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Election fraud

One of the Obama conspiracy theories is that Obama won the presidency through election fraud. Election fraud conspiracy theories are making the rounds again, and an email forwarded to me by Arnold Carl Tapp pointed me to the article, “Illegal Votes could Decide Election” on a website called Patriot Update.1 The article opens up with this statement:

It is sad that liberals fight so hard to enable voter fraud.

In a way this is true. The American Civil Liberties Union, for example, is challenging voter ID laws, laws that help to prevent voter fraud due to someone impersonating a registered voter at the polls. Conservatives argue that in a close election, even a few fraudulent votes could change the result. The problem with that idea is that the actual number of cases of verified voter impersonation is vanishingly small. Before voter ID laws, there were only a handful of cases of proven impersonation cases, for example 4 in the last ten years in Texas, a state with more than the national average, according to the ABC News article “Voter Fraud: Non-Existent Problem or Election-Threatening Epidemic?” Nationwide the number of convictions for impersonation fraud comprise .00000013% of votes.

Various estimates of the number of registered voters without a valid photo ID are put forward. States get these estimates by attempting to match voter registration and DMV records.2 The exact numbers can be questioned, but they are certainly large. For example, North Carolina determined that 138,425 persons participated in the 2012 election who did not have a photo ID, and would have been unable to vote had there been a voter ID law in place. Compare 138,425 real voters in one medium-sized state with 26 fraud convictions nationwide.

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My state of South Carolina has a very permissive voter ID law that says that if you have a reasonable impediment to getting an ID, you can still vote (on a paper ballot) after signing an affidavit as to the reason. The voter gets to decide what is reasonable. The problem is that the pamphlets on the new voter ID law say on the front: “VOTERS WILL BE ASKED TO SHOW ONE OF THESE PHOTO IDs BEFORE VOTING IN PERSON.” That’s true—voters will be asked that. But you have to turn the card over to see that you can vote anyway if there’s something that prevents you from getting an ID.

It becomes abundantly clear that liberals would prefer millions of legitimate registered voters to be able to cast their ballots, even if it means tolerating 26 impersonators. So I say:

It is sad that conservatives fight so hard to prevent eligible voters from voting.

I will be serving as a poll manager next Tuesday in a precinct that has about 1,3oo voters. On the morning of the election I will take an oath that says:

We do solemnly swear that we will conduct this election according to law and will allow no person to vote who is not entitled by law to vote in this election, and we will not unlawfully assist any voter to prepare his ballot and will not advise any voter as to how he should vote at this election.

That means that I will be enforcing the South Carolina voter ID law, and I am going to make darned sure that there is no detectible fraud in my precinct, and darned sure that every qualified voter gets a chance to vote.3


1I’m on the mailing list for this guy named Arnold Carl Tapp and most days I receive one or more forwarded RWNJ articles from him (some written in large red letters). I don’t pay much attention, except that the other day I noticed Tapp as a commenter at Birther Report. My view is that Obama won through a grass roots effort to get people likely to vote for him to the polls, and to get new voters registered.

2I have worked extensively in the records matching field, and I know that most efforts are poor.

3It is extremely unlikely that anyone will show up without an ID (according to the county elections commission). Is that because everybody has an ID, or because those without an ID think they cannot vote?

I wrote an article back in June, “Voter Fraud (or the lack thereof),” that talked about the Cochran/McDaniel primary runoff race in Mississippi. McDaniel lost by 7,700 votes and claimed that voters, largely African-American, voted for his opponent. McDaniel alleged that these voters had previously voted in the Democratic Primary, making them in eligible to vote in the Republican runoff. While McDaniel made a big deal of this charge including examination of massive numbers of ballots, he waited 41 days to file his official challenge, after the deadline. The Mississippi Supreme Court rejected his appeal of a lower court decision refusing the challenge because it was late. See Reuters, “Mississippi Supreme Court rejects McDaniel Senate primary challenge.” Part of the controversy involved the actual and alleged errors by poll managers in recording which party a voter had selected in the primary election. I think such issues could be sorted out easily in South Carolina because the voter signs a list under the party heading where they vote (so they will spot an error) in addition to the poll manager recording the party on the electronic voter registration list. An out of sequence page and line number on the EVRL would be easy to spot in an automatic scan.

