Is voter fraud real?

Dec. 11, 2012 @ 05:00 PM


In the last few weeks, a lack of integrity has been written about in this space. Integrity in the electoral process was not mentioned. However, voter fraud has become a popular subject in Lee County, across the state and across the country.

An election is a structured decision-making process used by a population to choose an individual to hold public office. When the integrity of this process becomes doubtful, it begs the question of whether we are maintaining a democracy, or allowing corruption to prevail as in too many other countries around the world.

At the first meeting of the newly-organized Lee County Board of Commissioners meeting on Nov. 3, the third item on the new business agenda was to consider a resolution in support of voter identification prior to voting in local elections. Like many of other votes taken at that meeting, the resolution was approved by a vote of 4-to-3, with the four Republicans voting for the measure and the three Democrats voting against it.

Enough instances of voter fraud have been unearthed that it should come to the attention of lawmakers at every level of government.

Various laws and processes make it easier for those who want to cheat at the polls.

A new study conducted by the Raleigh-based Civitas Institute has shown that the same-day and last-minute voter registration process in North Carolina is seriously flawed. According to the study, the State Board of Elections has ignored criticism of the process (called SDR), including recommendations from 10 counties after they questioned the validity of some registrations and votes. The counties reported that “numerous” undeliverable voter registration cards were returned after the canvass period had ended, but the votes were counted. This shows that SDR voters can avoid the address verification process that others must complete when they register.

Another advantage to would-be cheaters in our state and others is that voter rolls are not routinely purged. Therefore, people’s names remain on the rolls after they have moved or are deceased. Outdated voter rolls are not a problem that exists just in North Carolina. In Florida, for example, it has been reported that there are 53,000 deceased voters on the eligible voter rolls, which is about the population of the city of Pensacola.

Over the years, Americans have laughed at jokes about voter fraud. This has been especially true about some cities. Chicago comes to mind. The old quip “vote early and vote often” has been attributed to the late Chicago gangster Al Capone.

Now, voter fraud has spread, and many agree that it is no longer a laughing matter. Apparently, Capone’s departure from Chicago didn’t stop the fraud. Earlier this year, the Illinois Attorney General's Office prosecuted and convicted two Cook County (where Chicago is located) election workers for violating voter privacy by “supervising” voters as they cast ballots.

Some claim that voter fraud is a myth. Back in his day, that was what Capone said about organized crime in Chicago.

Philadelphia also has become famous for voter irregularities. It has been reported that there were instances in which more votes were recorded in some races than the number of people who actually voted.

When a significant number of people believe that officials have not been duly elected to office, there can be an upheaval — as is happening in some mid-eastern countries today. It isn't inconceivable that this could happen in the U.S.

We hope lawmakers at all levels of government will give the integrity of the electoral process the attention it needs.