Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, released two statements following news today about (1) the US Supreme Court’s decision to repeal limits on the total amount a donor can contribute to all federal candidates and parties in an election cycle, and (2) the State Board of Elections’s announcement that it found thousands of North Carolina voters with names and birth dates that matched those of voters in two dozen other states; many had voted in two states. The preliminary research led Republican sponsors of the voter ID law to gleefully proclaim their warnings of widespread fraud were justified. The hot links give more background.
Here are the statements from Hall:
“Regarding the McCutcheon decision at the US Supreme Court today — This is another Roberts Court ruling that protects political spending by wealthy donors as central to their First Amendment right to free speech. Unfortunately, the Court does not provide the same protection to a citizen’s First Amendment right expressed through voicing their choice and casting a ballot. The Court has ruled that it’s fine to impose many barriers to legitimate voters but it’s unconstitutional to restrict spending by big donors. This bias in favor of wealthy elites and corporations is undermining decades of previous court decisions that recognized the corrupting influence of big money not only on individual politicians but on the public’s confidence in a fair and free election system. North Carolina 2014 elections are already being polluted with anonymous, misleading advertisements paid by Court-sanctioned money; the Court has opened another pathway that helps self-interested donors at the expense of voters and the public interest.
“Regarding the research announced today by the State Board of Elections –- Fraud should be exposed and prosecuted, but don’t jump too fast at the preliminary numbers released today. Duplicate names don’t equal fraud. I know there is more than one Bob Hall with my birth date who lives among the 28 states researched; for all we know, there may be 35,000 legitimate name and birth day matches. And when you understand that it takes years to remove someone from the NC voter roll who has moved out of state, it’s not surprising that a large number of voters are registered in more than one state. That’s been the reality for years because of the federal rules under the National Voter Registration Act. The important question is, ‘Did the same person vote in two states in the same election?’ Election investigators have repeatedly found poll worker error and other explanations in cases that first appeared to be dead people voting or a person from another state voting in North Carolina. There may be cases of fraud but the true scale and conspiracy involved need to be examined more closely before those with political agendas claim they’ve proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”