North Carolina elections board fights ICE subpoena for voting records

The North Carolina state elections board on Friday unanimously voted to ask the state's attorney general to ...

Posted: Sep 8, 2018 2:06 PM
Updated: Sep 8, 2018 2:06 PM

The North Carolina state elections board on Friday unanimously voted to ask the state's attorney general to quash a subpoena from the US attorney and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for eight years of voting records.

The board unanimously voted not only to fight the subpoena on the state level, but also on behalf of 44 counties who were similarly subpoenaed.

Continents and regions

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Law and legal system

North America

North Carolina

Politics

Southeastern United States

Subpoenas

The Americas

Trial and procedure

United States

US Department of Homeland Security

US federal departments and agencies

US federal government

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The decision was made during a public meeting, although the board met in closed executive session for roughly 40 minutes before returning to the public session and voting on their motion.

Board Vice Chairman Joshua Malcolm announced the decisions of the board for the vote, calling the subpoena "overly broad, unreasonable, vague, and clearly impacts significant interests of our voters." Malcolm noted that the board for decades has "routinely" referred anything that might be illegal with voting to the US attorney's office for investigation, and the board "stands ready" to continue to assist law enforcement.

But he said the board will "not stand idly by and consent to any agency attempting to obtain records and documents that violate the principles of overreach by the federal government, as in this circumstance."

The move comes after the request from ICE and the Justice Department raised eyebrows among Democratic lawmakers and privacy, civil rights and immigration advocacy groups.

ICE and the US attorney's office declined to comment.

To kick off the public hearing and before the closed discussion, board Chairman Andy Penry described the situation at hand, with a perceptible sense of frustration.

He said the subpoena arrived "out of the blue" at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 31, heading into a holiday weekend. He noted multiple times that the US attorney's office did not reach out prior at any point to discuss it, even though the board's general counsel's contact information is posted online. He said other county boards had already started receiving the notices, and only some of them have actually been properly "served" with the subpoena legally. He said the board had received a fax, not service, on Friday.

"The subpoena ... seeks documents that would disclose very confidential information about the voters, including what their ballots actually looked like," Penry said. "We have not been given a reason as to why ICE wants that information, and candidly I cannot think of why they'd want that information."

He said that the board staff and county boards had "a lot of energy used" over the weekend to respond, including calculating that there are more than 15 million documents that would have to be produced.

He said they told the US attorney how many documents it would take, especially at a busy time.

"We made sure that they knew that there was an election on November 6, 2018, and the job of this board and the county board is to administer elections, and we made sure that they knew that there were lawyers here who could have been contacted in advance and could still be contacted to discuss this matter," Penry said.

He did note the US attorney's office on Thursday sent a letter acknowledging the concern, after press coverage of the subpoena, and delayed the deadline until January 2019, but their vote made clear that was not enough and they would fight the subpoena. They did agree, however, to preserve any documents until the matter is resolved.

"We are pleased that the US Attorney's office finally decided to actually contact us," Penry said. "They decided that it wasn't as urgent as their subpoena said and they would accept January 2019 for these documents ... Most of the documents are already online, we don't have any intention of destroying the documents and we don't have any intention of putting our servers on a plane to Ecuador or some other country that doesn't have a treaty with the United States, the documents are going to be there."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36578

Reported Deaths: 2258
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10188604
Lake3876207
Allen181071
Cass15919
Elkhart158528
St. Joseph135838
Hendricks120478
Hamilton119194
Johnson1125113
Madison60061
Porter56233
Clark53942
Bartholomew53139
LaPorte44824
Howard44236
Tippecanoe4344
Jackson4012
Delaware39741
Shelby39722
Hancock35427
Boone32436
Floyd31941
Vanderburgh2913
Morgan28626
Noble27821
Montgomery24917
Clinton2471
White2399
Decatur23132
Grant22923
Dubois2113
Kosciusko2052
Harrison19622
Marshall1872
Henry18512
Vigo1828
Greene17226
Dearborn17122
Monroe17113
Lawrence17124
Warrick16729
Miami1461
Putnam1427
Jennings1324
Orange13122
LaGrange1282
Scott1263
Franklin1168
Ripley1086
Daviess10416
Carroll952
Wayne906
Steuben902
Wabash812
Newton8010
Fayette797
Jasper741
Jay580
Clay533
Randolph523
Rush513
Fulton511
Washington501
Pulaski500
Jefferson491
Whitley453
DeKalb451
Starke423
Perry390
Huntington382
Sullivan371
Wells350
Owen341
Brown331
Benton320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford250
Adams231
Switzerland220
Spencer221
Fountain222
Gibson202
Parke180
Posey160
Martin140
Warren131
Ohio130
Vermillion100
Union100
Pike60
Unassigned0180
West Lafayette
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 66°
Kokomo
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 58°
Rensselaer
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 57°
Fowler
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 57°
Williamsport
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 68°
Crawfordsville
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 60°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 64°
Delphi
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 54°
Monticello
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 54°
Logansport
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 57°
Clear Skies Continue
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events