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article imageVoter fraud 'rare' in North Carolina, expert testifies Special

By Kelly Fetty     Jul 23, 2015 in Politics
Winston-salem - Voter fraud in North Carolina elections is "exceedingly rare" according to a Rutgers researcher who testified in the federal lawsuit seeking to overturn North Carolina's Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA) on Thursday.
Dr. Lorraine C. Minnite is an associate professor in the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers and the author of The Myth of Voter Fraud. Minnite took the stand as an expert witness for the Plaintiffs on day nine of the federal lawsuit challenging VIVA.
In an expert report offered to the court on February 12, 2015, Minnite concluded that voter fraud is "exceedingly rare" in North Carolina and VIVA's photo ID requirement and elimination of same-day registration are unjustified.
Defining Voter Fraud
In her testimony, Minnite defined voter fraud as "the intentional corruption of the electoral process by voters."
She said election fraud is different from voter fraud.
"Voters can only corrupt the parts of the elections process that they have access to," she explained. Voters lying about their immigration status, casting a ballot in the name of a deceased voter or deliberately casting more than one ballot are examples of voter fraud.
During her research, Minnite studied data provided by the federal government, including records of federal indictments brought by the Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative (“BAVII”).
BAVII was created by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2001 to combat election fraud and voter intimidation. Between 2002 and 2005 BAVII brought a total of 95 indictments, Minnite said. The 95 indictments yielded two cases in North Carolina: a Canadian who posed as an U.S. citizen in order to vote in 2000 and 2002, and a group of five people convicted of vote-buying.
Minnite also looked at federal elections in North Carolina from 2000-2014 and found only two cases of voter fraud.
Mistakes, Not Fraud
Most cases of voter fraud turn out to be clerical errors when investigated, she said.
In his cross-examination, Defense attorney Phillip J. Strach asked Minnite if she thought the risk of voter fraud was real.
Minnite said voter fraud was possible, but not likely.
Strach asked if she believed fraud could upset a close election. Minnite said it could.
Strach then cited a 2013 case in Pembroke when a group of basketball players presented a lease as proof of residence and attempted to vote in a local election. The State Board of Elections later ruled a new election must be held in 2014.
Minnite said she thought the players were probably confused about election rules and didn't mean to commit voter fraud. She said mistakes "are far larger" than the incidence of fraud.
"I don't want one fraudulent vote cast," Minnite said, "probably like everyone in this room."
More about Viva, NC VIVA law, Judge Thomas D Schroeder, NC NAACP, League of Women Voters NC
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