Publisher's note: This post, by Andy Jackson, was originally published in Civitas's online edition.
The NC State Board of Elections released a report detailing 570 cases
of suspected election fraud that the board has referred to prosecutors:
- "In North Carolina, elections violations are neither widespread nor non-existent," the board said in an explainer document provided with compilations of the cases. "They involve a very small fraction of those who participate in elections. Elections violations are most often isolated events that are typically not coordinated and are not confined to any single political party."
Convicted felons voting illegally while still serving their sentence is by far the most common form of election fraud the SBE reported, accounting for 480 of the 570 cases in the report. That kind of fraud is by far the easiest to detect since it simply requires matching people on the list of those who voted with people on the list of those serving out their felony sentences.
(North Carolina could have a similarly easy mechanism to detect some foreign nationals voting in our elections, but a bill to remove foreigners from our voting rolls
was vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper
Detecting other forms of election fraud is more difficult because doing so requires either active attempts by election officials and prosecutors to find them or taking fraud allegations from citizens seriously. Such cases are often difficult to detect and are almost certainly more widespread than SBE officials are willing to admit. For example, the alleged ballot harvesting by McCrae Dowless for Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris in the 2018 election became a cause celebre, but we now know that another group, the Bladen County Improvement Association, paid other people who were conducting similar activities
with money from the Democratic party and that such activities have likely been going on since at least 2010
Then there is the 2018 memo in which the SBE encouraged local elections boards to ignore red flags
that absentee ballot fraud may be taking place.
The recent report by the SBE is an encouraging sign that they are starting to take election fraud seriously. However, it is also an indication that they and prosecutors still have a ways to go to effectively combat it.