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24 Responses to Election fraud

  1. avatar
    y_p_w October 27, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    One of the first times I voted in California, I asked if I needed to show ID. I was informed no and given the reasons why. I understand now that certainly for the estimated instances of voter fraud, it just isn’t worth it to the millions of nationwide voters who simply don’t have a valid ID for one reason or another. However, the cynical part of my brain tells me that this is deliberate. Bill Moyers has done several series on this.

    http://billmoyers.com/spotlight/the-fight-to-vote/

  2. avatar
    y_p_w October 27, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

    Also – one of the issues is that getting a certified birth certificate copy is often circular if a previous version can’t be located. Identity theft protections mean that most states require a photo ID before a copy can be ordered (even if it’s free in some states). However, since the point is to get a valid photo ID, there probably wouldn’t be the need to obtain a birth certificate.

    I suppose it might be possible to get a BC as part of a court order. Perhaps public service agencies could provide pro bono legal help. One of the categories in California is to have an attorney representing a client obtaining a full BC. It might be the only loophole if another person can’t be located who is eligible. Or if child/parent has a photo ID.

    One of the issues would be that older voters lived in a time when they didn’t need photo ID or let theirs lapse, and can’t find their birth certificates.

  3. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy October 27, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    In our state, an expired drivers license does not qualify as a voter ID, even though by all rights it should. My understanding is that to get a DMV ID in South Carolina, a birth certificate is required, and that if one doesn’t have a registered birth, it may require the services of an attorney to get a certificate. It can be an expensive process. The State Elections Commission will issue a photo ID for free without a birth certificate if the registrant has a social-security number.

    y_p_w: One of the issues would be that older voters lived in a time when they didn’t need photo ID or let theirs lapse, and can’t find their birth certificates.

  4. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy October 27, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    It is simply not the case that a photo ID is necessary to order a birth certificate. It may be the case to order directly from some states, but the VitalChek company can supply certificates from just about every state, and they do not require a photo ID.

    y_p_w: Also – one of the issues is that getting a certified birth certificate copy is often circular if a previous version can’t be located. Identity theft protections mean that most states require a photo ID before a copy can be ordered (even if it’s free in some states). However, since the point is to get a valid photo ID, there probably wouldn’t be the need to obtain a birth certificate.

  5. avatar
    y_p_w October 27, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    It is simply not the case that a photo ID is necessary to order a birth certificate. It may be the case to order directly from some states, but the VitalChek company can supply certificates from just about every state, and they do not require a photo ID.

    My reading is that their requirements conform to the requirements of the state/county/city. Here’s what they require for New Jersey:

    https://www.vitalchek.com/vital-records/new-jersey/new-jersey-vital-records

    Identification Requirements
    New Jersey Vital Records requires all applicants to submit a copy of their valid, government issued photo ID. You will be presented with an Authorization Form at the end of your order that includes specific instructions. When faxing your identification, please enlarge and lighten to ensure your fax is legible. Your order will not be processed until a legible form of identification is received. Below is a list of acceptable forms of identification:

    One of the following forms of ID with address:

    A valid government issued photo driver’s license with address, a valid government issued photo non-driver’s license with address, a valid government issued ID and an alternate form of ID with address from the list below;

    -OR-

    Two of the following alternate forms of ID with address:

    Non-photo State issued driver’s license/ID card, Green Card, Vehicle Registration, County ID, Insurance Card, School ID, Voter’s Registration, Property Tax Statement, Passport, U.S. Military ID w/photo, Vehicle Insurance Card, Bank Statement, Lease or Rental Agreement, Two consecutive months of utility bills (gas, water, electric), or a Public Assistance Card

    Still – it’s possible to provide two copies of things like utility bills. It is sort of odd to me that a passport alone isn’t enough.

    Here it is for California. They don’t do this for the state’s DPH, but do contract with several counties:

    https://www.vitalchek.com/birth-certificates/california/santa-clara-county-recorder

    Who Can Order?
    Authorized Copies – All applicants must submit a Sworn Statement and notarized Certificate of Acknowledgment, in addition to a government issued photo ID, before the order will be processed, forms and instructions will be provided upon completion of your online order. Individuals permitted to receive authorized, certified copies of Santa Clara County birth certificates are listed below:

    California’s requirements through the mail include a notarized statement, even using VitalChek. I’ve been through this ordering BCs from the state, since they don’t have a “public window” where they can personally inspect photo IDs.

