Blatant GOP Vote-Stealing In North Carolina Fraud Suggests Wider Problem

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Mark Harris. Photo: Msnbc screenshot 
 
Last Thursday, North Carolina officials were forced to confront the troubling reality of Republican voter fraud there—apparently, within the campaign of Republican Mark Harris, a Ninth Congressional District candidate, who ran against Democrat Dan McCready last November.
 
The evidence now seems to indicate that the election was stolen for Mr. Harris by the use of political dirty tricks. Are we surprised Republicans are stealing elections? Haven’t Republicans been stealing votes for decades—especially, from Black Americans—while trying to cover their tracks with fictitious claims about "voter fraud" by Democrats?
 
The North Carolina State Board of Elections Chairman Robert Cordle just requested a new election lamenting “the corruption, the absolute mess with the absentee ballots” and said, “It was certainly a tainted election.”  This case in North Carolina isn’t the only “tainted election” we saw last November.
 
We’ll talk Georgia in a minute.
 
The outcome of the North Carolina race between Mr. Harris and Mr. McCready has been in dispute after the narrow November “win” by Harris, by 905 votes. Reportedly, mounting evidence exists suggesting a Harris campaign member, L. McCrae Dowless Jr., possibly stole the vote for Harris by using an absentee ballot scheme, to steal votes in North Carolina’s Bladen County.
 
Another official, Kim Strach, said investigators found “a coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme.” It appears almost certain this seat was stolen from the voters of North Carolina, and from Democrats.
 
Thursday, after months of denials, Mr. Harris capitulated under the weight of the evidence and admitted that "the public’s confidence in the Ninth District’s general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted.” One glaring example that apparently alarmed officials was Harris receiving 61 percent of the absentee ballot votes in Bladen County—though, Republicans should’ve only accounted for around 19 percent.
 
Mr. Harris seems to, or pretended to, have a mental breakdown of some sort Thursday. Earlier in the day, he gave confusing answers to questions—and may’ve even lied to board officials. After a recess, he apologized to the board and stated he had been in bad health recently, including supposedly having two strokes that hampered his ability to remember things.
 
Mr. Harris’ memory lapse is quite convenient.
 
Harris’ credibility should be questioned, and he should be fully investigated. Is Harris saying he didn’t know of Dowless’ questionable methods to winning elections? If so, he should be reminded he allegedly once said Dowless was “the guy whose absentee ballot project for Johnson could have put me in the US House this term, had I known, and he had been helping us.”
 
What kind of special magic did Harris think Dowless was doing with the absentee ballots?
 
Harris reportedly wanted to know about Dowless’ tactics after Harris lost a 2016 election race to Todd Johnson, who he refers too in the statement above. In that race, Johnson was propelled to victory with the help of Dowless. Authorities are now looking into the operation of Mr. Dowless and deciding whether to charge him with crimes.
 
Dowless refused to testify before officials.
 
The shameful silence here by the Republicans is informative in debunking the lie that they care about voter fraud. Voter fraud is deeply embedded into the strategies many Republicans use to get elected.
 
With the announcement of a new election, Mr. McCready said “Today was a great step forward for democracy in North Carolina.” He added, “From the moment the first vote was stolen in North Carolina, from the moment the first voice was silenced by election fraud, the people have deserved justice.”
 
This should be more than just “a great step forward for democracy in North Carolina.” This apparent election stealing should spur deeper investigations into voter-suppression measures which have been on the rise since the 1965 Voting Rights Act was weakened by the Republican right-wing Supreme Court.
 
In the landmark 2013 Shelby County v. Holder case, in a 5-4 decision, the Court weakened voter protections by removing Section 4(b). This provision required states with a history of discrimination, against African-Americans, to seek approval before making changes to voting laws. Almost immediately after the Supreme Court removed this protection many of the same southern states proceeded to enact racist voter-suppression laws and schemes like: restricting early voting, reducing polling locations, imposing draconian ID laws, and purging voter rolls.
 
What happened in North Carolina should be studied since it will give insight into the political machinations Republicans use to suppress the vote of many Americans, particularly African-Americans.
 
This North Carolina story should remind us of what happened in Georgia, last November. It should be clear enough to us that: Brian Kemp may have stolen that election from Stacey Abrams. The fact Abrams isn’t governing Georgia now is testament to the voter-suppression tactics of Republicans.
 
In March 2017, Georgia’s then Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced that he would be running for governor in 2018. By July of 2017, Kemp allegedly—on a single day in July—purged the votes of half a million people. He did so in his capacity as the secretary of state. Most of the purged were of ethnic minorities, especially African-Americans.
 
Kemp’s act was characterized by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as possibly the “largest mass disenfranchisement in US history."
 
Journalist Greg Palast said, “Brian Kemp should have resigned as Secretary of State before he purged half a million Georgians, before he told the counties not to even hand out provisional ballots to people he had wrongly purged." Palast also noted “340,134 people were absolutely, positively wrongly removed. If you do look at the numbers, it's impossible to imagine that Abrams wouldn't have won outright if everyone who is entitled to vote could vote. If all the provisional ballots are counted, if all the absentee ballots are counted, I don't have any doubt about what the outcome would be."
 
How can Americans—especially those in mainstream media—pretend Kemp’s “victory” is legitimate?
 
We’re told Kemp’s received around 54, 000 more votes than Stacey Abrams. This figure is bothersome because: we know over 53,000 voter applications, mostly ethnic minorities, were sitting in Kemp’s office during the election. It seems clear these voters should’ve been allowed to vote.
 
To make matters worse, District Judge Amy Totenberg ruled Kemp had illegally violated the Help America Vote Act. And, a few days before the election, District Court Judge Eleanor Ross ruled the “exact match” voting criteria, instituted by Kemp, served as “a very substantial risk of disenfranchisement” to minorities.
 
Why isn’t Kemp being investigated now by the FBI or Justice Department? Isn’t it evident what happened in Georgia goes beyond minor “irregularities?”  What Kemp did was worse than the fraud in North Carolina.
 
Apparently—like Kansas’ Kris Koback—he used his secretary of state position to suppress votes.
 
Why didn’t broadcast media fully investigate Kemp’s voter-suppression activities? Why is there such limited coverage of the suppression of Black America’s votes? Mainstream media have felt very free in questioning the legitimacy of Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro, because they say Venezuela’s last election was fraudulent. Was Venezuela’s election more fraudulent that what Kemp engineered in Georgia? Where is the mainstream media on this issue of vital importance to American democracy?
 
Brian Kemp’s voter-suppression tricks come right from the Republican playbook. Southern conservatives have been conniving and suppressing the votes of Black Americans since the passage of the 15th Amendment. To prevent the political empowerment of African-Americans, and to increase mass incarceration, these people exploit the 13th Amendment’s loophole, which outlaws “slavery,” and “involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”
 
The outrage in North Carolina is an opportunity for the larger issue of Republican voter-suppression to be fully investigated. Where is Congress on this? The time for the Democratic Party to get up and speak up about the stealing of Black America’s votes, and the votes of other minorities is now.
 
 

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