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A Real Case of Voter Fraud:

Why am I so interested in voter fraud allegations? Perhaps because the first time I looked into voter fraud allegations, they turned out to be real — ballots had been forged and an election was stolen.

Back in 1993, in Philadelphia (my home town), Democrat Bill Stinson appeared to eke out a victory over Republican Bruce Marks, largely due to a surge in absentee ballots. Although Marks won the votes cast on election day, Stinson won the district's 1,700 absentee votes by 1,000 votes. This gave Stinson a 459-vote margin of victory over Republican Bruce Marks. Stinson's "victory" kept the state legislature from falling into GOP hands — until it was discovered that Stinson had literally stolen the election.

As it turned out, Stinson campaign workers conducted an organized campaign to submit fraudulent or coerced absentee ballots. In some cases, the ballot applications and ballots were forged. In others, campaign workers filled out absentee ballots and duped voters to sign. Some voters turned up at the polls only to find that someone had already cast a ballot in their name. Dead people voted and non-English speakers were hoodwinked, and an election was stolen.

The first indication of something fishy in the Stinson-Marks election was a sudden and unprecedented surge in absentee ballot applications. There were 1757 absentee ballots cast in 1993, whereas in prior years the district barely exceeded 1,000. The Marks campaign sought to challenge many of the ballots, but without much success, in part because some ballots were opened before the polls closed (contrary to the election rules at the time).

Investigations continued after election day. The key investigative work was conducted by Philadelphia newspapers, the Philadelphia Inquirer in particular. I became so engaged in the allegations that I wrote an op-ed on the case ("How to steal an election in Philadelphia," Wash. Times, Dec. 3, 1993). A federal investigation followed, and Stinson's victory was thrown out a few months later.

Is the Stinson-Marks case an aberration? Ancient history? I certainly hope so, but it is difficult to know for sure. The temptation to manipulate elections is real, and there are activists on both sides of the aisle that would steal an election if they thought they could get away with it, and local election administration often leaves much to be desired.

Most charges of voter fraud (like most charges of voter suppression) are overstated if not simply false. There's much more smoke than fire, but the few actual cases found are still quite serious. Just because party activists and others cry wolf with impunity, does not mean we live in a wolf-free world. To the contrary, because of the Stinson-Marks case, I believe there are some real wolves out there, and that it's worth paying attention to election irregularities just in case.

Anon21:
Ok, but that was a state legislative race decided by a margin of fewer than 500 votes. To swing a statewide race in a state as large as Ohio or Florida and be reasonably sure that it will work, you would need to get tens of thousands of fraudulent ballots submitted. There's really no incentive if you can't affect the outcome of the election, and it's impractical to swing tens of thousands of votes. Thus, voter fraud in the Presidential election is not something to be concerned about.
10.20.2008 9:47pm
byomtov (mail):
Just because party activists and others cry wolf with impunity, does not mean we live in a wolf-free world. To the contrary, because the Stinson-Marks case, I believe there are some real wolves out there, and that it's worth paying attention to election irregularities just in case.

Fair enough. But, as the story indicates, wolf-crying is not harmless.

Maybe one way to make sure that real irregularities are taken seriously is to avoid inventing phony ones, like the NM case.

And another is not to politicize the whole business of investigating problems.

In other words, maybe those who do cry wolf are due for more than a touch of criticism.
10.20.2008 9:53pm
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
Anon21 --

Sometimes a small number of votes can have larger consequences. In this case, the race that was stolen was a state legislative race, but control of the state legislature hung in the balance. As for the incentives involved, the incentive is a function of the probability of altering the outcome and the magnitude of the outcome. If the stakes are high enough, there can still be a substantial incentive to pad election results in one direction or another.

JHA
10.20.2008 9:54pm
geokstr:
The fact that absentee balloting has exploded this election should tell you all you need to know. No reason is needed to request an absentee ballot anymore. Who knows who fills them out, or how many are still breathing?

Here in GA, we've already had over 600,000 votes cast, mostly women, mostly in heavily democrat districts, which I'm sure is totally nearly somewhat almost coincidental (probably). Who knows how many of those are problematic?

If you recall, all the way back in 2001, 8 of the 19 hijackers were registered to vote. I have nothing (yet) to back up this assertion, but I really wonder how many illegal aliens are not only registered, but will vote. First they get fake social security cards, then a driver's license and then register.

The democrat Secretary of State of Ohio will not allow the 200,000 registrations, many turned in by ACORN, that have mismatches on key data such as driver's license number or social security number, to even be reviewed by anyone to verify they are legit. (The SCOTUS only found for her on a technicality, not the merits). She is also the one who found another technicality, not intended by the legislators, that allowed same day registration and early voting for a week, so ACORN and others ran buses between every campus and homeless shelter and polling places. Also in Ohio, 13 Americans studying abroad, none of them from Ohio, registered from the same address. They came in specifically to get out the vote, all registered, and at least two have voted. Several are registered in other states. It was the responsibility of the SOS to have databases built by now to prevent much of this, but, by another coincidence, they aren't ready yet.

I've worked with databases with tens of millions of records in large corporations for years. They are not that difficult to build, input, or maintain, especially if they are not going to do anything more complicated than hold records. If you really want to build one, that is.

All this from an extremely partisan SOS, in what is generally considered to be the state likely to make the difference in a close election, which Bush won by 120,000 votes in 2004.

And anyone want to wager that a whole boatload of military ballots get lost, delivered too late, or are disqualified for one reason or another, just like every election?

All the above benefit one party. I'll give you three guesses which one, and the first two don't count.
10.20.2008 10:08pm
Norman Bates (mail):
Anon21: You are apparently not familiar with the last gubernatorial race in Washington state where transparent fraud made Christine Gregoire governor. It's particularly interesting to me that these fraud cases almost invariably involve a Democrat winning. This is why I'm frightened that if Obama wins, then our unconstrained Democrat leadership -- Pelosi, Reid, and Obama -- will all have cut their political teeth working within extremely corrupt and fraud ridden Democrat political machines.
10.20.2008 10:10pm
ChrisIowa (mail):

Thus, voter fraud in the Presidential election is not something to be concerned about.



1960. Chicago. Nixon vs Kennedy and Daily.
Anon21, get your head out of your backside.
10.20.2008 10:19pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
'Thus, voter fraud in the Presidential election is not something to be concerned about.'

Daley, but I think that election was stolen in south Texas.

Of course, Professor Adler is concerned about electoral integrity. Everybody who isn't, raise your hand.

That is not the same thing, though, as being asked to believe that the mighty ACORN, which appears to be run by stumblebums, is or was almost on the verge of stealing this one.

