State Auditor Les Merritt is politicizing his public office for partisan gain, following the national Republican playbook of deception and incompetence.
Merritt stalled last week the passage of legislation that would make it easier to vote. It allows voters to register up to three days before Election Day, down from 25 days under existing law.
Citing a flawed preliminary report, Merritt asked for a delay on the same day that a state Senate committee was poised to take up the bill.
Merritt also used an analysis similar to that employed by the Republican-led federal justice department, the same agency that urged North Carolina to prematurely scrub qualified voters from the rolls.
Both investigations yielded no substantiated cases of voter fraud. When state Senate members asked him to offer evidence of fraud, Merritt had none.
In fact, the state Board of Elections found numerous inconsistencies in Merritt’s report, including:
- Merritt’s office released information even though they didn’t understand the mechanics of the voter registration process and voter history data.
- Merritt refused to release a copy of the database so that the state elections board could investigate whether any people used invalid social security numbers to register to vote.
- Merritt said that 4.2 million people constituted half of the state’s registered voters. But the state only has 5.5 million registered voters.
- The 671 people Merritt said used invalid social security numbers were either 1) registered before laws required a driver’s license or social security number or 2) the Social Security Administration had incorrect data as determined by the DMV.
- The state elections board could not confirm the 1,641 dead people Merritt alleged to have voted through the death records kept by the state Health and Human Services Department.
- Merritt’s records show the death of one voter as September 1997 when the actual death certificate places the date of death at February 2006.
“Either Les Merritt is incompetent, lacking even a basic understanding of election law, or he's using his position as State Auditor to pursue the partisan agenda of the national Republican Party,” said NCDP Chair Jerry Meek. “Either way, voters should be worried.”