This needs to be checked out. North Carolina Democrats are alleging wrongdoing in a House race in North Carolina (between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready in the 9th Congressional District). Left-wing media across the country have taken up the cry that Republicans are perpetrating election fraud.
The allegation should be checked out in any case. But in this case, it is almost laughable to see the blame for the situation being hung on Republicans, against whom there is no evidence at all.
Republicans in North Carolina appear to have engaged in the biggest voter fraud operation I've ever heard of. And there's absolutely nothing the state's Voter ID law would have done to prevent it. https://t.co/p1nOJ0cQne
— Judah Maccabeets🍝 (@AdamSerwer) December 2, 2018
There is strong evidence emerging that Republicans stole a Congressional seat in North Carolina by destroying, falsifying, and manipulating absentee ballots.
This is an affront to democracy.
They can’t be allowed to get away with it.https://t.co/42DQXbh9Ox
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) December 1, 2018
It would be laughable if not for the fact that it’s probably the actions of a left-wing voter activist group that set up the conditions Democrats are now interpreting as vote suppression.
Here is the substance of the allegation, as reported by NPR:
In a letter sent to the board of elections, North Carolina’s Democratic Party made claims of wrongdoing. The Washington Post reported that the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement has already collected at least six sworn statements from voters in Bladen County alleging that people came to their doors and urged them to hand over their absentee ballots.
In Bladen and Robeson counties, some 3,400 absentee ballots failed to be mailed back to election officials, according to NPR member station WFAE.
That equates to 40 percent of mail-in ballots in Bladen County and 64 percent in Robeson, according to a Raleigh News & Observer analysis.
That’s an unusually high number of unreturned ballots.
Gerry Cohen, an elections expert in North Carolina, told WFAE that when people go through the process to request an absentee ballot, they often return them. “The return rate is usually about 80 or 90 percent,” he said.
Democrats apparently suggest that this was done by people who wanted to suppress the minority vote. NPR, at least, is suggesting that:
November’s unreturned ballots were disproportionately associated with minorities, according to The News & Observer:
More than 40 percent of the ballots requested by African Americans and more than 60 percent of those requested by American Indians did not make it back to elections officials. For white voters, that figure was just 17 percent.
However, there is good reason to suspect that a disproportionate number of mail-in ballot requests in North Carolina were made in response to deceptive mailers from a Soros-funded group called the Center for Voter Information (CVI).
I wrote in November about the involvement of the CVI and an associated group, the Voter Participation Center (VPC), in the Florida election. Billionaire activist Tom Steyer was also funding this effort. In that post, I cited the work of A.P. Dillon, who blogs at Liberty Lady 1885, and who posted an article in October 2018 about the widespread deceptive mailing campaign by CVI in North Carolina.
Dillon describes what was happening in the Tar Heel State:
According to an article at ABC 11, a Washington D.C. based non-profit called Center for Voter Information is sending North Carolina voters pre-printed absentee ballot applications with paid return postage envelopes.
The group claims to be “non-partisan” but ABC 11 cites Gary Sims, director of the Wake County Board of Elections practically laughing [sic] at that claim.
VPC, the associated “activist” group, had done the same thing in 2016:
As cited by Influence Watch, in 2016 North Carolina citizens were blanketed with 700,000 similar voter registration campaign by VPC.
“In North Carolina, local reporters wrote about the deceptive nature of Voter Participation Center’s mailers: “It is important to know while the form looks official and claims it needs your attention right away, it is not from any government agency.”
Local North Carolina media outlet WFMY reported on the deceptive nature of these mailings which claimed the recipient might not be registered at all and warned voters that these forms were not from any official state elections agency.
Moreover, the same groups, CVI and VPC, were caught this year – 2018 – in Florida and New York sending mailers that (a) targeted people and even animals who aren’t eligible to vote, for a variety of reasons such as being dead, being minors, or being, well, non-human; and (b) left the same deceptive impression that the mailers were connected to government election agencies. (See the links in my November post.)
Leaving that impression about the VPC and CVI would set less-savvy voters up for alleged incidents like this:
In one affidavit received by the board, a woman named Emma Shipman said she was visited by a person who claimed to be gathering absentee ballots, WFAE reported.
Shipman said she filled out the form while the woman waited outside. “She took the ballot and put it in an envelope and never sealed it or asked me to sign it. Then she left.”
Collecting absentee ballots by a third party is illegal. But, Shipman said, “Because of the way she presented herself, I thought she was legitimate.”
If the CVI sends you a ballot application, and then shows up to collect your ballot, you might well believe it’s all on the up and up. One thing that’s guaranteed, however: it’s not a Republican who would show up to collect a ballot mailed to someone on the CVI mailing list.
Now consider that VPC sent 700,000 mailers in North Carolina in 2016. Presumably, CVI sent at least that many in 2018. That’s a lot of mailers. A relatively healthy response would result in tens of thousands of ballots being sent out because of those mailers by the legitimate election authorities.
But if some of those ballots weren’t legitimately requested by ordinary – genuine – eligible voters, any given congressional district could well see “lower than expected” ballot returns.
It’s a very reasonable assumption that at least some of the ballots requested in response to CVI mailers never made it to real, live, genuine, eligible voters. Some number of ballots could well have been requested on behalf of non-existent voters by third parties.
That possibility simply cannot be excluded, because there is no accountability in the sequence of events. An activist group mails out ballot-request solicitations; some people respond by using them to request ballots; the actual election officials mail out ballots; and then we have no idea who has handled a mail-in ballot – including who the “voter” actually was – before it gets to the election authorities for counting.
Remember, the person this defrauds is the honest, legitimate voter.
And in the NC-9 case, this isn’t just ballot-harvesting. It’s deceptive “appearance of fraud” creation, exploiting the lack of accountability now baked into our voting systems.
The vulnerabilities of the system can be exploited for either purpose at this point: to introduce ballots fraudulently, and to make it seem as if ballots have been improperly suppressed.
North Carolina needs to follow through on this and find out, as best it can, what happened. In the meantime, knock off the allegations about what Republicans did. There’s zero evidence Republicans did anything.