter registration process, even without signatures. According to some elections officials, this move is unheard of and could possibly cause problems in the elections process.
Perhaps the strangest part of the whole story goes back to the audio recording of Dr. Cooley giving instructions on how to commit voter fraud. Early in the recording, Cooley told her audience that there was no online voter registration in North Carolina now. But, she said, “We’re working on it!” Could she have been talking with Veronica Degraffenreid?
In light of her actions in 2012 and her latest attempt to use her position to apparently encourage county election staff to violate election law, it is time for Degraffenreid to find other employment.