Besides, why would you steal something that's being dropped in your lap?
10.20.2008 10:31pm
MnZ:

Ok, but that was a state legislative race decided by a margin of fewer than 500 votes. To swing a statewide race in a state as large as Ohio or Florida and be reasonably sure that it will work, you would need to get tens of thousands of fraudulent ballots submitted. There's really no incentive if you can't affect the outcome of the election, and it's impractical to swing tens of thousands of votes. Thus, voter fraud in the Presidential election is not something to be concerned about.


One honestly elected President atop a sea of fraudulently elected Congressmen, State, and Local officials is hardly good thing.

Voter fraud is unlikely to swing a Presidential election. However, it may very well condemn a group of Americans (who are disproportionately poor and vulnerable) to live under corrupt local rule.
10.20.2008 10:34pm
MadHatChemist:
If there is power to be gained from stealing an election, and if voter fraud is made easy (as it generally is now in many states), then voter fraud will happen.
10.20.2008 10:35pm
tsotha:
Then there was the 1996 Loretta Sanchez/Bob Dornan race in Southern California. Investigators found noncitizen voting had occurred, but Congress found that even though Dornan had lost by only 979 votes, since they could only prove 748 ballots had been cast illegally at the behest of Democratic "civil rights" group Hermandad Mexicana Nacional . More here. Of course, nobody was ever charged.
10.20.2008 10:36pm
Randy R. (mail):
Sorry, but that story can't possibly be true. Everyone knows that the Philadelphia Inquirer is part of the MSM, and they are pro-Democratic. Therefore, they would never investigate a story whereby a Democrat looks bad.
10.20.2008 10:38pm
LN (mail):
No no no Randy R -- think about all the OTHER stories that were not reported by the MainStreamMedia because they made Democrats look bad. They only report one out of 10!
10.20.2008 10:43pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
Voter fraud is real. I remember Stinson-Marks. One way to rig an election is the Stinson method; overt detectable rule-breaking. A more common method is rule-making. If you can get your team in charge of the way the election is run, you can affect the outcome. I saw this a lot with the Libertarian Party's struggle to get on the ballot over the years. Occasionally you get overt criminal activity such as George Ryan keeping his opponent off the ballot. (Ryan is now in federal prison on other charges.) Usually it's a matter of the party in power writing the rules to exclude competition, or applying the rules in a biased way, and finding federal judges to uphold the biased outcome under vague standards.
Some of the rules traditionally used to rig the game included poll taxes, grandfather clauses, literacy tests, residence requirements. Some popular ones these days include felonization of everything, voter ID, litigation under section 2 of the Voting Rights act, public financing, and criminalization of campaign finance bookkeeping errors.
Philadelphia has a long history of the kind of explicit corruption associated with New York and Boston. The Vare machine - a rare example of a Republican counterpart to Tammany Hall - gave way to Frank Rizzo. But in most places the corruption is more sugar coated and institutionalized.
What used to be called graft is now called revenue sharing.
Studying overt corruption of the Stinson model is a useful intro to the more nuanced varieties.
10.20.2008 10:49pm
none_ (mail):
the interesting thing about this is how it was done: specifically not through the kind of in-person voter fraud the GOP is trying to get everyone worked up about. the bottom line is that in-person vote fraud is rare, not because people are honest, but becuase its difficult, inefficient and ultimately doesn't work. cheating in elections is an american tradition on both sides of the aisle, but its almost always done behind-the-scenes, by stuffing ballot boxes (or making them disappear).
10.20.2008 10:52pm
just me (mail):
If there is power to be gained from stealing an election, and if voter fraud is made easy (as it generally is now in many states), then voter fraud will happen.

Exactly.

My issue with the registration fraud isn't that all those fraudulent registrations will result in votes, but that the fraud corrupts the process.

Not to mention when blind eyes are turned from this stuff long enough, and election officials give up on actually checking the registrations against other lists as has happened in Florida and apparently Ohio-the potential is there for those who would seek to fraud the election to do their thing.

I do think absentee ballots are an easy way to corrupt the process.

I think one reason there aren't too many prosecutions of voter fraud is that it is hard to prove-even in the cases mentioned-real ones-there is some evidence of fraud but not enough that you could actually charge somebody with the fraud and win a conviction in court.
10.20.2008 10:58pm
just me (mail):
If there is power to be gained from stealing an election, and if voter fraud is made easy (as it generally is now in many states), then voter fraud will happen.

Exactly.

My issue with the registration fraud isn't that all those fraudulent registrations will result in votes, but that the fraud corrupts the process.

Not to mention when blind eyes are turned from this stuff long enough, and election officials give up on actually checking the registrations against other lists as has happened in Florida and apparently Ohio-the potential is there for those who would seek to fraud the election to do their thing.

I do think absentee ballots are an easy way to corrupt the process.

I think one reason there aren't too many prosecutions of voter fraud is that it is hard to prove-even in the cases mentioned-real ones-there is some evidence of fraud but not enough that you could actually charge somebody with the fraud and win a conviction in court.
10.20.2008 10:58pm
Albatross (www):
10.20.2008 11:02pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
If a fictitious person casts a vote, how do you prosecute him?
10.20.2008 11:03pm
Bleepless:
More on the Washington State case: the fake votes apparently amounted to just a few hundred, but that was enough. The courts chickened out. The Sound Politics blog covered the situation exhaustively.
Ironically, the same Republican challenger is running against the same 'Crat incumbent.
10.20.2008 11:09pm
Another pinhead (mail):
All it takes for voter fraud is money and organization.

I was an unwitting participant in voter fraud in Massachusetts back in the early 80s. The way it worked is a guy from the local public employees union called me and asked me if I wanted to have the snow removed from my driveway. He said I needed to write a check to a local selectman candidate or volunteer on election day. Since I didn't have that much money, but I was a good Democrat, so I showed up on election day. The local precinct boss handed me an envelope of money and told me to pay people to get on the bus. I thought it was strange that a complete stranger was entrusted with a large sum of cash. I also thought that it was strange that they didn't care if the person was registered to vote or even if they were Deomcrats. After they voted, I payed them again. I got suspicious when all the people got back on the bus and we went to another polling place. I handed the bus driver the envelope and told him I had to be somewhere else. They only called me during the primary election, so I suspect that they didn't need to work that hard to get their guy elected, since Democrats always won the elections in this district. I think that it would be hard to do this on a large scale, but it would not be impossible if you had enough cash and a large enough organization.
10.20.2008 11:14pm
MnZ:

the interesting thing about this is how it was done: specifically not through the kind of in-person voter fraud the GOP is trying to get everyone worked up about. the bottom line is that in-person vote fraud is rare, not because people are honest, but becuase its difficult, inefficient and ultimately doesn't work. cheating in elections is an american tradition on both sides of the aisle, but its almost always done behind-the-scenes, by stuffing ballot boxes (or making them disappear).