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy October 27, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    It appears that things have changed since I retired. New Jersey was one of our customers for vital records software, and we did a VitalChek interface for them and a photo ID wasn’t required. Now it is.

    It appears that ordering a Pennsylvania certificate (the state in the Moyers article) does not require a photo ID when ordering through VitalChek. VitalChek uses credit reporting and aggregate public data (they are owned by ChoicePoint) to ask consumers questions to verify their identity, and of course they know the address.

    y_p_w: My reading is that their requirements conform to the requirements of the state/county/city. Here’s what they require for New Jersey:

  7. avatar
    y_p_w October 27, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    It appears that things have changed since I retired. New Jersey was one of our customers for vital records software, and we did a VitalChek interface for them and a photo ID wasn’t required. Now it is.

    Every state is different. Some have no requirements. I was looking into getting a BC for my wife’s niece living in Washington state, and I couldn’t find anything about authorized classes of requesters. I’ve also seen people who dug up Lebron James’s birth certificate from Ohio, which doesn’t list a father. It’s a full authorized copy that could be used to obtain a passport or other ID.

    I believe that a lot of these requirements are fairly recent – maybe less than 15 years. California’s was spurred by a few identity theft cases where someone got enough information to request someone’s BC and used it to start a new life. It’s also the most troublesome. While other states or local governments will allow an order with just a legible photocopy, any jurisdiction in California requires a notarized statement with photo ID presented to a notary – if not ordered in person. The standard notary fee in California is $10. I’ve gotten BC copies for my kid by just showing up in person and signing the statement.

    And as for getting a BC, it’s at the very least an impediment even if all the fees for documents are paid by the state. It takes time – usually during typical work hours.

    However, if some states are really serious about it, perhaps they could arrange toi have state or county attorneys (maybe pro bono attorneys) help by serving as requesters. An attorney working on behalf of a client is allowed to order a full BC in most states where requesters must belong to an authorized category.

  8. avatar
    Keith October 27, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

    y_p_w: Identity theft protections mean that most states require a photo ID before a copy can be ordered (even if it’s free in some states).

    Not true – at least for Michigan.

    I have ordered two copies of my birth certificate – one from the Michigan State DOH and one from the County, over the internet while sitting at my desk at home in Australia.

    No photo ID was required – and they arrived very quickly indeed.

  9. avatar
    y_p_w October 28, 2014 at 2:48 am #

    Keith: Not true – at least for Michigan.

    I have ordered two copies of my birth certificate – one from the Michigan State DOH and one from the County, over the internet while sitting at my desk at home in Australia.

    No photo ID was required – and they arrived very quickly indeed.

    I did say “most states”, while acknowledging two that I knew which have no restriction on who can order a full copy of a birth certificate. It’s not necessarily states either, as certain cities (NYC is one) have a system that’s completely separate from the state. Certainly in California, vital records standards are developed by the state while counties (and a few cities) do the majority of the implementation.

    California sort of splits the difference, with “informational” vital records available to anyone who can provide enough information and pay the fee.

    Also – I think Michigan may have changed its requirements.

    https://www.vitalchek.com/birth-certificates/michigan/michigan-vital-records

    Who Can Order?
    Access to Michigan birth records is restricted. You may order copies of Michigan birth certificates for yourself or a child, as long as you are named on the record being ordered. Anyone not listed on the certificate must submit proof of entitlement. Please visit the Michigan Vital Records website for entitlement requirements. Online orders are not accepted for the birth record of a deceased person as additional information is required.

    Here’s the requirement:

    http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,4612,7-132-4645_4671-9471–,00.html

    Photo identification is required to request a Michigan birth record less than 100 years old or an Affidavit of Parentage record. If you do not have valid photo identification, click here for a list of alternative documents that can be used.

    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdch/Photo_ID_Alternative_Documents_345026_7.pdf

    Birth records less than 100 years old and Affidavit of Parentage records filed in the Central Paternity Registry are restricted documents and you must prove eligibility in order to request one. We will accept a current valid driver’s license, state-issued photo identification card or passport.

