A county commissioner is challenging the local Wake GOP to produce evidence of voter fraud at local polls after the party urged Republican activists to work as poll observers on the lookout for “fraudulent, illegal and even outrageous voting violations by the left.”
“We are under assault by the (Saul) Alinsky-esque tactics of the Democrats and their extremist ideology, which demands they take whatever action necessary to achieve their desired results,” wrote Charles Hellwig, a party vice chair. “Nearly every day we see some new example of voter fraud or their attempt to subvert the will of the people, and we have to prepare ourselves for the onslaught of illegal activity that is sure to be attempted at the polls.”
Wake County Commissioner John Burns, a Democrat, responded to Hellwig in a letter, in which Burns said he takes the GOP’s claims seriously.
“By next Friday, October 14, please provide me with evidence of daily examples of voter fraud in Wake County and each instance of the intentional registration of dead people or falsified voter information,” Burns wrote. “Together, we should be able to draw the attention of the Board of Elections to these issues and root out such fraud before the election, rather than relying on challenging voters in an ad hoc fashion on Election Day.”
Burns, reached by phone, said he believes the voter fraud the GOP fears is “statistically non-existent” and that the party is “trying to scare their voters and intimidate others.” Burns said he mailed the letter and posted a photo of it on Twitter but, as of 3 p.m. Friday, hadn’t heard from Hellwig or anyone else at the Wake GOP.
Hellwig, for his part, says he’s not going to indulge Burns.
“That’s just political gamesmanship that’s not worthy of a response,” he said of Burns’ letter.
Hellwig insists his party’s concerns are valid, citing the case of a Tennessee man who recently pleaded guilty to voting fraud in Rutherford County because he had voted in three places during one election.
“That's why Republicans wanted voter ID laws,” Hellwig said. “And now that those laws have been thrown out by liberal, activist judges, we feel compelled to urge our volunteers to get trained and watch out for irregularities.”
More than 100 people volunteered in the last two days, he added.
“I hope that the rhetoric was unneeded and nothing happens, but we want to be vigilant,” Hellwig said.
It’s unclear how often Wake County catches voting violators. Gary Sims, director of Wake’s Board of Elections, referred questions to the N.C. State Board of Elections. The state board didn’t immediately respond to an email request for information.
The state had only two verified cases of voter fraud between 2000 and 2014, according to a Rutgers University professor who testified in a federal trial last year.
Compiled by Paul A. Specht
Got a tip or coming event? Send an email to Triangle Politics at firstname.lastname@example.org.