INFESTED: Absentee Irregularities in Columbus County Too?

COLUMBUS COUNTY – The likelihood that shady vote harvesting was a practice contained within just one county was always pretty low. It’s like seeing a single cockroach in your house; there are definitely more you aren’t seeing.

With the spotlight that has been placed on North Carolina, though, with respect to the apparent fraud in the 9th District congressional race and calls for a new election, many of these other roaches are getting illuminated. Robeson County was always a known breeding grounds, but another county is raising eyebrows now as well: Columbus.

“About a third of the absentee ballots that were requested in Columbus County during the 2018 general election never got returned to the Board of Elections. That’s an even higher percentage of missing ballots than the unreturned ballot numbers that raised the red flags in Bladen County.

There were 557 absentee ballots requested in Columbus County during the November election, more than double the number requested in Columbus County during the last mid-term election in 2014. Of those 557 ballots, 181 of them (32%) disappeared, and most of the missing absentee ballots were mailed to registered Democrats.

That’s significant, since former Sheriff Lewis Hatcher is a Democrat, and lost his seat by just 37 votes.

It’s also very unusual compared to state norms for unreturned absentee ballots. Elections experts say 80-90% of requested absentee ballots in North Carolina are usually returned. Even compared to Columbus County norms, the 2018 unreturned absentee ballots numbers stand out. During the 2014 midterms, only 14% of requested absentee ballots there were unreturned.”

If the State Board of Elections is takes its duty seriously, it requires more than a look at one or two counties with the partisan momentum of reversing a Republican victory. They are going to require, and the citizens of North Carolina deserve, a comprehensive investigation into all kinds of vote harvesting operations across the state.

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It’s looks more and more everyday that this would be a huge endeavor, with guilty parties across the political spectrum. Still, it would probably lead to A LOT of egg on the face of the N.C. Democratic Party, going back decades. Do we think Roy Cooper and his handpicked chairman of the Board are really willing to take an honest look at such an unattractive reflection?

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