2004 US Presidential Election
September 23, 2004
| Stealing Elections
I’ve been given a preview copy of John Fund’s new book, Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy. I’ve just begun reading it, but it’s already interested me with a few facts:
Then there’s this:
Even after Florida 2000, the media tend to downplay or ignore stories of election incompetence, manipulation or theft. Allowing such abuses to vanish into an informational black hole in effect legitimates them. The refusal to insist on simple procedural changes, such as requiring a photo ID at the polls, combined with secure technology and more vigorous prosecutions accelerates our drift toward banana-republic elections.
Maybe we (bloggers) can do for voter fraud protection what we’re doing for journalism? I can see it now: a no-advertising, no-revenue site … www.cleanvote2004.com. “Open source election monitoring,” anyone?
Update: I’ve registered www.cleanvote2004.com …
Posted by Alan at September 23, 2004 08:04 AM | TrackBack
.wondering..how did they register..dem,rep,ind…
Posted by: Rob_NC at September 23, 2004 09:16 AM
Alan, this is an excellent suggestion although I think this year the problem (at least with regard to the outcome) is probably going to be resolved by This Solution..
Posted by: ter0 at September 23, 2004 09:36 AM
The problem with elections in FL is mostly incompetent election officials — not criminal ones. In the past, election matters were always left to the sole jurisdiction of the Local (county) Election Board.
There’s nothing at all surprising about an increase in voter registration numbers in Philadelphia over the past ten years. In 1995, voter registration was pathetically low in most neighborhoods in the city, and there has been a decade-long quite intense move to register more voters in neighborhoods where previous registration numbers were in the high 20’s to mid 30’s. If you start from a low enough base number, and work to increase numbers by only 2.5%/year, you can get to a 25% increase easily enough.
Y’all are flinching from shadows.
Consider, if you would, that if Every person eligible to register actually Did register, the increase in percentage would be 100%! Now compare that to Philadelphia’s increase, and you begin to see the appropriate comparison.
I have friends who have been active in Philly with two of the focused voter registration drives. I’m not at all surprised that they’ve shown some success. Nor should anyone else be.
After all, larger voter registration numbers are generally considered to be A Good Thing. Why is it a bad thing in Philadelphia? If it were to happen in Your city, folks would be congratulating themselves on success, rather than darkly suggesting that there’s some sort of problem.
Posted by: Don at September 23, 2004 11:44 AM
I have long felt this to be an important issue. There are two parts: Are the registered voter rolls accurate (your Philly example; dead Chicago voters; people dual registered in NY and FLA)? Are those not registered allowed to vote (picture ID, motor voter, wholly corrupt precincts)?
I would suggest that anyone concerned about the election’s cleanliness get involved. Either work the polls helping voters or show up as a challenger. In Michigan, to challenge, you just show up with a picture idea in your home community; you can look at anything, you may touch nothing. Challenging is not as easy as voting, but still much easier than buying beer or cigarettes.
You can check that your precinct is clean this election; you can also see what corruptable procedures are in place and work to get them fixed for next time.
Posted by: Tomorrowist at September 23, 2004 11:46 AM
Are the registered voter rolls accurate?
A local issue, clearly. It costs money to make voter lists accurate, and county expenditures (which is where the financial burden inevitably comes down) tend ceteris paribus to be constrained.
There are ways to ensure accuracy, but the problem resides with the staff time necessary to update and maintain lists. How is a county election clerk supposed to be informed when someone moves away without telling the elections office, or if someone dies and no one bothers to cancel the registrations? That, and not Criminal Intent, is the major cause of inflated voter rolls — the mechanical problems involved in processing information. Hereabouts, the elections offices actually have personnel hired (and paid by Taxpayer Money, no less) to chase down such information from things like obituary columns in newspapers. (Now there’s a job for someone — and it’s about a half time job at that, across an entire county. And mine is not a Large county as such things go. In larger metropoli, a good many death notices never get into the obits at all!)
We have a powerful motivator to keep the lists accurate. In order to pass a bond measure, a super majority is required, calculated on a base of a percentage of Registered Voters. If the registered voter base is inaccurately large, then the supermajority required is commensurately larger than it would otherwise have to be. So in addition to the normal steps required to find out when someone dies, the counties undertake the extra added expense every now and then of purging the voter files by sending a snail mail out and seeing how many of them come back as undeliverable.
The process of registration is fraught with mere human error as well. The voter registration card requires the new address, and asks for the old address. But oftimes the voter does not provide the old address information, so the registration becomes current in the New county, but remains on the roles in the Old county. That’s actually the major reason why registration roles tend to become larger than they otherwise should be — the voter simply doesn’t bother to cancel the old registration in the process.
This is mildly, though mostly slightly, complicated by the fact that there are some counties who dutifully register the newly arrived voter, but who do Not tell the previous county of residence that the voter has left. That happens less often, since the process has been much improved in the past decade.
But those that are undeliverable are not entirely removed from the voter registration files — they are simply placed into an “inactive” file. We use mail-in ballots, and folks on the inactive file don’t get a ballot mailed to them. Each year, a certain percentage notice that they don’t get a ballot, and check back in to update their registration properly so they can vote.
Over the years, most jurisdictions (meaning, once again, counties in most states) responsible for the conduct of elections have found themselves strapped for operating funds. Elections Offices are eligible for budget cuts, right along with everyone else’s budget. Since they were never over-staffed in the first place, when the new round of cuts comes along, the marginal but still important functions are on the chopping block with everything else.
Assuming that the end result of this sort of problem is entirely due to criminal intent is silly.
It costs money to monitor and maintain registration rolls. If you’re not willing to insist that it be done, then complaining that it’s Not done is whistling in the dark.
First fix the obvious operational problems. Once you’ve done that properly, then and Only then is the question of criminal mischief open for discussion. Otherwise, you’ll never really know what’s going on with any reasonable certainty.
Posted by: Don at September 23, 2004 12:02 PM
Don, I agree with the “flinching at shadows” comment in principle. That was my first reaction when I saw that same info over on another site.
At the same time, this being Philadelphia, I can’t help but be suspicious when I hear something like that. This city is so dirty in so many ways that I have to wonder.
As to voter participation, I’m not too worried. I would love to see lots of data on all the countries involved. I can tell you that voter participation is, in general, highest in new democracies and states that are only electoral democracies (places like Uzbekistan, for example). 163 sounds like, perhaps, too high/optimistic a number of democracies.
Posted by: Nathan Hamm at September 23, 2004 01:34 PM
I’ll just throw out these two points as well:
—When voter rolls between New York and Florida were cross-referenced, 46,000 voters were found to be registered in both states. Of those, 68% were Democrats, 12% were Republicans and 16% were undeclared. (http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/224449p-192807c.html)
—8 of the 19 hijackers from 9/11 were registered to vote.
Posted by: gus3 at September 23, 2004 01:39 PM
I believe there is a debate today over the issue of whether or not an individual needs to be registered in order to vote. Now, I know how well some folks would like to see even 14 year olds voting, especially given that they tend to think with their reproductive organs instead of their brains (a decidely huge factor on the part of the liberal-minded in our society), but it seems to me we ought to be expecting some modicum of majority-aged participation of some kind before just allowing anyone to vote. Citizenship anyone?
Posted by: Cap'n DOC at September 23, 2004 01:57 PM
I already posted this somewhere else, but:
Motor Voter is one of the main reasons so many politicians and activists want to get driver’s licenses into the hands of illegal aliens. When you get your driver’s license you can register to vote at the same time. Anyone who believes the “public safety” line which proponents use to sell driver’s licenses for illegal aliens is kidding themselves.
