For Republicans, all this has the convenient effect of discouraging people who are young, poor or minority from taking part in the system. Democrats are not really into the game. We would like to believe this is because of a firm belief in an open political process. But it’s probably also because, short of putting all the polls in fifth-floor walk-ups, there’s no easy way to keep elderly white men from voting.
As the midterms approached, Trump tweeted a warning that “Law enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING.” And what do you know? There really did seem to be a case of possible election-stealing in a congressional race in North Carolina.
It involved a couple of counties with large African-American and rural populations, and the victim was the Democrat. Dan McCready, the Democratic candidate, is the party’s new dream red-district combo: Ivy League college graduate/Marine, who found faith while fighting in Iraq and was baptized in water from the Euphrates River. People thought he had a chance, and on election night things were close, very close. But the Republican candidate, Mark Harris, a conservative former pastor, seemed to be about 900 votes ahead. McCready conceded.
Then — whoops — it appeared those counties had been the site of some extensive “ballot harvesting.” This happens when supporters of one candidate go out and encourage people to request absentee ballots, which they then reap like so many rows of soybeans. Sometimes they help a voter fill out a ballot. Sometimes, if a voter doesn’t seem to be following the preferred line, they lose said ballot on the way to the mailbox.
Suffice it to say that investigations are underway. North Carolina actually has a very open election system and chances are pretty good that the authorities will figure this all out. “In most states if this was going on you wouldn’t be able to see it,” said Jason Roberts, a professor of political science at the University of North Carolina.
This is one of the many moments when we give thanks that there are so few close elections in New York.
Several morals to this story, people. One is that Donald Trump is wrong about everything. (“All you have to do is go around, take a look at what’s happened over the years, and you’ll see. There are a lot of people — a lot of people — my opinion, and based on proof — that try and get in illegally and actually vote illegally.”)