I believe that people who push voter identification requirements are cynical racists who believe in voter suppression as the best way to ensure Republican control and prop up the policies of white supremacy. But… maybe they’re just stupid. I argue with a lot of people who claim that voter ID laws are just a “common sense” solution the “dangerous” problem of voter fraud. That position is demonstrably ignorant, but centrists tell me that people who believe it need not be self-consciously malignant. Happily, the honest attempt at actual voter fraud by North Carolina Republicans will give us all a chance to test our hypotheses. If I’m right, the racists will ignore this attempt at fraud. If the centrists are right, these pro-voter ID people will actually learn something.
It’s a brilliant test case because the fraud that (allegedly) took place in North Carolina could not have been stopped by strong voter ID laws. In fact, North Carolina has strong voter ID laws, which did nothing to prevent the fraud potentially carried out by or on behalf of Republican candidate Mark Harris.
If you haven’t been following along, the salient details involve: a raft of “unreturned” absentee ballots from two rural counties in North Carolina’s ninth Congressional district, implausible numbers of Republican votes from the absentee ballots that were returned, a Republican operative who is literally a convicted felon, sworn affidavits claiming that people came around to “collect” unsealed absentee ballots, and an election that the Republican “won” by just 905 votes.