Voter fraud? Really?

After just spending over 60 hours going door to door, following the walking lists provided by the Montgomery County Board of Elections I feel qualified to share a little secret: the only fraud committed in voting is the actual list of registered voters.

While the BOE lists hold over 100,000+ names in Dayton of “registered voters” while the census says that we only have 108,000 people over 18 (93%), the even more fascinating statistic is that maybe 1 out of 3 homes has a voter registered. There are a lot of people who aren’t registered, don’t want to be registered and have no interest in voting. I know- I tried to register people. They gave up long ago.

Yet, according to our idiot House Speaker Pro Tem Lou Blessing we’ve got a huge problem with “people voting more than once”- so big in fact, that we now need to require our citizens to present a photo ID- as if our voter registration process isn’t already difficult enough- and our voter rolls way out of whack:

Legislation to require photo identification for voters who cast their ballots on election day or cast absentee ballots in person is expected to come up for a House committee vote on Tuesday.

Under current voter ID requirements, there have been instances of people voting more than once, said Rep. Lou Blessing, R-Cincinnati, joint sponsor of House Bill 159. Blessing also is House speaker pro tem, the House’s number two leadership post.

“Anybody and everybody will be able to get an ID that doesn’t have one at no cost,” Blessing said.

Ellis Jacobs, senior attorney for the nonprofit Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Dayton, said, however, that the bill would make it harder for people to vote.“It creates an obstacle course for the 11 percent of the public that doesn’t have an ID,” said Jacobs.

via Legislation would require photo ID to vote | Ohio politics.

Does anyone in the House have the brains to ask for proof of this alleged voting fraud? And, if there is double voting going on- could it possibly be because we’ve got a system of 88 different Boards of Elections- all filled with political party patronage positions? Utilizing five different data vendors? Three different “approved” voting systems? Hmmmm….. A little room for some of that great consolidation the governor keeps talking about? Like one database for all voters- with a simple registration process- and a vote by mail system so that the ballots are all maintained by one authority? It works in Oregon.

But, the real problem isn’t being addressed at all: the reason people have lost faith in voting in the first place. Starting with the choices we’re provided. In a country where you can literally buy 300 different brands of cereal- we’ve put a system in place that only allows us to choose between the lesser evil usually presented to us as Clown number 1 and Clown number 2. Not only are we restricted in choice, but, given the system- the introduction of Clown number 3 makes you wonder if you are “throwing your vote away” by voting the way you really feel. Instant run-off balloting would solve much of this feeling of voter alienation- where at least they could vote the way they really feel- instead of playing odds.

And last but not least- while you have to pass a test to drive, and to cut hair, and to get a GED – the only people taking a citizenship test in this country are the people who really want to be here- immigrants. The average voter can barely explain how our system of representational “democracy” works- never mind the people who actually run for office.

If you need proof of how stupid you can be and get elected in the City of Dayton- I have a document a reader sent to me- written by a former member of the Dayton Public School Board, a former teacher in our schools- written to the Board of Elections to explain why she didn’t have proper records of donations:

Nellie Maclin Terrel letter to BOE

The text:

Dear Board of Election
To whom it may concern. Nellie Maclin Terrell make a reasable attemp to location date of check from contributors.
Nellie Maclin Terrell
12-9-97

She was handed the BOE stationery and told what to write. She was a Democrat- and note, Tom Ritchie Sr and Greg Gantt were both on the board back then.

Frankly, allowing people who can’t write a simple note to be on the ballot, never mind elected is the real crime in this country. Let’s give the voters who still go to the polls- a reasonable benefit of a doubt that they aren’t the ones responsible for the hapless mess we have.

Photo IDs aren’t the answer- IQ tests for politicians are.

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24 Responses

  1. djw March 21, 2011 / 11:08 pm
    Great post, David. The voter-ID requirements are disgusting, and if the SC had any sense would be a straightforward violation of the 24th amendment, unless the state governments decide to make Ids free for all. Voter-ID requirements are a fee to vote.

    And it’s all in the service of preventing a “problem” with virtually no real evidence that it actually exists, while voting by mail (where fraud is much easier) continues to grow. It’s a straightforward, cynical way to make it harder for a segment of the poor to vote–that’s it!

    Lorraine Minnite has recently written a fantastic, well-researched book on the subject:
    http://www.amazon.com/Myth-Voter-Fraud-Lorraine-Minnite/dp/0801448484#_

  2. Pat Offenberger March 22, 2011 / 7:23 am
    I haven’t seen the language of this bill, but if it’s crafted like the bill Indiana tried to pass a year or so ago, that one had a provision to issue state ID’s free to those who could not afford the usual fee for one.

