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After Election Fraud in North Carolina, Can We Trust Vote-by-Mail Ballots?

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Last week, North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District began the process for redoing the election for its vacant House of Representatives seat. In November, Republican Mark Harris declared victory with a 905-vote lead, but in February, the state’s board of elections nullified the results from the mid-terms and called for a new election—an extraordinary act of democratic mulligan that last happened in 1974. That year, the cause was a faulty voting machine; this year, it was electoral fraud related to absentee ballots.

In February, during a special hearing of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, witnesses testified that a Harris campaign operative hired workers to collect absentee ballots, and, for some that were not yet completed, had those workers chose candidates on the voters’ behalf. As early as April of 2017, one of Harris’ sons warned his father of the operative’s shady endeavors, but the candidate denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of the scheme. In the wake of the fraud, a new law has been proposed in the state legislature, ostensibly to protect voters, but the re-vote comes at a pivotal moment for absentee voting.

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