• 45°

Invitation to voter fraud?

RALEIGH — Not long before he left the position, former state Elections Director Gary Bartlett warned that one consequence of a voter ID requirement in North Carolina would be a shift toward more absentee voting.
Bartlett is probably right, and not only because individuals will look at absentee voting as a way to keep from being turned away from the polls due to someone questioning a voter ID.
Legislation currently being considered by state lawmakers to require North Carolina voters produce a picture ID at the polls actually encourages more absentee voting.
It does so by, among other things, allowing the state Board of Elections to produce request forms for absentee ballots online, which could be reproduced. To get an absentee ballot under current law, a voter or near relative must mail a handwritten request form or request a county-generated form, which is illegal to copy.
Bartlett, back in March, said he expected voter organizing groups to turn to the use of absentee ballots in response to a voter ID law.

That is exactly what occurred in Indiana after it adopted a voter ID requirement. Absentee voting increased by more than 20 percent.
Nationwide, the use of absentee ballots has been rising steadily for decades as more states, like North Carolina, have allowed no-excuse absentee balloting. Absentee ballots now account for almost 20 percent of all votes.
Of course, the voter ID requirement being considered by North Carolina lawmakers is supposed to be about stopping voter fraud.
What makes the absentee ballot changes in the legislation so troubling is that they do the opposite. They increase the likelihood that North Carolina will see a major voting fraud scandal in the future.

The reasons are obvious.

The easiest means to try to throw an election is not organizing some vast conspiracy where hundreds of people somehow divine who has voted and who has not, and then vote in the names of those who have not.
It is getting your hands on hundreds of absentee ballots, perhaps sent to people who live in an institutional setting like a nursing home, and filling out those ballots and forging the signatures.
The voter ID legislation includes safeguards to try to keep that from happening, but they are easily avoided by anyone with the will to do so. Just like voting in the name of another under current law, doing so is a felony.
The notion that the most serious threat for voter fraud comes from absentee ballots is not just my opinion.
In 2005, the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, led by Jimmy Carter and James Baker III, concluded, “Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”
But you don’t hear many of these groups pushing for voter ID laws talk much about absentee ballots.
In fact, none of them seem to have a problem with state lawmakers loosening absentee ballot rules.
I wonder why.

Scott Mooneyham writes about state government for Capitol Press Association.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

County government losing assistant manager, social services director

Education

RSS will collect information on full K-5 return

Nation/World

Barrett emerges as court favorite; Trump to pick by weekend

Local

Tillis says Trump will extend offshore drilling pause to NC

Coronavirus

12% of all Rowan COVID-19 cases currently active

Crime

Blotter: Concord man faces drug charges after hotel disturbance call

Crime

Rockwell teen charged with rape of a 14-year-old girl

Crime

Police: Charlotte man caught stealing funeral home employee’s truck

Local

Rowan Social Services director takes new job in New Hanover County; Heidrick to retire

Ask Us

Ask us: Will masks be required in Rowan County polling locations?

Elections

Political Notebook: Tillis, Cunningham differ on when to fill SCOTUS vacancy

Local

Local state trooper, firefighter returns home after Army deployment

Local

Blast from the past: Concordia Lutheran Church opens time capsule from previous century

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged with damaging video camera, tresspassing

Crime

North Carolina man faces over 300 sex-related charges

News

Coastal flooding along Outer Banks closes roads

Nation/World

GOP hopeful Supreme Court battle will help shift election

Education

‘Better chance of succeeding’: Moody, colleagues reflect on tenure, retirement

News

Collecting garbage: Locals work to beautify High Rock Lake during Clean Sweep

Coronavirus

Salisbury man grateful parents’ story has impacted many

News

Celtics take big lead and hold on to top Heat 117-106

Business

Downtown Salisbury ‘moving swiftly’ with developers interested in Empire Hotel

Business

From fantasy to fact, Cherry builds a Hobbit House at his Treesort

Business

Biz Roundup: CSP seeking to hire 100 new employees for plant expansion