TCS Daily


Why We Should Worry More About Vote Fraud

By Glenn Harlan Reynolds - November 7, 2006 12:00 AM

As I write this, nobody knows how the elections will turn out. That hasn't stopped some preemptive claims of fraud, though:

Pelosi cautioned that the number of Democratic House victories could be higher or lower and said her greatest concern is over the integrity of the count -- from the reliability of electronic voting machines to her worries that Republicans will try to manipulate the outcome.

"That is the only variable in this," Pelosi said. "Will we have an honest count?''

Hmm. I thought there was also the variable of how the voters decide to vote on Tuesday. Pelosi seems to regard that as a foregone conclusion, though the polls have been wrong before.

But this sort of talk -- destructive and self-serving as it is -- merely underscores a point I've made before: An election system that is less than transparent is one that's open to conspiracy theories and fear of fraud, whether or not fraud is actually present. And I've heard quite a few other Democrats echoing Pelosi -- and quite a few Republicans speculating that a Democratic Congress will ride in on a wave of votes from dead people and illegal immigrants. That sort of thinking seems much more common among respectable members of both parties than it was a few years ago, and I think there's reason to fear it's getting worse.

We've already seen indictments for voter fraud in St. Louis, and troubling reports of missing smart cards and double voting from Shelby County, Tennessee. While a certain amount of error and fraud is probably inevitable in something as big as a national election, it also seems that we haven't done nearly enough to address these problems in the six years since the disputed 2000 election. In fact, we may have made things worse in some respects, by rushing in electronic voting machines -- which avoid "hanging chad" problems -- without adequate assurance of security and, just as important, security that's obviously secure to voters. An election system that people don't trust is a serious wound to democracy, and I fear that we're not terribly far from a tipping point in which distrust will become widespread.

My own hope is that however this election turns out, it turns out in a way that ensures elections aren't close enough to give rise to long drawn-out litigation and recount efforts.

And I also hope -- and I'm suggesting this now, before the election, so that no one can accuse me of special pleading in light of whatever happens on Election Day -- that we'll see a real move to make sure both that the process of voting, and the process of counting votes, is improved a lot before the 2008 Presidential election. Whatever claims of fraud, real or bogus, that we see in this midterm election will be merely a warmup to what we'll see in the 2008 elections if the system gives the complainers an opening. Right now there's time to fix things, but just barely. When this election is over, we need to see serious attention to the problem, instead of the usual approach of putting things off until next time.

Yes, I've argued for that before, and am thus repeating myself. But repetition has its uses, and if "Voting needs to be fixed" becomes my version of Cartago delenda est, so be it. Let's hope I'm as successful as Cato the Elder in accomplishing my purpose. I don't think we have a lot of time left in which to get this right.

I'd rather repeat myself now than say "I told you so" later.

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30 Comments

The truth doesn't matter to some
Even after many liberal leaning newspapers conducted their own recount in FL '2000, and came to the same results, Bush carried FL, the moonbats continue to claim the election was stolen.
Maybe this will in some way justify any future voter fraud on their part?

Maybe this will in some way justify any future voter fraud on their part?
Only in their own "minds".

Forms of voting fraud
If Mr. Reynolds wants credibility as being anti fraud, he should complain about fraud from both sides. Otherwise he's just another Republican partisan hack. I'm waiting for some of the following complaints, but not holding my breath

1. Stricter rules over how party observers can challenge voters at poles. There are reports of Republican tactics that stray far into the "harrassment" category.

2. Control over errors in verifying voting eligibility. Remember Florida 2000, where thousands of voters were taken off the rolls by "accident".

3. A voter verifiable paper printout from electronic voting machines to guard against hacking. Recall that Diebold voting machines can be hacked with ease.

Fraud support by democrats
Same day registration.

Motor voter.

Driver's license for illegal aliens.

And intimidation works both ways. Check out the election stories on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 2002.

And not to mention actual cases of fraud across the country with dead people, elderly, homeless and felons.

still waiting, turning blue
Will a Republican operative call for verifiable ballots, regulation of partisan polling place "observers", or any of the other Republican tactics? I'm holding my breath & turning blue. That means it's time to vote Democratic.

" time to vote Democratic."
How many times will you vote today?

How will that prevent registration fraud?
"The FBI and state authorities are investigating hundreds of possible cases of voter registration and absentee ballot fraud. Attorney General Mark Barnett, a Republican, says the probe centers on or near Indian reservations. "All of those counties are being flooded with new voters," says Adele Enright, the Democratic auditor of Dewey County. "We just got a huge envelope of 350 absentee ballot applications postmarked from the Sioux Falls office of the Democratic Party."

