EDITORIAL: Voter ID — a reminder

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A correction is warranted on the State Board of Elections website, which as of Monday still insists that voters will be asked to show ID beginning with the 2020 primary election.

In fact, a federal judge blocked that requirement on Dec. 27, promising a legal explanation via judicial order due this week.

The ruling, served amid several lawsuits against the state’s voter-ID requirement, has already sent the defenders of this change to the state constitution into PR mode — if you follow any Republican elected officials on Facebook you likely have seen some of the talking points designed to make law-abiding North Carolinians fear voter fraud on an unimagined scale.

But the opposition has some talking points of its own, which should be referenced anytime a red-hat paranoiac spouts off about voter fraud.

For one, it’s not voter fraud that tilts the playing field; it’s election fraud, which can be accomplished in numerous ways: forging large quantities of absentee ballots, tampering with voting machines, restricting access to polling places, illegitimately removing huge tracts of people from voter rolls and, of course, gerrymandering, by which politicians pick their voters instead of the other way around.

If you’re looking for an example, we had a fine one in this state in 2018: Leslie McRae Dowless used an absentee-ballot scheme to swing the 9th Congressional District election for Mark Harris, who at first tally led by more than 900 votes.

A voter ID law would not have prevented this.

And then there’s campaign-finance fraud, which is another way to corrupt an election. We’ve got another recent, local instance of this in Durham businessman Greg Lindberg, who is under federal indictment for bribery in a federal probe that embroiled former NC GOP Chair Robin Hayes — who faces six months in prison for lying to the FBI — and Rep. Mark Walker, known in the indictment as “Public Official A,” who took $150,000 donations from Lindberg, some of which he returned. Lindberg has donated about $2.4 million to groups supporting Republican Dan Forest in his bid for governor this year.

So, if you’re worried about voter fraud swinging an election in 2020, you’re probably looking at the wrong thing. And that’s just the way they like it.

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