As the weeks drag on, it’s more and more clear that illegal election fraud likely transpired in Bladen County during the 9th Congressional District election in 2018.

But there’s also mounting evidence that this fraud isn’t confined to one race, or even one year. This week, the State Board of Elections released a 278-page file with all the evidence they gathered of this exact same thing happening in 2016.

We know the players. We know the location. We know it’s wrong.

But this is the big unanswered question still remaining: Who is to blame for the fact that election fraud in Bladen County was allowed to go on for so long?

It’s good that we’re fixing it now, but could this mess have been prevented? Where does the buck stop on this?

Is it the State Board of Elections, for not taking action sooner than the meeting to certify the 2018 elections? If so, is it the fault of chairman Joshua Malcolm or somebody else?

Is it state and federal prosecutors, who allegedly were sent information on this election fraud in 2016?

Is it Gov. Roy Cooper, who has repeatedly asserted that he must have control over North Carolina’s elections process?

Or is this really the soonest we could have addressed the issue?

For now, they’re all pointing the fingers at each other. The state Republican Party is saying that they filed a complaint in 2016, and blaming the elections board for dismissing it. The Board of Elections released a letter they sent to federal prosecutors with evidence back then. At least one prosecutor has pointed out that he recused himself for a conflict of interest. It’s a mess.

By all means, let’s thoroughly investigate the 2018 election and make sure we have a Congressman we have confidence was legitimately elected.

But let’s also hold some people accountable for letting things get to this point.

Cover image of Elizabethtown in Bladen County by Gerry Dincher via Flickr (Creative Commons)


  1. In 2016 the problems in Bladen and Robeson counties were investigated and referred to the US attorney. The US attorney never acted.

    I did find it interesting that Mark Harris’ son is an assistant DA in the office that it was filed in.


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