According to the report, published April 18, about 600 voter fraud claims were filed after McCrory lost to current Gov. Roy Cooper in the 2016 election.
Some fraud claims said dead people filed votes or felons voted improperly.
When researching false allegations of voter misconduct, Democracy NC uncovered a number of voter fraud claims with unsubstantial evidence.
“Today, we are calling for a criminal investigation of a possible conspiracy by the Pat McCrory re-election committee and the NC Republican Party to use fraudulent charges of voter fraud to harass and intimidate voters, deny them their right to vote, interfere with the elections process and corrupt the results of the 2016 elections,” said Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy NC, in a statement.
Isela Gutiérrez, an author of the Democracy NC report, said it’s important to hold accusers of voter fraud accountable — since voter fraud has been used as a political weapon before.
“(Voter ID laws) took a lot of access away from folks,” she said. “So we were concerned right away when Pat McCrory’s campaign started making these allegations of voter fraud that this was going to be the pretext for voter oppression.”
Gutiérrez said McCrory had the power to file voter fraud claims personally, but instead, the Republican party campaign asked local citizens to file the claims. This may be because the claims were not based on good information, she said.
She said Democracy NC found reports of cases where attorneys or locals found no evidence of fraud but did not withdraw the claims.
Democracy NC’s report includes county-by-county profiles and interviews with people who filed questionable fraud claims.
“So many of the local Republicans who signed this protest felt really used by the McCrory campaign,” Gutiérrez said. “They thought they were helping out their candidate for governor and that they were taking a stand on behalf of McCrory.”
The N.C. GOP released a statement in response, saying the attack came from a left-wing group funded by Cooper.
“Citizens have rights, as prescribed by law, to make inquires about potential voting irregularities,” N.C. GOP Chairperson Robin Hayes said in the statement. “It is a disgusting attempt to bully everyday citizens out of their right to provide a check on our electoral system.”
Gutiérrez said if someone thinks a voter is not a legitimate voter in the county, a voter challenge can be filed rather than an voter fraud claim — but the GOP has already missed the deadline on filing these.
“They really tried this backdoor method, so it’s sort of ironic that they’re saying ‘We have this right!’” she said. “Because what I would say is: ‘You totally do have this right and you should use the correct laws that are designed for just that.’”