It is not that difficult. Simply have the poll watchers figure out who hasn't voted yet. At the end of the day, send in a busload of imposters to the polls claiming to be those exact people. Or you can figure out who is dead and have the imposters vote in their place.

All in takes is a group of organized people in a community.
10.20.2008 11:27pm
big bob (mail):
It's my understanding that there have already been more votes thrown out in Ohio for being proven fraudulent, (Despite the best efforts of the SOS?) than the margin of victory in the last presidential election.
10.20.2008 11:27pm
John R. Mayne (mail):
I turned 18 in 1984, and entered college at Penn that year. I immediately registered in my new state of Pennsylvania (Republican, as it happens.)

I stood in an interminable line to vote. I got in a discussion with a socialist student. I eventually got to the front of the line and..... nope, I was supposedly not registered.

However, I was rescued by a local Republican party volunteer who was shuttling voters back and forth to court to get their vote counted. I ended up in front of a large, congenial, judge who asked me a few questions and sent me back with permission to vote.

So, anyway, I am shocked, shocked that such a thing would happen in Philly. (The sudden emptying out of bars and strict carding on the same days alcohol checks were done was another intriguing item I hadn't seen in my previous suburban life. Cynical people might think the bar owners had been tipped.)

--JRM
10.20.2008 11:38pm
TruthInAdvertising:
"It's my understanding that there have already been more votes thrown out in Ohio for being proven fraudulent,"

Source?
10.20.2008 11:45pm
DangerMouse:
That article is certainly interesting:

Indeed, the two Democrats on the three-member board of elections, an elected body, testified that they were aware of the voter fraud, had intentionally failed to enforce the election law and had later tried to conceal their activities by hurriedly certifying the Democratic candidate as the winner.

Since 1994, I think the Democrats have gotten a lot better at voter fraud. ACORN is the result of them learning from their mistakes. Something has to be done about this. I don't think anyone can be certain that a vote they cast for a Republican will be counted if they live in a heavily Democratic area, or that it will matter if they're buried under a slew of fake votes.
10.21.2008 12:02am
Mark Buehner (mail):
Our election process is the ultimate sausage making. You REALLY dont want to know how bad it can be, which is probably why anyone hardly ever looks.

The last time the FBI really did a massive audit of an election (matching up signatures via handwriting analysts, tracking down people to find out if they really did vote, etc) was in Chicago in the early eightees. 100,000 fraudulent votes were estimated as the MINIMUM by the US Attorney. This issue is the ultimate head in the sand of our nation. Nobody wants to even think about it.
10.21.2008 12:06am
tsotha:
the bottom line is that in-person vote fraud is rare...

I don't know why you would believe something like that. The system here in California is set up so actual, intentional fraud is impossible to investigate. Nobody knows how much fraud there is.
10.21.2008 12:15am
DangerMouse:
Mark, that's an interesting link you provided also:

...the U.S. Attorney in Chicago at the time, Daniel Webb, estimated that at least 100,000 fraudulent votes (10 percent of all votes in the city) had been cast.[2] Sixty-five individuals were indicted for federal election crimes, and all but two (one found incompetent to stand trial and another who died) were convicted.

Anyone who says voter fraud doesn't happen is an idiot, or a very partisan Democrat. If it was that bad in Chicago back then, then it's no wonder that Obama (the candidate of the Chicago mafia) became a "community organizer" and that ACORN is stealing the vote right now on his behalf.

Get ready for the tyranny of Nice, with a guy who steals the vote for your President.
10.21.2008 12:28am
D.R.M.:
Undetected fraudulent registrations create additional opportunities for mailing in fraudulent ballots and busing in fraudulent voters. And fraudulent registrations are a lot easier to prove,
10.21.2008 12:30am
Justin (mail):
Is the "Washington was stolen" myth going to replace the "Texas was stolen" myth? ::sigh:: I assume Jim McKay, Republican US Attorney from Washington, was in on it? Maybe even BEHIND it!!! Trickster.
10.21.2008 12:32am
TomT (mail):
You have to understand that fraud happens because Democrats want it that way. Most of these changes in voting has made it easier to cheat and are supported by the Dems. Any reasonable restraints such as voter id are fought tooth and nail by the Democrats. Anybody who tries to reign this in is called a racist. The Democrats think that these voter drives are somehow noble. I find nothing noble about them. Voting is an outward expression of some sort of internal deliberation. Its not the act itself that is important. If you think that Sarah Palin is Obama's VP, then I think it would be better if you didn't vote. I don't care who your voting for.
10.21.2008 12:34am
TomT (mail):
John, I know you were trying to be fair, but how many proven Republican examples can you cite.
10.21.2008 12:37am
Blue:
John Thune, 2002 Senate race against Tim Johnson. The Ds waited to see how many votes they needed from the reservation then trucked 'em in.
10.21.2008 12:50am
Randy R. (mail):
Tomt: "You have to understand that fraud happens because Democrats want it that way. Most of these changes in voting has made it easier to cheat and are supported by the Dems"

If so, they aren't so good at it. Congress turned republican in 1994 and only reverted in 2006. So for 12 years, the republicans were the ones stealing the elections. Furthermore, we've had since 1970 seven out of ten elections that favored a R president.
10.21.2008 1:18am
NickM (mail) (www):
There is a published case from the CA Court of Appeal, Hardeman v. Thomas, 208 Cal. App. 3d 153 (1989), which found in the context of a local nonpartisan election that Inglewood Mayor Ed Vincent was personally involved in vote fraud, including coercing elderly voters to turn over unvoted absentee ballots to him.
Vincent is now the State Senator from CA's 25th district (CA State Senate districts are larger than Congressional districts). When he served as an Assemblyman during the 1990s, he chaired the Assembly Elections and Reapportionment Committee.

As for Justin's claim that the WA gubernatorial election of 2004 is a myth, he should really try reading the opinion of the court there. Under WA law, proof that illegal votes were cast accomplishes nothing unless you can prove who those votes were cast for. The court found as a fact that over 1700 illegal votes were cast, in an election which it found to have been decided by 133 votes, but it did not have the right under WA law to vacate the election because of that - nor would it have if 170000 illegal votes had been cast. Most states' laws are far more sensible.

Registering Mickey Mouse and voting him by absentee ballot in WA is its own reward, because that vote will count.

There's one more peculiarity of WA law that bears mention here: WA allows an illegal voter to testify as to his vote. So if you are dumb enough to get caught voting illegally in WA, just claim that you voted for the other side and it will take a vote away from them, thus doubling the power of your illegal vote.