NY state is currently trying to revoke driver’s licenses of illegal aliens. The usual suspects - including the NYT - are doing their best to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Lest you think this is just a Democratic thing, recall that Jeb Bush supported DLs for IAs and the Bush administration is trying to make sure that Mexican illegal aliens can use Mexican IDs to open bank accounts. The FBI and the DOJ call those Mexican IDs a security threat, but I guess some things are more important than homeland security.
Posted by: Lonewacko at September 23, 2004 04:01 PM
NH: Wondering is fine. Lots to be said for wondering. Accusing without Actual Evidence is not fine. Cities with “machines” of any sort tend not to want to increase voter rolls, for example.
As for statistics on Voter Participation, that will give you merely a number. What is behind that number is anyone’s guess. As folks used to point out, VP in totalitarian states regularly approached 100%.
G3: Now that you have your set of statistics, do you have any Actual Evidence that they derive from specific attempts at Fraud? No? Nor will you.
CptD: Lots of room for mischief in your proposal. It’s not at all unlike past Literacy Tests or Poll Taxes, for example. If you’re looking for ways to allow unnecessary fooling with voter rolls, your suggestion is faster than most. If we need to err, we should do it on the side of rather more participation than less.
LW: Money is more important than anything in our society. Always has been.
Posted by: Don at September 23, 2004 04:18 PM
” If we need to err, we should do it on the side of rather more participation than less.”
And that is where you left the building, Don, not merely the booth.
The most minute of criteria is better than none. Of course, anyone with a liberal bent as big as yours is would prefer more as opposed to less, since those who actually do own property, pay taxes and generally abide by the law of the land are the ones who support some of YOUR more outlandish schemes for control of the masses. A duly recognized citizen signs the voter rolls, is called for jury duty when necessary, and contributes, whereby all the IAs do is vote for the socialist agenda and suck the coffers dry.
I say, show proof of a (semi)permanent address, and you get to pick your poison. Otherwise, they can move to France and become permanent suckers.
The italicized portion Posted by: Don at September 23, 2004 04:18 PM
BTW - You ain’t still bitter of your floundering Chad, are ya???
Posted by: Cap'n DOC at September 23, 2004 05:13 PM
hell, I thought my disgusting former employer’s acceptance of the Mexican “Matricula Consular” I.D. to open bank accounts was on the verge of treason. I mean, the Matricula Consular is such a sorry excuse for identification. A third grader could probably create an official-looking forged copy with a crappy 360dpi bubble-jet printer.
Sick stuff. Some of the staff at this Bank was so negligent, they’d open open a Business checking account without the signers on the account even being present. No compliance to the Bank Secrecy Act or the Patriot Act (which, by the way, really only forced banks to do what they should be doing automatically: checking friggin ids.)
I’m not naming names, but because of its size and penchant for swallowing other Banks, I called this place the Evil Empire.
Posted by: jackhammer at September 23, 2004 06:09 PM
Don: Those are your words, not mine.
But be careful making negative assertions. You say I can never do something. It will take until my death to prove you correct, but you might be proven incorrect tomorrow, or within the next hour.
Posted by: gus3 at September 23, 2004 06:28 PM
Or within the next ten minutes. Take a gander, Don:
Edwin Peterson, 66, a registered Democrat in Palm Coast, Fla., and St. Albans, Queens, attributed his dual vote in the 2000 election to his distrust of the party running the Sunshine State.
In other words, “they’re doing it too! waaaaaah!”
It’s straight from the article at the URL I posted.
Posted by: gus3 at September 23, 2004 06:33 PM
We nailed a few frauds here in our county. Took some research, but here’s what we did: we took the voter lists, and then compared them to tax records and phone books, as well as other public records. When you have someone who is on the voter lists and is in no other record, a red flag goes up.
Posted by: JRM at September 23, 2004 06:53 PM
Its now official. Don has come out in support of the Dixie Chicks to run the Department of Defense…..as the Chicks were sworn in, he continued to call Don Rumsfeld a stupid man. I report you decide….
