N&O Allows VIP Op-Ed Supporting Voter ID

Oct 20, 2018 (Raleigh) — This week’s Sunday paper will include an Op-Ed piece that makes VIP’s case for supporting North Carolina’s Voter ID Amendment in this November’s election.

N&O coverage of the NC Voter ID amendment shows negative stories backed by yellow paper. The White paper reflects positive coverage. The articles in the middle were balanced.

Raleigh’s News & Observer has the ability to reach people who do not get their news from talk radio and cable news, so we appreciate our readers taking the time to send our argument to their friends and relatives who tend to believe the arguments made by voter ID opponents.

Below is the Op-Ed they published:

Why North Carolina needs a photo voter ID amendment

October 19, 2018 10:59 AM

Updated October 19, 2018 11:47 AM

Even foreign election observers have confirmed our warnings about this state’s election laws: When it comes to preventing voter fraud, North Carolina falls below nations like Libya and Mexico.

Summarizing the opinions of 60-plus United Nations observers, Foreign Policy Magazinewrote, “The most often noted difference between American elections among the visitors was that in most U.S. states, voters need no identification . . . and there’s often no way to know if one person has voted several times under different names.”

After the UN monitored North Carolina’s elections in 2012, Libyan diplomat, Nuri K. Elabbar, called our system “incredible,” adding that it’s “very difficult to transfer. . . [because it’s] built according to trust . . . .”

We urgently need election integrity reforms.

While no single preventative measure can stop all vote fraud, a well-designed voter ID law would mitigate certain types. And it would greatly reduce North Carolina’s easiest form of disenfranchisement — voter impersonation fraud.

Denying such confident claims, voter ID opponents gleefully cite sources like N.C. State Board of Election’s 2016 post-election audit, which reported only “verifying” two people who committed voter identity theft. Both of them provided the kinds of emotional explanations that a district attorney won’t touch. Next, elite thinkers will cite these cases as “proof” that voter impersonation fraud is “rare.”

Sadly, nobody mentioned the same report’s cleverly hidden caveat: “No audit exists to catch all possible cases of voter impersonation. . . .” Translation, they have no idea how many people vote with other people’s names and no way of catching them.

While vote fraud deniers studiously avoid that inconvenient truth, others exploit it.

That’s why we formed Voter Integrity Project in 2011, after I partnered with a quality-control engineer named John Pizzo. Our brainchild involved using data analytics to evaluate the electoral process and recommend corrective actions.

Our first revelation involved over 500 Wake County registered voters who got disqualified from jury duty by claiming they were non-U.S. citizens, 230 of whom voted. It was just one county, over a three-year snapshot; but rather than thank us, election officials scolded us and the courts devised a rationale to block our expanding the research statewide.

Next, we found nearly 30,000 deceased voters on our state’s voter rolls. Think about that: The same agency that assures the public that voter impersonation fraud is rare did not know they had 30,000 dead people registered to vote. This discovery publicly shamed election officials into improving their list maintenance. Later, they quietly redesigned their website to prevent such future audits — and embarrassments.

While those projects made us targets, our most consequential work identified interstate double voters, who illegally cast ballots in multiple states for the 2012 election. Our results barely scratched the surface, but it gave lawmakers enough courage to make North Carolina join the Interstate Crosscheck Consortium and to increase the Board of Election’s investigations division staffing five-fold.

Election officials still slow roll our access to details, but we’ve driven approximately two dozen criminal referrals and exactly three felony vote fraud convictions, in addition to recent subpoenas for another case headed to trial.

In sum, our seven-year effort has yielded three disturbing conclusions: 1) election officials are not aggressively analyzing enough data; 2) no outside agencies look over their shoulders; and 3) they protect their careers by assuring the public they don’t “see” any voter impersonation fraud.

Prevention is far more efficient than detection and that’s why North Carolina should join the 34 other states that already require some form of voter ID and why we strongly support the voter ID amendment on November’s ballot.