RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina elections officials found that about 500 ineligible voters cast ballots in the 2016 general election – not enough to change the outcome of any race, according to an audit released Friday.
The State Board of Elections report said the 508 cases – the vast majority active felons – represented a small fraction of the 4.8 million ballots cast. The report didn’t include any evidence of coordinated fraud, and many of the voters claimed to be confused about their eligibility.
The audit’s findings contradict Republican claims that voter fraud runs rampant in North Carolina.
“That’s 508 ineligible votes, so that’s something that is never going to be acceptable,” the board’s executive director Kim Strach said in an interview. “But the perspective is the number of people that we had vote in this election was unprecedented, and it’s a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction.”
The audit comes amid scrutiny of voting practices in North Carolina and around the country. The U.S. Supreme Court met Friday to determine whether to hear arguments on the state’s 2013 law that imposed a photo ID requirement on voters, among other changes to elections regulations. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the law last summer, saying it was aimed at reducing participation by minority voters.