Fraud cloud over NC 9

By Steve Woodward

Bladen County has a checkered history as a vote fraud hotbed in North Carolina. Democrats have complained about it for nearly a decade because they rarely win in the 9th District, which includes Bladen. But at least one Republican acknowledges a similar trend.

“Over that period of time authorities have failed to get to the bottom of that problem,” State Senator Dan Bishop said during a recent news conference covered by Carolina Journal. “The problem is not being solved by prosecutorial authority so far, and certainly not by the state board of elections over three administrations” spanning Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue, Republican Pat McCrory, and sitting Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

For now, the final count in the race for the U.S. House seat in the 9th finds Republican Mark Harris, a Baptist pastor, holding a 905-vote lead on Democrat Dan McCready, but the state refuses to certify the result because a few volunteers came forward with stories of absentee ballot mishandling. Harris could use some divine intervention about now.

The alleged perpetrator is a Bladen County political activist, an otherwise obscure soil and water conservation supervisor and convicted felon, Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr., who has worked in at least five campaigns since 2010, The Washington Post reports.

National media outlets have been paying attention, presumably because they salivate at the possibility that another reliably Republican House seat will flip to a Democrat. The right-leaning The Wall Street Journal editorial board has taken notice of the drama in western North Carolina, even while scolding “Democrats (who often) insist that vote fraud is a myth”:

“Forty percent of the mail-in ballots for Bladen County were never returned, and it was 62% for neighboring Robeson County. That compares with 24% district-wide. So one suspicion is that Mr. Dowless could have perhaps destroyed hundreds of Democratic ballots.”

The word “perhaps” hangs over the resulting count because, ultimately, investigators have only the claims of volunteer absentee-ballot collectors recruited by Dowless — and voters who say their ballots were handed over to these collectors — as evidence of fraud. Unlike Broward County, Fla., mysterious boxes of ballots, mailed in or cast on election day, have yet to materialize in Bladen or Robeson.

The WSJ’s editorial did not conclude that fraud occurred in NC’s 9th. But it rightly shed light on the perils of making fraud easier than it should be.

“One lesson from this mess is the folly of pushing to expand ballot access without regard for ballot integrity. North Carolina implemented ‘no excuse’ early voting in 2000, which was expanded in 2002 to mail-in ballots. Previously, a voter had to demonstrate he was sick or would be out of town.”

The point is well taken and should be reviewed thoroughly by the state’s election officials, especially given North Carolina’s growing national reputation as the home of election chaos. And if you think court ordered re-districting wreaked havoc this election cycle, TheHill.com reports there looms a daunting worst-case scenario if the state decides a new election between Harris and McCready in the 9th is not necessary.

Observes TheHill.com: “The U.S. House of Representatives, which has the ultimate authority over congressional elections, can also call for a special election, which would trigger a new filing process, to be followed by a primary and general election (our emphasis added).”

If this happens, not only will Mark Harris be missing as the elected representative of his district on Capitol Hill, our state will have no elected representative in the halls of Congress for the foreseeable future.

The state board of elections holds an evidentiary hearing on Dec. 21.

Voters’ IQ welcomes voter ID

North Carolina’s General Assembly did its job this week. It passed legislation that is needed and overdue. This November, ballots will contain a proposal to amend the state constitution so that every citizen is required to present a valid photo ID in order to cast votes at a polling place.

Voter ID requirements were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court a decade ago. If voters approve of the measure, first passed by the House and immediately thereafter by the Senate, North Carolina will become the 34th state requiring voter ID at polls.

Moore County Representative Jamie Boles (NC-52) led the charge to advance the bill to the full House, where it gained momentum.

Next, expect Democrats to dust off their tired arguments that voter ID is a concoction to deter minorities and the elderly from voting. Former Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder considered voter ID a vile, racist step solely taken to “disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious rights.”

This heated rhetoric might have had teeth a century ago when a drivers’ license was some flimsy paper product, easily distorted, in an age when few held IDs or ever imagined driving a car. But this is 2018. Digital technology can produce slick, fraud-proof ID cards efficiently and cheaply. In fact, Republican state legislators say they will see to it that anyone who needs an ID card will receive one at no cost. Someone willing to make the effort to vote should be inclined to make a similar effort to secure an ID. It has many practical uses beyond the voting booth.

Boles’ challenger to his House seat, Democrat Lowell Simon, wasted no time raising red flags about voter ID. You would think Democrat voters would be offended by the inclination of their candidates to assume they are too lazy, stupid or elderly to figure out how to acquire an ID. But that’s their fallback position every time this issue comes up.

“I would be looking for ways to make it easier for people to vote,” Simon told The Pilot.

This follows the warped logic on the Left that we should be looking for ways to make it easier for families flooding our southern U.S. border to enter the country without documentation. It’s about compassion, don’t you know. Law and order is such a callous pursuit, after all.

Democrat Helen Probst Mills, who is running against Republican incumbent Tom McInnis for the District 25 NC Senate seat, also seems to doubt the intelligence of her supporters. She complained to The Pilot: “We are asking voters to approve a substantial change without providing them with enough information to make an informed decision.”

What additional information shall we provide? It’s strikingly obvious. If you want to exercise the privilege of voting, present an ID and confirm that you are eligible.

Unlike Democrats, Republican leaders are confident that their voters are smart, savvy and pragmatic.