McConnell tries to pin NC-09 scandal on Democrats, confuses voter fraud with election fraud

Election fraud is not the same as voter fraud.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) conflated North Carolina election fraud with voter fraud on Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) conflated North Carolina election fraud with voter fraud on Tuesday. (PHOTO CREDIT: C-SPAN, screenshot.)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) mocked his Democratic colleagues Tuesday morning for opposing strict voter ID laws while also opposing the sort of absentee ballot theft and manipulation that lead North Carolina’s state board of elections to order a new election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional district last week.

“For years and years, every Republican who dared to call for common-sense safeguards for Americans’ ballots was demonized by Democrats and their allies,” McConnell said from the Senate floor. “We were hit with left-wing talking points insisting that voter fraud wasn’t real. ‘Never happens,’ they said.”

“Now that an incident of very real voter fraud has become national news and the Republican candidate seems to have benefited, these longstanding Democratic talking points have been really quiet. Haven’t heard much from Democrats lately about how fraud really happens,” he continued.

Critics have since noted that voter ID laws would have done nothing to stop the alleged election fraud that happened in North Carolina.


Voter fraud involves a voter attempting to cast a vote illegally. It is almost non-existent in the United States; studies have repeatedly found you are more likely to be struck by lightning or report seeing a UFO than to engage in voter fraud.

Even more rare is impersonation voter fraud — a person showing up at a polling place and pretending to be someone else to cast a ballot on their behalf.  Still, McConnell and others have pushed for strict photo identification requirements for voters — despite or because of the reality that these requirements disenfranchise older, poorer, urban, and minority voters who are less likely to have drivers’ licenses or other acceptable forms of identification.

What happened in North Carolina was alleged election fraud — citizen voters allegedly had their lawfully cast absentee ballots stolen by operatives working for the campaign of Republican Mark Harris and discarded or changed to be pro-Harris votes.

Even if the North Carolina 9th District race had been run with the “common-sense safeguards” McConnell explicitly mentioned — “modest efforts to ensure that voters are who they say they are and are voting in the proper place” like strict photo ID laws — they would have done absolutely nothing to prevent the illegal shenanigans the Board of Elections uncovered by the Harris campaign.

The unanimous, bipartisan ruling of the NC board effectively throws out the entire 2018 midterm election for that House seat. A new primary and general election will be held in the upcoming months to fill the seat, which has been vacant since the start of the new Congress in January. Additionally, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has said she plans to bring criminal prosecutions in the next month for those responsible for the fraud.