Elections analyst calls for voter reform
by Staff Writer
by Aaron Burns
HUNTERSVILLE – Voter fraud and voter security were two major talking points in Susan Myrick’s speech this week to the North Mecklenburg Republican Women.
Myrick, an election policy analyst for the Civitas Institute – a Raleigh-based non-partisan, nonprofit research organization – has championed the cause for change in the state’s voting policies.
Her speech took place Feb. 12 at the NorthStone Country Club.
Myrick said two of the biggest issues facing voters across the state are voters registered in multiple polling places, allowing them the option of voting multiple times, and the lack of policing done by the Board of Elections to prevent such an occurrence from happening every election.
The key to doing so, and maintaining voter security, is requiring identification for voters who visit the polls on Election Day. Myrick, who worked for the Wake County Board of Elections for eight years, said only voters who vote early are required to show identification.
“Every election I’ve voted in, someone has gone to vote and been told they already voted,” Myrick said. “Right now, there’s no way to find voter fraud in North Carolina. It’s impossible, because people can move and stay registered where they (previously) lived. You can travel back to your old precinct and vote.”
Christian Hine, the president of the Charlotte Tea Party, owner of PunditHouse.com and a Huntersville resident from 2000-06, said voter fraud is an ongoing problem in the state and nationwide.
“Voting is one of the most sacred privileges we have,” he said. “The possibility of having a vote watered down by not following rules infuriates me. As long as the opportunity exists for not playing by the rules, it disenfranchises us all.”
Multiple news outlets reported last November that Jim Turner, a Pine Knoll Shores, N.C. resident, posted on President Obama’s Facebook page that he had voted four times in different precincts prior to Election Day. However, the state Board of Elections cleared Turner of any wrongdoing after he said the post was meant to be private and was tongue-in-cheek.
But voter fraud is no laughing matter, Myrick cautioned.
TheBlaze.com reported Myrick found more than 2,660 state residents older than age 110 had voted by late October before the 2010 presidential election.
Myrick said with so many people registered in multiple places and being able to vote on Election Day without showing identification, the risk continues to exist until state voting policies are changed to reflect the fraud cases.
“The people working the polls aren’t the ones to blame,” she said. “They’re out there working hard and they’re working long hours. In fact, the average age for a poll worker as of a few years ago was 72 years old.”
During the meeting, Myrick also promoted putting an end to several election-related processes: same-day registration, public financing of campaigns, non-partisan judicial races, straight party voting and registration of 16- and 17-year-olds.
“We get used to something and we think, ‘That’s just the way it is,’ and we don’t do anything about it,” Myrick said.
“I’ll tell anyone, Democrats, Republicans or Independents, the most important thing if you want to change something is have your voice heard by the people you elect.”