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Politics, Tea Party, Voter Fraud, Voting

Voter Fraud Part 1A: What Is It?

Naval Base San Diego (Aug. 31, 2006) - Lt.j.g....

Naval Base San Diego (Aug. 31, 2006) – Lt.j.g. Stephen Ramsey, Naval Base San Diego voter registration officer, speaks to Sailors about the upcoming Absentee Voter Registration Week. Absentee Voter Registration Week is designed to encourage Sailors to exercise their right to vote, registration booths will be set up all across the naval base. U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Daniel A. Barker (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1.               Electoral fraud: is illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates, or both. Also called voter fraud, the mechanisms involved include illegal voter registration, intimidation at polls and improper vote counting. What electoral fraud is under law varies from country to country. [1]

In the U.S. a major study by the Justice Department between 2002 and 2007 showed of the 300 million votes cast in that period, federal prosecutors convicted only 86 people for voter fraud – and of those few cases, most involved persons who were simply unaware of their ineligibility. This rarity of electoral fraud in the U.S. follows from its inherent illegality. Harsh penalties aimed at deterring voter fraud make it likely that individuals who might perpetrate the fraud correctly fear that they will be discovered by election officials carefully examining voter identification. [1]

This study and its perceived conclusions fail to consider that many reported cases of voter fraud were not prosecuted either because of a lack of evidence, or for political purposes. This study did not take into account the voter fraud that went unnoticed or not reported.

Electoral fraud can occur at any stage in the democratic process, but most commonly it occurs during election campaigns, voter registration or during vote-counting. The two main types of electoral fraud are (1) preventing eligible voters from casting their vote freely (or from voting at all), and (2) altering the results. A list of threats to voting systems, or electoral fraud methods, is kept by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. [1]

2.               What Fraud?

“Question: What fraud? Voter fraud is close to non-existent!” Progressives think that if they make the above claim as though it were an indisputable fact, it will become a fact. All they have to do is repeat the claim over and over again until it sticks. To wit: [2]

An editorialist for The New York Times asserts: “There is almost no voting fraud in America.” [2]

At the Center for American Progress, Eric Alterman writes: “Members of the mainstream media often give too much credence to empty claims of ‘voter fraud.’ [2]

At the Brennan Center for Justice, we read: “Allegations of widespread fraud by malevolent voters are easy to make, but often prove to be inflated or inaccurate.” [2]

In The Nation, left-wing firebrand Katrina Vanden Heuvel alleges: “Voter fraud — the impersonation of a voter by another person — is extremely rare in the United States.” [2]

An uncouth gal for Daily Kos writes: “Some [Republicans] acknowledge that voter fraud is essentially non-existent.” (Who are these Republicans?) [2]

At Mother Jones, we read: “While Republicans have argued such rules are necessary to combat ‘voter fraud,’ examples of the kind of in-person voter fraud that might be curbed by such requirements are miniscule.” [2]

At Slate we read: “Large-scale, coordinated vote stealing doesn’t happen.” [2]

A lady at Think Progress writes: “Like conservative state legislatures across the country, Maine Republicans have been pushing a Voter ID law, ostensibly to prevent non-existent voter fraud.” (Italics added.) [2]

A blogger at Media Matters writes: “Instances of actual voter fraud are very rare.” [2]

(There may be a subliminal message in there somewhere.) [2]

3.               The Reality of Voter Fraud

Houston — The 2012 elections will feature many close races, likely including the presidential contest. That makes concern about voter fraud and ballot integrity all the more meaningful, and a conference held here last weekend by the watchdog group True the Vote made clear just how high the stakes are. [3]

“Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of voter fraud that has been documented by historians and journalists,” Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in 2008, upholding a strict Indiana voter-ID law designed to combat fraud. Justice Stevens, who personally encountered voter fraud while serving on various reform commissions in his native Chicago, spoke for a six-member majority. In a decision two years earlier clearing the way for an Arizona ID law, the Court had declared in a unanimous opinion that “confidence in the integrity of our electoral processes is essential to the functioning of our participatory democracy. Voter fraud drives honest citizens out of the democratic process and breeds distrust of our government. Voters who fear their legitimate votes will be outweighed by fraudulent ones will feel disenfranchised.” [3]

Catherine Englebrecht, the Houston businesswoman and mother who founded True the Vote in 2009 after witnessing an ACORN-style group registering thousands of illegal or nonexistent voters in Houston, told the voter observers from 32 states gathered for the summit: “There is nothing more important this year than your work in making sure legitimate votes aren’t canceled out by fraud.” [3]

