Opinion

Voter fraud? Yes, but …

This editorial appeared in The Fayetteville Observer

Remember those complaints about thousands of illegal votes cast in last November’s gubernatorial elections? Well, there was indeed a problem. But it fell considerably short of the thousands. The State Board of Elections said last week that the actual number of ballots cast by ineligible voters in the 2016 general election was 508 out of more than 4.8 million votes statewide.

Most of those votes — 441 of them — were cast by convicted felons who hadn’t yet completed their probation or parole, which is required before voting rights are reinstated. It’s worth noting that voter ID wouldn’t have prevented those felons from voting. What would do it is better software in the Board of Elections system that can check criminal status of voters when they register. That will be added to the system this summer. And the felon-voting evidence has been turned over to local prosecutors.

There were, too, 42 votes by non-citizens, 24 cases of people illegally casting multiple ballots and two of people voting on behalf of relatives who died before Election Day. Those violations also could have been prevented by better election software.

The 508 violations amount to just a hair over .0001 percent of the total ballots cast. They did not affect the outcome of any races. While no level of voter fraud is acceptable, we’d say that the system worked and the sanctity of the ballot was well-protected.

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