I learn something new every day.
Today, the Wake Board of Elections (BOE) today discussed Greg Flynn’s challenge to Jay DeLancy’s voter registration. Mr. DeLancy leads the Voter Integrity Project, a group dedicated to the proposition that all voter registrations are suspect and probably fraudulent unless it can be determined that the voter voted Republican. Mr. Flynn had reason to send a Registered Mail-Return Receipt Requested letter to Mr. DeLancy and, Lo! and Behold! it was returned. Did Registered Voter Jay DeLancy actually live at that address?? A challenge ensued, with the returned letter as evidence.
The Board’s conversation became entangled in a discussion of what exactly was the legal definition of First Class Mail. The statute, some in the room said, implies it is a regular, old 49 cent letter. Some claim Registered Mail is a type of First Class Mail, an elevated type, if you will, but that the statute REQUIRED a plain, old not-registered type. Why? Because some people will not sign for Registered Mail out of concern it is the preliminary blow in a law suit. Why, it was asked, should a duly registered voter be taken off the voter rolls simply because they don’t want to acknowledge receipt of a lawsuit??
This discussion went on for an extended period of time. Are the many services offered by the post office as a variation of First Class Mail, actually First Class mail as described in the statute?? I had been under the impression that Registered Mail was a method used by Boards of Elections to verify a voter’s address, but the Wake Director tells me they use only regular First Class Mail, which by definition, is returned if the person is no longer at that address.
It seemed almost everyone in the room (but me) was a lawyer. Is the phrase First Class Mail, as used in the statutes, a floor or a ceiling when considered against all the mailing options available?? Does the statute require only First Class Mail, or does it allow for any type of First Class Mail, which can include Registered, Registered Return Receipt Requested, or even a simple Tracking method??
There was a lot of double-speak. Greg, your letter is fine, but it’s not fine. It’s First class, but it is not First Class. We want to use it as evidence, but don’t feel we can take it as evidence. It’s just not clear that this is a First Class Letter....
A motion to accept the Registered Mail as evidence enough to go to the next step, which is a Hearing on the challenge, where Mr. DeLancy could appear and respond, never got a second, so died aborning (on party lines).
The Wake BOE did however, decide to continue this preliminary hearing until Thursday, to allow the board chair to contact the State BOE seeking an opinion of exactly what that board considers to be First Class Mail.
Ultimately, we may need clarification from our august General Assembly.