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Worries about voting are causing a frenzy in government offices. What are they?

State Rep. Adam Morgan has expressed concern about noncitizens receiving voter registration forms. But some see the issue as a campaign tactic. (Travis Bell/STATEHOUSE CAROLINA)



A viral post on social media. A letter from the governor. A controversial battle for SC Congressional District 4.

Do non-citizens in South Carolina receive voter registration forms or rejection forms?

Last week, allegations surfaced via social media platform The family member of the person who received the forms contacted S.C. state Rep. Adam Morgan, chairman of the hardline House Freedom Caucus and candidate for the Fourth Congressional District.

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Within a week, Morgan had a series of viral posts, which racked up more than 400,000 views, a letter from himself and members of the South Carolina Freedom Caucus “ordering” Governor Henry McMaster to investigate the office, and a letter back from McMaster, in which he Morgan urged to provide evidence. to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

This has led to a wave of accusations and finger-pointing as to who is responsible. Some wonder: who is that person? And is this really happening in South Carolina? Others call it a political stunt or campaign tactic.

Morgan, who is running against incumbent William Timmons in a heated race for Congress, initially posted a photo of a voter registration form on X on April 29, along with a message about voter registration forms given to non-citizens.

“Is the federal government providing voter registration forms to non-citizens,” Morgan’s post read. “Yes, at least in SC. A refugee sent us this form, which she received in a package at the Social Security office in Spartanburg. She asked, “Why are they giving these to non-citizens?”

Morgan updated the post in a thread to clarify that the form was provided by the South Carolina Medicaid office, and not the Social Security Office. The photo of the form, which he called a voter registration form, is actually an unfilled voter registration form. You can find and print the form online. The forms are distributed to those receiving government assistance and they are asked if they want to vote.

The form does not ask whether the person is a U.S. citizen.

He later reported that the agency had also sent them more copies of forms. “None of this is coincidental,” Morgan tweeted.

In an interview with The State, Morgan said the noncitizen was from Ukraine and lives with her sister in Boiling Springs in Spartanburg County. After going to the doctor’s office, she was given the form, and she then gave it to her sister, confused as to what to do with it.

“When you read the form, it doesn’t say: are you a citizen or not, it just says: do you want to register or not?” Morgan said. “So they thought they had to fill out the form and we’re confused by it.”

Her sister returned the form to the Health and Human Services Office, Morgan said, but at a later date HHS sent more copies of these forms to the noncitizen and her sister. Then the nurse contacted Morgan.

“It’s really just bad for everyone,” Morgan said. “It is confusing for refugees if we leave our system where there are potential areas of abuse or fraud.”

Morgan said the office policy stories are “all over the place” about how these forms are sent or distributed.

“It’s very vague that they sent it multiple times, that’s the part that doesn’t pass the smell test,” Morgan said.

HHS released a statement saying that the state’s Medicaid agency is required by Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to provide voter registration information to the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The statement went on to say that the agency does not believe they should have a role in voter registration, but without the legal authority to make this change, they remain “required by federal law to submit voter registration application forms with every Medicaid application to provide.”

“SCDHHS does not process or mail voter registration forms for Medicaid applicants or members,” the statement reads. “Voter registration applications, if applicable, are processed by the South Carolina Election Commission. SCDHHS is aware of reports circulating on social media that an individual who applied for Medicaid coverage as a refugee has received a voter registration denial form from the South Carolina Election Commission.

The statement said Morgan had no contact with Robert Kerr regarding the subject.

“SCDHHS is investigating what was reported on social media. The agency encourages anyone who believes voter registration information has been improperly distributed by SCDHHS to contact the agency’s Fraud Section at www.scdhhs.gov/fraud.”

Morgan later posted a letter to updating forms to “include a citizenship question as required by state law,” and investigating “HHS knowingly sends these to noncitizens,” according to the X message.

