Better this time?

First Posted: 3/8/2014

So far, so good.

That’s according to local officials with the Robeson County Board of Elections, who say there have been no problems with early voting in the do-over municipal election in Pembroke that ends on Tuesday.

Late on Friday afternoon, 364 of Pembroke’s 2,619 eligible registered voters had cast a ballot during early voting — that represents almost 59 percent of all the ballots cast during the November election that was deemed tainted. This has been acheived despite the wet and cold weather of late, so it seems certain that there will be more ballots cast during the do-over election than during the November vote.

We would like to believe the absence of problems is because a lesson has been learned, but it’s more likely that the increased scrutiny has only momentarily kept some folks on better behavior. Tougher elections laws, pushed through the General Assembly by Republicans and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory, deserve credit, especially the abolition of same-day registration and voting, which was an invitation for fraudulent votes and abuse by haulers.

The last time there was a do-over vote in Robeson County was following the Lumberton municipal election in 2007. That year, Leon Maynor, the Precinct 7 incumbent then and now, and a challenger each received the same number of votes — but there were rampant allegations of fraud, and they were unusual in that some were made in advance of Election Day.

Eventually Maynor kept his seat in a March 2008 do-over vote, and he did so by a rather comfortable margin, giving substance to allegations that the initial election had indeed been tainted.

There is a similar baseline this time. If the results on Tuesday are much different from what they were in November, then the obvious conclusion is that fraudulent votes were not only cast, but in sufficient numbers to tilt an outcome.

We have no keen interest in who wins on Tuesday, trusting the people of Pembroke to elect the best candidates. But we do hope that the results of this election can be believed.

So far, so good.


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