By John F. Di Leo -
It is an election year, so the news concerns elections.
But not just the candidates, the campaigns, and the issues… if you look closely, you’ll also find news about the election process itself, how it is changing, and how it is being corrupted… sometimes in secret, sometimes as blatantly as can be imagined.
This week, for example, we learned of Willie Wilson, a Chicago millionaire running for mayor. He’s a generous man; he writes checks and throws around hundred-dollar bills at Chicago speaking events like Shriners throw candy at parades. He says he views it as charity; nobody has a right to tell him what to do with his money. But is it cynical to say that, as a mayoral candidate handing cash to prospective constituents, it looks like he’s buying votes? There are ethics rules for a reason, after all.
We also learned this week of a special congressional election in Ohio – one with a razor-thin margin – in which over 170 people over 116 years of age are registered to vote in that one congressional district. How many people over 116 do you know? …especially since statisticians say the oldest person on earth today is only 115? This would just be a harmless glitch if these 170 impossible people were just names on the voter rolls, but 72 of them did vote in the 2016 election, so it’s likely many voted in this week’s squeaker as well.
Process matters. We like to boast that the United States have enjoyed an amazingly successful 230-year-long run as a stable constitutional republic. We have never allowed anything to delay our elections – not hurricanes, not earthquakes, not assassinations, not world wars… New York’s mayoral election was held on September 11, 2001; they didn’t hold a redo because of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The 2012 election was likely swung by the disruption caused by Hurricane Sandy the week before; we didn’t invalidate or postpone balloting when hundreds of polling places were unusable and thousands of registered voters were suddenly homeless.
We value the durability of our election process, and we preserve it at all costs.
But it’s not enough just to hold the election on the prearranged date, and refuse to postpone it. An honest election requires so much more…
It requires an informed electorate, one that can depend on the press and the candidates to deliver the information they need to make an intelligent decision… an electorate that can depend on their education to prepare them to understand what expectations are fair and what expectations are not, what promises are reasonable and what promises are undeliverable, which policy proposals are legal and which are blatantly illegal.
Do we have such an electorate today?
In the Founding era, certain things were easier. The population was smaller, the language was almost homogenous, voters could meet their candidates in person. Today we have a hundred languages and 330 million people to reach. The internet should make communication easier and information more available, but has it? Shadow-banning and other political prejudice shown by the monopolist giants of social media have made it far harder than it should be to find out the truth about candidates and their policies. And with our education system, not to mention an electorate largely made up of people who were born abroad and have no clue of what our Constitution allows or disallows, too many voters have no idea how to judge whether candidates’ promises are even legal anymore.
But we can live with such concerns, and deal with them, somehow, if elections are at least administered fairly.
We saw one precinct this week, for example – Mud Creek, in Habersham County, Georgia – in which there were 276 registered voters. A 100% turnout is considered almost impossible outside of nursing homes, but they had a far more unlikely 243% turnout, seeing 670 ballots cast in the precinct. Is that possible? Well, let’s just say the word “unlikely” should pop up from the page like fireworks.
And we see such blatant violations of campaign law as the aforementioned mayoral candidate’s vote-buying technique and the demonstrated proof of scores of nonexistent people voting, and it becomes harder and harder to trust our election system. Do the math; there are 435 congressional districts in the United States. If the problem of 116-plus imaginary voters participating in American elections is about the same nationwide as it’s proven to be in Ohio-12, then that’s another 31,320 fraudulent votes in every national election.
(Worth noting: that statistic was chosen because at 116, we know the age to be impossible. In fact, if there were 72 nonexistent voters 116 and up, statistics would indicate that there were thousands more fraudulent votes with ages below 116 in the same district).
Despite such clear proof of flaws in our voting process, the Democratic Party resists every effort to curtail the use of hackable voting equipment… resists every effort to demand voter ID at the polling place or when seeking absentee ballots… resists every effort to restrict the electorate to legal citizens of age to vote… and attacks any who call for such care as “racists, bigots, and cheats.”
The Democratic Party has, in recent years, and particularly in recent months, increased such efforts as voter registration drives in prisons (even where felons are banned from voting) and voter registration drives in immigrant communities (giving cover by telling the English speaking audience that it’s only so they can vote in local elections, but telling immigrants in their own language that they should vote in all elections). In some jurisdictions, they snuck through a ploy a couple of years ago to let 17-year-olds vote in primaries if they’d be 18 for the general… so with that success, some Democrats are now pushing for a drop in the voting age to 16 across the board.
