Democrats Say They Will Refuse To Seat NC Republican Linked To Voter Fraud

Earlier this month The Resurgent described the case of the North Carolina ninth congressional district where the election of Republican Mark Harris has still not been certified. An investigation found a suspicious pattern in absentee votes for Harris and prompted the board to delay certification of the election results. On Friday, the board disbanded without certifying the election despite a last-minute petition by the Harris campaign. The dissolution of the board leaves the outcome of the election in uncertainty, but incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) says that the House will not seat Harris.

In an interview on MSNBC Friday, Hoyer said, “I simply said if Mr. Harris is not certified as the duly, fairly, legally elected member, we would certainly oppose his seating. And as I understand it, that verification has not come. In fact, Republican leaders in North Carolina have said that there is substantial question as to the validity of the outcome of the general election. That’s in court now as you know.”

“We’ll see what the court does, but it is clear apparently from all sides that there was fraud committed by certain participants in the administration of the election,” Hoyer continued. “Under those circumstances, we ought to have a new election for the general election, not the primary. The primary was not contested, but for the general election.”

If the House refuses to seat Harris, then a new election will be held in the district. New elections would include new primaries the Republican and Democratic nominations as well as the Libertarian Party which also fielded a candidate.

Blue Wave Reaches 40 House Seats With Another Dem Win In California

Although predictions that the Democrat blue wave would founder lasted through the early hours of poll results on Election Day, the extent of the wave has been growing in recent weeks as close races have been decided across the country. With the news that Republican David Valadao has been defeated in California’s 21st congressional district, the Republican losses in the House have reached a total of 40 seats.

The win in CA-21 by Democrat TJ Cox brings the total number of California congressional seats flipped by Democrats to seven. This includes four seats in Orange County, which was a Republican stronghold in the past but became a totally Democrat county in 2018.

As with several other California Republicans, Valadao, who has represented his district since 2013, held a lead on Election night and was initially projected to be the winner. However, absentee ballots arriving after Election Day eroded their lead and eventually flipped the seats to the Democrats. On Nov. 6, Valadao led by 5,000 votes but ultimately lost by 862 votes, less than one percent of the total.

Some Republicans have speculated that fraudulent votes have changed the course of races in California, but so far there is no evidence of wrongdoing. California law requires absentee voters to register seven days before the election and mail ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received within three days of the election. However, vote counting in California can take longer because California accepts ballots that could be rejected in other states. California law requires counties to notify voters of mistakes, such as missing signatures, that would otherwise invalidate a ballot and gives voters time to correct them. Ballots that were sent to the wrong county are also required to be forwarded to correct location.

Some Republicans also blame a new California law that allows “ballot harvesting.” Effective this year, California allows anyone to return signed and sealed absentee ballots to the local election officials. Previously, only relatives could turn in ballots for absentee voters. The law expressly prohibits paying vote collectors for the number of ballots that they turn in but is silent on whether they can receive an hourly wage for their efforts. While the new law may have led to an increase in the number of absentee votes, the law did not favor Democrats over Republicans except in the ability to find volunteers to collect ballots.

The outgoing chairman of the California Republican Party, former state Sen. Jim Brulte, rejected the notion that voting irregularities led to the Republican rout in the Golden State. Brulte told Politico that Republican candidates were warned about changes to California election laws and failed to take appropriate action.

“We personally briefed the candidates, the congressional delegation, the legislators,” Brulte said, but added, “We’ve not been able to find Republicans having a lot of success anywhere related to ballot harvesting.”

Brulte has other concerns about California as well, warning that, “I believe California is the canary in the coal mine — not an outlier.”

In Brulte’s view, the core problem for California Republicans was that “We have not yet been able to figure out how to effectively communicate and get significant numbers of votes from non-whites.”

Brulte pointed out that demographic trends indicate that “the entire country will be majority minority by 2044” and Republicans have failed to appeal to those new voters. Exit polling shows that the Republican base is becoming increasingly white, male, and rural. These changes mean that Republican candidates must “figure out how we get votes from people who don’t look like you,” Brulte says. The problem is pronounced in California but may soon affect such Republican strongholds as Texas, Florida, and Georgia where Republicans won extremely close races this year.

At this point, there is only one undecided House race left. In North Carolina’s 19th district, Republican activists are accused of illegal ballot harvesting that is similar to what is now legal in California. The allegations of electoral fraud in North Carolina could lead to a new election in that district where Republican Mark Harris eked out a 905 vote win over Democrat Dan McCready.