    I’d find it hard to believe there are people who don’t have some form of picture ID in this day and age, one is required to cash checks anymore.

  3. djw March 22, 2011 / 9:41 am
    David, I think voting by mail is fine as well. I also think that anyone who actually thinks that “voter fraud” of the individual sort–people showing up claiming to be X and voting on their behalf–is a serious problem that need addressing, but *also* thinks vote by mail is fine–is either cynically using the “voter fraud fraud” to disenfanchise a portion of the poor and elderly, or is an idiot. My point was they’re both technically vulnerable to fraud, but there’s no evidence for either. It’s quite telling that Republican politicians are only concerned about one side of the coin.

    Pretending to be someone else for the purposes of voting (whether by showing up at the polls or intercepting their mail) has been aggressively, heavily investigated at the highest levels, with virtually no cases found. It’s a high risk crime with a vanishingly small payoff. The Supreme Court basically acknowledged this in Marion vs. Crawford county when they upheld the laws.

  4. JR March 22, 2011 / 2:24 pm
    I wonder where the board of elections document came from. The staff there should share more documents about that office like salaries, how much they have spent on luxury conferences and how they justify having two directors allegedly making the same 100k+ salary in an office of 30. I guess the high salaries are not going to providing candidates with useful or accurate voting lists!

    Do you know what the salaries are for the director and deputy director at the board of elections David? It’s all public information available through the auditors office just fyi. You should post it if you get a copy.
     
     

  5. Gary March 23, 2011 / 8:59 am
    I knew it, and subtly predicted David would post Nellie’s letter, with several grammatical errors, albeit her penmanship is good … (Another prediction, some woman is going to say: penwomanship, or penpersonship someday.)
    I wonder what Nellie is doing now for a living … hopefully she uses Word now!

    I’m available for hire if anyone is looking for an excellent writer or administrator … I have my BA from Antioch U. where they stressed proper writing skills!  But I’m not perfect!

    David, could you address how to answer the job interviewer’s question: What is your weakness?  Thanks!

  6. Gary March 23, 2011 / 8:35 pm
    Next thing you know we’ll have to put our fingerprint on ballots like they do in Afghanistan!
  7. Gary March 24, 2011 / 8:06 pm
    CAN SOMEONE SAY IRONIC! 

    Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell announced details of the second annual City of Dayton Employee Appreciation Week which he has expanded to include all municipalities in the region. From Sunday, March 27 to Saturday, April 2, 2011 municipal employees will receive special discounts at a variety of local businesses when they show their ID badges.Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell announced details of the second annual City of Dayton Employee Appreciation Week which he has expanded to include all municipalities in the region. From Sunday, March 27 to Saturday, April 2, 2011 municipal employees will receive special discounts at a variety of local businesses when they show their ID badges.

  8. djw March 25, 2011 / 10:40 am
    Gary,
    I have no idea how that would be “ironic”. Most people have to show photo IDs all the time–when driving a car, buying beer, entering places of employment, flying, etc etc. That has nothing to do with ID requirements for voting, because voting is a fundamental constitutional right and all those other things are not. This has nothing to do with the everyday use of photo IDs of various sorts in many areas of life.
  9. Gary March 25, 2011 / 12:26 pm
    I’ll bet Dean Lovelace and all his cronies won’t show their IDs when they vote him in for Commissioner again–bet ya!
  10. Pat Offenberger March 26, 2011 / 12:05 am
    To DJW, questioning the constitutional rights issue kind of falls flat when you consider those of us who practice our 2nd amendment privileges have to present our photo ID to purchase, and transfer into our possession any firearm. And that’s in addition to undergoing an instant background check through the NCIS system. And Buckeyes face some of the lower restrictions placed on gun owners across the US.
    I fail to see the gloom and doom of such a law. It, as explained by Rep. Blessing, would provide photo ID’s, I would guess Ohio ID cards, free of charge to anyone unable to pay for such forms of ID.
    And I fully believe there is such a thing as voter fraud in Ohio. Or am I the only one here who saw reports of homeless persons from other areas being bussed into Columbus prior to the 2008 primary by ACORN workers, in order to get them registered to vote for Obama. Oh, never mind, clearly that coverage was trumped up by those nasty conservatives to diminish the true community activist efforts of ACORN, You know, like their efforts to try and get loans and grants to fund prostitution.
    If not for absentee ballots, I would be unable to vote. I’m a truck driver, and my boss would be pretty upset if I said I couldn’t go out until Tuesday because I needed to visit the polls to vote.
  11. djw March 26, 2011 / 12:43 pm
    To DJW, questioning the constitutional rights issue kind of falls flat when you consider those of us who practice our 2nd amendment privileges have to present our photo ID to purchase, and transfer into our possession any firearm. And that’s in addition to undergoing an instant background check through the NCIS system. And Buckeyes face some of the lower restrictions placed on gun owners across the US.

