Leigh Bravo / Mar. 18, 2014

Your Vote, Counted or Struck by Lightning?

Does voter fraud exist? When you cast your ballot, are you sure your vote is secure and has been counted? Did your vote actually go to the candidate of your choice?

Vanessa Cardenas, Director of Progress at the Center for American Progress says, “Voting fraud is not a problem and yet in many states in the country, most notably Florida, are carrying out unconstitutional practices that will suppress the votes of millions of American Citizens.” “According to election law experts, instances of polling place fraud are extremely rare. In fact you have a better chance of being hit by lightning.”

However, just yesterday, in Ft. Myers, Florida, an investigative journalist, Andy Pierotti, with NBC 2, reported his findings on voter fraud. He discovered hundreds of non citizens who were registered as US voters by cross referencing jury recusal forms. They had been called for jury duty and refused to serve stating they were not United States citizens. However, they still voted in countless elections. County supervisors of elections who were interviewed said they have no way to verify US citizenship. Under the 1992 Motor Voter law, they are not required to ask for proof. The only way they can even investigate voter fraud is when they are given a tip. When asked, the supervisors said that this could definitely change the complexion of an election.

A Department of Justice study said that out of 197 million votes cast for federal candidates between 2002 and 2005, only 40 voters were indicted for voter fraud and only 26 of those resulted in convictions or guilty pleas. But have things changed since 2005? Has technology advanced to the point where we can no longer trust in any “machine” when we see so-called “secure” sites compromised on a daily basis? Should we stop worrying about voter fraud because the Department of Justice says so?

Should we be concerned about the reports around the nation of suspected fraud that occurred during the 2012 election between Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney?

The Ohio Secretary of State, Jon Justed announced that his office found 17 non citizens who illegally cast ballots in the 2012 elections. He also found that 274 non citizens remained on the voting rolls. Ohio also found 257,000 dead people still listed as active voters in 2011 and 340,000 duplicate voters since removed. Obama beat Romney in Ohio by just 2 percent points.

In Cleveland, it was shown that Romney received 0 votes in 9 different precincts. Within Cuyahoga County, Ohio, 100 precincts reported 0 votes for Romney while Obama received 99% of the votes. Based on that information, would you feel that the voting process was legal and truthful? With such questionable results, would you want the results to be tossed?

The Department of Justice and Republican Governor Rick Scott are in a heated debate over the state’s efforts to remove illegal immigrants from their voter rolls. When they cross referenced voter rolls with driver’s licenses, they found 2,600 people were not United State citizens. When the state sent out letters to those voters asking that they confirm their citizenship in order to retain their voting rights, they were accused of targeting black and hispanic communities, even though 87% of the 2600 voters were in fact minorities.

In upper McCungie Township near Allentown Pennsylvania, an auditor dispatched by Republicans to monitor the vote on Election day said the software he observed would “change the selection back to default – to Obama.” Here in Prince William County, my husband voted and had his selection changed 3 times to the candidate of the opposite party, during Virginia’s Governor’s race in 2013. It supposedly went through properly on the fourth try. However, he requested to review his vote before it was processed. I wrote a letter to the Virginia State Board of Elections relaying my concerns about his experience. They responded by saying, “Apparently there was an issue in which he selected one candidate and the screen selected another. We regret that this happened. The sensors in the touch screens occasionally need to be calibrated so the area touched on the screen reflects the voter’s choice.” They further spoke of their confidence in these machines in processing your vote in a reliable and legal way.

In researching this machine, the EDGE Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machine, researchers found significant security weaknesses though out the system. The nature of these weaknesses raise serious questions as to whether the software can be relied upon to protect the integrity of elections. Software mechanisms for transmitting election results and updating software lacks reliable measures to detect or prevent tampering.

Under the Motor Voter Registration, if the DMV is not required by law to ask for proof of citizenship, then how do we know that those who have government issued I.D.‘s, like state driver’s licenses, are even citizens? As in the case in Florida, many who received a driver’s license were automatically registered to vote, with no documentation of citizenship required. They were only discovered through the jury recusal forms where those non-citizens who did not wish to serve on jury duty simply used their non-citizen status as a valid reason to be excused?

So is your vote secure? Is it going toward the candidate of your choice? Are we opening up our elections to those who do not have the right to vote? I say, you had better stay indoors during the next electrical storm…according to the so-called election law experts, it seems like you have a pretty good chance of being struck by lightning!!

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