    If you do not have one of the three items listed above, you will need to provide at least three pieces of documentation from different sources that will verify your name and date of birth. At least one of the alternative documents must be dated within the last year. We cannot use a Social Security Card or junk mail.Some suggestions might be:

    marriage or divorce certificate
    your child’s birth record
    W-2 paycheck stub
    bank statement
    voter or car registration
    health insurance card
    utility bill
    doctor/hospital/dentist bill
    baptismal certificate
    military DD-214 discharge paper or equivalent
    school records or GED certificate
    letter from a government agency such as SSA or the IRS
    benefit statement from SSA
    land or rental agreement
    Military photo ID
    State or Federal prison photo ID with release or discharge papers dated within the last year
    For persons age 15-20, a current student photo ID with either a report card or transcript would be acceptable

    If you have specific questions, you may contact the Eligibility Unit in the Division for Vital Records at 517-335-8666 to speak with a customer service representative.

  10. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy October 28, 2014 at 6:36 am #

    Added to this article:

    I wrote an article back in June, “Voter Fraud (or the lack thereof),” that talked about the Cochran/McDaniel primary runoff race in Mississippi. McDaniel lost by 7,700 votes and claimed that voters, largely African-American, voted for his opponent. McDaniel alleged that these voters had previously voted in the Democratic Primary, making them in eligible to vote in the Republican runoff. While McDaniel made a big deal of this charge including examination of massive numbers of ballots, he waited 41 days to file his official challenge, after the deadline. The Mississippi Supreme Court rejected his appeal of a lower court decision refusing the challenge because it was late. See Reuters, “Mississippi Supreme Court rejects McDaniel Senate primary challenge.” Part of the controversy involved the actual and alleged errors by poll managers in recording which party a voter had selected in the primary election. I think such issues could be sorted out easily in South Carolina because the voter signs a list under the party heading where they vote (so they will spot an error) in addition to the poll manager recording the party on the electronic voter registration list. An out of sequence page and line number on the EVRL would be easy to spot in an automatic scan.

  11. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy October 28, 2014 at 6:41 am #

    Some states are “open records” states, where anyone can request anybody’s certificate. This causes problems, such as you mention. In California, they now issue two types of certificate, the regular one, and one with some big writing on it to show it is a public record not to be used for identification.

    y_p_w: I’ve also seen people who dug up Lebron James’s birth certificate from Ohio, which doesn’t list a father. It’s a full authorized copy that could be used to obtain a passport or other ID.

  12. avatar
    y_p_w October 28, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Some states are “open records” states, where anyone can request anybody’s certificate. This causes problems, such as you mention. In California, they now issue two types of certificate, the regular one, and one with some big writing on it to show it is a public record not to be used for identification.

    However, my reading of Michigan requirements is that it’s a closed records state for Birth certificates, but apparently not for marriage certificates.

    However, the requirements to get an otherwise closed record are convoluted and vary by state. In person, they might ask to see an original photo ID. By mail it differs. Hawaii only requires a photocopy of an ID as verification. California requires a notarized statement where the notary is instructed to check ID. Many agencies go through VitalChek or other 3rd parties. I haven’t gone through every agency, but it wouldn’t surprise me if some didn’t simply allow for some generic statement about being an authorized person rather than make the requester go through hoops.

    Heck – when I ordered a copy of my college transcripts from different schools, they had different requirements. One only needed to know my SSN and get a signature. Requests were only by mail or FAX. They also didn’t charge, which I suppose made up for the small fortune they charged for tuition. One allowed online ordering/payment but required a statement be signed and a copy sent by FAX before they would complete the order. However, these were all signature based, similar to voting in California.

  13. avatar
    y_p_w October 28, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    I found something in between. Colorado requires the application come from an authorized party. However, the form of identification includes non photo ID if more than one can be provided. Additionally they have a lost/stolen reporting form that will then flag a particular birth certificate as requiring photo ID when requesting a new copy.

    https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/CHEIS_VR_Lost-or-Stolen-Birth-Certificate-Application-English.pdf

    NOTICE: In an effort to protect the Registrant from Identity Theft, records associated with lost or stolen birth certificates are flagged to require picture ID for future issuance of records. Information regarding the loss or theft of Colorado Vital Records is also shared with appropriate government and law enforcement agencies in an effort to protect the people of Colorado from the threat of Identity Theft. Information is not released to the general public (CRS 24-72-203)

  14. avatar
    sfjeff October 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    One of my very big issues with voter ID laws is the disparity between the requirements for voting in person and voting by mail.

