Claiming our elections are unsafe in order to pass restrictive voting rules is a longstanding but newly energized way to disenfranchise Black and brown voters.
- Over the past decade, politicians have stoked unfounded fears over election security.
- This fear mongering has resulted in strict new voting laws that make it harder for eligible voters to cast a ballot.
- These policies – including strict Voter ID laws – disproportionately affect Black and brown voters.
- Jim Crow-era voter suppression never went away – it simply evolved.
Deliberate attempts by individuals to break voting laws are extremely rare.
- North Carolina has seen only a handful of cases where voters deliberately broke voting laws.
- Over the past five years, there have been:
- 52 reports of voters attempting to vote twice.
- 7 reports of individuals impersonating a voter.
- 4 reports of vote buying.
- 7 reports of non-citizens voting.
There are serious punishments in place for those who break voting laws.
- In North Carolina, most election crimes are a Class I felony that carry a prison sentence.
We have security measures in place to detect election malfeasance.
- Before election results are certified, election officials perform an audit to detect issues.
- One such audit helped expose an election scheme by a Republican political operative who stole and tampered with absentee ballots in 2018.
We can continue to improve election security, while also ensuring that every eligible voter has access to the ballot.
- We should continue to pass legislation that makes our elections safe and accessible.
- This includes harnessing new technology to improve our systems — such as using signature verification software for absentee ballots.
The vast majority of voters who have broken election laws are felons who are unaware that they have lost their voting rights.
- Lanisha Bratcher, a 32-year-old woman who voted in 2016 while on probation for a felony, cast a ballot in the 2016 Presidential Election. She had no idea she was ineligible to vote. However, the district attorney in Hoke county charged her with a class I felony for voting while serving a criminal sentence. She faced up to 19 months in prison.
Other claims of voter fraud are almost always mistakes made by poll workers or voters.
- Clerical errors by poll workers sometimes result in voters being told that they have already voted. This is used as fodder for rumors about voter impersonation.
- In these rare cases, voters are able to cast a provisional ballot, allowing the County Board of Elections to investigate the error and have the correct vote count.
- Fears about the security of elections has even prompted some voters to vote twice, paranoid that their ballot may not have counted.