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The Right Stuff

A politics blog by Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson's baseball card - if he had one - would report he throws left, writes right. In his columns and blog, "The Right Stuff," southpaw Jackson provides insight into the evolving human condition from a distinctly conservative point of view.

Voter fraud: First, admit it’s a problem (the evidence is out there)

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Published:   |   Updated: April 4, 2014 at 12:14 AM

Admitting there’s a problem is to solution building as sunrise is to the day: Without it, there is only fumbling in the darkness.

So it is with voter fraud.

Condemned for years to bottom-of-a-coal-mine blindness, those suspicious of significant election-rigging at every level and in every region of American politics have suffered more stubbed toes than anyone could possibly count – these tend to be Republicans – while those suspected of benefitting from ballot-box hanky-panky – these tend to be Democrats – have dismissed their rivals’ concerns as racism, classicism, paranoia and worse.

If voter fraud is as prevalent as Republicans say, where’s the evidence? Where are the prosecutions? Where are the perpetrators being marched off to prison?

Brian Corley, Pasco County’s supervisor of elections, who believes sturdily in the power of prosecution, does not think for a moment the absence of jailed fraudsters is evidence of zero fraud. He remembers the chilling story reported a couple of years ago by a colleague, an elections supervisor in southwest Florida, who, summoned to jury duty, stared in amazement as more than a few of the day’s pool were dismissed because they were not citizens.

This is significant because juries are seated from a pool not of people who have driver’s licenses, or pay property taxes or are local utilities customers, but are registered voters. That’s right. We appear to be making registered voters out of non-citizens.

Well. Despite a meeting of Florida elections supervisors with the secretary of state to press their concerns, next to nothing came of this prima facie evidence of voter fraud, largely because Gov. Rick Scott’s administration didn’t get around to its ham-fisted voter-rolls purge until the federal deadline for such things had passed, and a federal court slammed the door.

But now here we are again, confronting something that looks at least suspicious, and the concerned looks seem confined to those on the political right. As National Review Online’s Andrew Johnson reports:

“North Carolina’s Board of Elections found that tens of thousands of registered voters from the state have personal information matching that of registered voters in other states, and appear to have voted in states other than North Carolina in 2012. In some cases, votes were cast under names of individuals who had passed away before Election Day.

“The review searched databases in 27 other states and 101 million voter records for information such as matching names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers.

“The review found that 35,570 North Carolina voters from 2012 shared the same first names, last names, and dates of birth with individuals who voted in other states. Another 765 Tar Heel State residents who voted in 2012 had the same names, birthdays, and final four digits of a Social Security number as voters elsewhere.

“Meanwhile, the election board’s executive director, Kim Westbrook Strach, told lawmakers that 81 deceased North Carolinians apparently voted in 2012 as well. While some appear to have submitted absentee ballots prior to their death, she said ‘there are between 40 and 50 who had died at a time that that’s not possible.’ ”

In other voter fraud news, notes NRO’s John Fund, “Cobby Williams, a former 2012 independent congressional candidate in Mississippi, was sentenced to five years in prison ... for knowingly registering a convicted felon.”

Last month in Pontiac, Mich., police discovered the mummified remains of Pia Farrenkopf in the garage of her foreclosed home. Dead most likely since 2008, she nonetheless managed to vote in the 2010 election for governor.

In Cincinnati, former election official Melowese Richardson, who was convicted and served time for voting six times for Barack Obama in 2012, was welcomed back into the fold at an event organized by Al Sharpton, who hugged Richardson on stage.

Maybe Karl Rove was right about Ohio all along.

Writes Fund:

“No one is suggesting that liberal acceptance of voter fraud is universal. ... But liberals who consistently deny the existence of voter fraud – even absentee-ballot fraud – help contribute to a climate in which such offenses against democracy are too often excused or ignored.”

Part of the problem, Corley notes, in Florida anyway, is voter fraud is only a third-degree felony. Limited resources in state attorneys’ offices, crowded court calendars and, let’s face it, one-sided political support for exposing voting fraud make the whole idea of prosecutions problematic.

Still, as former Democratic congressman Artur Davis of Alabama, now a Republican, told Fund, “There is a reason that polls consistently show over 60 percent of African-Americans and Hispanics support voter ID. They realize voter fraud isn’t a myth, and saying it is doesn’t make it so.”

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