State Politics

NC elections board investigating AFP's error-filled mailer to voters

The State Board of Elections is investigating the conservative Americans for Prosperity voter registration mailers that were riddled with inaccuracies.

Casey M. Mann, N.C. Democratic Party executive director, filed the complaint Monday over the Americans for Prosperity Foundation voter registration mailers that included incorrect information on where to send applications, an incorrect registration deadline, and inaccurate information about getting answers to questions.

The Board of Elections is required to investigate, said Josh Lawson, the board spokesman.

Americans for Prosperity, a group backed by the Koch brothers, has said the mistakes were unintentional, but in her letter to Board of Elections Executive Director Kim Strach, Mann says the mailers are a voter-suppression tool. The mailers reflect “a decision to attempt to utilize misleading, incorrect, and confusing voter registration mailers as a means of discouraging or intimidating voters in the 2014 General Election,” Mann wrote.

A mass mailing where “the intent and effect is to intimidate or discourage potential voters” is a Class I felony.

In an interview, Mann said she hoped that investigators would look into how AFP developed its mailing list. People have reported receiving voter applications addressed to children, deceased relatives, or relatives who live in another county or state. One person said an application was sent to a cat.

Mann said she knew of someone living here under a visa who received AFP’s voter registration application.

“It seems strange that an organization so determined to root out voter fraud can provide so much information to people who are not eligible to vote,” she said.

AFP said in an email Monday that it was sorry about the mistakes, but said the Democratic Party is using them to score political points. AFP expects the complaint will be dismissed, the email said.

An AFP lawyer apologized for the problems the mailer caused the state elections office in a meeting with Elections Board officials on Monday, Lawson said. The office has handled at least 2,000 calls about the mailers, Lawson said.

The latest batch of AFP mailers went out late last week, Lawson said, so people may continue to receive inaccurate information over the next few days.

State elections officials requested that AFP send accurate information to the homes that received the mailers with errors.

Recent changes in state voting laws eliminated registration during the early voting period, and officials are concerned about confusion over the voter registration deadline. That deadline is Oct. 10.

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