A conservative group has accused state elections director Gary Bartlett of lying in a comment he made to The News & Observer; Bartlett fired back, standing by the accuracy of his comment and characterizing the criticism is part of an ongoing effort to wrongly portray oversight of voter registration and early voting as broken.
Francis De Luca, president of the Civitas Institute, said Bartlett was painting an unclear picture when he described the current voter registration process as such when discussing a possible recount in the lieutenant governor's race:
Gary Bartlett, state elections director, said the current process allows county boards to confirm ballots are valid before votes are certified.
“It gives us enough time to have safeguards, like checking to confirm the address they list is theirs by sending letters and making sure they’re not returned,” Bartlett said.
“Common sense shows that is impossible,” De Luca said in a press release. “Early voting ends Nov. 3 and the county boards canvass ballots on Nov. 16. There is no way that in the middle of their busiest time election boards mail new voters the verification letters, get them back, send a second letter to double check them, and get it back, as the law prescribes.”
In a letter, Bartlett said that the voter registration process "is not broken." He said that fewer than 2.6 percent of same-day registrants failed the mail verification process in 2008 and less than 1 percent in the May 2010 primary election.
Barlett said Civitas appears to be preaparing to lobby for a repeal of same-day registration, even though it has been "enthusiastically received by voters of both political parties and by unaffiliated voters, without facilitating participation by ineligible voters." He also said that after recount and protests are resolved, he will invite the Civitas Institiute to meet with the staff of the State Board of Elections.