The Democratic Party protests that voter fraud does not exist. Therefore, they say, anyone who says it does, just wants to stop people “not like them” from voting. In fact, voter fraud not only exists, but has broken out in several States. And some of it is more brazen than ever.
Voter Fraud Type 1: Voting Twice
Voter fraud can happen in three ways:
Someone votes twice.
Someone unlawfully stops another person from voting.
Election officials count a valid vote for the wrong candidate.
Politicians (mainly Republicans) in several States have sought to require that persons registering to vote, or showing up to vote, positively identify themselves. Their critics cried “Foul!” They defied those politicians, and State officials, to name one time when someone voted twice.
James O’Keefe, head of the famous Project Veritas, took the dare. He sent people to Texas and Virginia to see if he could catch anyone trying to vote twice, or trying to help or lead others to do so. And they succeeded.
No such thing as a purely federal election takes place in any State. (The District of Columbia is a special case. Congress plays the role of a State legislature in that District.) The Constitution says that State legislatures decide where people vote for their Senators or Representatives in Congress. States also decide how to pick Presidential Electors. These are the flesh-and-blood people behind the “electoral votes” that Presidential campaigns count.
And here is the chance to commit voter fraud by voting twice: no such thing as a federal registry of voters exists. Each State keeps its own voter rolls. What happens when someone moves from one State to another? Does the origin State scrub that person’s name from its rolls? No! Usually whoever buys that person’s house in the origin State must send back the sample ballots, that come mis-marked with the old name, back to the Board of Elections:
No such person at this address.
Your correspondent once worked as an election inspector. In New Jersey, election inspectors are the senior minority-Party members who sit at the tables and ask you to sign in to vote on Election Day. Too many people to count, as they signed in to vote, asked me to take Grandpa’s name off the voter rolls because he was dead these five or so years. I would mark the names in the voter roll book and turn it in to City Hall with all the other materials. Next election, those same names would still show up.
Mr. O’Keefe’s investigators in Texas found someone, working for the Barack Obama campaign, telling people how they can vote in two States at once: the State they now lived in, and the State they moved out of.
In Virginia, O’Keefe’s people turned up another gem. Representative Jim Moran (D-VA-7) and two other Democratic House members from Virginia protested when they heard that some misguided soul in Pennsylvania had thrown out several voter-registration applications from Virginia. In fact, Virginia’s Attorney General is looking into that matter. But: Representative Moran’s own son gave tips to O’Keefe’s people on how to pretend to be somebody else to vote in that person’s name.
The group Patriot Update found another State where voter fraud is more likely: Minnesota. There, the law says that if you are new to the State, you may vote by bringing along a person who can vouch for you. And no one checks to see whether the person doing the vouching is telling the truth. The election workers sitting at those tables are supposed to take their word for it. (And what else can they do? They have no access to any instant-check Web site!)
Shown in one of the embedded videos is a woman who moved from Florida to Minnesota. Florida election officials still sent her a registration card and even a ballot. So someone could easily vote in her name back in Florida. And no one would be any the wiser until after the State certified the election. Which is the basic idea of voter fraud: once someone casts a vote, no one can take it back.
Voter Fraud Type 2: Stop People from Voting
A wooden ballot box, once used in the Northeast in the 1870’s. Photo: The Smithsonian Institution.
Democrats accuse Republicans of being the only players of the second type of voter fraud: trying to stop people from voting. The sad case of the man caught throwing away voter-registration applications from Virginia doesn’t help. (Which is why the Virginia Board of Elections voted unanimously to ask the Attorney General to look into that.) But Democrats do it, too, and more brazenly.
Voters, all white and Republican, in as many as 23 counties in Florida, got some threatening letters recently. They all said they came from their county election clerk or supervisor. And they all said that they dared not vote again, because they were no longer citizens.
In the first place, a United States citizen, who never moves out of the United States, never loses his citizenship unless he specifically renounces it. In the second, this was a play on Governor Rick Scott’s push to take dead and moved-out voters, and those who never were US citizens, off the rolls.
And in the third place, all those letters bore out-of-State postmarks – from Seattle, Washington. That makes it voter fraud: the letters did not come from a bona fide official.
The Associated Press reports today that the FBI has entered the case. (See also here.)
Voter Fraud Type 3: Miscount the Votes
Josef Stalin once said something that, in plain English, amounts to:
It’s not the people who vote that count; it’s the people who count the votes.
(Source: Boris Bazhanov’s Memoirs of Stalin’s Former Secretary, in the original Russian.)
After the Florida Fiasco of 2000, States everywhere rushed to replace their mechanical punch-card systems, and their century-old Print-O-Matic voting machines (the ones with the hand-cranked self-printer, that your correspondent remembers all too well) with electronic machines. These machines light up when you press a button, and count your votes when you press a bright red button labeled CAST VOTE. The problem: how do you know, when you press that button, that the machine counts your vote the way you wanted to cast it?
Early voters in Guilford County, North Carolina, found out the hard way: they don’t. In Greensboro, voters complained when they pushed the Romney button, and the machine then reset itself to the Obama button. Voters in Jamestown and Pleasant Garden noticed the same problem. And then a voter in Las Vegas, NV, also had a machine reset itself to Obama after she punched the Romney button.
In each case, the voters involved called the precinct board members to watch these resets happen. The North Carolina officials resorted to “rebooting” the machines, and even posting signs for everyone to see:
ATTENTION! Review selections at the end of your ballot!
In Las Vegas, when the voter asked the poll worker to watch, the problem mysteriously disappeared – but not before the poll worker saw it and the voter knew he saw it.
InformationWeek today warned that someone can “hack” any electronic voting system, and hack it in a way that no one would find out until far too late. The ideal system is a scannable paper ballot. The voter marks the ballot clearly so that any human being can read it. The poll worker then feeds it to a scanner and then into a lock box. But in a bad economy, county clerks can’t move that fast.
Voter fraud is real
In summary: voter fraud is real, and showing up in several States. The only real defense against it is to win in a landslide. Landslide margins are hard to fake without someone spot-checking the numbers. But a close race is easy to steal.