Despite North Carolina DMV’s failure to provide voter registration services as required by federal law, court case allows voters’ voices to be heard
RALEIGH – As a result of a court decision in Action NC v. Strach, the N.C. State Board of Elections is required to count provisional ballots in this fall’s election if voters registered or updated their registration at a DMV office, were not added to voter rolls in the last 16 months, and are otherwise eligible to vote.
Earlier today, the N.C. State Board of Elections completed its review of the DMV data and issued a list of provisional votes that must be counted. According to the directive, about 1,500 votes will be counted.
Allison Riggs, senior voting rights attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, issued the following statement after the release of the provisional ballot count:
“Thanks to the court’s action, 1,500 North Carolinians will now have their votes counted and their voices heard. We need to continue making sure our elections are fair and accessible. If it weren’t for community groups standing up for people being disenfranchised and the court intervening, those votes may have never been counted. While we applaud this action, we are looking into whether additional citizens who used the DMV are entitled to have their provisional ballots counted.”
Project Vote, Demos, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, and Morrison and Foerster represented Action NC, Democracy North Carolina, the North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute and three individual North Carolina citizens in Action NC v. Strach. On October 27, 2016, U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs ordered that provisional ballots must be counted if voters registered or updated their registration at the DMV between July 18, 2015 and the last day of voter registration in North Carolina for the November 2016 election. Voters must also be eligible to vote and not have signed a form declining the option to register or update their registration.