    For better or for worse, a robust second amendment individual right to gun ownership has only been constitutional law since the McDonald vs. Chicago case last year. And the Supreme Court, and various district courts, have long held that a variety of the kind of restrictions you discuss are consistent with the 2nd amendment. One can reasonably debate whether this is the best way to interpret the second amendment, but it’s certainly a plausible one–non-prohibitive restrictions are perfectly consistent with a plain-text reading of the words of the second amendment, which the court affirmed once again last year when they finally (correctly, in my view, by the way) got around to incorporating the second amendment.

    On the other hand, the poll tax is explicitly prohibited by the 24th amendment. This couldn’t be more direct. It’s obviously consistent with the original intent of the 24th amendment, which was explicitly targeting the practice of charging money to vote to prevent localities from using the poverty of some voters to make it harder for them to vote. In other words, this law is doing precisely and exactly what the 24th amendment was explicitly designed to prevent.

    I fail to see the gloom and doom of such a law. It, as explained by Rep. Blessing, would provide photo ID’s, I would guess Ohio ID cards, free of charge to anyone unable to pay for such forms of ID.
    This bill is intentionally targeting “marginal” voters–people who are generally very old, very poor, or both. These groups are not likely to find this information out in a timely fashion. Moreover, this doesn’t address the constitutional issue–it makes the ID card cost a means-tested tax, but a means-tested tax is still a tax by any definition. If I don’t drive/drink/fly/etc, it should be my choice as a free citizen whether to spend my money on an ID or not, even if the state doesn’t deem me poor enough to qualify for a free one. 

    But the point here is very clear. Republicans have done something remarkably cynical here. First, they ginned up, exaggerated, and outright “lied” about a so-called “voter fraud” problem when, despite years of expensive, taxpayer funded investigations, no evidence of a problem could be found. They even went so far as to fire–illegally!–US district attorneys who wouldn’t continue to play along with these investigations. Then, they used this alleged fraud problem as justifications to pass laws that everyone who studies voting patterns know will reduce the voting rate of a small but overwhelmingly Democratic portion of the voters.

    I don’t know what you mean by “doom and gloom”–the impact this will have on elections is fairly minor, since the target population is so small. But when one party lies about a problem in order to but an unnecessary, unconstitutional, rights-restricting law that accomplishes no goal except giving them a slight advantage in elections, anyone who has any concern at all for democratic values should be appalled–regardless of their views on the proper way to interpret and implement the 2nd amendment.

    If you’re skeptical that I’ve accurately described what’s going on with these laws, I really do encourage you to read Lorraine’s book I linked to above. It’s full of evidence and quite persuasive.

  12. djw March 26, 2011 / 12:58 pm
    Or am I the only one here who saw reports of homeless persons from other areas being bussed into Columbus prior to the 2008 primary by ACORN workers, in order to get them registered to vote for Obama.

    Yes, we all here lots of scary “reports” about voter fraud. If there was much of anything to them, perhaps the justice department’s years long, extremely expensive investigations would have turned up that evidence. For some reason, it didn’t.

    Also, the only evidence they came up with against ACORN was people who were paid to register voters submitting fraudulent voter registration cards. Now, that’s bad, and should have been stopped, but it’s not evidence of any sort actual attempt to cheat in the election–these people were just trying to scam more money out of ACORN. The organization had a long history of firing people who tried to do this, and there’s no evidence any of these fake registrants tried to vote. 

    If not for absentee ballots, I would be unable to vote. I’m a truck driver, and my boss would be pretty upset if I said I couldn’t go out until Tuesday because I needed to visit the polls to vote.

    This is exactly why I support a voting system that makes broad, convenient access to voting available, and oppose laws that make voting more difficult for some people because of their job, age, wealth level, location, mobility-status, and so on. Absentee voting is a good way to expand access to the polls. Therefore, I support it.

    But if you’re as concerned about preventing any act of ‘voter fraud’ as you purport to be, absentee ballots present many opportunities for it to potentially happen. Most people’s mail is unsecure, often gets sent to the wrong address, and so on. 

