“Voter fraud defamation case heard at NC Supreme Court could have implications for 2024 elections”


A timely constitutional question, as the 2024 elections ramp up: Should people who falsely accuse North Carolina voters of committing voter fraud be immune from being sued for defamation, if they go through the state’s formal process for making the accusations?

The North Carolina Supreme Court considered the issue Thursday in a case that focuses on just a few voters — but which could also have significant ramifications for how future allegations of voter fraud are handled in this closely watched swing state.

The lawsuit dates to 2016, when backers of then-Gov. Pat McCrory’s reelection campaign falsely accused dozens of North Carolinians of committing voter fraud. McCrory, a Republican, lost to now-Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, by a razor-thin margin of just a few thousand votes. The fraud allegations came just days after the election and were intended to potentially sway the results. But they were thrown out as baseless by elections officials who had been appointed by McCrory himself, and a recount confirmed Cooper’s victory.

The case heard Thursday doesn’t involve McCrory personally. It’s about whether his lawyers and other supporters behind the voter fraud claims can be sued for defamation by the wrongfully accused voters they named. The voters won at trial, and then won a partial victory in the state Court of Appeals, before the case went up to the Supreme Court.

Politically connected lawyers and operatives packed the high court Thursday as lawyers presented oral arguments.

Based on the questioning from justices, the Supreme Court appears primed to reverse those prior decisions and rule in favor of the GOP operatives. No matter how the justices rule, it could impact the 2024 elections and their aftermath in North Carolina.

Share this: