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American Opinion: Mark Meadows cried voter fraud in the 2020 election. Look who’s facing accusations now

Summary: Lying, on the other hand, is hardly an honest mistake. As a former elected official and top-ranking member of the White House staff, Meadows has no excuse for not knowing the law, and despite his power and influence, he is not above it. As with any instance of potential voter fraud, the North Carolina State Board of Elections should investigate it. And if it’s found that Meadows did fraudulently register for and vote in an election, he ought to bear the consequences of doing so.

President Donald Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows
President Donald Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, speaks to the media at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21, 2020.
Chris Kleponis/Pool/Abaca Press/TNS
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Remember the voter fraud that Republicans were so eager to uncover after the 2020 election? Well, it may have been right under their noses all along.

A story recently published by The New Yorker revealed that the voter registration of Republican politician Mark Meadows, who represented North Carolina in Congress and later became President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, is linked to a mobile home in Macon County that he apparently has never owned or resided in.

Meadows’ wife and kids rented the mobile home and stayed there briefly while visiting the area for a Trump rally, the report says, but there’s no evidence to suggest Meadows ever spent any time there. According to both the current and former owners, who were interviewed by The New Yorker, Meadows has never slept nor received any mail at the property.

That could constitute voter fraud under North Carolina law , which says that a person must register to vote at the residence “in which that person’s habitation is fixed, and to which, whenever that person is absent, that person has the intention of returning.” Falsifying information on a voter registration form is a felony in North Carolina, and when false information is used to register to vote in a federal election, it’s a federal crime.

Meadows and his wife registered to vote at this address shortly before the 2020 election. Meadows then voted in the election by mail.

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“I’m kind of dumbfounded, to be honest with you,” Melanie D. Thibault, the director of Macon County’s Board of Elections, told The New Yorker.

Of course, the irony here is obvious. Meadows was one of the most fervent peddlers of voter fraud conspiracies following the 2020 election, which Trump lost. He made baseless accusations of election fraud involving mail-in ballots — even attempting to pressure the Justice Department into investigating them — and assisted in numerous efforts to overturn the election . He’s stonewalled the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, only agreeing to cooperate after the House recommended criminal contempt charges, which could still be brought against him.

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Falsifying information on a voter registration form — and then using said registration to actually vote — is exactly the kind of election fraud that people like Trump and Meadows have insisted is rampant. So the next time Meadows and others in the GOP tell voters they should be worried about the integrity of our elections, North Carolinians should remember that the only widespread threat to democracy is the behavior of Republicans themselves.

It’s a classic case of “do as I say, not as I do,” and it’s as perplexing as it is hypocritical. Why would Meadows register to vote at a mountain property he seems to have never even set foot in? Why would he wage a fight against voter fraud, an enemy that doesn’t actually exist, all while knowing that he committed it himself? And did he genuinely think he could get away with it?

Those are all questions that Meadows needs to answer, and it’s going to be tough for him to explain. Others have been arrested and even imprisoned for honest mistakes that resulted in illegal voting, including a Black woman from Wake County who voted while on probation in 2016, not knowing it wasn’t allowed.

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Lying, on the other hand, is hardly an honest mistake. As a former elected official and top-ranking member of the White House staff, Meadows has no excuse for not knowing the law, and despite his power and influence, he is not above it. As with any instance of potential voter fraud, the North Carolina State Board of Elections should investigate it. And if it’s found that Meadows did fraudulently register for and vote in an election, he ought to bear the consequences of doing so.

This American Opinion editorial is the opinion of the editorial board of the Charlotte Observer.

©2022 The Charlotte Observer. Visit charlotteobserver.com . Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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