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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.

Voter fraud (or the lack thereof)

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The “facts” depend on what side you’re on

My own opinion is that the stability of American society stems from a widespread belief that if we don’t like something, there are peaceful ways to effect change. Obviously not everything is fair and the playing field is not level, but folks think they have a chance. Some disagree and are all for storming the White House, at least they are when writing on the Internet, exemplified by such graphics as the one shown above.

These days birthers are among those who believe that elections are not fair, that there is massive voter fraud. Many birthers believe that Barack Obama didn’t really win his elections. Orly Taitz alleged a stunning number of fraudulent votes in her California Senate race in 2012, although she never identified anyone who voted illegally.

It is in the nature of the conspiracy theorist to suspect a conspiracy behind every unusual event, and we see that in a recent article from Orly Taitz about the Cochran/McDaniel runoff Senate race in Mississippi. Thad Cochran is the long-term incumbent US Senator from Mississippi who received 0.5% fewer votes than state Senator Chris McDaniel in the Republican Primary. (I wrote about this race briefly in my article, “Cloward and Piven were from Manchuria?”) In the runoff election, things were reversed with Cochran the winner by 6,693 votes out of almost 400,000 votes cast. The runoff election was marked by an unusually high voter turnout (20% more votes in the runoff than in the primary election). There is a detailed analysis of the election results in this paper, “Mississippi Primary Runoff Election, 2014: Republican Primary Election Runoff, Cochran (i) v. McDaniel” from the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development. Continue Reading →