March 15, 2021

In the last few years there has been a push to make sure we have true and accurate elections and that we address concerns over voter fraud. The Carolina Partnership for Reform in its recent survey polled about various issues that have swirled about in this search for truthful elections and truth in news.

VOTER ID. Where does this stand now?  The NC General Assembly voted to put referendum legislation on the 2018 ballot that would create a new Voter ID law requiring individuals to show a government-issued photo ID in order to vote in the state.

The Voter ID law passed the referendum, and was supposed to be in place for the 2020 election. Then a federal judge blocked the Voter ID law, saying it was motivated by racial discrimination.  So the Voter ID rules were not in place in the 2020 election.

Then a federal appeals court ruled unanimously on December 2, 2020 that the federal judge was wrong in blocking the ID requirement and reversed her decision.

According to the Asheville Citizen, “The appeals court said a federal judge was wrong to block the ID requirement last year, arguing the judge improperly used past examples of discrimination by the state legislature to conclude the ID law was unfair.” The court stated, “A legislature’s past acts do not condemn the acts of a later legislature, which we must presume acts in good faith.”

After the statement, NC House Speaker Tim Moore said, “If the 2020 elections have taught us anything it is the fact that voting in person with a photo ID is the best way to ensure the integrity of our elections.”

The struggle however it not over.  The federal court ruling does not instantly put Voter ID back in place.  There will likely be further action in the courts before Voter ID can be restored to be put in place for the next election like the people of North Carolina voted in 2018.  Here are the results of our poll question on it – with 63% supporting requiring Voter IDs to vote in our state.

MAIL-IN BALLOTS.  The 2020 election, with the unique circumstances brought on by the COVID virus that kept many people from leaving their homes, introduced new ways for North Carolina voters to cast their votes.  Voting early and voting by mail became commonplace and both things were encouraged by campaigns.  As these new ways of voting were introduced, concerns about the increased possibilities of voter fraud arose with them.  The premise of these assertions was that the more different ways voters had to vote outside of the traditional voting at the polls on Election Day, the more chances there were for campaigns to come up with schemes that were fraudulent.

These concerns were believable in North Carolina, especially after the illegal shenanigans that occurred in the 9th District Congressional race in 2018 involving absentee ballot harvesting that led to the State Board of Elections overturning election results and calling for a new election for Congress.

The pros and cons of mail-in voting, an issue brought to the forefront during the national presidential campaign, and especially in the election vote-counting aftermath, were made by campaigns from both parties in the 2020 election.  We decided to see what the people thought, so we asked the question below in our recent survey.  Voters apparently don’t share the concerns of those who believe that mail-in ballots increase the chance for mail fraud as only 40% supported new limitations on when and who can request mail-in ballots.

BIG TECH CENSORSHIP.  The search for truth is getting harder every day in our society in these days of fake news and cancel culture pressures.  It wasn’t long ago that you heard a lot about “truth in advertising” laws, you counted on truth in news reports even if they were slanted ideologically one way or the other, and the goal we were taught in school, going back to the classics, was to “seek truth.”

The digital revolution, social media, and Big Tech changed all that.  People are bombarded with so much information from so many platforms and created by so many different sources that people they have no way of knowing who to trust for their news any more.

Last year’s documentary film The Social Dilemma exposed the realities of how high-tech companies and social media platforms like Facebook, Google and Apple, as told by former executives and workers, manipulate users to perform how they wish with algorithms, data-mining and artificial intelligence. Wikipedia describes how the film “goes into depth on how social media’s design is meant to nurture an addiction, manipulate its use in politics, and spread conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate and aiding groups such as flat-earthers. The film also examines the serious issue of social media’s effect on mental health (including the mental health of adolescents and rising teen suicide rates).”  We highly recommend that you watch it.

In the 2020 election, we saw not only this kind of manipulation, but far more insidiously, saw the introduction of censorship by Big Tech.  Though they have avoided regulation by maintaining they are not in the same league as a CBS, NBC or ABC news outlet, the truth is that Facebook, Twitter and others are indeed part of our news fabric and should be subject to the same ethics which we as a culture expect from our traditional news sources.

When Big Tech – in the form of Twitter and Facebook, censored conservative politicians from their platforms, we were highly concerned.  Not necessarily about who was censored – but more importantly that we had come to the time and place in this country where that was possible.  We grew up hearing about things like that in faraway places where freedom was easily crushed.  But not in the U.S.A.

So we asked in our survey about this kind of censorship and found that 57% said NO – the Big Tech giants should not have the right to remove people from their platforms.  We hoped it would be larger.  Which only means we need to explore this further and find out how many people would accept censorship and clamping down on our other freedoms in the coming days.