Everyone can agree on this

Published 6:59 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2018

It’s disturbing. North Carolina is in the headlines of national news. Politicians in the U.S. Capitol are talking about North Carolina and a county not so very far away from here.

After years in which people have complained about widespread voter fraud, here we have it. In Bladen County, some have been accused of ballot harvesting — collecting unsigned and unsealed absentee ballots unsolicited by those voting in that manner. There’s an affidavit of a poll worker saying early voting totals were released afterhours of the final day of early voting and shared with people who were not election judges.

At first, there was some pushback from state Republicans against holding a new election for the 9th Congressional District, likely because Republican Mark Harris was in the lead with an unofficial count of 905 votes. But as more rumors about the voting shenanigans in Bladen County become fact, it appears as if everyone is getting on board with a new election between Harris and his Democratic challenger, Dan McCready.

In this case, it is the Republican campaign that’s being scrutinized for its absentee ballot-collecting efforts. It is unclear, as yet, who the early vote totals were shared with and how they may have informed last-ditch get-out-the-vote campaigns. However, what it looks like, across the board, is cheating, maybe by one side, maybe by both sides — it will all become clear eventually. But what has happened in Bladen County, and could have been happening as far back as the 2016 election, violates the principle that every vote counts. If a campaign effort is destroying absentee ballots and/or filling out absentee ballots in someone else’s name, then those people working for that campaign are making a mockery of the idea that an American citizen’s vote is sacred.

Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green Party, Constitution Party, all parties should be offended by this behavior, and embarrassed that any North Carolina election is being scrutinized for actions described as, at best, improper and, at worst, criminal.

In this era of divisiveness, perhaps that’s one thing on which everyone can agree.