taking the words of Jesus seriously


In recent years Republicans in state legislatures have expressed grave concern about voter fraud as they presented a “solution” of tough voter ID laws and other restrictions that deprive low-income and minority voters of the ballot. Many of these voter-suppression measures have become law despite clear evidence that voter fraud is practically nonexistent.


Recently, though, a fraud case did arise — though it wasn’t exactly the kind that Republicans have so loudly warned about.


Last week, around the time when Donald J. Trump was in Iowa, the Des Moines police arrested a resident named Terri Lynn Rote on suspicion of voter fraud, a Class D felony in Iowa. Apparently persuaded by Mr. Trump’s rhetoric that the “system is rigged, ” Ms. Rote, the police said, cast ballots for Mr. Trump at two early voting sites.


In Florida, another crucial swing state where Mr. Trump has fumed about a vast conspiracy to rig the election against him, a poll worker in Miami, Gladys Coego, was accused of illegally marking ballots on behalf of a Republican mayoral candidate. She has also been arrested.


Few issues that have emerged in this election have received closer review by federal courts than voting. Over three years ago, when my home state, North Carolina, passed an expansive voter-suppression bill, we sued the governor to expose the myth of voter fraud. Ultimately, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, in N.A.A.C.P. v. McCrory, that there was almost no evidence of voter fraud in modern United States elections (the arrests above demonstrate why election fraud is practically nonexistent in America).


Read the rest of Rev. Barber’s commentary in the New York Times.


You can also watch Rev. Barber explain Friday’s federal injunction against voter purging on “The Last Word, “ with Lawrence O’Donnell.


About The Author


The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church and President of Repairers of the Breach. He has served as president of the North Carolina NAACP, the largest state conference in the South, since 2006 and sits on the National NAACP Board of Directors. A former Mel King Fellow at MIT, he is currently Visiting Professor of Public Theology and Activism at Union Theological Seminary and is a Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary. Rev. Barber is author of the best-selling The Third Reconstruction: How A Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear.

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