- Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Election advocacy groups said Monday they’re prepared to sue because they say the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles isn’t making sure license and identification card applicants who want to vote are getting registered.

In a letter to the state Board of Elections, attorneys for Action NC, Democracy North Carolina and the A. Philip Randolph Institute and some citizens accused the state and DMV of violating the federal “motor voter” law.

The same groups last month threatened to sue the state Department of Health and Human Services, saying it failed to offer voter registration applications to food stamps and Medicaid applicants.

Monday’s letter to State Board of Elections Executive Director Kim Strach says a significant number of people who go to the DMV are getting left off voting rolls because applications aren’t being transmitted to election officials within mandated time limits, sometimes within five days.

In the 2014 election, for example, 18 percent of the provisional ballots cast in Mecklenburg County came from people who indicated that they had completed a registration application at a DMV office, the letter said. The letter also provided the personal experiences of people who believed they had registered through DMV but whose provisional ballots ultimately failed to count because the registration couldn’t be verified.

The DMV also hasn’t implemented procedures to ensure people who change their address online also update their voter registration information, according to the letter.

“North Carolina must ensure that all of its citizens are guaranteed the right to vote and that the (federal law) is properly implemented,” the attorneys’ letter said.

Elections board spokesman Josh Lawson said board officials plan to meet with DMV this week to discuss the issues in the letter, which threatens litigation after a required 90-day waiting period.

“Our goal is to ensure that compliance is attained by that date,” Lawson said.

In an email statement, DMV said its lawyers are reviewing the documents and that it “respects and continues to fully support the rights of all voters.”

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