Why don’t the counties want help with cleaning voter rolls?

Here is volunteer Tara P’s account of her Second Berkeley BOE hearing re: challenging voters on voter rolls

At the hearing on October 13, 2022 I turned in a new list of 200 voters based on a canvass of 2021.  I received a letter on December 2, 2022 notifying me that the hearing was scheduled for January 11, 2023.

To prepare for January 10, I did a deep dive on each of the 200 names.  I found eight names that were ok to vote in the 2020 GE due to early voting, but still needed to be removed from the voter roll as they had moved.  There were seven names that should never have made the list.  I even recanvassed them to be sure.  Three had been 20 y/o’s on the walk book sheets (children of mothers who remarried and home ownership changed to new surname.)  The other four were reasons we wouldn’t have known/realized/recognized at the time.  I verified all the names on a newer version of the voter roll from after June 2022 and found only six had been removed and only four had been updated to new address…of these all four had also voted 6/14/22.  Two that should be removed voted 11/3/2020 and 6/14/2022.  In the end there were still 185 still on the 2022 voter roll that had also voted in the 2020 GE.  That is +/- 92% of a small sample.

The procedure of the hearing on January 10 was the same as October 13.  I asked a few questions to start…When a voter goes in to vote and they do not live at the address they are registered…what happens?  If the change of address happened greater that 30 days before start of voting, were they allowed to vote?  If in any of these cases they were given a provisional ballot would that be updated on the voter roll?

I was informed by the lawyer that I am not allowed to ask questions of the board. 

I explained to the lawyer and the board that I was only bring up these questions to ensure we are aligned regarding who can and cannot vote.  I also explained that these names had been submitted to the SEC in February 2021 and yet they still remain on the June 2022 roll.  I tried to focus on how it should be important for our county BOE to have clean voter rolls especially if the SEC is not going to act.  I explained I want to work with them to raise awareness and clean things up and hoping they can be the voice of the concerned citizens of Berkeley County before the SEC.

There were four people that showed up to challenge.  The roll had been updated since our June 2022 version because letters were sent to their new residence, so that caused confusion and irritation by voters.  Updates in latter 2022 of address changes that should have happened in 2019.  Another woman stated she had been back and forth between her home and her elderly parents, but was not residing at her registered address during 2020 GE.

After all is presented the Board, BOE Director and BOE Lawyer retire to a closed room to deliberate.  When they returned they advised me that these hearings are not productive and that they believe I should just sit down and share with them my findings/evidence for them to compare with the infromation they have.  They also asked to sit down to discuss, so I did with a friend that was sitting in the audience.  He turned on his phone to record, the lawyer asked him if he was recording? My friend responded that he was.  I asked the lawyer why it would matter beacuse he wasnt going to be saying anything incriminating, was he?

During that conversation it dawned on me why they considered these hearings non productive…because there were six people in the audience (there to support me) but that was not known by the BOE and each of them was recording the hearing.  Not a good look for them.

Meeting with BOE Director 

On January 24th I (with a person from our Berkeley team who sound recorded the entire meeting) went to meet with the BOE Director regarding the evidence(signed affidavits) I had that supported my challenge of the ineligible voters for the 2020 general election.  I was sent three date/time options for this meeting.  The director invited me. 

We were shown to the conference room, a small room with a large table and eight chairs.  A worker started bringing in more chairs because “the board was going to attend”.  Wait!-What?  Well that turned out to be misinformation.  It was only the two of us, the director and two election office clerks.  The director walked in with a pad of paper and pen and sat down.  I was a bit confused because how was she going to verify my evidence with a pad of paper?  I asked the director what was going on and she answered, “I dont know you are the one who wanted this meeting.” Wait!-What?  I reminded her that the lawyer suggested that we sit down for me to share my evidence and that she sent me the invite.  After a bit of back and forth I realized that we were not going to go through my evidence, they did not have laptops and she couldn’t look people up  with me present because I was not allowed to see private data.  

I quickly changed my strategy to try and still gain something out of the meeting, so I started telling them about ERIC…which they knew nothing about.  From there we moved on to voter roll sort by age and showed them screenshot printouts of the oldest people on the roll.  118/117 year olds registering to vote in 2020. 

Deceased voters

A 113 year old that died in 1999 that voted 11/3/2020.  I showed them a comparison of the August 2021 copy I had with the June 2022 copy.  Some of the numerous deceased that I had found had been removed but the three noted above were still on the roll.  I showed them two women that had the same voter registration number.  I showed them one woman having two different voter registration numbers.  Each time one of the clerks would run back to her desk and look up the situation.  Some had valid clerical error explanations and she submitted requests to the SEC to have them marked inactive.  Note: all three used the term “inactive” and not “removed”.  Even being valid clerical errors, I pointed out that the process for cleaning things up, if there is one, was not working.  I asked them if they were familiar with the term ballot stuffing and explained voter roll stuffing is similar and how it is done and how all this opens the door for those “ineligible registered voters” to be used fraudulently.

We learned how the numbering process works for voter registration numbers, which we did not know before.  Up until 2012, a person’s voter registration number started with a number which identified the county they first registered to vote in.  1 for Abbyville and 46 for York.  That number stays with the person no matter where they move within the state.  After 2012 it was centralized and all new registrants received 47 as the first digits of their number.  

We listened to their testimonies and frustration with the SEC in trying to do their job.  Both clerks had worked there for many years and took their job very seriously.  We also learned about their heavy workload and how they are understaffed and not paid overtime for any work outside of regular hours.

They are currently working on updating all the returned new voter registration cards(thousands) that were sent out before November 2022 elections due to restructuring.  Each case has to be investigated and a process followed.  They are not just able to send a request to the SEC to have them marked “inactive”.

Up until 2020 a person’s ssn was used to verify a registered voter.  During 2020 it was changed to only the last four digits of the ssn, all in the name of private information.  But that caused a lot of confusion and errors as many people may have the same last four digits.  This was either done intentionally or someone didn’t think it through very well.

In the end I believe we were able to build a relationship with them and we gained information we did not have before.

At the end of our meeting I handed them another list of 80 names of ineligible voters from the 2020 general election telling them I don’t agree with what the lawyer said about these hearings not being productive.  I feel they have been very productive.