This is not a surprise. Much like the Soviets, you know that Republicans are doing whatever they accuse the Democrats of doing:
The irony is pretty rich. For years, and with ever-increasing intensity, Republicans have claimed with virtually no evidence that our democracy is menaced by election fraud. It has been their all-purpose excuse for voter suppression tactics, their rationalization for election defeats, and a central element of a Big Conspiracy Theory alleging that Democrats want open borders so they can drown good white taxpaying citizens in a sea of illegal voting by immigrants and other minorities seeking to give themselves welfare benefits.It should be noted that extremely aggressive use of absentee ballots has been a central part of Republican electoral strategy for decades.
So now, from North Carolina, there’s finally a clearly documented case of election fraud that actually appears to have changed an election result. The cruel irony for Republicans is that operatives from their own party — particularly “consultant” Leslie McCrae Dowless — allegedly did the deed.
As Philip Bump notes, this is very much a blue-moon development:The last time there was a federal election that needed to be rerun was more than 40 years ago, when a close race combined with a faulty voting machine in Louisiana to prompt the calling of a new election. Politico’s Steven Shepard has a good history of past do-overs, including that Louisiana race, a history that makes clear that this is probably the first federal election in which the results were tainted by fraudulent activity.
To be clear, the illegal activity in North Carolina’s Ninth District didn’t resemble the “voter fraud” scenarios Republicans have insisted on imagining in recent years:[This] wasn’t an election tainted by people showing up to cast illegal ballots, the fraud allegation that has been leveled scores of times by President Trump alone. Instead, it focused on allegedly corrupt actions by a man working for a consulting firm hired by one of the candidates.So tighter voter-ID laws or voter-roll purges or more closely scrutinized voter-registration drives, the most frequent GOP prescriptions for “election security,” wouldn’t have mattered at all. You could make an attenuated case that opportunities for early voting or voting-by-mail — in this case voting by absentee ballot — that Democrats have recent championed are the problem. But what happened in North Carolina is the functional equivalent of old-fashioned, 19th-century ballot-box stuffing. Unused absentee ballots were fraudulently filled out with signatures forged, and actually filled-out absentee ballots cast for the “wrong” candidate were discarded. As the Brennan Center wryly observes, this activity was much closer to voter suppression than to the voter fraud alleged to justify voter suppression. And as Bump notes, the silence from Republicans about it all has been deafening:[T]here has been almost no outcry from Republican elected officials. Trump hasn’t mentioned the situation in North Carolina. A review of congressional tweets shows no Republican officials who have linked the events in the 9th District to their party’s campaign against voter fraud — and plenty of Democrats who have noted that silence.
Now we know why.