— Jim Morrill (@jimmorrill) November 29, 2018
Charlotte Observer editorial: Aha! NC voter fraud does exist. (Just not the kind you think):
First, what we’ve said: Voter ID laws primarily deal with protecting elections from in-person voter fraud, meaning someone going to a precinct and attempting to vote as someone else. That kind of voter fraud is rare — in 2016, the state Board of Elections found that 4,769,640 votes were cast in November and that one (1) would probably have been avoided with a voter ID law.
What may have happened in the 9th District — and specifically Bladen County — is a different kind of fraud. There, according to two editorial board sources, the board of elections is investigating whether an individual gained access to absentee ballots for the November election, perhaps through voters who requested them from the county or state. Those ballots were filled out for Mark Harris, who defeated Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes. The number of absentee ballots cast in Bladen was less than Harris’ overall margin of victory.
Sources say that same individual was investigated two years ago for similar allegations, and as WFAE’s Steve Harrison reports, Harris won a startling 96 percent of the Bladen absentee vote in his 2018 primary victory over then incumbent Robert Pittenger. There are several questions to be answered about what happened there, including whether the Harris campaign knew of the work potentially being done on its behalf.
This much we do know about absentee voter fraud: Experts say it’s a far easier and more frequent way to compromise the integrity of elections. One exhaustive study of 12 years of elections in five states found only 10 cases of alleged voter impersonation, but 491 prosecutions for absentee ballot fraud. That’s also not a terribly large number given the hundreds of millions of votes cast in that time period, but it does show that if lawmakers want to attack voter fraud, they’re aiming at the wrong kind.