“The fate of North Carolina’s voter identification law may not be known for weeks after a six-day bench trial. It’s uncertain when U.S. Judge Thomas D. Schroeder will rule on whether to uphold the 2013 law.” But with just weeks to go before early voting begins (on March 3) for the state’s March 15 primary election, it is all but certain that when North Carolina voters go to the polls, they will be required to show an acceptable form of photo ID or sign a reasonable impediment declaration form (there are a few exceptions).
In a January ruling, Judge Schroeder wrote that the state had “engaged in extensive efforts to educate voters about the need for photo ID, offered free photo ID, and assisted individuals in getting a photo ID.” And in a ruling last year, he wrote that “the high registration rate of black North Carolinians – 95.3%, some 7.5 percentage points above that of whites – suggests strongly that black voters will not have unequal access to the polls.”
Schroeder also said in the January ruling that “NAACP Plaintiffs have failed to make a clear showing that the law will be applied in a discriminatory manner” and “have not demonstrated that they are likely to succeed on the merits of the photo-ID intent claim.”
Easier to vote, harder to cheat:
Mississippians could register to vote online and begin voting 21 days before an election without an absentee excuse under a “complete revision” of election laws Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is proposing to the Legislature.
“It is time to address outdated and inefficient election laws which have, in some cases, been on the books for decades,” Hosemann said on Tuesday, releasing his proposals with a Capitol press conference. “These proposals make it easier to cast your ballot, harder for someone to cheat the electorate and provide severe penalties for those who do.”
The Secretary of State’s Election Code Study Group recommendations, based on input from a bipartisan task force, include early voting, “allowed only in a circuit clerk’s office,” that “would help crack down on absentee voting abuse; online voter registration, through “a secure Internet portal” that “would match information with the Department of Public Safety database including citizenship information;” and “tougher, consolidated penalties for election-law crimes, which he noted are almost never prosecuted in part because they are not clearly defined or understood.”
Hosemann said the reforms will “bring Mississippi election laws into the 21st century,” but said the changes could not even be up for discussion prior to voter ID requirements that kicked in in 2014.
More voter fraud in North Carolina that changed the outcome of elections: The State Board of Elections has ordered five do-overs of 2015 municipal elections in which it found “evidence of irregularities sufficient to cast doubt on the outcome.”
The State Board of Elections ruled this week in favor of municipal election challenges in Benson, Trinity, Lumberton, Pembroke and Ahoskie. In each of those towns, a second-place town council candidate complained of possible election law violations that could have cost them the election. The board’s general counsel, Josh Lawson, said board members found “evidence of irregularities sufficient to cast doubt on the outcome.” … State law calls for a new election if officials find an election law violation that could swing the outcome.
Among the “irregularities” and violations found by the board were votes cast by ineligible voters who “did not live at the addresses they gave when they cast their ballots,” as well as allegations of vote-buying. State board member Joshua Malcolm said, “Unless people come forward with evidence they have about instances of vote-buying, ineligible voters, and fraud things are never going to change.”
Meanwhile, North Carolina’s voter ID law is back in federal court this week. The judge in the case has said that the law’s challengers “have not demonstrated that they are likely to succeed on the merits.”
More voter fraud in New Hampshire: Manchester resident Derek Castonguay admitted he “knowingly gave his previous addresses to election officials in Windham and Salem so he could vote in those two towns on Election Day 2014.”
In legislative, litigation, and public relations battles, opponents use wildly inflated numbers in an attempt both to portray these laws as burdensome and to gain partisan advantage…
This tactic of inflating the number of ID-less voters began years ago with the debate surrounding and subsequent litigation challenging Indiana’s photo ID law, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2008 in a 6-3 decision and which continued in Georgia, Wisconsin, and other states.
In the Indiana case, Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, the plaintiff submitted an expert report estimating that as many as 989,000 registered Indiana voters did not possess an ID.
However, a simple comparison of Census voting-age population data to the state driver’s license records showed that only 43,000—or approximately 1 percent of voters—did not possess a state-issued driver’s license or ID card, and that number ignored Indiana’s inflated voter rolls, other acceptable forms of ID possessed by voters, and voters who did not need an ID to vote.
A majority on the U.S. Supreme Court refused to rely on sketchy and incomplete statistics and quoted the district court opinion that the numbers provided by the plaintiff’s expert witness were “utterly incredible and unreliable.”
More of the same numbers inflation is documented in the new Heritage paper “Faulty Data Fuel Challenges to Voter ID Laws.”
Yes, voter fraud happens and yes, it changes the outcome of elections: “A fourth person connected to the 2013 re-election campaign of District 2 Commissioner Amos Newsome has been found guilty of absentee ballot fraud.”
Daniel Webster Reynolds III pleaded guilty to three felony counts of absentee ballot fraud, bringing the total number of charges the four defendants have pleaded guilty to or been convicted of to 42. Newsome “won” his election by just 14 votes.
“The federal judge who will preside over the trial about North Carolina’s voter ID law told attorneys in an order this week to be ready to make their arguments on Jan. 25.”
Last year, the state’s legislature amended its voter ID requirement with a provision modeled on South Carolina’s federally-precleared voter ID law that gives voters without an accepted photo ID the option to cast a ballot with a declaration of reasonable impediment. “Attorneys for the state have argued that the 2015 amendment made the 2013 legal challenge moot.”
PDN link here.
The rights of those who live in the states can differ from the rights held by residents in the territories.
That’s one argument Guam’s attorney general’s office is making in a case challenging the island’s long-awaited political status vote.
Guam resident Arnold Davis in 2011 challenged the island’s pending plebiscite after he wasn’t allowed to register for it. The plebiscite is a non-binding vote, intended to measure the preferred political status of Guam.
Davis’ legal counsel said the plebiscite violates his fundamental right to vote.
In a response filed Dec. 4, the AG states “even if the right to vote is fundamental in the several states, it does not follow that it is necessarily so in the territories.”
What qualifies as a “fundamental right” for those living in the territories has always been “the subject of enormous controversy in this country,” the office states in its court filing.
In October, the AG’s office said the case shouldn’t have to go to trial and has asked the federal court to rule in favor of the Guam government on the matter.
The plebiscite hasn’t been scheduled, but Gov. Eddie Calvo wants it to happen sometime in 2017, according to his office.
Evidencing that North Carolina’s “current election laws just don’t provide assurance that election outcomes can be trusted,” another Pembroke election flunks the smell test.
In 2013, a new Pembroke Town Council election was ordered when the State Board of Elections found that fraudulent votes were cast by ineligible people who resided outside the town limits, many using same-day registration.
Now the Robeson County Board of Elections has referred Pembroke’s 2015 mayoral election to the state board after Greg Cummings successfully challenged the residency of 11 voters, leaving Allen Dial (the winner-turned loser in the 2013 Town Council do-over) ahead by just 11 votes.
Evidence surfaced during that hearing that some people who claim as their homes commercial buildings owned by Dial had voted… Dial’s daughter notarized affidavits used by some voters to prove their residency… it’s not certain that election laws have been broken, which says something about current election laws, primarily that they invite fraud.
In recent years, laws have been crafted to make it easier and easier to cast ballots, mostly by widening the window to do so through early voting… the wider the voting window, the more potential for abuse…
The Robesonian notes that there are ongoing investigations of all Robeson County’s 2013 municipal elections, including in Pembroke.
More “non-existent” voter fraud, this time in Ventura County, California, where a man cast two absentee ballots in the November 2014 general election, one for himself and one under the name of his deceased father-in-law.
The sentence: three years’ probation and a $1,000 fine.