    In Washington a few years ago, an elderly man sent in his recently deceased wife’s absentee ballot. She was a veteran of the civil rights movement, and had always dreamed of being able to vote for an African-American for president. He did it to honor her. He confessed, was charged, and was let off with a relatively light punishment, if I recall correctly. (I guess they figured he was unlikely to re-offend)

    Allowing absentee ballot voting makes it more likely that instances of voter fraud such as this will take place. If these people had to come in (and show ID!) it never would have happened. But I don’t support removing absentee voter rights, because someone somewhere might abuse it. It’s much more important to me that voting is broad right that’s easy to exercise. It’s perhaps telling that you agree with my logic when it comes to making it easier for people in your position to vote, but are perfectly happy to abandon that logic when it comes to the voting rights of other people, who face other obstacles.

  13. Gary March 26, 2011 / 10:22 pm
    David- When do we get to vote for you for City Commissioner?  I could do the research myself but you, I’m sure could answer us easier and faster … What is the latest on your race for Dean’s or Matt’s place?  Are you out of the race b/c you didn’t have enough valid signatures?  What’s the latest on your lawsuit with the BOE?
    PS. I have my new ID ready, too!
    Will Dean and Matt have to show their IDs, too, when they vote for themselves?  Will the other Commissioners?  The Mayor and so on … all the municipal workers?  City Manager and Miss Lavendar?
    The irony is: Why do municipal staffers have to show their IDs touring city businesses for lunch or whatever? 
    City of Dayton Employee Appreciation Week
  14. Pat Offenberger March 26, 2011 / 11:23 pm
    @DJW, the listed uses for a state issued ID are hardly the only reasons one would use them for. How would one bank without a picture ID? It would seem to me to apply for Social Security one would have to have a picture ID, as well as their SSN. I can’t say for sure, but I’d also wager a picture ID is required to apply for public assistance.
    My understanding of the reason for a voter ID requirement would be to prevent those in this country illegally from casting a ballot. Too many states allow regular drivers licenses to be issued to people in that immigration status, in effect nullifying a proof of citizenship were they to be challenged, as I’d be very surprised if the Board Of Elections actually run a SSN check to verify if the number is actually issued to the named person on the form of ID used to register. And we all get asked if we wish to register to vote when getting our licenses, so I’d doubt they’re running a check on the numbers either. You might not have to have your social security number on your license, but they have it on file, or at least they do for truckers. They use a social security number to insure you don’t have a drivers license in another state, which was at one time quite normal for a trucker. It helped to spread around traffic tickets, so your license (s) should NEVER be in danger of getting revoked. That was common back when I started trucking, in the day when employers wouldn’t hire you if you didn’t have at least one speeding ticket on your record. There wasn’t much danger of that for an Ohio trucker, I saw tickets issued for 1 mile over the limit many times. A few of my own.
    As for the possibility of voter fraud via absentee ballots, how can that be? If the Board of Elections have the handwriting experts David says they do, clearly they would be able to distinguish a forged signature from the real one on file on their registration record.
  15. Pat Offenberger March 26, 2011 / 11:50 pm
    My faith in the Justice Department’s ability to pour piss out of a boot, with directions on the heel, and a spigot on the toe is nil. They also couldn’t find a way to sentence a “New Black Panther” for voter intimidation, when the case was actually going to sentencing, the defendant had been found guilty. The charges were dismissed with the conditions the defendant couldn’t be involved in voter intimidation until Election Day 2012. This reportedly at the order of Mr. Holder.
     
    They’re also nearing being implicated, along with Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the BATFE for their coordinated sting operation “fast and furious.” A totally idiotic operation where the ATF asked firearms dealers to transfer firearms to known and suspected gun smugglers to allow them to trace the path of these firearms into Mexico. They felt they’d be able to link one of these guns to a higher-up in one of the drug cartels and bring them down.
     
    They did track the trail of one firearm they allowed to cross the border, it was one of the guns used to carjack the 2 border patrol agents a month or so ago, it was the weapon used to murder one of the agents. Surprise, the shooter wasn’t a leader of a cartel, merely a soldier for one of them.
     
    So, pardon me if a Justice Department  controlled by Eric Holder, was unable to find evidence of any wrongdoing by ACORN in their actions in 2008. Obama had worked for the organization, and they clearly had an agenda of recruiting voters for Obama. And I refuse to believe the claim those who were registered by ACORN workers were scamming money from the organization. The video I saw of alleged voter fraud didn’t come from an untrusted source, it was from college students actually doing what we expect of supposedly legitimate journalists. You know, getting out and hitting the bricks in search of a scoop.
     
