An elections watchdog is calling for a criminal investigation into whether the campaign of former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, the N.C. Republican Party and their attorneys falsely accused hundreds of citizens of voter fraud in the wake of last year’s election, which McCrory narrowly lost to Democrat Roy Cooper. At the scandal’s center is Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky (HVJT), a prominent Virginia law firm that filed most of the voter challenges. It’s headed by Jill Holtzman Vogel, a three-term Virginia state senator from Fauquier County who’s running for lieutenant governor in the June 13 primary. The firm’s other principals include a former chair of the Federal Election Commission and a former assistant attorney general for the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Last week Democracy North Carolina released “The Deceit of Voter Fraud,” a report documenting how in the aftermath of the November 2016 gubernatorial elections the McCrory-NCGOP-HVJT team had filed legal paperwork charging about 600 voters with committing fraud or casting suspect absentee ballots. Nearly all of the accusations proved false, and the watchdog group wants state and federal officials to look into whether the protest filings may have violated state and federal laws against harassing and intimidating innocent voters, corrupting the election process and obstructing an election canvass.
“The crusade did not stop even after McCrory’s attorneys were told by some elections officials that their claims were wrong, that they were confusing voters’ names with other people, that they were using bad data,” the report says. “Instead of stopping, the attorneys caused more charges to be filed that maligned more innocent voters.”