Why did Women's Voices use disruptive voter registration approach in NC?
In response to our investigation of Women's Voices Women Vote and their illegal and deceptive voter outreach in North Carolina before the critical state primaries, some have defended their voter registration approach.
No one seems to be defending Women's Voices' use of anonymous, illegal robo-calls in North Carolina, or their decision to do those calls in North Carolina two and a half months after they had told a newspaper in Virginia that they vowed to stop the practice nation-wide.
But some have defended their strategy, which in North Carolina had a two-part approach: (1) the now-infamous, illegal "Lamont Williams" robo-calls, followed by (2) mailing of a "voter registration packet" which many voter engagement groups have said is confusing and has the potential to discourage many from voting, because it makes registered voters believe they aren't. (Thanks to our investigation and the work of public interest advocates like Democracy North Carolina, at least some of these were stopped from going into the mail stream.)
This strategy -- which Women's Voices conceded could cause problems, in a letter they faxed to the N.C. State Board of Elections on Monday -- is all the more curious given that every organization Facing South spoke to that has been involved in voter registration in North Carolina has been using a much easier alternative: One-Stop Early Voting.
This voting reform, passed last year, allows North Carolina voters to register and vote all at once at over 200 One Stop voting centers across the state. Representatives from Democracy North Carolina, the NAACP, and the N.C Democratic Party all tell us they have been pushing almost exclusively for One-Stop Voting, because of its ability to capitalize on interest in elections created by the primaries, but also avoids the potential of discouraging and disenfranchising voters inherent in Women's Voices' approach.
For example, as Damon Circosta of the N.C. Center for Voter Education said to Facing South:
"Ever since the register-by-mail deadline passed, nearly every voter engagement group in the state has been pushing one-stop early voting, where you can register and vote at the same time without mailing anything in. To be pushing mail-in registration at this time is either a blunder of comedic proportions or a deliberate attempt to confuse."