North Carolina, Fraud, Mark Harris discussed on Morning Edition

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This is KCRW seven forty five. It's morning edition from NPR news. I'm Steve Inskeep. And I'm Rachel Martin. An update now on the probe into election fraud in North Carolina's ninth congressional district. Investigators for the North Carolina State board elections have officially named Leslie McRae. Dallas as a person of interest Republican Mark Harris leads democrat Dama Creedy by just over nine hundred votes in the unofficial vote tally. But the election still hasn't been certified and mail in ballots are at the center of all of this NPR's, miles parks has been covering the story, and he joins us now in studio here miles. Hi there who is Leslie McRae Dulles. So he is a somebody who was being paid by Republican Mark Harris via a consulting firm. This investigation is really focused on what went on in Robeson county and bladen county which are on the east part of the ninth district. Mark Harris really outperformed their in specifically in vote by mail ballots compared to the number of ballots that were turned in by registered Republicans voters have alleged that Dallas went out. Actually gathered people's ballots, which is a legal in North Carolina. And that has people questioning whether those ballots were all turned in or whether they were manipulating some way. Basically, the state board of elections is looking into whether there are enough questions here to actually doubt the integrity of the election and potentially call for a whole new election, the ninth district, I mean leading up to this election miles talked about how fried almost never happens, very rare. But now we're talking about a congressional race potentially hanging on the balance because so in person voter fraud is what we've been talking about never ever happens. This is the kind of fraud that President Donald Trump, for instance, talks about somebody changed their hat to to be able to vote twice but absentee ballot fraud mail in ballot fraud does occasionally happen. I talked to Charles Stewart who's an election expert at MIT about this. The consensus is among people who study fraud carefully is that voting by mail is a much more fertile area for fraud. Dan voting in person. What's interesting, though, is that we're actually seeing vote by mail increase across the country the percent of people nationally who voted by mail and the two thousand sixteen presidential election actually tripled compared to just two decades prior because it's super convenient, right? Exactly. You waited in those long lines. Sometimes there are so many benefits. Here you mentioned the long lines. There's also the fact that you have weeks to fill out your ballot with your resources handy in the comfort of your own home, most richer, meet right, excuse me. Most research says that it does increase turnout, especially in low profile, non presidential elections Stewart told me that overall basically there's this trend going on a toward making voter voting easier and accessible for people and the amount of fraud were talking about when we talk about vote by mail fraud is still miniscule compared to the amount of ballots that are cast even say over the last decade. But still now that we've got this North Carolina case, I imagine some state election officials out there across the country are perhaps rethinking the accessibility to the experts. I talked to are really worried about that possibility possibility that election security hawks are basically use what's happening North Carolina as a way to clamp down on vote by mail ballots. But like you said voters really like this practice in every state where they've allowed people to. Do it more often people? Do it more often to the point where three states are actually vote by mail completely people can vote in person if they choose, but they every single registered voter in Washington, Oregon and Colorado actually receives a mail in ballot. So I talked to election directors in those states who basically said they wanna use North Carolina as.

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