    My respect of journalists fell deeply by their actions in 2008. They devoted more resources to Sarah Palin, who entered the race in what, July 2008, in a near airborne assault of Wasillia, Alaska than they did the entire time Obama was running, and that campaign more or less started in January 2007, right after he was sworn in as the Senator from Illinois.
  16. Pat Offenberger March 27, 2011 / 1:26 am
    My bad, I’ve never had contact with social security (and it seems the way it’s going, I likely won’t have to bother). It will either be insolvent by the time I get there, or they’ll keep pushing that carrot further out in front of me to tease me that I may actually draw a penny from it.
     
    I just find it incomprehensible that legal citizens in this country actually would have no need, for any purpose, of having a government issued picture ID of some kind. You can’t even buy some over-the-counter medications without a picture ID of some kind.
  17. David Esrati March 27, 2011 / 5:49 am

    @gary- voters work slowly (they are paid by the hour). We’ll see about getting the charter changed- don’t know about getting back on the ballot.
    According to the new law- all voters will have to show a photo ID.
    AS to the “Appreciation week”- when is the city going to start doing “taxpayer appreciation week” and actually get out and clean and repair our roads?

  18. Ice Bandit March 27, 2011 / 7:04 am
     
    Pat Offenberger…..great writing……
  19. Manhole March 27, 2011 / 11:14 am
    Voter Fraud, give me a friggin break.There is more fraud from the employee’s at the Board of Elections than at the precients. There was no fraud when you didn’t show your ID at the polls. The real crime is the criminals counting the votes.
  20. djw March 27, 2011 / 12:28 pm
    I just find it incomprehensible that legal citizens in this country actually would have no need, for any purpose, of having a government issued picture ID of some kind.

    I find it surprising, too, but the rates of legal voters without IDs range from 3-8%, depending on the state. The underclass live very different lives than you and I.

    My understanding of the reason for a voter ID requirement would be to prevent those in this country illegally from casting a ballot

    That’s one of the many justifications that gets tossed around. Missing, of course, is any evidence that this is actually happening.

    Of course, it goes against everything we know about illegal immigrant behavior. Generally speaking, they are (rationally) very careful to do everything they can to stay off the official radar, and voting violates this general trend, for vanishingly small benefit. 

    The justice department I was talking about was the one run under George W. Bush, which devoted an inordinate amount of it’s time and resources investigating a fake problem for political purposes, going so far as illegally firing underlings who wouldn’t go along with it. They came up with nothing, because the “problem” simply doesn’t exist. The ACORN thing is a classic example. Voter registration fraud (which some ACORN organizers were guilty of, against the organization’s wishes, since it just wastes them money) is absolutely not the same thing as voter fraud. And Holder’s office is hardly the only one searching for some serious evidence of voter fraud conspiracies, but no evidence turns much of anything up.

    Pat, you continually say things like “I seem to recall hearing” or “It seems to me that” and you’ve been wrong about several crucial details. There’s a real story here, but it’s not one that you’re going to get without a bit more than drawing inferences casually from stories you heard about somewhere. Like you, I too was surprised to learn there’s a decent chunk of the population without photo IDs. It’s telling how different our lives are than the lives of people at the bottom of society. That disconnection is being exploited by politicians who want to convince us they’re protecting the integrity of the voting system when, in fact, they’re trying to game the system in their favor.

    There’s lots of good research done on this. but Minnite’s book is the best and most comprehensive. She tracks this stuff down very thoroughly, with the vigor that I wish more investigative journalists have.

  21. djw March 27, 2011 / 12:34 pm
    As for the possibility of voter fraud via absentee ballots, how can that be? If the Board of Elections have the handwriting experts David says they do, clearly they would be able to distinguish a forged signature from the real one on file on their registration record.
    If you think the every broke state government is paying handwriting experts to look at every ballot in every election you’d be both naive and quite wrong. Serious handwriting analysis, by experts, of literally millions of absentee ballots would bust the election budget of every state wide open. Typically, such experts are used for spot-checks and/or ballots that have been flagged for some reason.

  22. Manhole March 27, 2011 / 4:57 pm
    The pay of the Director/Deputy Director = 200,000, you could get plenty of handwriting experts. Money is not the problem at the BOE. Its the professional politicians who run the place. But nobody cares about the corruption or voting. You can be in a coma and someone can fill out your ballot request and cast your vote. You can be so  handicaped, you cant sign your name, and still vote. Now THAT is FRAUD!

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