N.C. NAACP blasts Trump’s voter fraud assertions

N.C. NAACP blasts Trump’s voter fraud assertions
February 02
08:15 2017

By Cash Michaels

For The Chronicle

The chairman of the N.C. NAACP Legal Redress Committee, which successfully fought in federal court to have much of North Carolina’s 2013 voter ID law thrown out, is keeping a close eye on President Donald Trump’s insistence that there was massive voter fraud in the last election, and warns that GOP state lawmakers may leverage Trump’s false claim to institute new voting restrictions in time for the 2018 mid-term elections.

“It is widely known that there is absolutely no evidence that widespread voter fraud exists anywhere in the United States, and the North Carolina State Board of Elections has conclusively refuted suggestions that voter fraud exists in North Carolina,” says attorney Irving Joyner, chairman of the N.C. NAACP Legal Redress Committee, and one of the lead attorneys who came to federal court in Winston-Salem in 2015 to have voter ID law overturned.

“This claim of voter fraud is being pedaled by right-wing political groups and some Republican operatives as a way to enact legislation to undermine the right to vote of African-Americans and other racial minorities. These consistent and spurious claims must be vigorously challenged because when adopted, and repeated by Donald Trump and his gang, some people will believe that it exists.”

President Trump insists that despite winning the 2016 general election, anywhere from 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally for his Democrat opponent, Hillary Clinton, resulting in her winning the popular vote accordingly. Trump offers no verifiable proof of his false claim, but promises some kind of “major investigation” to prove his point.

While national Republicans have dismissed the president’s massive voter fraud claims, especially since most state governments that manage and maintain their local voter rolls were Republican in 2016 (and have finalized their voting totals), that didn’t stop Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the N.C. Republican Party, from claiming that North Carolina had its share of voter fraud in the last election.

“We’ve seen voter fraud in North Carolina, it may not be widespread,” Woodhouse told MSNBC last week, supporting Trump’s call for a probe.

His Democrat brother, Brad Woodhouse, appeared on the same program to essentially blast his sibling.

“Your efforts in North Carolina on voter fraud were nothing more than a documented attempt to suppress the votes of African-Americans and young people,” Brad Woodhouse accused his GOP brother, recalling how the U.S. Fourth Circuit of Appeals ruled last year that the Republican-majority in the legislature attempted to legally suppress the black vote with “surgical precision.”

The N.C. Democratic Party joined in the fray.

“President Trump’s bizarre claims of massive voter fraud have been refuted by independent experts and condemned by leaders in both parties,” spokesman Mike Gwin said. “Given the N.C. GOP’s track record of using imagined fraud to justify voter suppression, Dallas’ comments in support of President Trump’s wild goose chase shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.”

State Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) agreed.

“It is widely accepted that voter fraud is basically non-existent,” he said.  “I understand that a recent review of more than 1 billion votes cast revealed only 31 potentially fraudulent votes.  At the risk of sounding cynical, I believe President Trump and the GOP are using these false allegations  to lay the ground work for enacting more voter suppressing legislation, possibly at the federal level.  This is very troubling and I will fight it.”

Attorney Joyner echoed the concern.

“In this context, Donald Trump is now loudly voicing this disproved and unverified claim as a way to motivate those people who voted for him, and to distract the country from his already weeklong failed presidency; he does not have a hint of evidence which supports any of his claims.”

But Joyner, who is also a law professor at North Carolina Central University’s School of Law in Durham, doesn’t stop there. Given how the Trump Administration has already shown evidence of boldly attempting to change established law to suit its own purposes, in addition to appointing Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala) – a man known to be hostile to civil and voting rights per his past history as Alabama state attorney general – as the new U.S .attorney general once confirmed by the GOP-led US Senate, Joyner warns that there may be a bigger target ahead.

“These false [voter fraud] claims are presently being used at the national level in an effort to overturn and undermine the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and these actions must be vigorously opposed in Congress and in the courts,” Joyner says. “Even though its existence has been disproved in North Carolina, members of the General Assembly are presently preparing efforts to make it more difficult for African-Americans and racial minorities to register and vote in North Carolina. These efforts must also be aggressively resisted.”

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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