NOTE: This is part 1 of a multi-part series on Voter Fraud in which we’ll address the different types of voter fraud, how widespread each may be, and to what extent voter fraud affects elections.
Exactly what constitutes voter fraud?
When entering into a discussion of voter fraud (also known as election fraud), there are a number of questions that need to be asked – and answered.
Voter fraud, in general, can be defined as any illegal interference with the process of an election intended to affect the outcome. This can be accomplished by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates, or both.
Most often, the term is used as a general catch-all phrase that includes irregularities in registration, casting a vote fraudulently, and/or the intentional miscounting of votes.
How often does voter fraud occur? It’s hard to say, democrats maintain that it’s extremely rare, but evidence shows that it is far more extensive than they would have us believe.
And what about overuse of the term? Is there a chance that the accusation is so overused that it takes on a hint of “boy cries wolf,” thereby diminishing real cases of fraudulent behavior when they do occur?
And finally, what are the ramifications of voter fraud likely to be if/when it does occur?
When I hear the term Voter Registration Fraud, I immediately think of ACORN. Dissolved in 2010 after Congress cut its funding, ACORN was a collection of community-organizing-based groups that advocated primarily for low income minority families. One of their prime operations was voter registration, and no other organization has ever approached their success at signing up new voters. In the run-up for the 2008 elections, ACORN claimed to have registered 1,315,037 voters.
At its peak ACORN had over 500,000 members and more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in over 100 cities across the U.S. The annals of voter registration are rife with occasions of fraud by ACORN-sponsored workers.
Here are a few clips selected from a large accumulation of cases:
- Of 5,379 voter registration cards ACORN submitted in St. Louis, only 2,013 of those appeared to be valid. At least 1,000 are believed to be attempts to register voters illegally.
- Pennsylvania state election officials have thrown out 57,435 voter registrations, the majority of which were submitted by ACORN. The registrations were thrown out after officials found “clearly fraudulent” signatures, vacant lots listed as addresses, and other signs of fraud.
- In Harris County, TX, nearly 10,000 ACORN-submitted registrations were found to be invalid, including many with clearly fraudulent addresses or other personal information.
There are a lot more where those came from. And make no mistake, even though ACORN operations have supposedly been disbanded, most have been reborn under new names with pretty much the same players, some even at the same address as the ACORN organization that preceded them. They are, like the dead voters, hard to kill off.
And here is a little tidbit that you may not have known; Barack Obama got his start as a community organizer at Acorn’s side. In 1992, he headed a registration effort for Project Vote, an Acorn partner at the time. In 1995, he represented Acorn in a key case upholding the new Motor Voter Act – the very law whose mandated postcard registration system Acorn workers used to flood election offices with bogus registrations.
The American Thinker once observed that ACORN’s voter rights tactics follow the Cloward-Piven Strategy by employing the following tactics:
- Register as many democrat voters as possible, legal or otherwise, and help them vote, multiple times if possible.
- Overwhelm the system with fraudulent registrations using multiple entries of the same name, names of deceased, random names from the phone book, even contrived names.
- Make the system difficult to police by lobbying for minimal identification standards.
While the ACORN brand might be dead, there are many other groups who have taken up the cause of voter registration fraud. The voter registration business is still alive and well, it’s going to take more than a wooden stake to kill that sucker.
And the dead shall rise from their graves … and vote
Tongue in cheek: If people can continue to collect welfare and disability benefits, don’t they also have a right to vote?
Well, not in MY world, but democrats apparently have acquired Dr. Frankenstein’s research notes and have mastered reanimation.
Here’s a story from National Review Online about how a New York City watchdog Department of Investigations (DOI) sting provided the latest evidence of how easy it is to commit voter fraud.
Last fall (in 2013), DOI undercover agents showed up at 63 polling places pretending to be voters who should have been turned away by election officials; the agents assumed the names of individuals who had died, moved out of town, or who were sitting in jail (none of whom are legal voters).
In 61 out of 63 instances, or 97 percent of the time, the testers were allowed to vote. Those who did vote cast only a write-in vote for a “John Test” so as to not affect the outcome of any contest. DOI published its findings in late December, 2013, in a searing 70-page report accusing the city’s Board of Elections of incompetence, waste, nepotism, and lax procedures.
How’d the Board of Elections react? By referring the DOI investigators for prosecution. Isn’t that what we’ve come to expect from bureaucrats?
Young undercover agents were able to vote using the names of people three times their age, people who in fact, were dead. In one example, a 24-year female agent gave the name of someone who had died in 2012 at age 87; the workers at the Manhattan polling site gave her a ballot, no questions asked.
And here’s another example of dead people waiting for a democrat to come along and help them to vote.
