Be sure to check out this morning’s edition of Chris Fitzsimon’s “Monday numbers” column today in which he examines the politically-motivated rush to judgment by conservative lawmakers on the matter of recent “voter fraud” allegations. And in case you missed it, the Charlotte Observer had a good editorial on the subject over the weekend.
As both posts note, the breathless claims of Phil Berger and Thom Tillis are as off-base as the monster voter suppression law the two rammed through last year. This is from the editorial:
“’We have to ensure this is what happened, and it wasn’t an error on someone’s part,’” [State Board of Election Director Kim] Strach said.
She’s right – and after that, the state needs to determine when the possible fraud occurred and how it might be stopped. Sounds obvious, but that’s not how Republicans approached the issue of voter fraud before passing their restrictive voting law last year. If they had studied the problem, they would’ve learned that voter fraud rarely occurs at the polls. It happens during voter registration and with absentee ballots (as is likely with the last week’s cases). Then lawmakers could’ve crafted a law that addressed those problems with measures such as requiring new N.C. voters to provide a former address, so that they can contact other states and get the paperwork up to date.
The reason that kind of law never arrived: Republicans were hardly interested in making it harder to commit voter fraud. They wanted to make it harder for their opponents’ supporters to vote, so lawmakers required photo IDs and eliminated voting conveniences that Democrats largely took advantage of each election.
Now they may have backed into some cases of actual fraud. Or they may not have. As Strach completes her investigation, we’ll learn if and how and when double voting happened. Then legislators can do what they didn’t do last time – pass a law that stops people from voting illegally, instead of one that suppresses the legal ballots.”