Truth behind NC "voter fraud" crusade is out there -- if we can get to it

The full story behind the North Carolina voting fraud caper -- a crusade led by the N.C. State Auditor's office, in tandem with a DOJ probe, which fizzled yesterday -- remains hidden, mostly because the agencies involved have refused to release any information related to the investigation.

There are a few bits and pieces available, and they only hint at the broader story.

For example, we have documentation that appears to challenge two claims made by the N.C. State Auditor's office, led by Leslie Merritt (R).

First, Merritt has adamantly denied that their "review" of N.C. voting lists -- news of which was released minutes before a bill for same-day voter registration was to be taken up by a senate committee -- had anything to do with affecting any legislation.

Second, the auditor's office has also downplayed the involvement of Chris Mears, a state auditor employee and former N.C. GOP political director, in pushing the issue. When asked about Mears' involvement at a senate committee hearing yesterday, Merritt even said "it was all my idea."

But one of the few documents that is available about this episode is email correspondence (pdf) between Bob Hall, a voting rights advocates, and Chris Mears on June 5 and 6, 2007.

In the email, former GOP operative Mears makes statements that appear to disprove both of these claims, admitting that he -- not Merritt -- "put two-and-two together" after he "happen[ed] to notice a news account of the [same-day registration] legislation." The quote clearly suggests that Mears pushed the "voter fraud" issue because he felt his office's information was relevant to the outcome of the same-day registration bill.

Which makes sense -- why else would the auditor's office have sent a cryptic email to state senators moments before their committee was to vote on the measure?

Read the whole document here. (pdf)