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James Shott / August 15, 2017

Election Fraud vs. the Will of the People

From the occasional individual story to the national problem, voter fraud undermines our elections.

When the topic of election fraud comes up, many people say there isn’t much of it — except for the Russians. The problem is that there is a good bit of evidence for domestic election irregularities, and little or none for the Russians having had a real effect in 2016.

Two recent inconvenient items remind us just how real election fraud really is.

The first is especially inconvenient for Democrats, as a college student working as a staffer for Harrisonburg Votes, described as being affiliated with the Democrat Party in Harrisonburg, Virginia, earned himself some jail time. The James Madison University student will spend 100 days in jail for knowingly turning in false Virginia voter registration forms during the 2016 election containing the names of dead people and other faulty information.

And a woman in the country legally, but a non-citizen, has been sentenced to eight years in prison and fined $5,000 for voting illegally five times over a period of years. The Grand Prairie, Texas, woman was sentenced earlier this year for the second-degree felony.

She had applied to vote in Tarrant County, but acknowledged she was not a citizen and was therefore turned down. Despite being told she was not eligible to vote in the United States, five months later, she applied again, claiming to be a citizen. She did not vote in Tarrant County, but did vote in Dallas County, authorities say.

Four employees of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) were arrested earlier this month in a scheme to produce false identification documents enabling illegal immigrants to vote in Boston. In addition to the employees of the RMV, people selling illegal documents were also arrested for selling Puerto Rico licenses and official state ID cards to illegal aliens.

According to the Department of Justice website in Massachusetts, the document dealer sold Puerto Rican birth certificates and U.S. Social Security cards to the document vendor for $900 who then sold the stolen identities for over $2,000 to clients seeking false identities in Massachusetts. This fraud was only discovered when Massachusetts State Police received an anonymous letter telling them what was going on in the RMV.

In October 2016, The Washington Times published a list of other states where regularities have been found:

  • Colorado discovered that dead people voted in elections in several different years.
  • Illegals were found voting in Virginia, but were only discovered after they self-reported.
  • In Pennsylvania, 700 voters might have voted twice in recent elections, and 43,000 others potentially had duplicate registrations in Pennsylvania, or were registered in both Pennsylvania and another state.
  • The secretary of state’s office in Pennsylvania mailed about 2.5 million voter registration postcards to people who are not registered voters, but are licensed drivers.
  • At least 86 non-citizens have been registered voters in Philadelphia since 2013.
  • Allegations of voter fraud in Tarrant County, Texas, prompted a state investigation. Of concern are mail-in ballots, which allow people to vote from their homes without any identification or verification of identity. Investigators also found so-called “vote-harvesting” where political operatives fill out and return other people’s ballots, without their consent.
  • An Indiana voter fraud investigation grew to 56 counties where police believe there could be hundreds of fraudulent voter registration records with different combinations of made-up names and addresses with people’s real information.
  • Three people are under investigation in Oklahoma for voting twice in the presidential primary. All three submitted absentee ballots before showing up to their polling place and voting again in person.
  • Underage voters were found voting in Wisconsin’s presidential primary. This involves six under-age students who voted, and the election workers didn’t even check the birthdates on their IDs.

All of these examples are evidence of both dishonesty and incompetence, or at least carelessness. So there is no question that there is election fraud in the United States, but how serious a problem is it?

Well, these stories are fairly limited — one person here, a group there. But according to Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Project, there are an estimated 3.5 million more people on voter rolls than are eligible to vote. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by about 2.9 million.

In a free country founded on following the will of the people, voting is of paramount importance. Without a clean and honest election system, the will of the people is subverted. It’s time we get serious about protecting elections from illegal voters and others who work to weaken our nation’s security, or who fail to do their jobs competently.

We are reminded frequently that voting is a right and it should be easy to vote. But voting is a solemn duty that also must be properly supervised and operated. One of the best ways to discourage voter fraud is requiring a photo ID obtained by proving eligibility to vote. A long list of everyday activities requires a photo ID, like buying liquor or cigarettes, flying in commercial aircraft, banking and medical visits — but not everywhere for the citizen’s sacred right and obligation of voting.

Many people oppose this helpful, common sense mechanism for one of the most important things people do, and they oppose it for political reasons. They complain that somehow helping to assure only eligible voters can vote disenfranchises some people. But there are steps that correct that problem, and they are already in effect in many states. Requiring a photo ID to vote is a necessary change, along with steps to help eligible voters register. In any case, the integrity of American elections must be protected.

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