Progressive candidates for local office in Alabama and Minnesota have claimed in recent weeks that they are the victims of voter fraud, despite liberal protestations that the idea voter fraud could impact elections is little more than a rightwing myth.
A local Alabama chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is alleging voter fraud in a nonpartisan city council race despite the organization's national president claiming that voter fraud is a "myth." Meanwhile, a progressive candidate in Minneapolis, Minn., who was endorsed by the local chapter of a national group linked to the Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) movement, is also accusing a fellow progressive opponent of voter fraud.
The Phenix City, Ala., NAACP has raised questions following a Nov. 14 nonpartisan city council election in the state's second district.
Vickey Carter-Johnson, a black candidate, received 240 votes, failing to reach a majority with only 49 percent of the vote. Baxley Oswalt, a white candidate, pulled in 225 votes (46 percent) while another candidate claimed 25 votes, or 5 percent. The election is now going to a runoff.
The local NAACP chapter claims that a substantial amount of registered voters who cast ballots came from outside of the district and that those individuals used a commercial address as their residential, or voting, address.
"We, the Phenix City-Russell County NAACP, are here to voice our earnest concerns about the voter fraud allegations," said Rev. Alfonza Seldon, the vice president of the local branch. "The Phenix City-Russell County NAACP, along with the voters of District 2, want to get down to the bottom of these allegations that have been discovered in the Nov. 14 city council election."
Seldon added that the ordeal is "an atrocity to law-abiding voters and a shame on Phenix City." The NAACP chapter is now calling for an investigation into the matter and wants an emergency purge of voters before the December 19 runoff election.
"Also we're requesting an updated list to be reviewed by our executive board to ensure that all the ineligible voters' names have been removed and the updated list is accurate," said Seldon.
Cornell Williams Brooks, the NAACP's national president, has contended that voter fraud is a "myth" and that voter suppression is real.
The NAACP's Washington bureau did not return a request for comment on the allegations in Alabama given their president's views on voter fraud by press time.
"It's fascinating to see the NAACP come out in favor of bulk voter list removals, especially under a fast-approaching deadline in the form of an election," Logan Churchwell, spokesman for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a group that litigates to protect election integrity, told the Washington Free Beacon. "Apparently, deeply-ingrained opposition to voter list maintenance efforts can be shelved if a favored candidate is on the line."
"There is a straightforward solution for preventing this sort of activity moving forward. Some states require that blacklists be developed to weed out voter applications claiming strictly commercial addresses as their homes," added Churchwell. "In this case, local election officials and law enforcement have a duty to probe cases of intentional fraudulent registration for maximum prosecution."
Mohamud Noor, a progressive candidate for city council in Minneapolis's Ward 6, who was endorsed by Our Revolution Minnesota, a local chapter of a Washington, D.C., group linked to Sen. Sanders's movement, also claims that "at least one hundred people" appeared to have voted in his election that live outside of the ward, according to reports.
"After a preliminary review of the voter data which was provided to us last Friday, we have found evidence that at least one hundred people appear to have voted in our election who do not live in Ward 6," Noor said in a press release.
"Because a recount can not address these irregularities, we will bring this evidence to a court to determine what to do with these findings," Noor continued. "It is our responsibility to make sure that the integrity of our democracy is protected, and that these irregularities are fully investigated."
Abdi Warsame, his progressive opponent, told Noor to bring his concerns to President Donald Trump's voter fraud commission.
"If Mr. Noor believes people voted illegally, he can bring his 'evidence' to County Attorney Michael Freeman and seek felony prosecution," said Warsame. "Or perhaps he can bring his claims to Donald Trump's Advisory Commission on Election Integrity."
Noor, who withdrew his challenge following the recount that had him losing by 239 votes, has said that he will present evidence of fraud and challenge the results in court, ABC 5 News reports.
However, the city council said they planned to certify Warsame's victory.