Steve Aberle, the Dewey County state's attorney, says many of the applications are in the same handwriting. At least one voter, Richard Maxon, says his signature was forged. Mr. Aberle, a Democrat with relatives in the Cheyenne River tribe, says many Native Americans have wanted little to do with "the white man's government." But this year many tribal elections have been scheduled for Nov. 5, the same day as the critical election for Democrat Tim Johnson's Senate seat. A Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee memo last month noted that the "party has been working closely with the Native population to register voters and Senator Johnson has set up campaign offices on every reservation."

"More and more counties are uncovering fraud. Rapid City officials are investigating two brothers who may have forged registrations. Denise Red Horse of Ziebach County died Sept. 3 in a car crash. But both Ziebach and Dewey counties found separate absentee-ballot applications from her dated Sept. 21 in bundles of applications mailed from Democratic headquarters. Maka Duta, who worked for the Democratic Party collecting registrations in Ziebach, bought a county history book that contains many local names. Some are turning up in the pile of new registrations. At least nine absentee ballot requests have been returned by the post office. Mable Romero says she received a registration card for her three-year-old granddaughter, Ashley. Some voters claim to have been offered cash to register to vote. In both Dewey and Ziebach counties, the number of registered voters easily exceeds the number of residents over 18 counted by the 2000 census."

http://www.opinionjournal.com/diary/?id=110002475

Why hope for anything better?
1960 was the first year I was able to vote. It was also the year in which Mayor Daley (Chicago) delivered the electoral votes of Illinois to JFK by having all of the dead people in Cook County vote early and often. This threw the election to JFK rather than Nixon. When it was discovered what had happened, Nixon was asked if he'd like to challenge the election results. His response was that it would be too devisive to the nation.

We've had 46 years to fix the problem of dead people on the voting rolls, and based upon recent reports of dead people on the NYC rolls, nothing has been done. Why would we expect it to ever be corrected?

Not anti-fraud
More and more refusing to admit to Republican fiddling with the system. See

http://electioncentral.tpmcafe.com/blog/electioncentral/2006/nov/07/mo_sen_machine_records_dem_vote_for_gop

You're making my point perfectly. You're not anti-fraud, you're against Democratic fraud. Republican fraud either is legitimate payback or doesn't exist.

Right now, polling places across the country, particularly in Democratic pockets in areas controlled by Republicans, are having "glitches" that are preventing large numbers of Democrats from voting.

Well.
If the dead people vote for the party you want, why care?

:-D

Besieds the Dead and Undead are people to. Who are we to tell them they have lost the right to vote.

Goooo Zombie....

another example
http://thinkprogress.org/2006/11/07/voter-intimidation-virginia/

It's like other ethical sicknesses in politics, both parties are infected, but the Republicans have a worse case. Count congressmen elected in 2004 headed to jail. There's one Democrat (Jefferson) and six Republicans (Cunningham, DeLay, Ney, ?, ?, ?).

Any unbiased sources?
Democratic voter fraud is well documented by objective research.

Do you have such unbiased research?

New Mexico
There should be a full-out Federal investigation of vote fraud in New Mexico. Just recently, 1.1 million voter registration cards were mailed out and 202,000 came back as undeliverable for no valid address. There is no voter ID requirement here, and the Democrats have stymied every effort to get one. The Democrat adminstration here has ruled that those folks with no valid address will still be able to vote absentee, early, whatever. With no valid address, they can probably vote absentee, then vote early, then go from precinct to precinct voting repeatedly on election day. An estimated 30,000 illegal immigrants hold a NM driver's license, and some of those may have been used to get on the voter rolls. But the Democrats have claimed executive privilege to frustrate GOP demands to see those names so they can be compared with the voter rolls. Bear in mind that in the 2000 election, NM went to Gore by only 366 votes. I'd bet big money that a fair vote count would have shown Bush the winner by at least a thousand. If I remember the totals correctly, that would have made the whole Florida mess unnecessary and irrelevant.

Defrauding the system
The problems reported involving ACORN voter registration drives point to a serious issue ACORN might want to address-- the practise of offering cash rewards to their workers for turning in voter egistration cards. This kind of thing just invited abuse, and I don't think it will stand for very much longer, given the attention it's getting.

I would note one thing in passing: who blew the whistle on ACORN?

