Civic

Ballot fraud concerns

State Sen. Chuck Edwards says N.C. voting rules are now too lax, inviting fraud.

Hendersonville – Election fraud is a simmering issue in the Nov. 3 election, centering on potential manipulation.

The threat of one’s ballot getting disposed of is prompting many voters to deliver their ballots to the local elections board office or to its dropbox.

Such precautions are to lessen the chance of error or fraud. First, the regular mail service in multiple states is having problems delivering ballots —for whatever reasons.

One scenario is that political partisans are keeping blank absentee ballots from reaching residents in areas where there is a strong majority of voters registered for the other party. Or, a postal worker could simply be lazy and neglectful like Newman on TV’s Seinfeld and not bother to deliver mail.

Just last week, on Oct. 7, a letter carrier in New Jersey was arrested and faces five years in prison for allegedly throwing out 99 absentee general election ballots before they reached voter recipients in West Orange, N.J. That area tilts Democrat, by 46-43 percent as of 2011. Political registration of the 99 addressees is unclear. In all, 1,875 pieces of mail were in dumpsters— far beyond the 99 ballots. 

Elsewhere, mail-in ballots were allegedly found in a ditch in Wisconsin, and absentee ballots were reportedly stolen from mailboxes that were broken into in Virginia.

Further, nine envelopes containing ballots mailed in by military personnel were reportedly found in the trash at the elections office in Luzerne County, Pa. in late September. Seven envelopes were left open — with all seven ballots inside cast for Pres. Donald Trump. The other two envelopes were resealed. The FBI investigated. Elections officials blamed a temp worker.

News reports also chronicle break-ins of mailboxes, in search of mail-in ballots.

Democrats want extra Postal Service funding to handle absentee ballots. Postmaster General Louis Dejoy said staffing is adequate. There is a question of how long processing and delivery of absentee ballots will take, and thus when they will arrive to election headquarters.

Nine Extra Days

In North Carolina, the NC Elections Board secured a nine-day extension for mail-in ballot eligibility. That is how long after the election boards of elections across the state can receive an absentee ballot in their offices, for those ballots to get counted.

But if most ballots are tabulated on Nov. 3, political partisans who infiltrated election workers in large cities would know how many votes their preferred candidate needs to make up, by adding fraudulent ballots or illegally tossing out valid ballots cast for the opponent.

Fake Votes

A major avenue of fraud is filling out others’ absentee ballots. This can happen, with the filling of ballots done away from a precinct and election workers/observers. A vote harvester could buy absentee ballots from the rightful voters, and fill them out.

Due to fraud concerns about suspicious ballots, election workers in Patterson, NJ reportedly threw out one-fifth of mailed-in ballots for a municipal election this year.

Fraud includes that a person votes pretending to be someone else. Greg Newman is the district attorney for District 29B for Henderson, Polk and Transylvania counties. He told The Tribune that over the years, there have been allegations of people illegally voting in person here under assumed names — several times in the same precinct or nearby precincts, and even in different states.

Easiest to impersonate are residents who died so soon ahead of the election, they are still in voter registration data. Thus, political operatives can develop a list of recently-deceased voters, and have henchmen pose as them.

An illegal voter may pretend to be a friend or neighbor who is not bothering to vote, and vote in his/her place. Borrowing the friend’s ID is not even necessary in many states.

An ID is no longer required for in-person voting in North Carolina. Voters approved (by 55.5-44.5%) in 2018 a state constitutional amendment requiring an ID to vote. But that was overturned, has mixed court decisions, and is likely heading to the NC Supreme Court which has a 6-1 edge for Democrats, State Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Hendersonville) noted.

To request an absentee ballot, the driver’s license number or last four SSN digits are needed on the form but copy of a photo ID is not required.

The state is now among several states which does not require election workers check a voter’s signature on file with that on the absentee ballot. A reason to do away with this safeguard is a legal guardian or relative can sign for a voter. But that could simply be an exception while requiring those who vote themselves to have their signatures match to prove it is them

Sen. Edwards wants state legislators to “require every county to report — by the number of ballots — the total unverified signatures that were processed and counted anyway.”

Democrats spin election safeguards as “voter suppression,” for requiring voter efforts that GOP backers see as reasonable. 

Edwards, who is up for reelection, is outraged by the weakening of anti-fraud measures. He noted that on Oct. 2, the state’s Democrat-controlled elections board changed “rules of the game, after it’s already started” with early ballots under stricter rules such as requiring two witnesses’ signatures.

N.C. Legislature compromised this year, requiring one witness’ signature per absentee ballot instead of two or none. The nine-day ballot extension is another change.

Sen. Edwards is very concerned about the third change, of permitting “people other than the voter to deliver completed ballots to county elections boards.” He noted there are “anonymous outdoor absentee ballot drop boxes” — typically outside local election board offices. People do not have to open the office door and go inside when depositing the ballot, and they avoid relying on mail. Yet Edwards warns it allows anonymous delivery, and thus illegal ballot collectors to drop off several fraudulent ballots.