Voter Fraud May Have Thrown This North Carolina Congressional Election

Voter fraud may have changed the outcome of a congressional election in North Carolina. For a change, the fraud allegations are against the Republicans and, rather than centering on a voter ID issue, the problem deals with absentee ballots, a weak link in the electoral systems of many states.

The race in North Carolina’s ninth district was called for Mark Harris, a Republican running to succeed Robert Pittenger, the Republican incumbent who was defeated in the primary. Harris, a Charlotte pastor, led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes on Election night and McCready conceded the next day. Over the next few weeks, irregularities in the election have caused the North Carolina Board of Elections to delay certifying the election. On Nov. 26, the board, which is made up of four Republicans, four Democrats and one nonpartisan, voted unanimously to delay until an investigation had been completed. The race is still officially undecided.

The investigation centers on absentee ballots in Bladen and Robeson Counties, two of the most rural counties of the district, and a staffer for the Harris campaign staffer who allegedly ran an operation that submitted hundreds of illegal ballots. Sworn affidavits and news reports allege that Leslie McCrae Dowless and other campaign workers would go to visit voters and have them fill out requests for absentee ballots. Mr. Dowless and others allegedly returned later to pick up the absentee ballots, which were sometimes unsealed, with the promise of submitting them.

Datesha Montgomery, a 27-year-old woman from Elizabethtown, N.C., said in sworn affidavit cited by ABC News that a woman “came by and asked for my absentee ballot” in early October.

“She states that [the woman] was collecting peoples [sic] ballots in the area. She had just come from another ladies [sic] house. I filled out two names on the ballot, Hakeem Brown for Sheriff and Vice Rozier for board of education. She stated the others were not important. I gave her the ballot and she said she would finish it herself. I signed the ballot and she left. It was not sealed up at any time,” Montgomery said in the affidavit.

Under North Carolina law, only the voter, the voter’s close relatives or legal guardian are allowed to drop off absentee ballots. Despite the law, at least five voters in addition to Montgomery have signed affidavits that present similar stories.

The case for fraud goes beyond voter testimony. There is also statistical evidence. The ninth district is made up of parts of eight counties. Michael Blitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College, analyzed the absentee voting and found that Bladen County had a much higher share of absentee ballots than the other counties in the district. Seven percent of Bladen’s registered voters asked for absentee ballots compared with about three percent statewide.

Even though Bladen County Republicans requested only 19 percent of absentee ballots, Harris received 61 percent of the absentee mail vote there. What’s more, Bladen County was the only county in the district where Harris won the absentee mail vote. FiveThirtyEight noticed the same discrepancies in the Bladen returns.

Blitzer also pointed out that Bladen County had an abnormally high rate of unreturned ballots. Forty percent of absentee ballots mailed out were never returned. The next highest ghosting rate was only 27 percent. This could indicate that some of the ballots that were picked up were discarded rather than turned in.

If that weren’t enough, WSOC, a local television station, interviewed Ginger Eason, whose name appears as a witness on 28 absentee ballots. Eason said that Dowless paid her $75 to $100 per week to pick up absentee ballots. This would have been a violation of the law if the voters were not Eason’s relatives. WSOC also listed seven other people who were listed as witnesses on an unusual number of absentee ballots.

Leslie McCrae Dowless, who goes by his middle name, is a longtime political operative in Bladen County who has a criminal history. Dowless, who turned in 592 of the 1,341 absentee ballots in Bladen, was convicted of insurance fraud in 1992. He was also accused of tampering with absentee ballots in 2016. That year two voters accused his workers of paying them to request absentee ballots. In one case, the requested absentee ballots were never delivered and the voter tried to vote in person, only to be told that ballots for her and her family had already been turned in. In another case, a get-out-the-vote activist working for Dowless was accused of telling the voter who she had to vote for.

Candidates supported by Dowless typically do very well in Bladen County, especially with absentee ballots. The Charlotte Observer pointed out that Todd Johnson, who Dowless worked for in the 2016 Republican primary, won 98 percent of Bladen’s absentee vote despite finishing third overall. In this year’s primary, Harris did nearly as well with 96 percent. Harris defeated Pittenger by only 828 votes in the primary so it is possible that absentee ballot fraud may have affected the outcome of that election as well.

Dowless has not responded to calls from new organizations but did deny any wrongdoing to the Charlotte Observer.