Nick
10.21.2008 1:20am
RPT (mail):
"Ironically, the same Republican challenger is running against the same 'Crat incumbent."

Is that the same guy who sued to be called a member of the "GOP" rather than a Republican? Is "'Crat" one of those new buzzwords?
10.21.2008 1:29am
jpickens (mail):
I have an anecdote from Philadelphia which happened during the last presidential election in 2004.
I live in New Jersey, and on election day, happened to travel through the Chestnut Hill section of Philly. I passed two polling places, and both had Kerry Edwards signs in the windows of the school classrooms at either side of the polling place entrance on the outside of the building.
Wholly inappropriate, in my opinion.
A good friend of mine, who was voting Democrat anyway, was astounded by the poll workers.
Here is what she described.
She signed in at the desk, and a male poll worker accompanied her to the voting booth, holding her voting ticket, which she never handled. The ticket is the one handed to the voting booth worker, who then activates the machine.
The helpful poll worker walked alongside her into the booth, and "showed" her how to work the machine by pulling all the vote levers for the Democratic ticket. He then backed away a few inches to allow the curtain to partially close. He stayed very close, pressed against the curtain, while she cast her vote by hitting the VOTE button.
If my fried had the audacity to be voting Republican, the helpful attendant would know, because he would hear her changing all the levers, and taking more time to cast her vote.
She kind of laughed off how the helpful worker was invading her personal space, and interjecting himself into the voting process.
I was apalled. If anyone were wanting to vote Republican, I believe they would feel very uncomfortable, and may just press the VOTE button to get the hell out of there.
10.21.2008 1:29am
Lee2000 (mail):

Is the "Washington was stolen" myth going to replace the "Texas was stolen" myth?


No mythtake, Juthtin. That election was stolen.
10.21.2008 1:53am
Anon21:
Norman Bates:
Anon21: You are apparently not familiar with the last gubernatorial race in Washington state where transparent fraud made Christine Gregoire governor.


ChrisIowa:
1960. Chicago. Nixon vs Kennedy and Daily.
Anon21, get your head out of your backside.

These two responses get at the reason why I find it hard to believe that election fraud which would change the outcome in a statewide race is possible, in practical terms. Both partisan contentions, both claims rejected after investigations conducted mostly by Republicans. Raising these discredited cases only undermines the credibility of any serious vote fraud argument.

I'm not saying it would be impossible, in strictly numerical terms, to get together enough voters to swing outcomes in particular cases--Florida President in '00, or Washington Governor in '04. The point is, you have no way of knowing an election is going to be that close beforehand. It's considerably more likely that the election will be decided by a margin of some tens of thousands of votes, rather than a few hundred. And since manufacturing or falsifying tens of thousands of votes would be an absolutely colossal undertaking, it is incredibly unlikely to have gone undetected, even to this point. There's no incentive to play for a few hundred votes in a statewide election, and no practical method for getting more.

Perhaps election fraud is a genuine issue in races with much smaller electorates. But attempting to impugn the legitimacy of Obama's coming victory through vague appeals to the uncertain possibilities of vote fraud just smacks of desperation, a desire to set aside the reality that it is the American people who are about to elect Obama. You don't want to believe the American people would do that, so you come up with a convenient pre-explanation to account for the results. But you're not convincing anyone but yourselves.

Poison yourself with this conspiracy theorizing if you like. I was crushed by Bush's victory in '04, but I ignored the ravings of the left fringe who claimed Ohio was stolen. I know there are plenty of conservatives who will hate Obama for winning, but will nonetheless acknowledge that his victory was legitimate.
10.21.2008 2:05am
Simon P:
I can respect your point of view on this, but I'm left to wonder what of use we can draw from your personal anecdote. In other words, how can we avoid future such instances of voter fraud?

I'm hesitant to come down too harshly on absentee or early voting, just because these options seem to be a useful and important alternative to election-day voting for military personnel, students, election-day volunteers, and anyone else who can't manage to get to the polls on election day (since we stubbornly refuse to move it to a day that most working adults aren't stuck at work). For similar reasons, I'm hesitant to crack down on other registration/voting regimes that are said to facilitate voter fraud, just because things like same-day registration/voting help legitimate voters, too.

I'm not insensitive to the possibility that candidates are stuffing ballots, and I agree that ballot-stuffing poses a serious threat to our democratic order. But we need to find effective and reliable proxies for voter fraud (or legitimate voting). Foreclosure lists, lists of returned-notice addresses, or (as in the ORP case) lists of "mismatches" generated by comparing registration cards to DMV records strike me as astonishingly poor proxies for the sorts of voter fraud we should care about, yet they seem to be popular resources in state-level registration/voter challenges. (I'm less concerned by legitimate voters voting ONCE but in the wrong place than I am by people voting more than once and/or at multiple locations.) They wouldn't even "hit" on "coerced" voters, if I understand your description of them correctly. Lists of "dead people" might be useful, but also subject to error, and anyway they'd only be useful until vote-fraudsters find some other way to generate "votes."

So, what do you suggest? Should we take all allegations of voter fraud seriously, "just in case"? I'm worried that would put enormous pressure on the courts to resolve electoral disputes; the ORP case was exemplary in the degree of politicization it inspired at the district and appellate levels. Does it help an already-defective electoral process to throw it into the domain of competing TRO's and PI's, throwing the election perhaps in favor of whichever party has more lawyers on the ground? Do you think that encouraging or forcing ACORN and like organizations not to incentivize false registrations would help to prevent voter fraud, or do you view ACORN's kind of activity as not even relevant to the sorts of voter fraud you've witnessed?
10.21.2008 2:29am
Kazinski:
I'm not sure the election in Washington was "stolen" it's just that illegal votes provided the margin of victory. I don't believe there was a concerted effort by the Democrats to steal the election, although ACORN may have been involved, but there were enough votes cast illegally, in precincts that voted overwhelmingly for Gregoire that make it a statistical slam dunk that the election was given to the loser. It was the count every vote mentality that aided and abetted the illegal votes. In one precinct provisional voters were given regular ballots and those ballots were mixed in with legitimate ballots so could not be identified. When it was later determined that several dozen voters were not legal voters there was no way to invalidate their ballots. There were several dead voters, lots of convicts, some fictional people, and when all was said and done the couple of hundred votes needed to erase Dino Rossi's victory were found.
10.21.2008 2:38am
just me (mail):
If so, they aren't so good at it. Congress turned republican in 1994 and only reverted in 2006. So for 12 years, the republicans were the ones stealing the elections. Furthermore, we've had since 1970 seven out of ten elections that favored a R president.

