Voter Fraud Investigation Delays North Carolina Election Results

By: - December 5, 2018 12:00 am

A clerk inspects a mail-in ballot. Elections officials in North Carolina are investigating voter fraud concerns involving absentee mail ballots in one congressional district. Rich Pedroncelli/The Associated Press

North Carolina elections officials are investigating allegations of voter fraud in two counties, having twice refused to certify results in a congressional district nearly a month after Election Day.

The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement is examining an unusual number of absentee mail ballots allegedly returned by people connected to the Republican candidate for Congress.

Republican Mark Harris won the 9th Congressional District by 905 votes, far outperforming Democrat Dan McCready in absentee votes.

In North Carolina, it is legal to collect and return absentee ballots for others. The board will hold evidentiary hearings this month because of “claims of numerous irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities related to absentee mail ballots,” the News and Observer reported.

Most ballots collected, the board said, were from elderly voters.

As Stateline has reported, there’s growing concern over the potential for voter fraud when states allow people to collect large numbers of absentee ballots from voters who may not have the ability to return the ballots themselves because of disabilities or a lack of transportation.

The practice just ended in Montana, after voters approved a legislative referendum on the November ballot making it a crime for groups to collect absentee ballots. Montana is now one of 16 states to regulate ballot collecting in some way — from outright bans to defining who can turn in another person’s ballot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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Matt Vasilogambros
Matt Vasilogambros

Matt Vasilogambros covers voting rights, gun laws and Western climate policy for Stateline. He lives in San Diego, California.