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In 1993, President Clinton signed into law the “Motor Voter” Act. It went a long way to make it easier for people to register to vote. In 2004, Wesley v. Cox, a Federal Judge confirmed that under “Motor Voter” individuals and groups had the right to engage in organized voter registration activity at times and locations of their choosing, without the presence or permission of state or local election officials. Does that sound like a great opportunity for voter registration fraud? It sure does to me. If you want an example, see this article. It shows how a newspaper registered a fictitious name just to show how easy it was to do. Another article shows how easy it is to register voters regardless of whether it is for political or monitary gain.
Starting in Monterrey, California in 1977, various governments have experimented with “Vote by Mail” schemes. In 1995, Oregon became the first state to have an election where all votes were by mail. Proponents say it has many advantages. It costs (the state) less than having polling places set up and manned. It makes it easier for voters since they only need fill out and mail a ballot rather than getting to a polling place and physically voting. To me the disadvantages are overwhelming. The cost is transferred to those who vote (postage stamp required on ballot envelope). That is not a real big deal, though, their are those who feel it amounts to a polling tax. What is a big deal – HUGE, actually - is that there is virtually no control over who actually votes the ballot that is sent in the mail. Again, this is a great opportunity for Voter Fraud.
Think of the coercion of an abusive spouse forcing his/her spouse to vote his way. or else. What about the boss who says if you want to keep your job, you will bring your ballot in for me to help you vote. The possibilities are endless and I have no doubt that many an election has been swayed by fraudulent votes produced by Motor Voter and Vote by Mail schemes. I have found no information about voter fraud cases that do not include abuse of registration by mail, or, voting by mail (mostly absentee ballots).
In a Wall Street Journal article in 2006, one form of mail vote fraud was discussed: “”It’s so easy to cheat you’d be surprised who’s been caught at it. In 1998, former congressman Austin Murphy of Pennsylvania, a Democrat, was convicted of absentee-ballot fraud in a nursing home, where residents’ failing mental capacities make them an easy mark. “In this area there’s a pattern of nursing home administrators frequently forging ballots under residents’ names,” Sean Cavanagh, a former Democratic county supervisor from the area, told me. He says that many nursing home owners rely on regular “bounties” from candidates whom they allow to enter their facilities and harvest votes.”
I find it hard to imagine that if someone came into the county clerk’s office to register to vote that he or she could register as Minnie or Mickey Mouse or Luke Skywalker. Similar registrations are reported to have been done by mail on numerous occasions.
No, this is not one of the posts in the 20-40 series, but I would like to hear a candidate get serious about this matter. What is wrong with considering photo i.d. to vote? Or to register? Why shouldn’t people take the effort to vote at a polling place where their privacy and security can be assured?
In general, I am a believer in State’s Rights. In this case, I think we would benefit from a National Standard. What do you think?