The investigation into the purported election fraud involving absentee ballots in North Carolina is still ongoing, with it now focusing on absentee ballots that were unreturned. The investigation is focusing on Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., a contractor for the Red Dome Group that paid her for “get out the vote” efforts in the 9th District — which Republican Mark Harris hired for “get out the vote” promotion in the 9th District. Harris unofficially won the election by 905 votes and by 60 percent of the Bladen County absentee vote, even though only 19 percent of voters identified as Republican.
Throughout this scandal there’s several main issues at play: the unusually high amount of absentee ballots that went unreturned; that Lisa Britt — stepdaughter of Dowless — collected both incomplete and completed votes (promising to fill them out), some of which were collected unsealed and not signed; that Dowess was paying his workers in cash and that his employees were on drugs while working; and that Bladen County counted the early votes before Election Day, which is illegal.
But unlike what most politicians are claiming, this isn’t a case of voter fraud. The whole concept of voter fraud is usually portrayed by Republicans as someone showing up at a polling location, presenting false ID and voting, thereby committing fraud. This is on-par with what Trump claimed in an interview with the Daily Caller:
The Republicans don’t win and that’s because of potentially illegal votes,” Trump complained. “When people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles. Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It’s really a disgrace what’s going on.
If you buy a box of cereal — you have a voter ID,” Trump continued. “They try to shame everybody by calling them racist, or calling them something, anything they can think of, when you say you want voter ID. But voter ID is a very important thing.
That’s not what happened in the 9th DIstrict, where an operation to collect ballots was paid for by the Republican campaign — breaking the law, and leaving the question of whether the ballots were destroyed or tampered with.
High amounts of absentee ballots and these other illegal actions show that this wasn’t a case of voter fraud, but rather election fraud. The two are completely different, with election fraud essentially meaning fraud that aims to cast doubt over the fairness of democratic elections. This case of fraud didn’t involve voters doing anything wrong at all, and the actual crime was that votes were taken away from voters.
Yet there’s still high amount of claims of voter fraud, despite it being borderline non-existent — in a 2007 report by the Brennan Centre for Justice, six cases of voter fraud were discovered in Missouri during the 2000 election, severn in Wisconsin during the 2004 one and eight in the 2005 state election in NJ.
North Carolina law allows for the elections board to request a new election when there is enough doubt on the fairness of the vote, and it doesn’t matter the amount of ballots in doubt.