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Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach

(Cross-posted from Facing South, the blog of the Institute for Southern Studies)

By Chris Kromm

This week, officials at the North Carolina State Board of Elections announced they had discovered possible evidence of widespread voter fraud in the battleground state.

By cross-checking North Carolina voter rolls with those in 28 other states, leaders of the board told state lawmakers they had found 35,750 records of people who voted in North Carolina and whose first name, last name and date of birth matched people who had voted in other states. More surprisingly, it also revealed 765 North Carolina voters in 2012 whose last four Social Security digits also matched those of people who voted in other states that year.

The announcement fueled news headlines and outrage from North Carolina politicians, including legislators on an elections oversight committee who said the findings affirmed the need for voting restrictions passed by the General Assembly in 2013. House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger issued a joint statement hailing the “newly discovered, alarming evidence of voter error, fraud.”

State Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope said the report showed fraud “represents a significant threat” to elections and applauded his party’s efforts “to protect the integrity of the ballot box” — although measures such as voter ID, which addresses voter impersonation, would have no effect on voting in multiple states.

What the North Carolina election officials didn’t discuss is who had conducted the checks, and when or why the decision had been made to undertake them. They also didn’t mention the results of similar checks done in other states, which have led to only a handful of cases even being considered for prosecution. Read More

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 Read More

“Direct”…”defensive”…”authoritative”…and “scripted” are just some of the words being used to describe President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney following the first presidential debate.

And while political pundits are talking about who won and who lost Wednesday’s war of words, don’t bother asking Gary Bartlett for his take.

The Executive Director for the N.C. State Board of Elections is spending every waking moment to make sure this year’s elections go smoothly. That means testing voting equipment, training precinct officials, processing an estimated 750,000 new voter registration applications, and getting early voting up and running by October 18th.

He anticipates voter turnout this presidential election year between 68% and 70%.

Gary Bartlett joins us this weekend on News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon to talk about the SBOE’s behind-the-scenes work, including investigating claims of dead people who are still registered to vote in North Carolina.

For a preview of Bartlett’s radio interview, click below:

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