Are those of us who worry about election security really Chicken Littles, fearing that the sky is falling when there is no evidence?
Sadly, No. We see the evidence in the press every day.
It’s rarely front page, but we have seen candidates go to jail for election fraud; we have seen whole organizations decertified for forging registrations and absentee votes. We have seen candidates trade everything from cigarettes to money to box lunches to booze in exchange for votes. We have seen cities round up patronage employees and their families in buses and make the rounds on election day, each one casting a vote for a new name and address provided upon arrival at each precinct. We have seen a congressional candidate bounced from the ticket for voting in two states in the same election – yes, a congressional candidate (the states in question were Maryland and Florida, in case you forgot).
There are as many ways to cheat in an election as there are positions to take in a campaign. They occur in every state of the union, though some methods are more common in some than in others. For example:
- Election workers spending the lulls at the precinct quietly casting votes on behalf of known dead-or-moved-away real people, still on the rolls just because they haven’t been purged.
- Pollworkers creating false registrations on behalf of names on tombstones in a cemetery or simply made-up on the spot, but with real addresses so that they could be used for absentee ballots.
- Campaign functionaries trading liquor or money for the chance to fill out absentee ballots for voters, or to watch the voters fill them out so they know they’re “doing it right.”
- Judges mandating extended hours at certain polling places to give the party time to round up or fake as many votes as seem needed, as the results come in…
- Election workers at nursing homes, hospices, and other caretakers for the disabled, casting votes by the dozens – even by the hundreds – on behalf of people who have no idea what an election is, due to their illnesses, handicaps or medications.
- College students and others with multiple addresses taking advantage of both – voting in person at one and by absentee at the other. Or election workers taking advantage of their many former addresses (how many addresses does the typical college student have over the span of his four to six years on campus?) to cast fraudulent votes for him without the student’s knowledge?
- Whole immigrant communities – often a mix of legal and illegal, but with few actual citizens among them with the right to vote – being bused in to the polls by their community leaders, often oblivious that what they’re doing is even illegal.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, by the way. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the many forms of vote fraud that occur across the nation in virtually every election.
We can point to different places as being more famous for different types… Chicago as being home of the fake registration and nursing home schemes; St Louis as being home of the judicially-mandated late poll closing scam. New Orleans is the home of patronage buses. Minneapolis and California are best known for the illegal immigrant votes; practically every college town runs the risk of the multiple student address scam. And the snowbird scam – the people with two legitimate addresses, voting in both on the same day – is most popular with New York, New Jersey, and Florida.
But that doesn’t mean they only happen there, either. These schemes occur all over the country, all the time, making the votes of any election suspect.
And this doesn’t even take into account such old-fashioned issues as stolen ballot boxes, and arguably the most shameful “legal crime” of all: the intentional planning by some states to hold their primaries so late, it ensures that overseas military votes cannot possibly arrive in time to be counted.
When taken together – a few votes per precinct from one tactic, dozens per precinct from another – adding them up, it becomes unlikely that any election results, in any district, are truly 100% accurate. It is to our nation’s shame that we tolerate such horrific abuse in so critical an aspect of American life.
While we read a story now and then about a Republican official stealing a ballot box – yes, it does happen – it is well known, and easily demonstrable, that such election fraud is committed, in virtually all cases if not literally all cases, by and on behalf of the Democratic Party. So it is no wonder that the Democrats are the ones who oppose any kind of election reform, the ones who violently oppose even such basic, sensible checks as requiring voter ID to vote.
This storm cloud to end all storm clouds does have a silver lining, however: look at the published results of recent elections. Even with all this fraud – one percent, five percent, ten percent, and more – the Democrats have been unable to pretend to be a majority party outside of the those big cities where they control the entire mechanics of the process.
It would be interesting, wouldn’t it, to see some election results – someday – in which the vote totals truly came entirely from real, legal, living citizens of voting age, as the system requires?
I dream of that day.
Copyright 2018 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based trade compliance coach, actor and writer. His columns are regularly found in Illinois Review... and he compliments the valiant honest-election crusaders like individual hero Alan D Vera and the great Texas group True the Vote, and writers Hans Von Spakovsky and John Fund, who have tried so hard over the years to bring the issue of election fraud to light.
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