The United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina today issued a preliminary injunction requiring the State Board of Elections and three North Carolina counties to restore the voter registrations of approximately 4,000 individuals whose registrations had been cancelled in the final weeks and months before the election based on an alleged change in residence. These voters were purged as a result of mass challenges filed by private parties based solely on a single piece of mail sent to the voters that had been returned as undeliverable, even though in many cases the voters had not changed their residence or had simply moved to a different residence within the same county and thus remained eligible to vote. County boards of elections purged many challenged voters unless they appeared at a hearing in person or submitted affidavits to defend their eligibility to vote. The court ruled that these cancellations of voter registrations were likely unlawful under two provisions of the National Voter Registration Act, one that prohibits “systematic” purges of voter rolls within the 90 days prior to a federal election and one that establishes a strict process, involving statutorily prescribed notice and a waiting period of at least two years, for cancelling a voter’s registration based on a change of residence.
Altshuler Berzon LLP, along with co-counsel, represents the plaintiffs, which include the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, the Moore County Branch of the NAACP, and individuals whose eligibility to vote had been challenged.