I don't know that it means they weren't any good at it. I would imagine redistricting in most states that essentially created safe seats for the DNC and GOP make it difficult to cheat and win a representative election.

My guess is that the races where fraud is going to be most effective is with local races or statewide races, not races that involve a heavily democratic district that is likely voting for the democrat in overwhelming numbers anyway.

So, what do you suggest? Should we take all allegations of voter fraud seriously, "just in case"?

I think I would start by taking registration fraud seriously. Rather than saying "well they aren't the same, and there isn't any evidence that registration fraud leads to voter fraud" they need to crack down on it-make the penalty painful enough that if you get caught it hurts.

End third party registrations. Have all voters register in only approved places (this doesn't have to be City Hall only-a Post Office or similar building could be approved). If third parties want to help people get registered they can haul people to those places.

Make people show ID and any other required proofs at registration.

Make people show ID when casting a vote.

Have multiple sign in places. One when the voter enters and picks up their ballot and one when they leave after casting their ballot. Some states may already do this, but the ones I have lived in don't.

Have a paper trail of ballots.

If somebody wants an absentee ballot require they signature be witnessed, and frankly I think you should have to have a valid reason for casting an absentee ballot. Early voting seems more reasonable and require an ID when casting that vote in addition to required signatures-that should be in more than one place.

May not be perfect, and it may create more hoops for people to jump through, but honestly if you aren't willing to jump through some hoops to cast a vote, then you inability to vote is your problem.
10.21.2008 8:08am
Voter Fraud (mail):
Voter fraud is ridiculously easy. I should know I did it 1996. Earlier in the year I moved from NJ to PA. On election day I voted in PA for Harry Brown. I then drove back to my parents for dinner in NJ. The polls were still open. When I went to my polling place, the clerk asked if I still lived at my parent's address. I said yes, and she gave me a ballot. I voted for Bob Dole, not because I agreed with his position, but I felt he deserved my respect for lying in his own blood for hours after the German machine-gunned him.
10.21.2008 8:27am
CNC (mail):
I read Jonathan Adler's article with its example of Democrats committing election fraud and except for one example from 80 years ago (Vare machine) in the comments, no Republican examples of election fraud are forthcoming.

"activists on both sides" is just another way to say both parties do it - OK ACORN on Democrat side; now what activists on the Republican side? And let's be fair - give an example of a Republican activist group as large as ACORN with as long a history and at least one good example. In my state, Washington, 5 people from ACORN were convicted of voter fraud for submitting 1800 voter registrations, only 6 of which were valid.

And for those of you who think submitting fraudulent registrations is no big deal -
"Florida's elections chief, Secretary of State Kurt Browning, acknowledged his staff has failed to remove thousands of ineligible felons from the voting rolls because of a shortage of workers and a crush of new registrations. Browning also said he was not surprised by the findings. "I'm kind of shocked that the number is as low as it is," he said.
OrlandoSentinel.com, October 21, 2008
Checking the "crush of new registrations" takes time away from the task of removing convicted felons and vice versa from the voter roll. By the way, the article sited above also points out that for those that indicate party affiliation, Democrat felons outnumber Republican by 2 to 1.
10.21.2008 8:48am
Simon P:
Just me: The problem with your proposed list of "solutions" is that almost none of them address the sort of voter fraud Jonathan witnessed in PA. Your "hoops" would just create several snags to catch the unweary: people who don't have the requisite IDs, people who have the correct form of ID but whose ID has become non-current (say because they've moved since it was issued), people who failed to register at the correct location, people who couldn't get the needed witnesses (I mean, witnesses for voting? Seriously?), and so on, without necessarily "catching" the people who want to commit concerted voter fraud, particularly the sort of "ballot stuffing" Jonathan witnessed.

I also don't understand why—and this is common to the entire "voter fraud movement"—why voter fraud and vote "dilution" poses such a serious problem while the policies you would impose to combat it, which would have the effect of shutting out plenty of totally legitimate voters, pose no problem at all. Indeed, it seems that your tolerance for disfranchising voters who, for whatever reason, fail to jump through all the hoops is almost limitless, just so long as some voter fraud can't happen. How does that make sense? If voter fraud is a serious issue because it dilutes the votes of "legitimate voters," shouldn't it also be a serious issue if "legitimate voters" are shut out because they've failed to comply with some technicality that has nothing to do with whether their vote should count?
10.21.2008 9:59am
anon345 (mail):
Is it any surprise that the Volokh community will ignore the most egregious voter fraud event in the history of modern American politics. Bush v. Gore was a travesty that could have only happened in a third world country so it has been no surprise as to what has come to pass over the last eight years. I know for a fact that military votes for Bush were sent post election when the news media informed everyone that they would be counted.
10.21.2008 11:07am
Paul in NJ (mail):

A federal investigation followed, and Stinson's victory was thrown out a few months later.


What would occur in the case where a Federal investigation showed that the Presidential election was won by fraud? Can that result be simply "thrown out"? The Constitution is silent on that, so I am curious what the upshot would be.
10.21.2008 11:21am
cboldt (mail):
-- What would occur in the case where a Federal investigation showed that the Presidential election was won by fraud? --
.
First there would have to be an allegation of fraud by the affected party. Those who closely observed the FL election circa 2000 noticed that there was never an allegation of fraud, and also groked the reason for the absence of the allegation.
.
The constitution says whichever person receives the majority of electoral votes is President. Electoral voters can theoretically vote against their "constituency," and deliver the same sort of result -- the public will perceive the end result as tainted or illegitimate.
.
An interesting observation is that the presence of a formal allegation of fraud isn't necessary. See a significant fraction (probably majority) of Democrats who find GWB's presidency as illegitimate as a matter of election law. Perception trumps reality.
10.21.2008 11:35am
martha:
Why don't we have a system that obviates the need for widespread registration? e.g., when people get a SSN, they could be entered into the voter database. When they turn 18, the database shows that they are eligible to vote. We'd still have to worry about checking id and keeping addresses current, and we'd still need a way to track party affiliation for closed primaries, but there would be no need for any widespread registration drives.

I'm sure there's an obvious reason that I'm just ignorant of. What is it?
10.21.2008 12:00pm
David M (www):
The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 10/21/2008 A short recon of what's out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.
10.21.2008 12:26pm
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
If Obama manages to lose it won't just supposedly be because of racism, but also 'cause the election was stolen. The word is already going round on leftist and Democratic mailing lists as well as media sources like the Huffington Post and the BBC (circulated by folks like Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.) that the "fix" is in — and Obama supporters should act now to "steal back your vote."

If Obama is defeated, there will be a huge hoorah vomited forth by all the leftist smoke-making machines about how the election was stolen out from under him. But, of course, we're assured by Dem partisans that voter fraud — from their side of the aisle — is a myth.