Well bless my soul, it was ACORN itself who turned over evidence to the FBI when their internal audits found bogus registrations.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnw/20061106/pl_usnw/acorn_applauds_fbi_investigation_of_individuals_connected_to_possible_miscondcut_in_k_c__voter_registration_drive493_xml

Now let me pose another observation. It's one kind of fraud to concoct bogus registrations. But given the context, how likely is it that Minnie Mouse or Betsy Ross actually would have shown up at the polls on election day?

I would be far more worried (and this is just a hypothetical case) if there were some Republican operator, say a Pioneer fund raiser, who ran a company that devised a way to tally votes without gicving a paer trail, and refused to divulge its software to auditors so they could check the machine's accuracy, reliability and security independently of the manufacturer's own boasts.

And that said machines were adopted anyway across the nation, thanks to a marketing effort enhanced by two billion federal dollars earmarked for buying such machines. Yes, I would be worried if something like that were to happen. Because that would not just be a matter of some thousands of bogus registrations being created by kids hoping for cash bonuses. It would be open to abuse by partisan actors behind the scenes with the ability to actually throw state and federal elections.

Here's an analysis of the machines that will be tallying several millions of our votes today:

http://www.eff.org/Activism/E-voting/20030724_evote_research_report.pdf


Relies on speculation, not fact
This is a curious position ("the truth doesn't matter to some") to be taken by someone who proudly refuses to even read material he thinks he may find himself in disagreement with.

There is a large body of observation describing disenfranchised voters in northern Florida. They were not given the opportunity to challenge their dismissal from the polling places, and did not vote that day.

It is also indisputable that the count was arbitrarily stopped before the process was complete. And the resulting margin of victory was within the margin of error that any statistician would have projected for such an error-prone methodology. That much we know.

Now let's turn to your unfounded opinion, that this might justify some future voter fraud on the part of unknown parties. What do you have that will back that up in the way of concrete observations?

Palm Beach County
Needless to say Palm Beach County, Florida during the 2000 election certainly was nothing new. For that matter voter fraud isn't anything new in the USA. "Speculation" by many had Lyndon Johnson winning his first Congressional election by having the ballot boxes stuffed.

Still Palm Beach County 2000 started our latest concern. I was political active and lived in PB County through the development of all the voting methodology by the office of the supervisor of elections in the county during the 1980s. So let's look at what they knew before the 2000 election (1) The supervisor of elections had long been held by one very partisan Democratic elected official. (2) All of the problems from butterfly ballots, punch cards, hanging chad, lack of rules for how first recounts should be conducted in the County, etc etc had all been debated and approved during the 1980s by the Democratic supervisor and a Democratic County Commission. (3) Many in the national media believed Palm Beach County was conservative Republican because the Town of Palm Beach has money;never has been. (4) The Democratic National Party knew that it would be a close election in Palm Beach County prior to the election. (5) Democratic operatives and lawyers were in Palm Beach County before election day but did not raise "their concerns" to the level of a national debate until the evening of the election. (6) At least one of the supposed Democratic voters who had been so confused by the butterfly ballot, etc was a Democratic Party operative.

So fundamentally, the Democratic Party knew it would be close and took advantage of the closeness in the media. They knew of the problems because they created them. Even though the Democratic Party knows exactly what happened they challenged the election. They have repeated the lie for six years that the election was stolen, and even though the most liberal newspapers and TV magazine programs have demonstrated the election was not stolen, they have continued the drumbeat.

OK, so voter fraud is nothing new. Politicians and political operatives lying to the public through the liberal media is nothing new. Portions of the public hating the President is nothing new. Yet in November, 2000 we were not in a war against a horrible enemy. The past screaming about stolen elections and today's screaming before today's severely divides the country. The Democratic Party cares only about regaining power even if it means tearing the country a part and making it less safe.

Now appreciate the desire for power is one of the single most profound driving forces in history. We are talking today about political control over the most powerful and richest country on Earth or in history. Far, far worse has been down in past civilization to gain power; just re-read the history of Rome.

It's a problem, but maybe not a big one
Obviously there appears to be a loy of registration fraud. But this sort of thing seems to be driven by cash incentives-- bonuses-- for signing up lots of new voters. It's a flaw that should be addressed, and no doubt will be.

But how many of these bogus registrations are likely to translate into actual votes being cast? Isn't it likely that if individuals actually used a bad voter ID card they would get caught out the second or third time they showed up at the polling place? Especially if they're using names like Donald Duck? I know in my polling place I could never show up to vote a second time.

I don't think we have much to worry about in terms of these incidents leading to large numbers of improper ballots being cast.

Petty campaign skullduggery
The only thing like that that's been happening in my district has to do with elections for judges and court officials-- which in our state are nonpartisan positions, not identified by affiliation.

