Attorney General releases ‘Fact Sheet’ that says “Truth: The settlement does NOT eliminate the witness requirement”
The settlement does eliminate the witness requirement
Raleigh, N.C. – The state Attorney General released a “summary of consent decree” and “fact sheet” that both falsely state the Department of Justice’s controversial elections settlement does not eliminate an absentee ballot witness requirement, even though it does.
The DOJ fact sheet states “Truth: The settlement does NOT eliminate the witness requirement.”
“The settlement fulfills the purpose of the witness requirement…by having the actual voter later confirm that the ballot was his or hers.”
By eliminating the requirement for a witness in the process, the settlement does eliminate the witness requirement, and does not “fulfill its purpose.” The new method of confirmation by the actual voter would not require a witness.
A “summary of consent decree” released by the Attorney General also states “The modification maintains the witness requirement.”
“The voter swears or affirms…that he or she was the person who mailed in the ballot previously.”
Again, the first statement is false because the requirement of a witness is eliminated. It’s not clear why the DOJ would claim the elimination of a witness from the witness process fulfills “the purpose” of the witness requirement. It does not.
The consent decree’s proposed confirmation by the “actual voter” – instead of a witness – would not require verification by the voter that the original ballot was witnessed.
Thus, the witness requirement would be eliminated by the consent agreement, contrary to two explicit claims in the DOJ fact sheet and summary that it would remain.
Under current North Carolina law enacted by the General Assembly, a voter who submitted an absentee ballot without a witness would be sent a new ballot. State law previously required two witness signatures, but the legislature lowered it to one in the Bipartisan Elections Act of 2020.
The appearance of witness signatures was a critical factor in detecting absentee ballot harvesting in the 9th Congressional District election in 2018.
Minutes released by the State Board of Elections from its September 15 meeting show its members’ emphasis on keeping the witness requirement:
“Chair stated that the witness requirement is important to the Board,” the minutes say.“The Board does not want to lose the one witness requirement….Chair stated that all board members agree on retaining witness requirement.”
View Highlighted Images of the DOJ Fact Sheet and Summary