Tuesday, November 22, 2016

How To Steal An Election, Con't

Well, I mentioned Sunday that NC GOP Gov. Pat McCrory was trailing his Democratic opponent, AG Roy Cooper, in his re-election race, and that McCrory refuses to concede the race. I also mentioned that it looked like McCrory might try to stall or pull some other chicanery so that the Republican-dominated NC General Assembly would then declare McCrory the winner.

As of today this definitely looks like the plan, and Republicans in NC are definitely moving forward with it and then some.  But first, any good heist needs the setup:

N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore said Monday that the legislature could revisit voter ID requirements and other election laws in the wake of complaints filed with help from Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign.

During a news conference announcing House Republican leaders for next year’s legislative session, Moore was asked about the complaints filed amid a tight governor’s race – making claims that dead people and convicted felons voted in this year’s election.

“The fact that there are a number of protests related to the election at least make it an issue that it’s something that needs to be dealt with,” Moore told reporters.

The speaker said GOP legislators still support the voter ID law that was struck down by a federal court this year.

We believe firmly that the voter ID law that we passed should have passed constitutional muster in every way, and certainly we’ll continue to work on that because we believe voter integrity is very important,” he said.

Did you catch that?

The NC GOP are now heavily implying the idea that, because part of the state's effort to disenfranchise black voters was struck down by the courts, that McCrory's loss can be attributed to lack of "voter integrity". 

Pay close attention to that setup, because the heist is now in the works. Mark Jospeh Stern at Slate explains:

This chicanery will be easier to pull off than you might expect. Thus far, McCrory has questioned votes in more than half of North Carolina’s counties. One attorney monitoring the proceedings called these challenges “silly, small in number, poorly researched and often defamatory,” which is undeniable: Republican-controlled county election boards have forcefully rejected McCrory’s challenges, concluding that there is simply no proof of widespread fraud or malfeasance as McCrory claims. Frustrated by these setbacks, McCrory petitioned the Republican-controlled State Board of Elections to take over the review process. The board refused, but it agreed to meet on Tuesday to set guidelines for how county boards should address complaints.

Despite the utter lack of evidence to support allegations of fraud, McCrory’s team has launched a misinformation campaign to cast a pall of suspicion over the results
. His campaign spokesman asked, “Why is Roy Cooper fighting to count the votes of dead people and felons?” McCrory’s close ally and current state budget director, Andrew T. Heath, also tweeted that Durham County has 231,000 residents over the age of 18 but 232,000 registered voters, implying fraud. (In reality, Durham’s 2015 voting-age population was about 235,600, and the county has only 193,659 active registered voters; its Republican-controlled election board already unanimously rejected a complaint alleging malfeasance.) Now McCrory’s lawyers are targeting black American voter outreach groups for purportedly violating minor procedural rules while helping voters fill out absentee ballots. The governor has falsely accused these groupsof conducting a “massive voter fraud scheme.”

McCrory can, and probably will, still ask for a statewide recount. But he must know that a recount will not close such a sizable gap. His real goal appears to be to delegitimize the results to such an extent that the state legislature—which holds a Republican supermajority—can step in and select him as the winner. North Carolina state law states that when “a contest arises out of the general election,” and that contest pertains “to the conduct or results of the election,” the legislature “shall determine which candidate received the highest number of votes” and “declare that candidate to be elected.” By alleging fraud, mishandling of ballots, and irregular vote-counting, McCrory is laying the groundwork for the legislature to proclaim that a “contest” has arisen as to “the conduct or results of the election.” At that point, it can step in, assert that McCrory received “the highest number” of legitimate votes, and “declare [him] to be elected.”

The best part? Under the law, the legislature’s decision is “not reviewable” by the courts. Republican legislators can simply step in, overturn the decision of the voters, and grant McCrory another term. The courts have no authority even to review the legality of their actions.

So McCrory is trying to imply Cooper stole the election with the help of those people, and clearly the NC General Assembly is buying this argument, so much so that it's already blaming the federal court that struck down NC's unconstitutional "omnibus voter bill" before the election.  This setup is important because it's going to be what McCrory uses as justification for stealing this election, full stop.

And he's expecting a friendly Trump administration to refuse to take any real federal action.  After all, the NC GOP's voter suppression laws, and similar laws in Florida, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania  were the major reason why Trump won the state and the election.

This is a huge deal and I'm definitely keeping an eye on it.

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