Another piece about the forthcoming "theft" of the election (by Republicans, of course) can be seen in Rolling Stone, in an article also by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast that was (supposedly) posted on October 30, 2008 (good trick, that). Palast touts the Rolling Stone piece at his own site, under the title "It's already stolen," spouting:
Don't worry about Mickey Mouse or ACORN stealing the election. According to an investigative report out today in Rolling Stone magazine, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast, after a year-long investigation, reveal a systematic program of "GOP vote tampering" on a massive scale.

The oh-so-reliable leftist Dem propaganda organ Truthout (which still hasn't disavowed their news report some time back revealing that Karl Rove is about to be indicted any day now) jumps on the bandwagon with this interview with the intrepid pair.

The BBC joins the stampede with a two-part investigative report Palast did for BBC Newsnight titled "The Theft of 2008" that one can see at Greg's site, or directly at YouTube.

Then there's the StealBackYourVote.org site that they've launched, as well as a 24-page full-color comic book "Steal it Back!" As Palast writes of that comic:
Make a $100 tax deductible donation at StealBackYourVote.org and we'll send you 25 to pass out to troublemakers of your choice. And, for every $100 donation, we will give away another 400 to voters to vulnerable voters in swing states. We just sent eight cases to Santiago Juarez. Santiago's working with young Hispanic voters of New Mexico. Can you help us send him more? […]

Or give us the donation, we'll send'm to a church designated by our co-sponsor Jesse Jackson's Operation Rainbow/PUSH. Thanks to your prior generosity, we're offering the printing plates FREE of any fee to us to any magazine or weekly that wants to insert comic. […]

Coming soon — Greg Palast and Bobby Kennedy in Steal Back Your Vote! — the Film — from the pueblos of New Mexico to Karl Rove's emails (really!), the real scoop. "Stories so relevant they threaten to alter history." — Chicago Tribune.

Supposedly one can donate as little as one cent and download the comic (I haven't wanted to give that group even that much, so I haven't).

Clearly, leftist propaganda organs are already working overtime on the upcoming theft of the 2008 election — by Republicans, of course, despite all the "troublemakers" they're distributing their helpful "Steal it Back" guide to (here's the cover). Because, always remember: vote fraud from the left is a myth.
10.21.2008 1:05pm
Joe - Dallas (mail):
The Bush Gore Florida 2000 count had some strong indications of fraud.
1) It is extremely difficult to get a dimpled chad with a single ballot. However it is relatively easy to get dimpled chads when trying to punch trough multiple ballots at one time. Note that there were way too many hanging chads and dimpled chads to be a fluke.
2) The precincts with the highest number of dimpled chads came from the precincts that were late delivering the the ballots to the County election headquarters, sometimes two hours after the polls close. It should take only 15 mintures to secure the ballots after thepolls close then 15-30 minutes to drive to the county election headquarters, and
3) The differential between the top of the ticket and the down ballot races typically generally remain fairly constant throughout the state. In several of the precincts, the differential between the senate race and the presidential race was outside the normal statistical range.
10.21.2008 1:15pm
JosephSlater (mail):
The polls indicate Obama is going to win, perhaps fairly handily, and the Dems will pick up a significant number of seats in both Houses of Congress. For those of you already deep into your excuse of vote fraud, let me ask you this: how big, exactly, would the Dem/Obama victory have to be before you would concede it's legitimate to you?

For example, geokstr, I highly doubt Ohio will be dispositive this time. Obama may win it, but he doesn't need it: Kerry states + NM, IA (alll rock solid now) and any one of CO, VA, NC, MO, NV, FL, IN or OH gets Obama what he needs, and at the moment, CO and VA look to be the most likely to put him over the top.
10.21.2008 4:53pm
none_ (mail):
in person vote fraud is rare simply because it's inefficient and generally useless to the actual goal of ensuring the win. someone up above posted a link about the jim wells' county election in 1948 that won the senate race for LBJ. great example (also, the similarity of the legal battle to 2000 is uncanny).

basically, if i offer someone $10 or $20 or whatever to fraudulently cast a vote, how many extra votes can i get that way? you cant expect one person to vote more than once or twice at a given precinct without arousing suspicion, so now you have to move him from precinct to precinct. this all takes time. and youre asking this guy, and anyone helping him, to risk a felony conviction (maybe several) for the small amount of money you can offer. and for all that, you dont even know how many votes you need to ensure the win, and you may not get anywhere near it.

look at LBJ again. the reason they stuffed the ballot boxes after the election wasnt becuase they couldnt accomplish in person voter fraud, its because they didn't know how many fake ballots they needed. same with Mr. Adler's example: it was laregly done through fake absentee ballots, not through paying people to vote more than once.

im not trying to defend vote fraud, and i dont really care for acorn's tactics of paying hourly for registrations -- it invites this kind of abuse. but fear of in-person vote fraud is generally a straw man for something else, becuase its not a major factor in actual thrown elections. not becuase people are honest, but becuase it doesnt work.
10.21.2008 5:04pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
' Simply have the poll watchers figure out who hasn't voted yet.'

Grin for the day.

You couldn't do that where I vote, unless you hung over a pollworker turning signin sheets, which might raise an eyebrow.
10.21.2008 5:26pm
geokstr:
JosephSlater:

"The polls indicate Obama is going to win, perhaps fairly handily, and the Dems will pick up a significant number of seats in both Houses of Congress. For those of you already deep into your excuse of vote fraud, let me ask you this: how big, exactly, would the Dem/Obama victory have to be before you would concede it's legitimate to you?"

While conservative, I hardly consider myself a republican. I think I'm fair enough to be against ALL vote fraud, by anybody, and would put all perpetrators in prison. The vote is the only thing most citizens have to make their voices heard.

However, that said, in this election cycle, ACORN is doing their damnedest to make it look like that they are trying to steal this election. Regardless of who is leading now, had it not been for an economic meltdown that the democrats, ACORN and Obama himself had a heavy hand in creating, there certainly was no assurance that Obama was going to win this at the time ACORN was submitting over a million registrations, now was there?

Palin/McCain were leading before the "crisis" hit, if you recall. If the republicans are as close as they are despite the economy, there is a very good case to be made that they would be looking at this race as the front-runner now without a market collapse.

But then, I suppose any Messiah worth his salt would be able to see the future, negating the force of my logic.

Personally, I'll be holding my nose voting for Palin/McCain out of sheer fear of what an Obama win will do to personal freedom in this country. Were he simply just a "moderately liberal" candidate, I would have no such worries.
10.21.2008 5:32pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Actually, McCain/Palin were only leading in the polls for a brief period while enjoying their post-convention bump. Obama has led the rest of the way. And Dems were always slated to pick up seats in both Houses of Congress.

