Subpoena for Tyrrell voting records

Published 3:21 pm Thursday, September 13, 2018

A U.S. District Court subpoena issued last week brought a quick response from Tyrrell County manager-attorney David Clegg, questioning whether the subpoena had been legally served.

The demand for masses of records in the county board of elections office was sent out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

It asked the elections board and its director, Debbie Swain, to deliver to a grand jury sitting in Wilmington by September 25, “any and all poll books, e-poll books, voting records and/or voter authorization documents, and executed official ballots (including absentee official ballots), that were submitted to, filed by, received by, and/or maintained by the Tyrrell County Board of Elections from August 30, 2013 through August 30, 2018.”

“The Elections Director and I have been directly involved in this matter throughout this week,” Clegg stated on Sept. 7. “All counties in the Federal Eastern District [44 counties] received a subpoena.”

Clegg explained that the State Board of Elections was also served “and acknowledged the magnitude of the request, limited resources for compliance, and the short time ordered to comply, particularly when resources should be directed at preparations for the November elections.”

Tyrrell County provided input to the state elections board, which voted Friday to seek the state attorney general’s assistance to quash the subpoena, and they requested the same action be taken on behalf of the counties.

Subsequently, the U.S. Attorney’s office delayed the compliance date from Sept. 25 until “early next year” to avoid interference with the ongoing election cycle, a news release stated.

No reason was given for the subpoena, but the U.S. Attorney last month announced charges against 19 non-U.S. citizens for illegal voting, and more than half of them were indicted through the Wilmington grand jury, the Associated Press reported.