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Capitol Insider

February 11, 2018

A League of Women Voters founding principle is an election system that inspires trust in election results and encourages citizen participation. North Carolina should be congratulated for its robust elections audit system. The LWV-Wake Voter Protection Committee conducted a 6-month analysis of the NC State Board of Elections audit of the 2016 General Election and reviewed other documents to determine if there was voter fraud in North Carolina. The answer is two voters out of 4.8 million committed fraud. Two relatives voted using names of deceased relatives, one by mail and one in person. Another 67 ballots were confirmed as ineligible ballots. In other words, only 3 in 100,000 were ineligible, hardly a massive problem. NCSBE Director Kim Strach

“strongly cautions readers not to refer to these ineligible ballot cases as ‘voter fraud’.” Voter fraud is the voter “knowingly and intentionally” making an illegal vote. Rather, an ineligible vote may be the result of unintentional conduct. The NC State Board of Elections states, “Our work indicates that ineligible voters are not isolated to one political party or any geographical region of the state.”

Better technology would effectively prevent ineligible voters by producing more accurate voter records. Director Kim Strach, State Board of Elections emphasized the need to increase voter education, protect against cyber hacking, and replace aging voting systems, which also would decrease administrative costs. The two impersonations and the 67 confirmed ineligible voters could have been prevented if the NC State Board of Elections’ recommendations to improve technology had been implemented before the 2016 election.

Interesting findings:

  • NCSBE found 97.6% of voters who appeared to be non-citizens based on DMV data were confirmed to be US citizens by Homeland Security data. The remaining 41 were legal residents. Misinformation was the common cause of an ineligible vote (e.g., a 70-year-old woman married to a citizen thought she automatically became a citizen). To get the documentation and file for citizenship costs a few thousand dollars.


  • Of the suspected felons voting while on parole, 129 were eligible to vote. Eighty-seven (87) were referred to a DA, with the rest in various stages of investigation as of 10/10/2017. Technology could have prevented the confusion. The NCSBE recommended making sure that people on parole understand that they are not eligible to vote until they have completed their parole, and aims improve communication between agencies.


  • Many suspected cases of double voting proved to be administrative errors by poll workers. The 24 substantiated cases involved voting twice in NC or in NC plus another state. Some double voters appear to be “testers” trying to find holes in the system. Others claimed that they should be able to vote in multiple counties because they owned property in multiple counties.


  • Double registrations should not be confused with double voting. Many of the suspected double registrations were two different voters with similar names. And even high-profile voters neglect to notify boards of election regarding a change of status. Improved technology would better eliminate double registration.


Associated Press, November 1, 2017. Trump’s Voter Fraud Expert Registered in Three States. Gannon, P. (2017, November 17). Follow-up to 2016 Audit Report. Email to Sheila Denn . Raleigh, NC: NCSBE. NC State Board of Elections. (n.d.). (League of Women Voters NC, Interviewer) NC State Board of Elections. (2017). 2016 General Election Post-Election Audit Report. Retrieved from Sharad Goel, M. M.-M. (2017, October 24). One Person, One Vote: Estimating the Prevalence of Double Voting in US Presidential Elections. This American Life , Strach, K. W. (2017, September 06). Correspondence_Kobach-09-06-2017. Retrieved from