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Monday, March 29, 2010

Voter Fraud

When you mention ‘voter fraud’ the first name that comes to mind is Acorn. There are some who believe that Obama was only elected because of Acorn. If Acorn had the power to affect the popular vote by more than 8 million ballots, the margin of Obama’s victory, I can assure you we would never have had to endure eight years of George W. Bush.

Submitting fake voter registrations is the hardest way to commit election fraud. There is no doubt Acorn crossed the line, especially in paying people to conduct registration drives. They are not the first to do that, nor will they be the last. Everyone has done it and it inevitably leads to abuses. What people don’t know about voter registration rules is that every application, no matter how fraudulent it may appear, has to be submitted to election officials under penalty of a considerable fine. The submitting organization can flag suspicious forms which Acorn did most of the time. For further security, election officials verify social security numbers and that will eliminate almost all fake applications. The system is not 100% foolproof but wholesale fraud is impossible in this manner. For the record, Acorn has never been charged, never mind convicted of election fraud.

There are far easier ways to rig elections. One is through how the ballots are counted and the second is to prevent people from voting in the first place. In the early stages of American democracy only white male property owners has the right to vote. Women were only allowed to vote early in the 20th Century and in the South, blacks had to pass literacy tests or prove that they had paid taxes to vote. In at least 12 states convicted felons are still not allowed to vote even after completing their sentences. In some states, mostly conservative Southern states the only exception is by petitioning the Governor for a pardon, something that rarely if ever happens. The reality is that a high percentage of felons are minorities and this suits the Republicans.

There is also the system of caging. It’s too arcane to explain here but look it up to see how it’s frequently used. Here’s a hint – it’s almost always done by the right. Hans Von Spakovsky (with a name like that he should still be hiding out in the Brazilian jungle) is an expert on this. It would be almost redundant to mention that George Bush used a recess appointment appoint him to the FEC (Federal Election Committee)

The weakest link in our electoral system are the computerized voting systems in use in most states. All have proved to be hackable but if the people operating the systems are intent on rigging the vote, hacking is not even required and a recount on a system where the vote has been rigged would be futile. There have been allegations that a couple of these companies, often with strong ties to the Republicans Party have rigged the vote though nothing has ever been proved and it would be virtually impossible to do so without an inside whistleblower which brings me to the subject of this blog piece.

Last week 8 officials were convicted of voter fraud in Clay County in Eastern Kentucky. They included a judge, a former school superintendent, a magistrate and election officials. They apparently bought and sold votes as well as rigged the voting machines. What puzzles me is why waste money buying votes when you’re going to rig the machines anyway. They fixed local, state and national elections in three separate elections. Most are Republicans but one is a Democrat. They are all looking at lengthy jail sentences which means they will never be allowed near a polling booth again, even to vote.

Another mystery is the sudden outbreak of blind voters needing voting assistance in Clay County. During the trial it was revealed that 40 out of 78 ‘blind voters’ actually had current driver’s licenses. I wouldn’t venture onto the roads of Clay County if I were you.

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