Guerrilla videographer James O’Keefe had three of his assistants visit precincts during New Hampshire’s January 2012 presidential primary. They asked poll workers whether their books listed the names of several voters, all verifiably deceased individuals. Poll workers handed out ten ballots, never once asking for a photo ID (as required by state law). O’Keefe’s team immediately gave back the ballots, unmarked, to precinct workers.
Those two investigations proved that if unscrupulous individuals wanted to vote using a dead person’s name and address, barring a requirement for a government-issued ID or photographic verification, it is likely that they’d be successful.
Dead voter factoid: A report by the Pew Center on the States found that nationally more than 1.8 million dead people are still registered to vote.
Voting as someone else
The previous segment pointed out that there could easily be millions of illegal registrations just waiting for someone with a matching name and a utility bill to go to a polling location and vote. That’s right, some states will accept a utility bill, rent receipt or other document containing a name and address as proof of their identity – and that’s insane.
So let’s suppose that some ACORN-style paid “volunteer” creates a new voter registration for a Mr. A. Dumbass residing at 12 Easy Street. When the next election rolls around, a Mr. Arthur Dumbass can show up with a rent receipt for 12 Easy Street and guess what; in those states that don’t require a government-issued ID, he can vote.
Consider this: when he does that, he effectively cancels our your thoughtful, carefully considered, legal vote for the other candidate.
And oh, by the way, he also voted later as himself (A. Felon) at his real polling place.
Honest citizens want to prevent fraudulent votes from being cast, and as a result, most citizens are in favor of government-issued voter IDs. A Washington Post poll showed broad support for ID laws despite party affiliation, with support from 88 percent of Republicans and even 60 percent of Democrats (who didn’t get the memo about the party’s “inflate the vote” strategy).
Democrats know that they benefit from voter fraud; so they oppose any attempt to verify that voters are who they say they are. They say that requiring photo ID disenfranchises minority voters, but it’s a classic straw man argument.
The left’s position is that in order to provide an environment whereby all “qualified” citizens are guaranteed a vote, we must accept an environment that enables fraudulent votes. The left is perfectly satisfied with that since it is their candidates who benefit most from the votes of felons, the deceased, pets, cartoon characters, and illegals.
The time to assure that all votes cast will be valid is before and during the election – after the election is too late. This chart shows what some states require for voter identification:
It’s easy to see how some unscrupulous persons could vote multiple times in different precincts or even vote in multiple states, and this flavor of voter fraud can be pivotal in deciding local races, and in a close national election, could be the deciding factor in winning a state’s electoral votes. But it’s not the Big Kahuna of voter fraud, that’s yet to come.
Click HERE for footnotes to the chart.
And as long as we’re talking about photo ID, I’ve got the solution for assuring that minorities have a photo ID: add a photo to EBT cards – problem solved.
Absentee voter fraud
More serious (and much more prevalent) is absentee voting fraud.
On the most basic level, absentee voting replaces the oversight that exists at polling places with something akin to an honor system.
Judge Richard A. Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has written, “Absentee voting is to voting in person, as a take-home exam is to a proctored one.”
Several years ago, the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, led by Jimmy Carter and James Baker III, concluded, “Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”
Nationally, the use of absentee ballots and other forms of voting by mail has more than tripled since 1980 and now accounts for about 20 percent of all votes.
Voter organizing groups are expected to turn more towards the absentee ballot to accomplish their purpose. Especially those who lean towards fraudulent manipulation of votes will find it easier to secure scores of absentee ballots, like those sent to voters who live in an institutional setting like a nursing home, or an apartment house and submitting those ballots with forged signatures.
Voters in nursing homes can be subjected to subtle pressure, outright intimidation or fraud. The secrecy of their voting is easily compromised. And their ballots can be intercepted both coming and going. This method of absentee ballot fraud has come to be called “Granny Farming.”
The problem is not limited to the elderly, of course. In recent years, courts have invalidated mayoral elections in Illinois and Indiana because of fraudulent absentee ballots.
In Florida, a watchdog group brought to the attention of election officials multiple instances whereby “ballot brokers” were soliciting candidates and offering to sell them votes. These people hired others to collect absentee ballots in low-income neighborhoods from elderly Hispanics. Candidates were then offered absentee ballots, to “help with their campaigns.”
Voting by mail is now common enough and problematic enough that election experts admit that there have been multiple elections in which no one can say with confidence which candidate was the deserved winner.
Election law experts say that pulling off in-person voter fraud on a scale large enough to swing an election, is hard to imagine, to say nothing of exceptionally risky. There are much simpler and more effective alternatives to commit fraud on such a scale, said Heather Gerken, a law professor at Yale.
“You could steal some absentee ballots or stuff a ballot box or bribe an election administrator or fiddle with an electronic voting machine,” she said. That explains, she said, “Why all the evidence of stolen elections involves absentee ballots and the like.”
Stay tuned for part 2, where we’ll look into how often voting fraud occurs, the impact that it can have on elections, electronic voting machines and more.