‘Your Vote Is Safe—Just Exercise It,’ Says Former NC Supreme Court Justice

WINSTON-SALEM, NC - OCTOBER 31: James R. Jones lowers his head and pauses in silent prayer as he touches a campaign volunteer waiting for voters to arrive at a polling place on October 31, 2020 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The day was the last day of in-person early voting in North Carolina. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

By Bob Orr

November 2, 2020

Retired GOP NC Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr on why you should dismiss President Trump’s fear-mongering about an “illegitimate” election.

With the incredible early vote turnout around NC and the nation, it seems somewhat unnecessary to reassure citizens that they don’t need to worry about the security of their exercising this fundamental act of democratic elections.  

But with all the frantic concerns of “fraud” or “election interference” espoused by both parties—but primarily by the president—many people have expressed fear that somehow their vote won’t be counted properly.  Or that the results of the election, particularly the presidency, somehow won’t be legitimate.

I beg to differ.

I am confident that the election systems across the country and certainly here in North Carolina are sophisticated, legally regulated operations.  Electoral systems are also being watched carefully by partisans on all sides and the media as well as government employees charged with the responsibility of ensuring honest elections.  

Election Day is almost here. Here’s everything you need to know to vote in North Carolina.

Even federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies are on high alert for any evidence of foreign interference that could distort or interfere with our election process.

Will there be problems? Of course, there will be problems. In every election cycle voting machines break down, computer glitches occur, absentee ballots don’t get delivered by the deadline.  

However, election officials will be working exhausting hours to correct those problems and make sure that every vote does count.  

As a last resort (one unfortunately that is getting inordinate attention in this election) candidates and political parties have access to the courts for immediate relief (keeping voting sites open beyond designated hours because of problems for example) or challenging whether votes have been properly counted—or not counted in court.

Make no mistake about it, despite the lofty rhetoric about the right to vote and the democratic principles at stake in the voting process, partisans see the vote as their vehicle to power. As such, those on various sides of the political aisle will go to extremes to make sure that the margin of victory on election night will favor them.  

Sometimes (and hopefully rarely) these efforts go beyond fundamental concepts of fairness and even to violating laws. Yes, reality is that there are some out there who care more about winning and gaining power than they care about integrity and the rule of law. 

RELATED: Will NC’s Witness Signature Lawsuit Change the Election? Here’s What You Need to Know.

While election fraud or actions that unfairly attempt to influence election outcomes are in reality fairly rare, it’s our job as voters, citizens and good government activists to hold the system and parties accountable.  

The right to vote is a right that has not been easily or generously granted over the history of our country. White males who owned land originally controlled the voting franchise and jealously and reluctantly expanded it to their fellow Americans over many years. Women, minorities, the poor were for many years disenfranchised from this critical lever of power in our society. Even when the right to vote was granted, particularly to African Americans, it was interfered with and repressed.  

Despite this history of voter limitations, there is a renewed focus on not just the right to vote and the need to participate but in election integrity and making sure that each vote counts.  

Our institutions from state election boards, to election day volunteers, the media and citizen advocacy groups are thoroughly engaged and committed to making sure your vote counts. We all not only want but expect an honest election and that each of our votes will be fairly and legally counted. I’m convinced that will happen. But first you’ve got to vote.


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