Judicial Watch Inc. filed a lawsuit against Guilford County, Mecklenburg County and the state of North Carolina over their voter registration rolls on Thursday, April 9.
The lawsuit claims that Guilford County and Mecklenburg County have failed to purge the voter registration rolls of voters who have moved, died or are otherwise no longer eligible to vote in those counties in violation of the National Voter Registration Act.
The lawsuit states that the registered voters in Guilford County total 102 percent of the adults in Guilford County of voting age according to the figures from the US Census Department. It also notes that 19 percent of the registered voters in Guilford County were “inactive,” which means the voter hasn’t voted in several elections and did not respond to a letter sent to the address on their voter registration. Voters on the inactive list are eligible to vote but must verify their address before voting. If a voter on the inactive list doesn’t vote in two federal election cycles after being placed on the inactive list, federal law requires that the voter be removed from the list of registered voters, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states that in North Carolina the average number of voters on a county’s inactive list is 9.6 percent, making Guilford County’s unusually high and evidence that inactive voters are not being removed from the county’s voter registration rolls as federal election law requires.
Judicial Watch contacted Guilford County, Mecklenburg County and North Carolina in April 2019, requesting the public records regarding the inactive voter lists. According to the lawsuit, neither the counties nor the state provided those records.
Judicial Watch also sent letters to the counties and the state on Dec. 11, 2019, stating that a lawsuit would be filed in 90 days if the discrepancies that Judicial Watch had alleged were not remedied or explained.
Executive Director of the North Carolina Board of Elections Karen Brinson Bell responded to that letter by challenging the figures that Judicial Watch used and stating, “Your letters do not provide sufficient detail to determine whether their analysis is correct.”
There is no mention in her letter of complying with the request for public records, which Judicial Watch alleges it never received.
Along with Bell, Guilford County Director of Elections Charlie Collicutt, Chair of the Guilford County Board of Elections Horace Kimel, Mecklenburg County Director of Elections Michael Dickerson and Chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections Carol Williams are all named in their official capacity in the lawsuit, which was filed in Charlotte in the US District Court for the Western District of NC.