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VICTORY! North Carolina Election Officials Will Fight ICE Efforts to Target Voters

Yesterday, Democracy North Carolina asked North Carolinians to contact the head of the N.C. State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to ask that the board push back against outrageous requests from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, acting on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), for massive troves of voter data from the state and 44 North Carolina counties. In only a few short hours, nearly 1,400 North Carolina voters answered our call — sending hundreds of messages to Board Chair Andy Penry.

On Friday, Penry and the state elections board answered voters’ call.

In their morning state elections board meeting, the 9-member board voted unanimously to authorize N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein’s office to fight the subpoenas sent to the state and county elections boards. In doing so, board members called the U.S. Attorney’s request for 15 million voter documents in 20 days “excessive” and said that these federal agencies’ attempts to retrieve voter registration records and other voter data “violate principles of overreach.”

“[We are] thankful that today at least state elections board members could put party politics aside to do what's right for voters."” –Tomas Lopez, Democracy North Carolina

In response, Democracy North Carolina’s Executive Director praised the board’s decision, saying he’s grateful for the bipartisan action “to do what’s right for voters.”

“We praise the board’s decision to push back against this brazen scheme that used sweeping subpoenas to interfere with our state’s elections and intimidate voters,” said Lopez. “The subpoena effort is only the latest outrageous move by this administration— it echoes the efforts of its now-defunct and highly-criticized election commission and should alarm voters and election officials across North Carolina and the nation. We’ll continue to monitor this situation but are thankful that today at least state elections board members could put party politics aside to do what’s right for voters.”

“This is what democracy looks like,” Lopez added.

Now, facing harsh media and public scrutiny, the subpoena requests, issued by U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon on behalf of ICE, have been delayed until January 2019. But ICE has still failed to explain why they want this voter information, and what they would do with it.

Answer the call again— contact U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon and demand his office drop these outrageous requests altogether.