If one government institution has information that can help another government institution do its job more efficiently without jeopardizing the first institution’s mission, would it not make sense to share that information?
That idea is the impetus behind S 250, sponsored by senators Joyce Krawiec (R – Davie, Forsyth), Norman W. Sanderson (R – Carteret, Craven, Pamlico) and Jim Burgin (R – Harnett, Johnston, Lee), would. At the heart of the bill is a requirement that the court system report those who are not eligible to serve on juries due to non-citizenship, lack of residency or felony conviction be referred to the State Board of Elections:
If a person is disqualified from jury duty due to citizenship, residency, or criminal history as described in G.S.9-3, the clerk of superior court shall record the person’s name, address provided, reason for disqualification, and the date of disqualification and report this information electronically to the State Board of Elections quarterly. The State Board of Elections shall use this information to conduct efforts to remove names from its list of registered voters in accordance with G.S.163A-877. The State Board of Elections shall retain the electronic record for two years. The clerk of superior court may destroy the records at the end of each biennium.
While this seems like a commonsense solution, it is important to remember that there is at least one situation in which the lists of those who are ineligible to serve on juries and those who are ineligible to vote do not perfectly correspond. A citizen residing overseas whose last home in the USA was in North Carolina retains the right to vote absentee even if he or she is excused from jury duty. However, there are safeguards in the bill to protect voters in that situation (see below).
The other categories more closely correspond: Non-citizens should neither serve on juries nor vote, and those convicted of felonies have the right to serve on juries and the right to vote returned with their other citizenship rights following the full completion of their sentences.
(This bill would not apply to full-time students who have moved but maintain their voting residency at their parents’ home and have requested to be excused from jury duty; they are excused based on their full-time student status rather than not residing this the county where they are registered to vote. North Carolina law allows students to register to vote at either their school or permanent address.)
Those found ineligible to serve on juries would not be automatically removed from voting rolls in most cases. Those convicted of felonies would receive a 30-day notice before they are removed from the voter rolls and be given the opportunity to have a hearing with the county board of elections before removal. For those who are excused from jury duty due to not residing in the county, the county board of elections would have to confirm that they are no longer eligible to vote in the county before removing them from the voter list.
With safeguards built in to make sure that eligible voters are not taken off voter rolls, there is no reason to deny this information to election officials to help them maintain their lists.