North Carolina had two verified cases of voter fraud between 2000 and 2014 out of 35 million votes cast in municipal and presidential elections, an expert testified today in a federal trial over the state’s controversial election law. Lorraine Minnite, a political science professor at Rutgers University, said that voter fraud is rare nationally and in North Carolina. Several groups, including the N.C. NAACP and the U.S. Department of Justice, are suing North Carolina and Gov. Pat McCrory over House Bill 589, which state Republican legislators pushed in 2013. McCrory signed the legislation into law in August 2013. The law eliminated same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct provisional voting and reduced the days of early voting, among other changes. State Republican legislators said publicly that they pushed for the changes to ensure the integrity of the voting process and to stamp out the potential for voter fraud.
Nationally, Republican leaders in other states, including Ohio and Texas, have cited voter fraud as reasons for legislation requiring voters to have photo IDs when they show up at the polls.
Minnite said there’s no evidence of significant voter fraud in any of the states that have pushed for photo ID laws, including North Carolina. House Bill 589 requires that voters have one out of eight qualifying photo IDs by 2016. That part of the law is not being litigated in the federal trial in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem. State Republican legislators recently amended the law to ease the photo ID restriction, and plaintiffs asked for more time to consider the implications of that change.