    Voting by mail has become increasingly popular in the last few years- and especially is popular with older white voters.

    Voting by mail does not have the same requirements for ID that voting in person does.

    In many states that require picture ID to vote in person, there is no requirement for identification on the by mail ballot.

    And I think that is no coincidence.

  15. avatar
    ellen October 28, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Actually, most states, if not all, have a form of voter ID already, the check-off of names by addresses.

    When a person comes to vote she or he is asked their address, and that is looked up on a list, and the address is then checked off so that she or he cannot vote a second time.

    It would be difficult to create a scheme that would get many illegal voters voting because they would all have to know the address of a real registered voter and vote BEFORE the real registered voter. And when the real registered voter came to vote, her or his address would already have been checked off, and that would send alarm signals that an effort to do illegal voting was underway.

    Even in states with voter IDs there still has to be the checkoff because while voter IDs may prevent illegals from voting they cannot prevent multiple voting, only the check-off can do that. So there would have to be both the voter ID AND the check–off, which would increase the time involved in checking ID and increase the time spent online—–perhaps doubling that time.

    For people who have two jobs or have to pick up their kids at daycare, an additional wait online often is not possible. So, what do you think is the motive behind the voter ID requirement? Apparently it is to decrease the number of voters with multiple jobs or who have to pick up kids at daycare.

  16. avatar
    y_p_w October 28, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    ellen:
    Actually, most states, if not all, have a form of voter ID already, the check-off of names by addresses.

    When a person comes to vote she or he is asked their address, and that is looked up on a list, and the address is then checked off so that she or he cannot vote a second time.

    Every time I’ve voted in California, there was a full list of precinct voters (complete with addresses) at the door. However, this isn’t the official register, which is kept by an election worker complete with signature boxes. And oddly enough, the procedure has been to sign in pencil.

    While it might be possible to look up someone’s address on the door sheet, that doesn’t tell anyone whether or not a particular person has voted yet. I’m not sure who would stupid enough to attempt to vote under someone’s name given the possibility of being detained or arrested.

  17. avatar
    justlw October 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

    Here’s some very concerned arm-waving about voter fraud, “from the Washington Post, no less,” as one of my slightly more right wing (than Newt Gingrich, that is) FB friends heralded it:

    Could non-citizens decide the November election?

    Except, of course, it’s not really “from WaPo“; it’s from their blog section. And the people who wrote it seem to be hellbent on giving bad math a bad name.

  18. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG October 28, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    Isn’t the Washington Post that one that lets the birthers run their full page “advertorials”? Especially amazing when you consider that the media is supposedly “in on it”.

    …And Good Lord, BSE just tried tying Obama’s lineage to the Salem Witch Trials. I need a lie down after that one. The stupid is too much to bear.

  19. avatar
    justlw October 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: Isn’t the Washington Post that one that lets the birthers run their full page “advertorials”?

    That sounds more like the Washington Times (founded by Moonies, staffed by moonbats). The Times has a proud tradition of far-right smears and innuendo. As just one example, they were the originators of the “The Clintons started birtherism” meme.

  20. avatar
    Rickey October 28, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    justlw:
    Here’s some very concerned arm-waving about voter fraud, “from the Washington Post, no less,” as one of my slightly more right wing (than Newt Gingrich, that is) FB friends heralded it:

    Could non-citizens decide the November election?

    Except, of course, it’s not really “from WaPo“; it’s from their blog section.And the people who wrote it seem to be hellbent on giving bad math a bad name.

    And the data which they collected comes from non-citizens who are actually registered to vote, an issue which cannot be addressed by requiring Voter ID on election day.

    Boards of Election allowing non-citizens to register to vote is very different than in-person voter fraud, which involves impersonating someone who is registered to vote.

  21. avatar
    Keith October 29, 2014 at 5:39 am #

    ellen: So, what do you think is the motive behind the voter ID requirement? Apparently it is to decrease the number of voters with multiple jobs or who have to pick up kids at daycare.

    Its to reduce the number of voters. Full stop.

  22. avatar
    Gloria October 30, 2014 at 2:13 am #

    One question please someone answer if you know the answer, I would greatly appreciate this: Can Obama vote?

  23. avatar
    The Magic M October 30, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    Is the Pope catholic?

  24. avatar
    Bonsall Obot October 30, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    Of course he can, and he already did. Was there any reason to believe he could not?