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Among the stories we are featuring today: National monuments at risk under an expected executive order; the latest on negotiations to avoid a government shutdown; and attempts to overturn Citizens United ramp up.

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Calls for Criminal Probe of False Voter-Fraud Allegations in NC

Democracy North Carolina and several citizens want a criminal investigation into false allegations of voter fraud in North Carolina's November 2016 election. (justgrimes/Flickr)
Democracy North Carolina and several citizens want a criminal investigation into false allegations of voter fraud in North Carolina's November 2016 election. (justgrimes/Flickr)
April 19, 2017

CARTHAGE, N.C. - An advocacy group is calling for a criminal investigation into almost 600 false allegations of voter fraud listed by the North Carolina Republican Party.

Democracy North Carolina called for action on Tuesday, releasing a report about instances of voters being falsely accused of casting ballots illegally. Carol Turner of Moore County is one of them; she moved to North Carolina last June and said she made sure she transferred her voter registration in time for the November election - only to find out she was listed as a fraudulent voter.

"It really made me angry, especially since I took such special care to avoid this kind of stuff," she said. "Given this past election and all the questions about it, I wanted to make sure people knew where I was and where I was voting. I did what I was supposed to do as a responsible citizen, and then this happened."

In published reports immediately following the election, former Gov. Pat McCrory and his party alleged voter fraud in 50 counties. In a statement, the North Carolina GOP called Democracy North Carolina a "secretly-funded, left-wing group connected to Gov. Roy Cooper," and its report a "disgusting attempt to bully everyday citizens."

Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, said that while McCrory ultimately did not succeed in proving fraud or winning the election, there is significant and permanent damage when fraud is alleged.

"It's being supported by people telling these lies over and over, and over again," Hall said. "It's very difficult to undo that, and they were feeding into that mythology or that fantasy of voter fraud."

A criminal investigation would have to be initiated by a local district attorney where the false accusations were made, and voters were called out in 37 counties. Turner said she wants someone held accountable.

"Somebody can go and put my name out there with absolutely no proof at all that I did anything wrong, and that's what bothers me more than anything," she said. "It made me question what's going on in this country, that people can do that to innocent people without any accountability."

Federal law prohibits the intimidation of voters or actions where two or more people conspire to oppress a voter. In North Carolina, it's against the law to knowingly swear falsely with respect to any matter relating to a primary or an election.

The report is online at nc-democracy.org.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC