It’s tough to know, on this side of the looking glass, which of the horrendous commands emanating from the federal government will be taken seriously, which will be glossed over as the lunatic ravings of a bunch of crazed old white men, and which will be actively fought against in this era of shameful complicity and impotent rage.

So when the federal government’s nastiest enforcement arm, ICE, in conjunction with its most reactionary department, Attorney General Jeff Session’s Justice Department, sends word to North Carolina that they want to take a look at election and voter records for some of the state’s poorest — and blackest — counties, we’ve got to wonder if our GOP-heavy state government will fight for the rights of its people or roll over and play lapdog.

The federal subpoena, delivered to the NC Board of Elections, wanted more than 2.3 million “traceable” ballots, showing the way people voted, in a request of more than 15 million documents in all.[pullquote]Against smart money, the state BOE pushed back against the subpoena, quashing it until after the election.[/pullquote]

Speculation in the media posits that this order came about because earlier this summer, 19 foreign nationals were indicted by a grand jury for illegally voting in the 2016 election. They await trial now. ICE, incidentally, has also requested eight years’ worth of records from the NC DMV.

Against smart money, the state BOE pushed back against the subpoena, quashing it until after the election — January — and sustaining their insistence upon redacting specific voter information, that is, who everybody voted for.

A spokesman for the BOE told a Reuters reporter: “We do not know the impetus for these subpoenas.”

We’ll give kudos to the bipartisan BOE, which voted unanimously to protect the sanctity of the state’s elections. These days, when a state agency actually does their job, it merits a full-on editorial.

And while we’re at it we’ll remind everybody that the current BOE structure — an arm of state government that is actually functioning properly in these dysfunctional times — will be challenged by a proposed amendment that will be on the ballots in November, combining the ethics and elections boards. The reason to vote against it is as good as any: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix.

Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.

We believe that reporting can save the world.

The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.

All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.

⚡ Join The Society ⚡