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Politics
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Justice Department Subpoenas Voter Data For 44 NC Counties

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Forty-four N.C. Counties have received subpoenas from the U.S. Justice Department seeking data about voting dating to 2010.

The U.S. Justice Department, along with attorneys from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, have issued subpoenas for nearly a decade's worth of voter registration data in 44 eastern North Carolina counties, including Wake County.

The subpoenas call for the counties in the U.S. District Court's Eastern District and the North Carolina Board of Elections to produce eight years of data going back to 2010. It includes all one-stop voter registration forms, absentee ballot requests, provisional voting requests, and all forms that show a voter's registration was canceled.

The massive subpoenas, issued Friday, come roughly two months before the Nov. 6 general election.

The subpoenas are the “most exhaustive on record,” says state Board of Elections attorney Joshua Lawson.

“In our living memory at the agency, reaching back about two decades, no one remembers something of this significant a scale,” Lawson says. “We expressed concern over the late hour of this, and the tight deadline associated with administrative production necessary for counties to go ahead and copy or scan millions and millions of documents while their focus should be on the next election coming up."

President Trump has said that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election, causing him to lose the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton. Those claims are unfounded

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice said Wednesday the subpoenas were a "fishing expedition" and would undermine the state and local government's ability to administer the upcoming election.

The Board of Elections is scheduled to hold a conference call about the subpoenas 10 a.m. Friday.

Mecklenburg County is not part of the Eastern District. Michael Dickerson, the county's elections director, said the county has not received a subpoena.

The subpoena could be related to the Justice Department's decision on Aug. 24 to charge 19 foreign nationals with illegally voting in the November 2016 election.

Robert J. Higdon, Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, has said those cases are part of the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force. Higdon said the investigation into voting fraud is ongoing.