RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Board of Elections is advising voters about mailers being distributed across the state that claim to tell people whether they voted in recent elections — and in some cases, include inaccurate information about their voting records.
The elections board said in a news release Thursday that it had received calls from voters who were “confused or angered” by the mailers, which the board said include the words “Important Voter Notification” in red letters at the top, and a chart that appears to show whether the person voted in the 2018 or 2020 elections.
In some of the mailers, the elections board said, voters are told, “According to your North Carolina state election record, you skipped the 2018 midterm election.”
The board of elections said it determined through a preliminary investigation that the information printed on some of the mailers is incorrect and does not match state voter records. If a voter believes the information on the mailer they received is inaccurate, the mailer advises them to contact the elections board, and provides them with the board’s phone number and website.
“These mailers are confusing to voters and have resulted in numerous calls to the State Board at a critical time in the election cycle,” Patrick Gannon, a spokesperson for the elections board, said in the release. “We recognize the importance of efforts to encourage people to vote. However, providing inaccurate information decreases confidence in our elections, and encouraging voters to contact the State Board about their voting record from prior elections is unnecessary and stresses our limited resources.”
According to the board of elections, the mailers were sponsored by the Voter Education Network, an independent expenditure political action committee registered with the board this month.
Registration documents filed with the elections board show that the group’s treasurer is Jason Falls, a former Cleveland County commissioner.
Falls responded to a request for comment by sharing a statement Friday on behalf of the group.
In the statement, the group said it exists to “encourage people to vote” and “made every effort to ensure that the data it received from its national list vendor — whose data originates from the North Carolina State Board of Elections’ voter file — is accurate.”
The group said those efforts included “hand checking random records on the mailing list against the records in the North Carolina State Board of Election online voter database on multiple occasions, including after the State Board contacted the organization expressing concerns yesterday.”
The group apologized for any inconvenience the mailers “may have caused individual voters or the public servants at the North Carolina State Board of Elections,” but said that when sending mailers to “around 800,000 households three times, unfortunately a list will include a few inconsistent records.”
Falls, who used to chair the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners, is related to North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican from Cleveland County. Falls and Moore are first cousins, once removed.
A spokesperson for Moore told WRAL-TV that Moore did not know anything about the group and “is not involved in the organization in any way.”
This isn’t the first time in recent years that the state's voters have received political communications in the mail that may be misleading or illegitimate.
In the summer of 2020, the state board of elections advised North Carolinians that up to 80,000 people may have received request forms for mail-in ballots that already had certain information filled out. Under state law, elections officials can’t accept ballot request forms that are pre-filled.
Those request forms, distributed by a liberal-leaning group named The Center for Voter Information, were tossed by election officials who received them from voters unaware of the problem. Officials sent voters letters explaining the problem with the forms they had sent in, and provided voters with a blank mail-in ballot request form.
In light of the mailers sent out this month by the Voter Education Network, the state board of elections said anyone who wants to check their voting history can do so by using the board’s “Voter Search” tool, which can be found at vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/.
The official voter records available online show the dates of each primary and general election someone has voted in, as well as the method of voting that person used, whether it was in-person on Election Day, through an in-person early voting site, a mail-in ballot, or a provisional ballot.