North Carolina boards of elections are being inundated with public records requests that could take weeks to fulfill. Officials suspect these could be part of a coordinated effort to derail elections operations ahead of the midterms.
Patrick Gannon with the North Carolina State Board of Elections says his inbox has been piling up with emails from county election directors seeking guidance in handling an influx of requests related to the 2020 election.
“We often get sort of cut-and-paste language requests from multiple individuals," says Gannon. "I think what happens is somebody posts something on social media and asks people to request certain information.”
Gannon says elections officials have received significantly more of these requests this year than in any prior election. Some are even coming from out of state.
One of the most popular requests is for poll tapes — receipts that are printed from each piece of voting equipment during every election. All of these have to be compiled and scanned. Gannon says that can be a burden for county boards, some of which may only have one or two employees.
“We feel like it's sort of a denial-of-service attack, where we are being inundated with these requests that we have to fulfill under the law," says Gannon. "And it takes time away from the duties and responsibilities that we have to do in order to be adequately prepared for the upcoming election.”
Gannon says he's advising local boards that state law requires them to fulfill the requests “as promptly as possible.” In some cases, that could mean after the midterms.