We shouldn’t be surprised by Democracy NC’s actions because we’ve seen them before – Democracy NC is a partisan group and its director, Bob Hall, is the State Board of Election’s right-hand man. This time the State Board is using Hall to “urge” the legislature to appropriate in excess of a half of a million dollars to release Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds for the 2011-2012 election cycle.
It’s time that serious legislators stop taking this group seriously.
This News and Observer article begins to tell the story of HAVA monies in 2012. After reading the story, I had to ask; what’s the hurry? These are funds that will be used in November of this year – 9 months from now. It is only sensible for our legislature to thoughtfully consider the request and the ramifications of relying on federal funds to conduct our elections.
It was late July in 2008 when the State Board of Elections (SBOE) was asking counties to bid for a share of $2.7 million grant monies – $1 million of that came from the state legislature. That means, in 2008, HAVA funds totaled $1.7 million compared to this year’s total of more than $4 million.
Most of the grant money in 2008 was allocated for additional one-stop sites – whether the counties wanted them or not. This 2008 Sun Journal article quotes Craven County’s Election Board Director as not wanting to add to Craven Counties 3 one-stop sites – she wanted extra money for “personnel along with equipment such as laptops, printers and additional voting machines.” As one-stop voting was ending in 2008, this Sun Journal article reveals Craven county ended up with 5 one-stop sites.
Ultimately, the SBOE and Democracy NC want these funds to go to extra one-stop sites. Early voting (both by mail and at one-stop sites) is open to fraud because of the lack of any safeguards via election laws in North Carolina. And, the problems with one-stop voting are compounded by same-day registration (SDR) where voters are permitted to register to vote and vote on the same day during the one-stop period without the address verification that is required of all other voters. As a result of SDR, thousands of voters in 2008, registered to vote at one-stop sites, voted, and had their votes counted and only after the election was certified did their voter cards came back undeliverable. Without serious election reform legislation in the short session, this scenario will play out again in 2012 – only on a much bigger scale.