Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: NC legislature -- Stop rigging state's elections

Posted April 25

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A CBC Editorial: Tuesday, April 25, 2017; Editorial # 8152
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

No sooner did the 2016 Election Day vote count end, revealing a 10,000 deficit for incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory, than his organization and the North Carolina Republican Party launched a campaign to claim the loss was the result of wide-spread voter fraud.

For a month, lawyers for McCrory and the state GOP produced names and filed complaints with local boards of elections listing hundreds of voters they alleged shouldn’t have been permitted to cast ballots.

With little to substantiate the allegations, but still raising questions “about the voting process,” McCrory grudgingly conceded on Dec. 5, 2016 that his opponent Roy Cooper did, in fact, capture more legitimate votes.

While that concession ended the fruitless voter fraud quest of the McCrory campaign and state Republican Party, it didn’t end things for Democracy North Carolina -- a non-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization – or the N.C. Board of Elections.

A report issued last week by Democracy North Carolina unearthed deeply disturbing evidence of intimidation, harassment and false accusations of illegal voting and criminal backgrounds of hundreds of law abiding citizens.

The organization interviewed more than 100 people and concluded that there was a “coordinated legal and publicity crusade to disrupt, and potentially corrupt, the elections process with what amounted to fraudulent charges of voter fraud.”

The legislative leadership is looking to work a Republican election-rigging trifecta:

  • Gerrymander congressional and legislative districts;
  • Impose laws aimed at reducing the turnout of young people and minorities;
  • Cry “fraud” when those few remaining elections don’t turn out as intended.

The allegations raised in the Democracy North Carolina report are serious and warrant further investigation. Additionally, four Guilford County voters filed a defamation lawsuit against the person who accused them of voter fraud. Twenty voters in 16 counties have also written to the State Board of Elections saying voter fraud claims filed against them were false and had no evidence to back up the charge. They want the state to change the challenge process.

Local district attorneys, the state attorney general’s office as well as federal prosecutors in North Carolina can find plenty of legitimate allegations in the report worth pursuit.

So, how clean is voting in North Carolina? Well, if the folks at the N.C. Board of Elections were selling soap, they’d be able to match the famous claim for Ivory: “99 44⁄100% Pure.”

A thorough examination of the conduct of the November 2016 election revealed that among the nearly 4.8 million ballots recorded, it appears 508 were cast (0.0158 percent or about 1 one-hundredths-of-a-percent) by ineligible voters.

It is a notable and commendable achievement by our state and local boards of elections, which must rely largely upon volunteers, and operate on shoe-string budgets under intense scrutiny.

The Republicans are looking to create a process, in a bill just vetoed by Gov. Cooper, where they are in charge each election year. They aren’t seeking to improve the elections process, rather to rig it. Gov. Cooper’s veto of the legislation should stand.

The legislature’s done enough damage already. Leave our election laws alone.

2016 N.C. ELECTION BY THE NUMBERS

  • 4,769,640: Ballots cast out of 6,914,248 registered voters
  • 508: "Ineligible" ballots cast
  • 0.01% (one hundredth of 1 percent): "Ineligible" voters
  • 428: Ballots cast by legal voters not counted on Election Day
  • 0.01% (one hundredth of 1 percent): "Eligible" ballots not counted on Election Day
  • 0: Number of statewide races decided by 500 votes or less
  • 5: Average "ineligible" voters per county. ("Ineligible" does not equate to "fraud")
9 Comments

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  • Tom Harris Apr 26, 12:03 a.m.
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    @Michael Bawden - again, for the record, Dems had nothing to do with the bill. Repubs passed it because they thought Kay Hagan was elected on Obama's coattails in 2008.

  • Michael Bawden Apr 25, 3:36 p.m.
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    Sorry Teddy, that was for Mr Harris

  • Michael Bawden Apr 25, 3:35 p.m.
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    View quoted thread



    Teddy, you are right, Rs did eliminate straight party ticket.
    My point was the democrats separated ONLY the presidential race from voting straight party ticket. So if you only voted checking straight party, you did not cast a vote for president. There were a lot of upset voters when fhey realized they had not voted for president.

  • Teddy Fowler Apr 25, 10:01 a.m.
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    Nobody really believes that only 508 votes were cast illegally.... you have to be really naive to believe something like that....

  • Tom Harris Apr 25, 9:54 a.m.
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    @Michael Bawden - for the record, elimination of straight party voting in presidential elections was passed in 2012/2013, when both chambers of the NCGA were Republican-controlled. Facts matter.

  • Matt Smithe Apr 25, 9:44 a.m.
    user avatar

    WRAL editorial page beating the dead horse with their opinion again? I wonder why it is that they never allow for a non-liberal viewpoint to be published? If your liberal ideas are so correct and true then it should be no problem defending them. Right?

  • Rick Edwards Apr 25, 9:25 a.m.
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    So, according to this, illegal aliens voting is not fraud?
    Ineligible voters are committing fraud when they cast a vote

  • Jeff Freuler Apr 25, 8:26 a.m.
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    There's absolutely nothing wrong with requiring someone to have a proper ID to vote. It's not discriminatory nor is it racist for someone to have to produce an ID to vote.

  • Michael Bawden Apr 25, 6:00 a.m.
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    Democrats perfected gerrymandering. Democrats REMOVED party affiliation from judges after R judges started winning elections. Democrats separated the PRESIDENT from the straight voting party ticket because Reagan had big coat tails. Paid a R congress member money to switch parties. Sorry. Democrats perfected the "art of one party rule". And the N&O was in lockstep with the democrats.