People have been getting phone calls asking them if they're registered Democratic voters. If you say yes, they give you a list of Democratic judges to vote for (wink wink),

Naturally, these names have turned out to be those of the Republican candidates. At least they're not stooping to pulling signs out of people's front yards this year, as they were during the last election.

After you, monsieur
What qualifies as "unbiased research" to you? We have a wealth of reportage on various forms of voter fraud on the part of individuals across the country-- plus a very few on the part of party workers. Plus, of course, rather ignorant-seeming registration fraud.

Are you saying that the documentation of Democratic fraud is well validated, while that for Republican fraud is not? If so, please show us your studies.

Chads don't lie, do they?
"At least one of the supposed Democratic voters who had been so confused by the butterfly ballot, etc was a Democratic Party operative. "

So you're saying the way this scam worked was that the fellow cast an erroneous ballot, just so he could later challenge his own ballot? This seems incredibly and pointlessly devious.

"The supervisor of elections had long been held by one very partisan Democratic elected official."

Also "All of the problems from butterfly ballots, punch cards, hanging chad, lack of rules for how first recounts should be conducted in the County, etc etc had all been debated and approved during the 1980s by the Democratic supervisor and a Democratic County Commission."

But wasn't the Florida Secretary of State a Republican? How is anything that happened the responsibility of anyone prior to Election Day 2000?

And finally "Democratic operatives and lawyers were in Palm Beach County before election day but did not raise "their concerns" to the level of a national debate until the evening of the election."

Precisely how could anyone complain about abuses in the conduct of electoral officials they day before they happened? Would they have been able to channel future abuses through use of a crystal ball?

"large body of observation"
Where is the evidence?

Time to
Vote democratic? In my state its allowable to have the polling place in the office holders house-guess who does that-big city dems.

Of course, you'd be more honest if you'd admit you always vote D, what your saying is you think its time for others to join you.

Too easy
The evidence is everywhere, and I've been carrying more of it to you every time you raise this question.

It's very easy to sit back, offering no evidence of anything yourself, and just saying "show me, show me" all day long. How about giving up some of your evidence for a change? We'll want documentation of your contention that there is greater evidence of Democratic voting fraud than there is of Republican voting fraud, and that it has been examined by some responsible independent body of researcher.

The only thing I'm contending here is that there are currently a number of instances of petty registration fraud, and that we'll have to wait to see whether there are any instances of voting fraud. I suggest that none will be of great significance unless the hand of some party is seen to be behind them.

Unbiased (?) Source
"Republicans caused long lines at polling places on Election Day to suppress the minority vote.
Dean stated:
“The Republicans are all about suppressing votes: two voting machines if you live in a
black district, 10 voting machines if you live in a white district. … You know, the idea
that you have to wait on line for eight hours to cast your ballot in Florida there’s
something the matter with that. … Well, Republicans, I guess, can do that because a lot
of them never made an honest living in their lives.”7
Dean was just the latest Democrat leader to make this charge. In January 2005, the Rev. Jesse
Jackson charged that “blatant discrimination in the distribution of voting machines ensured long
lines in inner-city and working-class precincts that favored John Kerry, while the exurban
districts that favored President Bush had no similar problems.”8 The Democrat staff of the
House Judiciary Committee, led by Ranking Member Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), alleged in a
January 2005 report that “the misallocation of voting machines [in Ohio] led to unprecedented
lines that disenfranchised scores, if not hundreds of thousands, of predominantly minority and
Democratic voters.” The Conyers report specifically cited Franklin County, Ohio, as an area in
which Republicans intentionally misallocated voting machines in order to cause long lines and
disenfranchise minority voters.9
However, Democrat election officials in Franklin County and the U.S. Department of
Justice have refuted this allegation. During the recent U.S. House Administration Committee
hearing held in Columbus, William Anthony, Chairman of the Franklin County Democratic Party
and County Board of Elections, flatly rejected the allegation that long lines were part of some
effort to disenfranchise minorities and/or Democrat voters. Anthony further testified that long
lines were not limited to minority and Democrat communities. Anthony stated under oath:
“Some have alleged that precincts in predominantly African American or Democratic
precincts were deliberately targeted for a reduction in voting machines, thus creating the
only lines in the county. I can assure you Mr. Chairman and members of the committee,
both as a leader in the black community and Chairman of the local Democratic Party and