At this point, a resolution to the Bladen County absentee scandal is uncertain. The US Attorney is conducting an investigation and the Board of Elections will hold a hearing on or before Dec. 21. The board could call for a new election with the same candidates, including Libertarian Jeff Scott, who won just under two percent of the vote. If the state certifies the original election results, the House may also refuse to seat Harris. In that case, an entirely new election with new primaries would be held.

While this one congressional district won’t decide the fate of the House, it underscores the depth of the blue wave that Republicans would probably have lost another seat in a district that hasn’t gone Democrat since 1963 if a shady staffer hadn’t harvested hundreds of illegal votes. It is very possible that when the dust clears the Democrats will have added another Republican scalp to their midterm trophies.

The Bladen County scandal also undercuts the Republican message about ballot security and voter ID laws. The fact that Republicans appear to have paid for absentee votes and possibly discarded ballots containing votes for the Democratic candidate makes a mockery of the party’s planks calling for election security and voter verification. Republican efforts have concentrated on voter ID laws, but absentee ballots typically don’t require verification of identity.

After Midterms, Republicans Are Endangered Species On West Coast

As midterm election results continue to roll in from California, the extent of the Republican rout on the West Coast is becoming apparent. At this point, it looks as though Democrat gains in the House will be a net increase of 38 seats. Almost 20 percent of these gains come from the West Coast and many are in the one-time Republican stronghold of Orange County, California where Republican congressional districts were wiped out.

Prior to the election, Republicans held four of the six seats in the suburban Los Angeles county. The 46th and 47th districts were previously Democratic districts, but the remainder of the county has traditionally been Republican.

The Democratic gains in Orange County were mixed between picking up Republican open seats and knocking off GOP incumbents. Dana Rohrabacher, the 48th district congressman widely considered to be the most pro-Kremlin Republican, lost to Democrat Harley Rouda and Republican Mimi Walters in the 45th district was defeated by Katie Porter. In the 49th district, Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight committee, famous for his investigations of Benghazi and Fast and Furious, announced his retirement and saw his seat flip to the Democrats as Mike Levin defeated Diane Harkey. In the 39th district, another Republican retirement cleared the way for Democrat Gil Cisneros to defeat Republican Young Kim.

The Orange County Republican rout is similar to the Republican difficulties in the rest of the country. Orange County is heavily suburban and has a declining population of whites, which make up only 42 percent of the population per California Demographics. Hispanics comprise 34 percent of county residents while 19 percent are Asian. Exit polls show that nationally less than 30 percent of those minority groups voted Republican.

Democrats also flipped two other California congressional districts in California. The 10th district in Turlock, north of San Francisco, and the 25th district in Palmdale, on the north side of LA, both voted out Republican incumbents.

A seventh West Coast district, Washington’s 8th, home to Rep. Dave Reichert, another retiring Republican, is being replaced by Democrat Josh Harder. At this point, Democrats control seven of Washington’s 10 congressional districts. The third district, represented by Republican Herrera Beutler, is now the only Republican district on the entire West Coast that borders on the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

There were no flipped seats in Oregon, but four of the state’s five districts were already Democrat. Only Gregg Walden’s second district, which covers the inland two-thirds of the state, is represented by a Republican.

 

If the Republicans want to take back the House, they will have to become more competitive in suburban House districts like those in Orange County. Reversing this year’s losses will also require that the GOP overcome the current trend of declining minority support.

Mia Love Sues To Stop Ballot Count In Utah

Yet another election lawsuit has been filed as Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) has asked a judge to stop the ballot count in her congressional district. Love’s campaign is seeking approval to challenge the county verification of signed envelopes that accompany absentee ballots.

Love was reported to have lost on election night, but the race is very close and has not yet been officially decided. Yesterday, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Love has narrowed the race and trailed Democrat Ben McAdams by 873 votes.

Love alleges that her campaign representatives have been allowed to observe the counting, but that challenges to the authenticity of voter signatures have been ignored, notes the Daily Caller. A hearing was scheduled on the lawsuit for Thursday afternoon, but Salt Lake County continued counting ballots in the meantime, releasing the updated count Wednesday night.

Love was mocked by President Trump the day after the election for her loss. The president singled her out for failing to ask for an endorsement of her re-election campaign, saying, “Mia Love gave me no love and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”

Love’s opponent, Democrat Ben McAdams tweeted in response to the lawsuit, “It is the job of election officials to decide what votes count, not political candidates. Rep. Love’s decision to sue only in SLCo as she continues to trail in this race is unfortunate and smacks of desperation. Utah voters deserve better than this.”