Just this week in Fort Worth, Texas, a Democratic precinct chairwoman was indicted on charges of arranging an illegal vote. Hazel Woodard James has been charged with conspiring with her non-registered son to have him vote in place of his father. The only reason the crime was detected was that the father showed up later in the day to vote at the same precinct. Most fraudsters are smart enough to have their accomplices cast votes in the names of dead people on the voter rolls, who are highly unlikely to appear and complain that someone else voted in their place. [3]

He (Artur Davis) told me that the voter suppression he most observed in his 68 percent African-American district (in Alabama) was rampant fraud in counties with powerful political machines. To keep themselves in power, these machines would frequently steal the votes of members of minority groups. “I know it exists, I’ve had the chance to steal votes in my favor offered to me, and the people it hurts the most are the poor and those without power,” he said. [3]

It’s a pity that so much of the discussion about voting this fall will be drenched in race. Americans have two important rights when it comes to voting. The first is the right to vote without fear and intimidation, for which this country fought an epic civil-rights struggle in the 1960s. Those gains in voter access must be preserved. But Americans also have a right to vote without their ballots’ being canceled out by people who are voting twice, are voting for the dead or nonexistent, or are non-citizens. We can and should accomplish two goals in the 2012 election — making sure it is easy to vote, and making sure it is hard to cheat. Groups such as True the Vote will be essential to make sure both sides of that imperative are fulfilled. [3]

4.               Corruption of the Principles of Democracy: Many kinds of voter fraud are outlawed in electoral legislation, but others are in violation of general laws… Although technically the term ‘electoral fraud’ covers only those acts which are illegal, the term is sometimes used to describe acts which are legal but nevertheless considered morally unacceptable, outside the spirit of electoral laws, or in violation of the principles of democracy. Show elections, in which only one candidate can win, are sometimes considered to be electoral fraud, although they may comply with the law. [1]

In national elections, successful electoral fraud can have the effect of a corruption of democracy. In a narrow election a small amount of fraud may be enough to change the result. Even if the outcome is not affected, fraud can still have a damaging effect if not punished, as it can reduce voters’ confidence in democracy. Even the perception of fraud can be damaging as it makes people less inclined to accept election results. This can lead to the breakdown of democracy [1] and the reluctance of the electorate to follow the policies of the elector. [1]

  • Electorate manipulation: Most electoral fraud takes place during or immediately after election campaigns, by interfering with the voting process or the counting of votes. However it can also occur far in advance, by altering the composition of the electorate. In many cases this is not illegal and thus technically not electoral fraud, although it is a violation of the principles of democracy. [1]

Former LA Governor’s powerful indictment of unrestricted corporate money in politics shut out of national debate…[4]

In the latest tracking poll released out of New Hampshire, the Suffolk University/7 NEWS poll [PDF], TX Governor Rick Perry receives 1% support from 500 likely voters in the Granite State. Former LA Governor and four-term U.S. Congressman Buddy Roemer also received 1%. In fact, Roemer received approval from a higher number of respondents (6) than Perry did (4). And yet, Perry was allowed to participate in both last night’s GOP Presidential debate in NH as televised on ABC, as well as this morning’s on NBC. Roemer was not allowed to participate in either of them. [4]

  • Manipulation of demography: In many cases it is possible for authorities to artificially control the composition of an electorate in order to produce a foregone result. One way of doing this is to move a large number of voters into the electorate prior to an election, for example by temporarily assigning them land or lodging them in flophouses. Many countries prevent this with rules stipulating that a voter must have lived in an electorate for a minimum period (for example, six months) in order to be eligible to vote there. However, such laws can themselves be used for demographic manipulation as they tend to disenfranchise those with no fixed address, such as the homeless, travelers, students (studying full time away from home) and some casual workers. [1]
  • Public Housing: Another strategy is to permanently move people into an electorate, usually through public housing. If people eligible for public housing are likely to vote for a particular party, then they can either be concentrated into one electorate, thus making their votes count for less, or moved into marginal electorates, where they may tip the balance towards their preferred party. [1]
  • Changing Political Party: A method of manipulating primary contests and other elections of party leaders is related to this. People who support one party may temporarily join another party in order to help elect a weak candidate for that party’s leadership, in the hope that they will be defeated by the leader of the party that they secretly support. [1]
  • Disenfranchisement: The composition of an electorate may also be altered by disenfranchising some types of people, rendering them unable to vote. In some cases, this may be done at a legislative level, for example by passing a law banning prison inmates (or even former prison inmates), recent immigrants or members of a particular ethnic or religious group from voting, or by instituting a literacy or other test which members of some groups are more likely to fail. Since this is done by lawmakers, it cannot be election fraud, but may subvert the purposes of democracy. This is especially so if members of the disenfranchised group were particularly likely to vote a certain way. [1]