“I think the governor’s office can do that because it’s their agency,” Morgan told The State. “Excited to see what happens from the investigation, the governor is taking it seriously and ensuring we have the safest elections possible.”

McMaster responded within hours requesting that Morgan provide SLED with all evidence, documents and information in his possession.

McMaster’s letter ended with “These are very serious allegations. Indeed, the integrity of our elections is a top priority. I ask that you give Chief (Mark) Keel your full and immediate attention.”

Morgan said Friday that the family met with SLED to discuss what happened “early next week.”

“You can ask SLED, ‘Hey, are you all meeting with a refugee family next week about this’ and they’ll say, ‘Yes, it’s an ongoing investigation’ and that will be proof that the refugee family exists and that we’re dealing with it to be busy. an investigation into it,” Morgan said.

On Monday, SLED did not confirm that there was an ongoing investigation. SLED issued a statement: “SLED has received the Governor’s letter to Representative Adam Morgan and will review the allegations.”

When the state asked him about evidence, Morgan said the only thing the family showed him were the forms, and that the family was looking for the office letterheads that were sent to them. He said the evidence consists of two people who saw the form and experienced the situation.

“The Election Commission and HHS are trying to say, ‘oh no, we have to do this and this is what we had to do,’ even though that’s now one eighty from when I talked to them the other day when they said, ‘No, this is what we’re sending not.’ And “This shouldn’t have happened,” Morgan said in an interview Friday.

At X, not everyone was equally sure that Morgan’s story was true.

“If your campaign stunt leads to SLED investigating you…” an X account following after the Freedom Caucus tweeted about the incident.

Chris Slick, an SC political strategist, tweeted: “Well, go ahead @SCFreedomCaucus cowboys. Cough up the name, @RepAdamMorgan, @evannewman_sc, @rpagescAnd @Jscottpace ?Who is the non-citizen? Where do they come from? Tell us.”

“The fact that someone says we’re lying about it means we literally have a meeting with SLED next week,” Morgan told The State. “SLED has already spoken to the refugee family. Whatever clown is pushing an election stunt is just ridiculous and frankly obnoxious and everything that is wrong with politics.”

At the end of his April 29 tweet, Morgan wrote: “We are about to pass a bill banning non-citizens from voting in SC elections! Stop this nonsense in your country!”

Nearly two days later, the House of Representatives passed Senate legislation banning noncitizens from voting in elections at any level in South Carolina. Morgan added this voice to the form issue.

“Many said this wasn’t a problem,” Morgan’s May 1 post read. “Then we discovered that government agencies were sending voter registration forms to non-citizens. These ‘non-issues’ are turning out to be increasingly bigger problems…’

However, the legislation was already in the works before last week’s events.

“It has nothing to do with what Adam Morgan did, I’m a little frustrated that they tried to make it about that because I don’t appreciate something that we’ve been working on for a number of months being hijacked in this intra-party . argument there in the House about the Freedom Caucus trying to politicize something that, by the way, wouldn’t have succeeded if Speaker Smith and the Republican leadership hadn’t pushed for it,” Sen. Josh Kimbrell, R-Spartanburg, sponsor of according to the legislation that the House has adopted.

Kimbrell said the legislation was designed to ensure that what California, New York, Washington DC, Vermont and other states have done would not happen in South Carolina, which extends the right to non-citizens to vote in municipal elections, mayoral races, school board races or others.

“Certain jurisdictions and courts have determined that every citizen is a floor and not a ceiling, so they just said only citizens could vote,” Kimbrell said. “This has been going on for weeks. We worked very hard to get it through the Senate. To say it has anything to do with Rep. Morgan’s letter to the governor about the Board of Elections is not true.”

Kimbrell added that he doesn’t believe the forms being distributed are a problem.

“That form is included with the medication forms,” Kimbrell said. I don’t see that as a problem at this point. That’s not what my amendment was about. My amendment was about preventing this from happening in the future. I think they took the opportunity to say, “Look what we’ve done.”