But I'll take your answer to be that nothing would convince you a Dem victory is legitimate, because, in your view, ACORN caused the economic meltdown which caused the Dem victory. Good luck with that as a strategy going forward.
10.21.2008 6:11pm
JosephSlater (mail):
FWIW, from Talking Points Memo:

As if you needed any more evidence that the Republican effort to tout voter fraud is less about legitimate claims and more about a political agenda, consider this sequence of events:

Last week, as we noted at the time, the New Mexico GOP had publicly claimed that 28 people voted fraudulently in the Democratic primary, held in June, for a local race.

Then this morning, the RNC sent out a press release announcing a 3pm conference call with reporters "on the recent developments in New Mexico regarding ACORN."

But at 11am, ACORN -- the community organizing group that Republicans have been trying lately to turn into a voter fraud boogeyman -- held a conference call of its own, asserting that local election officials had confirmed that the 28 people in question, mostly low-income Latinos, were valid voters.

So here at TPMmuckraker, we wondered what the RNC's response to this would be. And on the 3pm call, we asked party spokesman Danny Diaz.

Diaz dodged the question. He talked about an incident with ACORN in Washington state, then referred us to an October 9th Wall Street Journal story, which did not address the allegation made last week by the state GOP about fraudulent voting in the Democratic primary. (Instead, it reported that the FBI had opened a preliminary investigation into thousands of fraudulent registration forms submitted in an area near an ACORN office.)

When we tried to follow up, Diaz cut us off and shifted the discussion toward a general attack on ACORN for submitting fraudulent registrations.

In other words, it looks like the RNC had scheduled a call to tout evidence of voter fraud -- not voter registration fraud, mind you, but actual voter fraud -- being perpetrated by ACORN in New Mexico. But when ACORN appeared to come up with compelling evidence that no such fraud had occurred, the RNC held the call anyway, simply shifting the focus to other vague allegations against ACORN -- then refused to address the New Mexico situation when asked.
10.21.2008 6:42pm
Daniel Medley (mail) (www):
Last week my wife, just after taking her oath of citizenship, registered to vote and was never asked for any form of ID. When inquiring as to why she was not asked for ID or verification of her eligibility to vote, she was told that the system is backed up by "trust".

My wife, the new citizen, pondered; if the requirement to vote in this country is to be a citizen and 18 years of age, why not simply require everyone who wishes to register and vote to present a US passport? I told her that people would cry voter suppression. Her reply was to ask the question, "Why have laws outlining the cornerstone of a Democracy if you are not willing to enforce them"?

The point is that, currently, the system lends itself to voter fraud and manipulation. The first step in minimizing and preventing voter fruad is to first make sure that only those eligible to register and vote are doing so.
10.21.2008 7:10pm
Aleks:
Re: Personally, I'll be holding my nose voting for Palin/McCain out of sheer fear of what an Obama win will do to personal freedom in this country.

Odd. I am voting for Obama in a large part because I dread what four more years of GOP rule will do to prersonal freedom in this country. It was not the Democrats who brought us torture, the Unitary Executive, the suspension of habeas corpus rights (yes, even for American citizens), that RealID monstrosity, expansive wiretapping, and the ridiculous requirement of passports to travel even to Canada.
Just what freedom are you afraid to lose under Obama?
10.21.2008 9:42pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Well, I certainly agree with Daniel's post --we do need some national identity system that can be used for voting and for security related purposes.

I also find Jonathan Adler's story about Philadelphia interesting. It just shows me that the easiest way to commit voter fraud is through the use of absentee ballots. So, if I were in charge, that would be where I tried to come up with a system to prevent and detect such fraud.

Some of the anecdotes above, about poll workers coercing or "nudging" people to vote a certain way (the "helpful" pollworker story) can be prevented by a properly conducting poll watching program.

I am not talking about the old tactics of harassing black/latino people on their way to vote (Rehnquist was accused of doing this years ago, in the 1964 election, when he was a Republican party operative in Arizona). I am talking about watching the process at the polls and reporting irregularities to a judge.

I do have one anecdote of possible vote fraud.

A very good friend of mine was accused of voting twice in the 2000 election and, briefly, charged with a misdemeanor for having done so. The entire evidence rested upon the similarity that the "investigator" claimed to notice in his real signature on the voter registration in the county where he lived with the voter registration signature that someone filled out in his name in the county where his mother lived (who ironically, was a volunteer poll worker, and, more ironically, of a different political party than my friend). He didn't do it, and we could prove, by his whereabouts, that it was highly unlikely he even left his house to travel to the other county where someone voted in his name. The DA decided to dismiss all of the charges, after my friend's lawyer shared the evidence about my friend's whereabouts.

Anyway, we suspected that a particular individual voted in my friend's name (for a variety of reasons), and that this individual, who was very good at mimicking other people's signature, forged his signature on the voter registration card in the other county and then forged it again when he voted in my friend's name. Because this suspected person was paranoid about the government, he doesn't register to vote in his own name (so he cannot be found by the guys in the black heliocopters). Knowing the suspected person's political leanings, we think he cast a vote for Bush.
It didn't matter because California went for Gore by over one million votes.
10.21.2008 10:11pm
Bleepless:
Re Chicago 1960: The Journal of American Studies published a close analysis. The machine's purpose that year was to elect the Cook County state's attorney, so that is where the fake votes went (by the way, it worked). There was some slopover for other Democratic candidates but, in the case of JFK, they were not enough to win Illinois.
10.21.2008 11:13pm
Brett Bellmore:
I suspect that the reason nothing every seems to happen about ballot security, (Except for the worse!) is that as a first order approximation, ballot fraud doesn't effect partisan balance, it 'merely' makes incumbents more secure in their seats.

After all, it's easier for Democrats to commit ballot fraud where Democrats already dominate the election process, and the same is true for Republicans in Republican leaning precincts.

For this reason I expect nothing to happen about ballot fraud, nothing at all. It's citizens who care about it, not elected officials, and there's darned little we peons can do about things our lords and masters agree they don't want anything done about. Witness illegal immigration, for example, or the fate of term limits in states without ballot initiatives.

It's not just candidates on the ballot, in many states there are also ballot initiatives. I'm reminded of the 2nd amendment ballot initiative in Missouri some years back; Backers claimed widespread ballot fraud, and that they could prove it. Gov. Carnahan responded by violating state law, by refusing to either certify OR decertify the election results. Since state law didn't permit election challenges to be brought until one of these two things had happened, the Gov. effectively prevented any evidence from being considered, and the initiative was blocked.

