Letters to the Editor: State agency answers questions about federal election request

Letters to the Editor: State agency answers questions about federal election request
July 06
05:00 2017

To the Editor:

The [North Carolina] Bipartisan State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement (State Board) understands that members of the public are concerned about the federal request for data on North Carolina voters. Please see the Q&A below for facts about the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’s request and the State Board’s response.  These answers were compiled on July 3.

What did the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity request?

The Commission requested the “publicly available voter roll data for North Carolina.” That means data that is already available to the public. Under state law, the State Board must provide this data to anyone who requests it.

What information does the State Board intend to provide to the Commission?

The State Board will only provide voter data that is considered public under state law and already available on its website, The State Board plans to provide the Commission with website links to the publicly available voter registration data.

What voter information is considered “public” under state law?

Under North Carolina law, certain voter information is considered public record. Public records must be made available to anyone who requests them. Voter information that is public includes voter name and address, party affiliation, demographic information (age, gender, race and ethnicity, if provided by the voter on registration application), precinct and jurisdiction information and a list of elections in which the voter participated.

Does the State Board plan to provide the Commission any information that is not public under state law?

No. Voter information that is considered “confidential information” is not public under state law. “Confidential information” includes: Social Security number (including the last four digits), driver license number, date of birth and voter signature.

Will the State Board provide information about how you voted in any election?

Absolutely not. “Voter history,” which was requested by the Commission, refers to the list of elections in which you have participated and is public information under state law. Who you voted for is not public record and will not be disclosed.

Can the State Board refuse to provide “public” information to the Commission?

No. The State Board is required to provide public information to anyone who requests

it. According to state law, an agency that receives a request for public records must provide copies or allow inspection of such records “as promptly as possible.”  An agency that refuses to provide access to public records may be subject to legal action. Other states have different laws regarding public records and may refuse to honor the Commission’s request without violating their state’s laws.

Where can I find more information about North Carolina’s public records law?

See Chapter 132 of the General Statutes and G.S. § 163-82.10 for more information.

Can the State Board change public records laws in North Carolina?

No. The N.C. General Assembly enacts laws in North Carolina.

How much will it cost the State Board to provide the data to the Commission?

It will not cost the State Board any taxpayer dollars. The data is already compiled and available at Some staff time will be necessary to respond to the Commission’s letter.

Does the State Board intend to publicly disclose its responses to the Commission’s questions?

Yes. The State Board’s response to the Commission will be a public record and available on the website. The commission has asked for its letter to be answered by July 14.

The Bipartisan State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement, Raleigh

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