Utah’s four congressional districts were all represented by Republicans prior to the midterm elections. Rep. Love’s fourth district, which includes part of Salt Lake City and its southern suburbs, is the only district in danger of being controlled by Democrats.

In other parts of the country, election results continue to trickle in with new gains for Democrats. The race for Maine’s second district was finally decided today in favor of Democrat Jared Golden. Golden, a Marine veteran, defeated Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin. Golden’s victory brings the total Democrat gains in the House to 35 seats with seven races still undecided.

New Ruling Puts End To Georgia Election Wrangling In Sight

A federal judge issued a ruling in Democrat Stacey Abrams lawsuit over the Georgia gubernatorial election. Last night, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones ruled that the secretary of state has confirmed that absentee ballots with missing or incorrect birthdates are counted.

Per a report by WSB Radio, Judge Jones, an Obama appointee, agreed to Abrams’ request to count absentee ballots with missing or incorrect birthdates but rejected several other requests by the Democratic candidate.  Ballots cast by voters in the wrong county or with incorrect residence addresses will not be counted.

Under Georgia law, if a voter goes to the wrong precinct to vote, they are allowed to cast a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot is counted if the voter is determined to be a resident of the county and has not voted elsewhere. Several counties in Metro Atlanta reported that they rejected hundreds of ballots because people voted in a county where they were not a resident. In Fulton County, 972 ballots cast by out-of-county voters were rejected.

Abrams is about 19,000 votes short of being able to force a runoff. Austin Chambers, an advisor to Republican candidate Brian Kemp said on Twitter that the ruling would affect about 800 votes, “nowhere near enough to change the race. This is over.”

Even if the ruling does not change the outcome of the gubernatorial race, it may affect a still-undecided congressional race. Atlanta’s 11 Alive reported that the election for the seventh congressional district was still undecided. Republican incumbent Bob Woodall leads Democrat challenger Carolyn Bourdeaux by only 533 votes or 0.2 percent of the total. Georgia law allows candidates to ask for a recount if the margin in the election is less than one percent.

A similar ruling in a separate lawsuit filed by Bourdeaux required Gwinnett County to count absentee ballots with incorrect or missing birthdates as well. The Gwinnett County ruling was issued by Judge Leigh Martin May, also an Obama appointee, prior to yesterday’s ruling by Judge Jones. Per 11 Alive, the ruling affected at least 265 ballots with the birth year omitted and at least 58 ballots where the birth year was listed as 2018.

How long the recount of absentee ballots will take is uncertain at this point. The state deadline for certifying election was results was missed Tuesday due to the lawsuits. Under the new ruling, all of Georgia’s 159 counties will have to recount the absentee ballots and recertify their results.

Erick Erickson wrote on Resurgent, “There will be no recount and there will be no runoff. There are simply not enough votes. The only thing Democrats have left is to help [Democrat Secretary of State candidate] John Barrow get elected in the runoff.”

“On the upside, this is all almost over,” Erickson added.

 

How Martha McSally Could Still End Up In The Senate

Martha McSally lost this year’s Senate race in Arizona, but she could soon be a US Senator anyway. In a bit of irony following the hard-fought race for the seat of the retiring Jeff Flake, both McSally and Democrat Kirsten Sinema, the winner in last week’s election, could soon be office neighbors across the country in Washington, D.C.

 

The secret to McSally’s possible success lies in the fact that former Senator Jon Kyl was appointed to fill John McCain’s seat after his death last summer. Kyl, who is 76, agreed to fill McCain’s seat through the end of this year. If Kyl retires before the end of McCain’s elected term in 2022, then Arizona’s Republican governor will appoint another successor to fill the seat. If Gov. Doug Ducey needs a Republican to fill a Senate seat, what better person would there be than a popular conservative congresswoman who just received more than a million votes in a very close Senate campaign?

 

McSally, a 52-year-old former Air Force fighter pilot, would have to defend her seat in 2022. Given her close race against Sinema in a heavily Democratic year, the advantage of incumbency in an electoral landscape that is possibly post-Trump would make it very likely that McSally would successfully defend her seat.

 

Laurie Roberts at the Arizona Republic wrote Monday that Gov. Ducey should appoint McSally in an effort to “salve… the open, gaping wound that is post-election Arizona.” Roberts said that McSally has traditionally been a “more moderate voice than the one portrayed during this campaign — the one that allowed her to represent the state’s most competitive district.”