a labor leader and Chairman of the Board of Elections, that these accusations are simply
not true.”10
Anthony stated that “on Election Day I spent several hours driving around the county in
the rain and observed long lines in every part of our county, in urban and suburban
neighborhoods, black and white communities, Democrat and Republican precincts.” He referred
to those who made claims about long lines and disenfranchisement as “conspiracy theorists” and
“Internet bloggers.”11
Anthony noted that the entire process for allocating voting machines in the county was
controlled by a Democratic supervisor.12 He cited three reasons for the long lines in Franklin
County on Election Day 2004: increased voter turnout, static resources and an exceptionally long
ballot.13 Finally, Anthony was “personally offended” by these allegations. As he told The
Columbus Dispatch, “I am a black man. Why would I sit there and disenfranchise voters in my
own community? … I feel like they’re accusing me of suppressing the black vote. I’ve fought
my whole life for people’s right to vote.”14

http://www.ac4vr.com/reports/072005/080205report.pdf

The hit dog is hollering...
To quote Zell Miller in his use of an old southern saw - 'It's a hit dog that hollers'. Glenn is exactly on target but there is more to this than just covering the collective assets. I've noticed more and more that the left wing is most quick to throw accusations when they are themselves guilty of the offence.

Witness the long history of the dead rising up to vote Democrat in Chicago. And now there is this 'New Breed of Activist' at the polls trying to 'observe' election problems. None of this inspires confidence in me that the howls of the democrats are anything other than a premptive strike against the possiblity that they may not win as many seats as the MSM expects them to.

The new left mantra is the old left mantra - 'If we can't win the votes we'll take it to court.'

Challenge to conservatives
Prove to me that you are conservatives and not Republican operatives by posting some Republican campain practice you object to. Possibilities: push polling, robocalls, lying political ads, astroturf organizations, the close relationship between Fox "news" and the Republican party, ... .

Just to start, here are some of my personal peeves on Democrats:

1. tolerating sleezebags in the organization (Al Sharpton),

2. tolerating corruption (Brooklyn, not being more vocal on Jefferson),

3. ignoring the complexity of issues (e.g. what happens if we suddenly withdraw from Iraq),

4. political cowardice (e.g. not standing up to Bush on the WMD issue before the invasion of Iraq)

Got somthin'?
well?

Watch the vote fraud articles disappear from MSM ...
now that the Democrats appear to have won both houses. Maybe we'll even see some articles on 'renewed confidence in the electoral process' and such. Just watch.

Good extract
Very good. You strengthen your arguments when you post from sources. Now we know with relative confidence that there was no intentional voter disenfrachisement in Franklin County, Ohio.

BTW I see you've figured out how to copy and paste from Adobe pdf's. That's great. I have to copy them out by hand. Is that a capability that comes with their 7.0 download? Or are you just naturally ingenious?

I would offer in rebuttal the famous report by John Conyers, What Went Wrong in Ohio. It's lengthy and detailed, and kind of a time consuming download. But I think this wealth of detail makes reading it instructive. Check it out:

http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/ohiostatusrept1505.pdf

As a House Judiciary Committee report issued to Congress in January, 2005 I think it qualifies as achieving the gold standard for objective, verifiable reporting. Here is the flavor it imparts to its conclusions:

"We have found numerous, serious election irregularities in the Ohio presidential election, which resulted in a significant disenfranchisement of voters. Cumulatively, these irregularities, which affected hundreds of thousand of votes and voters in Ohio, raise grave doubts regarding whether it can be said the Ohio electors selected on December 13, 2004, were chosen in a manner that conforms to Ohio law, let alone federal requirements and constitutional standards.

"This report, therefore, makes three recommendations: (1) consistent with the requirements of the United States Constitution concerning the counting of electoral votes by Congress and Federal law implementing these requirements, there are ample grounds for challenging the electors from the State of Ohio; (2) Congress should engage in further hearings into the widespread irregularities reported in Ohio; we believe the problems are serious enough to warrant the appointment of a joint select Committee of the House and Senate to investigate and report back to the Members; and (3) Congress needs to enact election reform to restore our people's trust in our democracy. These changes should include putting in place more specific federal protections for federal elections, particularly in the areas of audit capability for electronic voting machines and casting and counting of provisional ballots, as well as other needed changes to federal and state election laws.

"With regards to our factual finding, in brief, we find that there were massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio. In many cases these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio."

etcetera

Florida 2000 vote over counted democrats via fraud
See people who voted twice in new york and Florida
h**p://www.slate.com/id/2108807/

Democratic county legislator votes in new york and florida:
h**p://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/easternsuburbs/story/452951.html

She claims she didn't do it but records show she did, fraud none the less.

people should vote only on election day, require ID and dip there finger in INK



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