By Scott Mooneyham
You'd think the U.S. Justice Department had more important worries, bosses to save or court cases to lose. But unfazed by public humiliation or courtroom defeats, the federal agency apparently has chosen North Carolina as the latest state to harass regarding how it maintains voter registration rolls.
The Justice Department sent a letter to state election officials in the spring implying that they are failing to properly purge registration lists of ineligible voters.
The letter stated that voter registration in some North Carolina counties exceeds the voting-age population.
To be fair, federal laws enacted in the aftermath of the 2000 election debacle require states to periodically review voter registration rolls and make "a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters."
But those same laws make clear that state election officials may not remove voters who have changed residence unless the voters have failed to vote in the last two federal elections and haven't responded to written notification.
The Help America Vote Act and National Voter Registration Act also provide no guidance on how states are expected to match databases to remove deceased voters or convicted felons.
The federal laws avoid such specificity for good reason.
According to liberal-leaning Project Vote, studies have found that even well-intended database matching efforts resulted in error rates between 20 and 32 percent. Those errors disenfranchise legitimate voters.