The North Carolina Policy Watch highlighted a report from longtime progressive activist Bob Hall today on how many local elections are decided by one or two votes:

Key finding: How one person decided to vote – or not to vote – made the difference in who won or lost an election in 39 North Carolina cities in 2019.

“One vote will again be decisive somewhere this year and then somebody will be mad they didn’t bother to vote,” said Bob Hall, director of the new nonpartisan organization Voting Matters Inc.

Of course, that also means that one or a handful of illegal votes can be decisive. That was the case in Pembroke in 2013, when election fraud, including the illegal registration of attendees of a basketball camp at UNC-Pembroke, forced the North Carolina State Board of Elections to order a new election.

The problem is that such fraud too often goes undetected and unprosecuted. Nor is that vulnerability limited to North Carolina. A New Jersey election fraudster noted how local elections were easier to manipulate through fraud:

“There is no race in New Jersey — from city council to United States Senate — that we haven’t worked on,” the tipster said. “I worked on a fire commissioner’s race in Burlington County. The smaller the race, the easier it is to do.”

While fraud can be scaled up to larger races, the smaller constituencies and lower turnout of municipal races make them especially vulnerable to fraud.

So, yes, one vote can make a difference, whether that vote was legitimate or fraudulent.