Folks, it's all about protecting incumbents from the voting public, whether beating back challengers, keeping down third parties, or stopping undesired attempts at direct democracy. It is NOT a Democrat vs Republican thing.
10.22.2008 7:59am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
How about a busload of folks in Nashville who have no ID and can't speak English?
There was a bilingual woman with them who said she'd go into the booth, translate the ballot and see that the vote was cast as the individual wished.

Hmm.
10.22.2008 11:53am
Ron Hardin (mail) (www):
The thing to remember is that fraud only works when the election is close enough to fudge.

In the case of a close election, democracy doesn't care which way it goes. There's roughly equal votes on each side. I mean, lots of people care, but democracy itself does not much care.

What democracy cares very much about, though, is that the vote be the final decision. It used to be that it was statesmanlike to recognize that, eg. Nixon losing to JFK. It's worse for the country to challenge the vote and win than to lose against a faulty count. That's what was so revealing about Gore in 2000, that he lacked that quality completely.

When you have fraud (which is always), it just means that you need 53% for the revolution rather than 50%, a cost democracy can bear.

What it can't bear is elections that don't decide anything.

Then somebody else does.
10.22.2008 11:56am
geokstr:
Aleks:

Just what freedom are you afraid to lose under Obama?

The one in the 1st Amendment about, you know, the one about speech?
10.22.2008 1:25pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
'Palin/McCain were leading before the "crisis" hit.'

Well, maybe, but only a fool could not see that the crisis was going to hit before October. It was obvious from March, certain from June (when Wachovia's P&L came out).

McCain was in the position, then, of the man who jumped off the Empire State Building. As he passes the 50th floor, somebody inside leans out and asks, 'How are ya doin'?'

'All right so far.'

From the time Bear Stearns suspended, McCain might as well have gone fishin'. He was done.
10.22.2008 2:57pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Harry. See Orson Scott Card's essay on the housing crisis and the media.

Anyway, it appears polling shows the military going 70%+- for McCain/Palin. It will be interesting to see how that vote is treated in the counting process.
10.22.2008 3:07pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):

How about a busload of folks in Nashville who have no ID and can't speak English?
There was a bilingual woman with them who said she'd go into the booth, translate the ballot and see that the vote was cast as the individual wished.

Hmm.


You do not need to speak English or have an ID to vote in most states, and there are many non-English speaking citizens. I think this may be more unusual in Nashville than in San Francisco (where the ballots are translated into 8 or 9 languages). I do not see that as evidence of fraud.

Having the person "translate" and cast the vote for them makes me more nervous, because I worry that the "translator" will be casting ballots as the translator wishes.

I will say that driving people to the polling place is very common and both sides do that in turn out the vote efforts. I for one do not mind that part of the "get out the vote" effort.
10.22.2008 4:19pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Christopher.
Do you have to demonstrate you're a citizen?
Thing is, according to the reports, the non-English speaking citizen must personally request a translator. Not have one volunteer.
Now, if you don't have to speak English, demonstrate citizenship, show residence, then the opportunity for fraud is pretty clear.
Which, of course, is the point.
10.22.2008 4:59pm
TruthInAdvertising:
"The precincts with the highest number of dimpled chads came from the precincts that were late delivering the the ballots to the County election headquarters, sometimes two hours after the polls close. It should take only 15 mintures to secure the ballots after the polls close then 15-30 minutes to drive to the county election headquarters"

Have you ever worked at an election precinct with heavy voter turnout? I'm guessing not. First, everyone in line when the polls close gets to vote which means that you can't even start voting until all of those people are finished. Depending on the voting system used, it can take a while to complete the process to secure the ballots and counters. Your claim that all precinct results should be back in 45 minutes isn't based in reality.
10.22.2008 6:51pm
TruthInAdvertising:
"See Orson Scott Card's essay on the housing crisis and the media."

Shouldn't someone have told him that the 2004 Republican Party platform specifically promoted increasing home ownership, especially for minority homeowners, before he wastes all of our time repeating the Limbaugh/Hannity/RNC talking point that Republicans had nothing to do with promoting mortgages for low income Americans?
10.22.2008 6:52pm
fishbane (mail):
Shouldn't someone have told him that the 2004 Republican Party platform specifically promoted increasing home ownership, especially for minority homeowners, before he wastes all of our time repeating the Limbaugh/Hannity/RNC talking point that Republicans had nothing to do with promoting mortgages for low income Americans?

...Or note that McCain's campaign manager took millions from Fannie/Freddie as a lobbiest on their behalf?

But we all know that the evil dems are responsible for the fiscal meltdown.
10.22.2008 8:13pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
truth and fish.
Problem is, Card's right.
The reps tried to stop the mess.
However, I'm not trying to convince you. You've convinced me. As have the journos.
10.22.2008 9:06pm
sf (mail):
Geez, I've never before seen such a cluster of--at best,rationalizers, and probably flatly dishonest propagandists. Specifically, I'm floored by the people who say, in effect: "Even if fraud happens, it ain't no big deal because it would *probably* happen in districts that have been so gerrymandered that they're totally safe for the incumbent in any case."

Good Lord, what rock did you folks crawl out from under? To rationalize a type of fraud that *totally* undermines one of the pillars of our free democracy is...hard to fathom from an honest person. Of course most of the folks advancing this line sound like partisan Dems so maybe that's the reason.

For those on the GOP side who feel it would be *extremely unlikely* that anyone could truly steal an election by vote fraud, consider this: When crimes like drug smuggling or illegal immigration are found out, does anyone believe that the authorities found *all* the instances? Of course not. One widespread rule of thumb is that we only catch roughly ten percent of the smugglers/illegals/criminals.

Given all the *proven* cases of vote fraud, doesn't it seem reasonable that many times more have gone undetected?

Now, I'll readily agree that it's way easier to swing an election by either "finding" or "losing" ballot boxes than by sending legions out to vote multiple times in person. But with enough willing bodies, either path would be helpful to those determined to steal.

Finally, consider the alleged articles by Bobby Kennedy and Greg Palast, "Steal it Back." Can there be much doubt that articles along this line would encourage Democrats to do anything necessary to win the election--including voting more than once? No, wait, I know: They're just kidding, right?
10.23.2008 1:35am
TruthInAdvertising:
sf, you seem to forget that unlike a criminal enterprise, a significant part of the voting process is outside the hands of those intending to commit fraud. There are numerous checks going on in the registration and voting process at multiple levels of government. You have to manage to evade all of them or have a grand conspiracy that involves all of them to pull off any kind of voter fraud (where votes are actually counted).
10.23.2008 12:19pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
truth.
And, as you have seen, it's been pulled off a number of times.
10.23.2008 1:02pm