Voter ID would bring confidence to election results


One of the tired arguments against a voter ID requirement is it’s a fix for a problem that doesn’t exist since there is no abundant evidence of widespread election fraud, not unlike the Charlotte City Council’s bathroom bill and Republican legislators’ over-the-top reaction that has hurt our state.

But if we see a bullet-riddled body dumped into a roadside ditch, we don’t need an arrest to conclude that a murder is likely to have occurred. We have our eyes, and a brain with which to make conclusions.

Election fraud is slippery to establish because it is difficult to attach a fraudulent ballot to the person who filled it out. That is, unless a voter ID has been required.

The closeness of the governor’s face has returned to the camera’s eye allegations of widespread fraud and, in Bladen County, evidence that some of it is coordinated.

On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that statewide there have been more than 300 ballots identified that appear to have been cast by convicted felons, people who have been stripped of their citizenship and therefore are ineligible to vote. In neighboring Bladen, there are allegations that hundreds of absentee ballots might have been darkened by just a few hands in an apparent effort to affect the outcome of a down-ballot race.

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who as this was being written trailed Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper by about 8,000 votes, has mounted challenges across the state of voter fraud, including in Robeson County. We don’t believe there is anything pointing to a large enough problem that would allow McCrory to overtake Cooper, and it might be time for him to take the high road out of Raleigh, but once again the problem of election fraud is on the front pages — and not only of this newspaper.

This newspaper has written about voter fraud frequently, both on 1A and this page, where hwe have insisted that it exists, but that fair conversations can be had about how widespread it is, and if remedies such as voter ID are akin to using a shotgun to dispatch a mosquito.

A federal court has ruled that North Carolina’s voter ID was unconstitutional, with its members citing clear evidence that the law was designed to suppress the vote of specific populations, minorities, young people and elderly people, those who tend to vote Democratic. We don’t favor legislation that is intended to make it more difficult for anyone to vote.

But more than 30 states have a voter ID, and if this state’s Republicans had not overreached, it’s possible that one might have been required to cast a ballot on Nov. 8. We doubt that would have meant a McCrory victory; in fact, we would be disappointed if it did because it would be evidence of voter suppression.

But had a voter ID have been required, there would be greater confidence in people of all political stripes that those elections results could be trusted. We don’t have that now, and we doubt we will have that after the recount — and, if it is required, this election is settled in a courtroom.

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