Voting fraud – intentional efforts to illegally change the outcome of an election – has a curious history. Understanding voting fraud – and its changing history – is important. Leadership legitimacy depends on voter participation but also trust in elections. Voters must be eligible, counts accurate. America is at a crossroads. Trust either matters or does not. Hint: It does.
Ways to cheat an election are numerous. Early in our Republic, just as today, the craven side of human nature used intimidation, threats, ballot destruction, misinformation, last-minute libel (called a roar-back), every conceivable trick – when laws were not enforced – to twist outcomes.
Luckily, most Americans do not cheat and believe fair elections are the best way to pick leaders. For that reason, if no other, we need to keep an eye on election fraud. How does it happen? How is it organized? What are the trends, prevailing tricks, and ways to prevent it?
What 2020 taught was that issues, procedures, and provisions many thought peripheral are important. With America starkly divided, outcomes are important. COVID tested us.
Still, looking back on 60 years of elections, some trends predate 2020. They give pause. Big trends show potential voting irregularities are growing. Why?
First, Americans are more mobile, moving precinct to precinct, state to state. While digital records are kept, even the Postal Service cannot keep up. Assuring accuracy is hard. Millions of addresses are wrong. See, e.g., Exclusive: As States Prepared Mail-in Ballots, Postal Service Failed to Update at Least 1.8 Million Addresses.
Second, while abuses tied to racial prejudice have thankfully retreated, especially in the Democrat South, other trends have offset this good news. One is illegitimate ballots cast by “illegal aliens,” or “undocumented persons,” no right to vote, unable to speak English (a legal prerequisite for citizenship). See, e.g., 19 aliens charged with voter fraud in North Carolina following ICE investigation; The Real HR 1 Problem: Illegal Immigrants Voting?; Immigration Publications.
Third, voting irregularities are growing by the indulgence of practices that increase potential fraud. Thus, especially during COVID, we have seen the legalization of mass mailing of ballots with weak oversight, “ballot harvesting,” other gaps – as well as responsive efforts. See, e.g., Understanding the Risk of Ballot Harvesting Across the United States; USA Today.
Historically, in the days of “city bosses” – roughly, the 1930s – political leaders like Richard Daley in Chicago won by crooked, partisan ballot collection, patronage, and chicanery.
Fourth, oddly, President Biden, Senate, and House Democrat leaders are pushing bills that widen these gaps, not seal them. As States try to prevent fraud, Washington seems indifferent or eager to reduce oversight. This leads to logical questions.
With Democrats pushing so-called “voting rights acts” that federalize elections and widen gaps, force ballot harvesting, no voter identification, untimed vote counting, online voting, felon, and out-of-precinct voting, blocking state review of voter rolls, the question again is why?
The Democrat answer is greater “access.” But three counters: These are not voter suppression issues since casting your ballot, absentee ballots, family delivery are legal. Wide ID types are allowed. So, why promote the opposite?
The real answer lies elsewhere. In the days of city bosses, the Republican and Democratic parties twisted the system. Lately, organized voter fraud – when caught – has been chiefly Democrats. Consider examples.
Citizenship USA Fraud, 1996. As a congressional counsel, my committee managed investigations into the 1996 election fraud anomalies. What we found was startling. The Clinton Administration’s “Citizenship USA” program was “naturalizing” illegal aliens in days (many felons), then linking thousands to Democrat “vote harvesters” in key electoral states.
Presidential Election Fraud, 1960. At the genesis of modern voter fraud, the 1960 presidential election was suspect, as historians concede. In Illinois – vital for Kennedy’s victory – he had an 8,800-vote margin, Mayor Daley delivering inconceivable tens of thousands from Cook Country.
Later investigations showed whole cemeteries voting, houses with 50 residents, more anomalies than dignity, and respect for a deceased president permit anyone to talk about. Still true.
Then, look at recent races and ask yourself – what do facts suggest? Examples:
Midterms, California 2018. Ballot harvesting was made legal. While Republicans appeared to win, many races were not declared, and votes poured in for weeks. Republican Orange County got 250,000 late mail-ins, tipping all seats Democrat. Then-US House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “that’s really bizarre.” See, e.g., Ballot harvesting bounty: How Dems apparently used election law change to rout California Republicans.
Minnesota, 2008. Democrat Al Franken defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman by 312 votes, with “late discovered ballots.” A watchdog group confirmed more than enough convicted felons voted to flip the outcome too late. See, Al Franken May Have Won His Senate Seat Through Voter Fraud; Voter fraud never happens! (Except in these 10,000 cases); Hennepin Co. charges 47 cases of voter fraud; Franken Wins Minnesota Senate Case in Court; Coleman Concedes.
Washington, 2004. In the election for governor, the Republican won, then won a recount and was certified. The state’s Democratic Party gave a $730,000 check to the Secretary of State for another recount. Mystery votes surfaced, putting the Democrat up eight votes, then 130, race flipped. See, Washington’s 2004 race between Gregoire and Rossi: the closest governor’s race in US history; Judge: No revote in governor dispute; Judge Upholds Win For Wash. Governor.
Missouri, 2000. Senate race. Putting aside other irregularities, the Democrat governor kept polls open in Democrat-dominated St. Louis extra hours, untended voting boxes in 29 locations. Republican lost. Call for Missouri Vote Fraud Investigation.
Milwaukee, 2000. According to public reports, Democrat voters were collected from homeless shelters, given small gifts. See, Democrats give “Newports to the homeless to get them to the polls.”.
Nationally, while no one knows the full extent of voter fraud, and Republicans have been guilty in the past, facts suggest well-organized, gap-grabbing Democrat fraud. As with any crime, allegations and inferences, suggestions, and aberrations do not prove the crime or trend.
On the other hand, recent data confirm 1,332 cases, 1,145 criminal convictions, 48 civil penalties, dozens of judicial findings. Those who say voter fraud does not occur or should be minimized are simply off. See, The Heritage Foundation.
Notably, this compendium of cases does not keep others from pooh-poohing voter fraud or diverting attention with senseless claims of modern voter suppression. See Brennan Center for Justice; the Dallas Morning News.
Still, facts reveal a pattern: Organized efforts by one party to get illegal aliens to vote, permit loose oversight, create and exploit process gaps. What does that tell you? It tells me, voter fraud is pushed harder by unprincipled in one party than the other and is worth watching. America is at a crossroads. Trust either matters or does not. For the republic to survive, it does.
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