According to a review by American Ledger, a fundraiser for North Carolina GOP gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of vote buying after an FBI investigation in 1986. Forest has baselessly claimed there is widespread Democratic voter fraud, but will soon attend a fundraiser co-hosted by a Republican vote buyer.
On September 19th, former Yancey County Sheriff Kermit Banks will co-host a fundraiser for candidate Dan Forest. In the late 1980s, Sheriff Banks pled guilty following a federal investigation into a vote buying scheme in western North Carolina. Banks received a one-year sentence and a $1,000 fine as a result of Project WestVote, an initiative to crack down on vote buying in the state. A federal grand jury indicted former Sheriff Banks, a Republican, on multiple counts including mail fraud, buying absentee ballots, and offering to buy a vote. The criminal activity was ostensibly aimed at helping his own campaign for Sheriff in 1982.
During his run for governor, Dan Forest has repeatedly, without any evidence, claimed that there is widespread voter fraud in North Carolina benefiting Democrats. In 2018, Forest made a purportedly humorous instructional video on how to commit voter fraud, but even this comedic attempt showcased an example of attempted voter fraud that is not actually possible.
Despite consistently railing against voter fraud, the Forest campaign has selected a vote buyer to co-host a political fundraiser. In the decades since Banks’ sentencing, North Carolina has implemented significant measures to guard against voter fraud, including protections on Election Day and audit processes post-election. Additionally, the myth of widespread voter fraud as peddled by President Trump and prominent Republican officials has been repeatedly dispelled.
Dan Forest is on the ballot against Governor Roy Cooper in November 2020.