09/12/18 — Board of Elections votes to challenge voting records subpoena

View Archive

Board of Elections votes to challenge voting records subpoena

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 12, 2018 5:50 AM

The Wayne County Board of Elections has questioned the timing and motivation behind a federal subpoena of local and statewide voting records.

The board voted on Tuesday to authorize the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to represent its interest as it seeks to have the subpoenas quashed.

The unanimous vote includes a caveat: The board also reserved the right to look after its best interest if its members feel the State Board fails to do so.

While questioning the subpoena, board members said they did not have any problems providing the federal court with documents already available to the public.

However, they agreed that Wayne Country Elections Director Dane Beavers, who is custodian of the records, would have to seek board approval before handing over any documents. Providing some of the documents subpoenaed could actually result in Beavers being charged with a misdemeanor, Wayne County Attorney Borden Parker said.

Before the vote, board Chairman Doug Wiggins asked Parker to explain the subpoena and to offer suggestions.

Parker called the subpoena "way overly broad."

"They have asked us to provide things that, one, I don't think the law allows us to provide by subpoena," he said. "You have to have a court order.

"They have also asked for lots of things that would cost Wayne County a substantial amount of money to provide, if anybody made us comply with the subpoena."

Parker said the federal assistant district attorney told him the court would try to make the scope of the documents requested smaller.

Parker said he also was told the county could redact things it did feel like the federal court should have.

Redacting would cost even more than giving the federal attorney's office what it has asked for, he said.

The board suggested that the court should have to absorb that cost.

The subpoena also seeks documents already destroyed as part of a regular schedule, Parker said.