CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The U.S. Department of Justice reportedly filed a statement of interest late Monday night supporting the North Carolina NAACP's federal lawsuit, alleging that thousands of voters are being illegally removed from the polls.
"The purge program at issue here rested on a mass mailing and the silence of voters largely unaware of the potential injury to their voting rights," the U.S. Department of Justice's statement said.
The NAACP's suit charges that the State Board of Elections and several North Carolina counties are illegally suppressing the right to vote of thousands of black residents.
Voters in Beaufort, Moore and Cumberland Counties complained that they had their registrations canceled because mailings sent by private individuals to their homes came back as undeliverable. The individuals claimed that since the mailings came back, that meant the voter had moved. They reported the information to county election officials.
Under the National Voter Registration Act, voters may not be removed from the rolls without written confirmation from the voter that he/she has moved, or unless the person is absent in two or more voting cycles.
The law also prohibits names from being removed from lists within 90 days of a federal election.
“The Tar Heel state is ground zero in the intentional, surgical efforts by Republicans to suppress the voice of voters, “ says Rev. William Barber II, president of the NC chapter of the NAACP.
The North Carolina NAACP filed a federal lawsuit seeking an immediate injunction. They are requesting that the voters immediately have their names reinstated. They are also demanding that no additional names be removed from the rolls.
The case will be heard in a court in Winston-Salem on Wednesday morning.
The Executive Director of the State Board of Elections, Kim Strach, responded to the NAACP’s allegations, writing:
“These voter challenges were filed by private citizens, not elections officials. Our independent agency administers state and federal election laws. The statutes at issue are decades old and are common across the country and widely regarded as compatible with the National Voter Registration Act. If the plaintiffs are right, then most states are wrong.”