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NC NAACP Files Lawsuit Over Voter Registration Cancellations In Three Counties

Of the 1,400 registered voters in Marshville, only about 360 submitted their ballots.

The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP filed a federal lawsuit Monday over the recent cancellations of up to 4,500 voter registrations. The NAACP says those cancellations in three eastern counties violate federal law. The state Board of Elections disagrees.

The law in question is the National Voter Registration Act. It prevents states from doing a systematic housecleaning of their voter rolls within three months of the election. The North Carolina NAACP and the state Board of Elections agree on that.

They disagree on how that law affects private citizens challenging registrations. In Cumberland, Moore and Beaufort counties, people have challenged roughly 4,500 registrations. The bulk of them are tied to one person in Cumberland County who's affiliated with the Voter Integrity Project.

“What they are doing wrong is taking voters off the rolls without following the procedures that federal law sets out for canceling voter registration,” says Penda Hair, an attorney for the NAACP.

Hair says the National Voter Registration Act requires more notice and a longer waiting period than the counties used.

The state board of elections says if that's right, "then most states are wrong." The board's director says the majority of states interpret private challenges the same way North Carolina does. And she says no registrations were canceled without two hearings and a mailing.

North Carolina also offers same-day registration during early voting, which wraps up Saturday.