Groups may also be disenfranchised by rules which make it impractical or impossible for them to cast a vote. For example, requiring people to vote within their electorate may disenfranchise serving military personnel, prison inmates, students, hospital patients or anyone else who cannot return to their homes. Polling can be set for inconvenient days such as midweek or on Holy Days (example: Sabbath or other holy days of a religious group whose teachings determine that voting is a prohibited on such a day) in order to make voting difficult for those studying or working away from home. Communities may also be effectively disenfranchised if polling places are not provided within reasonable proximity (rural communities are especially vulnerable to this) or situated in areas perceived by some voters as unsafe. [1]

In a country that spends so much time extolling the glories of democracy, it’s amazing how many elected officials go out of their way to discourage voting. States are adopting rules that make it hard, and financially perilous, for nonpartisan groups to register new voters. They have adopted new rules for maintaining voter rolls that are likely to throw off many eligible voters, and they are imposing unnecessarily tough ID requirements. [5]

Florida recently reached a new low when it actually bullied the League of Women Voters into stopping its voter registration efforts in the state. The Legislature did this by adopting a law that seems intended to scare away anyone who wants to run a voter registration drive. Since registration drives are particularly important for bringing poor people, minority groups and less educated voters into the process, the law appears to be designed to keep such people from voting. [5]

It imposes fines of $250 for every voter registration form that a group files more than 10 days after it is collected, and $5,000 for every form that is not submitted — even if it is because of events beyond anyone’s control, like a hurricane. The Florida League of Women Voters, which is suing to block the new rules, has decided it cannot afford to keep registering new voters in the state as it has done for 67 years. If a volunteer lost just 16 forms in a flood, or handed in a stack of forms a day late, the group’s entire annual budget could be put at risk. [5]

In Washington, a new law prevents people from voting if the secretary of state fails to match the information on their registration form with government databases. There are many reasons that names, Social Security numbers and other data may not match, including typing mistakes. The state is supposed to contact people whose data does not match, but the process is too tilted against voters. [5]

Congress is considering a terrible voter ID requirement as part of the immigration reform bill. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, introduced an amendment to require all voters to present a federally mandated photo ID. Even people who have been voting for years would need to get a new ID to vote in 2008. Millions of people without drivers’ licenses, including many elderly people and city residents, might fail to do so, and be ineligible to vote. The amendment has been blocked so far, but voting-rights advocates worry that it could reappear. [5]

These three techniques — discouraging registration drives, purging eligible voters and imposing unreasonable ID requirements — keep showing up. Colorado recently imposed criminal penalties on volunteers who slip up in registration drives. Georgia, one of several states to adopt harsh new voter ID laws, had its law struck down by a federal court. [5]

Protecting the integrity of voting is important, but many of these rules seem motivated by a partisan desire to suppress the vote, and particular kinds of voters, rather than to make sure that those who are entitled to vote — and only those who are entitled — do so. The right to vote is fundamental, and Congress and state legislatures should not pass laws that put an unnecessary burden on it. If they do, courts should strike them down. [5]

Stand by for Voter Fraud Part 1B: Electorial Fraud Methods

References:

 [1] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_fraud

 [2] Project Vote

Voter Intimidation

http://projectvote.org/voter-intimidation.html

[3] The Reality of Voter Fraud

By John Fund

— John Fund is the national-affairs columnist for NRO.

May 2, 2012 4:00 A.M.

© National Review Online 2012.

http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/297461

 [4] Roemer Exclusion from GOP Debates Just Latest Example of Corporate Media Electoral Manipulation

The BRAD blog

By Ernest A. Canning on 1/8/2012 1:06pm

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=9046

[5] Block the Vote

New York Times

EDITORIAL

Published: May 30, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/30/opinion/30tue1.html?_r=1&ex=1306641600&en=4eafe18972bb6a8a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

[6] USA TODAY

Editorial / Opinion

Election Day leftovers

Posted 12/27/2004 10:16 PM

Copyright 2008 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2004-12-27-edit_x.htm

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About Cincinnati Political Activism

*Graduated from Columbia College, Columbia, MO with a BAAJ degree in Administration of Justice. *U.S. Navy Veteran of 15 years. Medical separation. Rank of Chief Petty Officer. *Married and Father of two. *Born Again Christian

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My name is Jack Pierce and I am interested in politics. I used to say that "if you are not helping to elect local politicians, then you deserve what you get". I am fed up with what we get and I want to make a difference. Join Me.

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