Yesterday, a right-wing evangelical group reported potential election fraud in a Mecklenburg state house district and demanded the Rachel Hunt, the Democratic victor in the election, not be seated. The accusations have little merit. Instead, they have two goals: create false equivalency between the scandal in NC-09 and further erode faith in our democracy. 

Tami Fitzgerald of the North Carolina Values Coalition claims that 300 ballots are questionable, mainly because dates witnesses signed mail-in ballots did not match those of voters’ signatures. It’s a common mistake that does not disqualify the ballots. The Values Coalition wants the ballots thrown out and attacked the competency of the State Board of Elections. 

We’ve seen similar tactics since Republicans took control of the General Assembly and Trump took the White House. The GOP created a false crisis over rampant voter fraud and pushed a national movement of voter IDs to restrict access to the polls for people who don’t agree with them. The Trump administration has attacked every institution from the courts to the FBI to undermine their work and raise questions about their reliability. The Values Coalition wants to cast doubt on our democracy now that Democrats are ascendant. 

Mail-in ballots are the only similarity between the accusations of the Values coalition and the scandal in NC-09. The Harris scandal involves what appears to be a long-term practice of harvesting votes in a systematic fashion by specific individuals. We have suspiciously lopsided margins among absentee ballot totals. We have affidavits of people who unwittingly collected ballots. We have accusations that ballots were destroyed and others marked illegally. And most significantly, we have evidence that Mark Harris, the beneficiary of the scheme, knew exactly what he was getting when he hired the fraudsters. 

In contrast, the Values Coalition just makes dubious claims of fraud and then attacks the competency of the elections board and the legitimacy of the election. That’s what undermining democracy looks like. Their goal is not fairness, freedom or liberty. Their goal is winning elections at any cost and party before country become a central tenet of the GOP.

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