Immigration Officials Investigate Voter Fraud In North Carolina After Voting Records Requested
Over 20 million voter records from the North Carolina area have been requested to be acquired as part of an investigation being conducted by the Trump Administration into voter fraud. The records requested cover almost eight years and local officials claim it has impaired their preparations for the elections due to take place on the 6th of November.
The Trump Administration has provided a deadline of the 25th of September for 15 million records from the state and 5.6 million individual records from 44 different counties to be handed over.
According to Josh Lawson, a board lawyer claimed that the subpoenas that were written from the Justice Department to the relevant county boards “were the most exhaustive on record”. The comments were made in a letter to the Justice Department and he continued to state that subpoenas have “materially affected” preparations for the elections which are due to take place in November.
According to the state board, there are over 7 million registered voters in North Carolina which has a population of over 10 million and subpoenas were faxed individually to each of the county boards.
U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are believed to be heading the investigation according to the Justice Department. ICE have recently created a new Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force which the investigation is currently operating under. When pressed for comments ICE refused to answer and referred any questions to a federal prosecutor based in North Carolina.
Other relevant parties also refused to comment about the matter, including U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Robert Higdon.
The investigation arose after charges and indictments were made to 19 foreigners for voter fraud in North Carolina in August according to federal law enforcement officials.
There are suspicions around the reason for the subpoenas and Mr Higdon, who’s part of the Trump Administration, has been asked in a letter by Wake County Commissioner John Burns for an explanation for them. There are claims that the investigation could be a way to interfere with the vote.
Requests made in the subpoenas would cover handing over application and voting forms, poll books and ballots regarding absentees. The state requests cover over 8 years of documents.
The issue for some counties is that documents would have to be pulled out individually one-by-one. This will be considered time-consuming and not utilising resources effectively. Gerry Cohen, an expert in state election law, said some states wouldn’t have the capabilities to deal with such a request considering they also have to prepare for the elections.
Essentially, the time it would take to send over the documents would mean an election wouldn’t be able to take place. As a result, Mr Lawson has requested extensions for some states due to the strain.
President Trump has claimed that immigrants voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election, influencing results and helping Hillary Clinton win the popular vote.