 

Roberts also noted that McSally has a history of being “willing to work across the political aisle.” That is a quality that is currently in short supply and is very much needed.

Here’s What 2018 Exit Polls Tell Us About Republican Voters

The exit polls are in for this week’s midterm elections. If you’re a politics junkie, it can be fascinating to compare the breakdown of this year’s voters with previous years. Even if you aren’t a fan of statistics, it can be useful to look at who voted for who to help determine why the election turned out the way it did.

 

In this case, we can look back at previous exit polls to compare how well Republicans and Democrats did with various demographic groups. Since midterm elections have a different electorate from presidential elections, I looked at CNN’s exit polls from 2014 as well as 2016 to compare them with the new results from the 2018 midterms.

 

The most basic breakdown is between genders. In 2018, Republicans won 51 percent of male voters but lost female voters by a 19-point margin (40-59 percent). This was six points worse than the 2016’s 13-point gender gap and 15 points worse than 2014.

 

Democrats typically win younger voters and 2018 was no exception. The difference this year was that the Republican-leaning age groups were even older than normal. In 2014 and 2016, Republicans won majorities of age groups above 40-years-old while Democrats won all age groups younger than 40. In 2018, Democrats won all age groups younger than 50.

 

Margins were worse for Republicans in all age groups as well. Even though the GOP won all age groups older than 50 in 2018, the margin was only 1-2 points, a virtual tie.

 

When it comes to race, there was more bad news for Republicans. The GOP won just over half of white voters, 54 percent, and lost all other racial demographics by convincing margins. The share of white voters won by Republicans has declined from 60 percent in 2014 and 57 percent in 2016.

 

In the exit polls, minority voters are broken into three categories, black, Latino, and Asian. Again, the Republican share of these demographic groups has declined as well. The percentage of each group that voted Republican is listed below by year:

2014:

Black – 10 percent

Latino – 36 percent

Asian – 50 percent

2016:

Black – 8 percent

Latino – 28 percent

Asian – 27 percent

2018:

Black – 9 percent

Latino – 29 percent

Asian – 23 percent

 

Between 2014 and 2018, Republican support among blacks remained relatively constant at just less than 10 percent. Support among Latinos declined initially and then stabilized at slightly less than 30 percent. Support among Asians has been more than halved over four years.

 

In 2004, when President George W. Bush ran on immigration reform, the numbers for Latinos and Asians were considerably better than they are today. Although President Bush only garnered 11 percent of the black vote, he won 44 percent of the Latino vote and 44 percent of the Asian vote.

 

Interestingly, while the percentage of black and Asian voters in the electorate has remained relatively constant, the share of Latino voters has increased. From eight percent in both 2004 and 2014, Latinos increased to 11 percent in 2016 and 2018. Over the same time period, white voters decreased from 77 percent of the electorate to 71 percent.

 

Voting patterns have also changed with respect to education. In 2014, Democrats won voters without high school diplomas and voters with postgraduate degrees. Republicans won high school graduates and four-year college graduates. By 2016, most college graduates were voting Democrat. In the 2018 elections, voters who had not graduated high school and voters with associate degrees were the only categories won by Republicans.

 

By ideology, conservatives usually vote Republican and liberals usually vote Democrat. The share of conservative, liberal, and moderate voters has remained relatively constant over the past four years, but moderate voters have voted Democrat at an increasing rate. In 2014, moderates went Democrat by eight points. By 2016, the margin was 12 points and, this year, moderates selected Democrats by a whopping 26 points.

 

Low-income voters typically vote Democrat, but Republicans won voters who earned above $50,000 annually by double-digit margins in 2014. In 2016, Republicans eked out a victory in the $50-100,000 range by only three points. Voters who earned more split almost equally between the two parties. This year, Democrats won the $50-100,000 category while Republicans won voters who earned more than $100,000.

 

Republicans enlarged their Senate majority in 2018, but the party has lost support in every demographic group. Even white males, the GOP’s core demographic, has declined from 64 percent support in 2014 to 60 percent in 2018.

 

Much has been made of the Republican gender gap with 2018 being called the “year of the angry female college graduate.” This prediction turned out to be true with Republicans losing women by almost 20 points. Unfortunately, the Republican problem is not limited to women. The GOP also has an age gap, a race gap, an education gap, and an income gap. So far, all of these gaps are getting worse under President Trump.