State Politics

AFP says administrative errors behind mistakes in voter registration forms

The director of the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity said Friday that the mistakes in the voter registrations forms the organization sent out in recent weeks were the result of administrative errors.

“We have identified a few minor administrative errors in our mailers and some old information in our data, and we’ll be addressing those. Any large mailing even with 99.9 percent accuracy is going to have a few inaccurate recipients,” Donald Bryson, North Carolina’s director of Americans for Prosperity Foundation, said in a statement.

Bryson did not reveal how many voter registration forms the organization had mailed to N.C. homes.

The News & Observer reported on Friday that the N.C. State Board of Elections had received hundreds of complaints about the forms, which had included conflicting information about voter registration deadlines and incorrect information about where to send them. One complaint said the form was addressed to the resident’s cat.

Joshua Lawson, an elections board spokesman, said the State Board of Elections was “looking into it,” but had not launched a criminal investigation because no one who received the mailing had made a sworn complaint.

Misinformation about voter registration can be a felony if it is intentionally misleading and is proven to suppress voters, Lawson said.

One of the incorrect details in the form sent by the AFP is that voters can send their registration information to the N.C. Secretary of State’s elections division. There is no such division, Lawson said.

“[But] there are lots of states where the BOE is housed in the Secretary of State’s office,” he said, “so it may be that they pulled something that was pulled for another state to use here, too. That may lack the criminal intent to suppress the vote.”

Repeated phone calls this week requesting an interview about the mailings were not returned, but in his statement, Bryson said: “Helping more people participate in our political process by making sure they are registered to vote is a good thing for democracy, and that’s exactly what we are accomplishing.”

One of the mistakes was informing voters that the deadline to register to vote was 30 days before the election. The actual deadline is 25 days before the election.

Dallas Woodhouse, former director of North Carolina’s chapter of Americans for Prosperity, said he thought the inaccuracies were a result of sloppiness, not malfeasance.

“Part of the AFP model is economies of scale,” he said in a phone interview. “Someone up there works on it, and I’m sure it goes out to other states.”

Bob Hall, director of Democracy North Carolina, said an investigation is needed.

“All that will help determine whether this was stupid and dangerous or also a criminal violation,” he said in a statement.

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