I’m from Wisconsin and didn’t boo at the rally, so I have a right to say this as a joke. After President Bush delivered his great speech at the convention, Clinton ALMOST had a coronary.
Posted by: dickmr at September 24, 2004 12:01 AM
Som voter fraud recently came to light in Summit county OH. Several hundred suspicious registration cards appeared one day. All of them, apparently, had the same address, but the street name was misspelled in a variety of ways.
There’s talk of an investigation but I doubt we’ll hear much about it until after the election, if at all. Thus far no report has applied any party label to the obvious attempt at fraud.
It happens and I think it does because we’ve become lax about our voting process. People should be able to identify themselves and they should have to meet some basic thresholds before being granted the privledge.
I recently registered to vote as part of renewing my driver’s license. it was easy but it was also a bit troubling. Something this easy has to be easily co opted, at least that was my thought at the time.
will “cheating” occur. I dunno but I imagine the democrats will fight tooth and nail, especially if its close.
The thing to do is crush the Democrat party. A rout of the left will be like a tonic to America.
Posted by: skip at September 24, 2004 11:09 AM
CptD: Of course the most minute criterion is better than none. But that really isn’t the case at all, is it? We have criteria. Mostly they are followed. To the degree they are not, the reason is far more likely to derive from budget constraints than it is from deliberate attempts at voter fraud.
G3: If you wish to assert that there are individuals who play fast and loose with their voting, I’d be first to agree. I saw it in 1976, when a bunch of college kids voted absentee at home and in their college precinct. They voted overwhelmingly Republican — in both places. Still, the problem seemed to derive not from a concerted effort on the part of the GOP, but rather because a group of Frat Rats decided to do it informally.
DM: Whatever it is you’re inventing here, your imagination clearly is running overtime. The reason why you’d allow it to do so is not entirely clear, other than just to rant about something. Got anything at all substantive to offer?
Skip: That sword cuts both ways. Before you start accusing anyone of Voter Fraud, best to have something other than an anecdote in hand. But so long as we’re on the question, is it worse to have a handful more registrations than you should, or to systematically disallow several thousand from voting because of a supposed clerical error? Review the FL case for starters.
Posted by: Don at September 24, 2004 12:35 PM
Don, you have no idea what you’re talking about. I personally accused no one of voter fraud, I simply shared the reports I’d heard.
And certainly my concern is shared by the officials who raised the issue to begin with.
So now you’re reduced to idiotic moral equivalency arguments? How sensible is this?
Posted by: skip at September 24, 2004 03:08 PM
Hey Don, I picked this up at Powerline it’s a quote from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a liberal rag if ever there was one.
You wanted more than one anecdote right?
Well here ya go bucko and just take a look at exactly who is being investigated, hhhhhhmmmmmm
“More than 1,000 voter registration forms and absentee ballot requests may be fraudulent in Lake and Summit counties, where investigations of irregularities are broadening.
Elections officials have said hundreds of absentee ballot applications and dozens of voter registration cards are in question. Lake County Prosecutor Charles Coulson, also involved in the probe, said the problems are more significant than originally thought.
“We’ve seen voter fraud before, but never on this level,” Coulson said Thursday. “I grew up in Chicago and this looks like the politics of Mayor Daley in the ’50s and ’60s.”
Lake election and law enforcement officials said their investigation is centered on absentee registration attempts by the nonpartisan NAACP’s National Voter Fund and an anti-Bush, nonprofit group called Americans Coming Together, or ACT Ohio.”
so do Prattle on Don, do prattle on.
Posted by: skip at September 24, 2004 03:20 PM
One man (or woman) of voting age should equate to one vote - if they meet the other criteria, such as NOT being a felon. I would consider a PICTURE ID to be the most minute of criteria, Don, and I don’t want to hear any freakin’ excuses about those who don’t have them.
(Rolling my eyes…)
Posted by: Cap'n DOC at September 24, 2004 05:04 PM