In his first meeting with Congressional leaders, Mr. Trump made the outrageous claim that three to five million Americans illegally cast ballots in 2016 “for the other side.” To validate this falsehood, Trump later cited a known conspiracy theorist, pointed to the long-debunked urban myth of dead people voting, and cast suspicion on voters who are registered in multiple states — despite the fact that his own adviser Stephen Bannon, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and even his youngest daughter Tiffany, are all on voter rolls in two places.
Now Trump has upped the anti-voter ante by calling for a major federal investigation into the 2016 elections, with a focus on results in states where he lost.
What has been lost is how Trump’s irresponsible claims have become a distraction from the imminent dangers this rhetoric poses to our democracy. While study after study show that Trump’s voter fraud is a myth, recent history shows that this type of misinformation campaign targeting our electorate is just the opening salvo of efforts to pass bad laws that make it more difficult for Americans to vote.
One need only look to North Carolina for evidence. For the past five years, conservative lawmakers have used obfuscation and outright lies about the state’s voters to justify slashing popular Early Voting hours. Legislators have limited voter access to successful safety nets like Same-day Registration and Out-of-Precinct voting. and crafting more barriers to fair and open elections. In 2016, the state’s outgoing governor Pat McCrory launched his own election protests, targeting innocent people with poorly-researched accusations and, in the process, defaming dozens of voters.
Our election system remains at the heart of our democracy and must be defended. And North Carolina voters — who have become battle-tested from endless restrictions waged against them by politicians trying to keep them from the polls — are now going well beyond voting to encourage increased participation in the political process. They’re closely monitoring the state’s election systems and fighting to protect voting access and take the politics out of political maps, making sure people pick their representatives and not the other way around.
North Carolinians have seen first-hand how rampant voter suppression is the only real election fraud facing our country. It’s now up to voters to go beyond casting a ballot to fight back.
Find ways to get involved with the fight for democracy right now by visiting demnc.co/act.
Jen Jones is Communications Director for Democracy North Carolina.