Thursday, October 28, 2004

Voters Beware: Voter Fraud Runs Rampant

Reprinted from "The Cowl" of Providence College by Leslie Nevola:

After the snafu that characterized the 2000 Presidential Election, one would think things have changed; that effective steps had been taken to curb voting "problems."

It seems that in 2004, America has abandoned hanging chads in favor of a new kind of permeating problem that equally hinders the voting process - voter fraud. There have already been cases of voter fraud reported in the states of Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, New York, and Florida and not all of these cases are being investigated.

The occurrence of widespread voter fraud in the U.S. should outrage upstanding citizens - especially on the eve of a pivotal election, which seems to have divided the country nearly in half, as was the case in 2000. Getting people to register to vote is all well and good, but what happens when someone decides not to play by the rules? The result could be a gross miscarriage of democracy.

In Oregon, according to CBS News, a political consulting firm called Sproul & Associates has been accused of allegedly destroying registration forms filed by Democratic voters from all over the state. This is illegal, of course, and is currently being investigated. According to the spokesman for the Nevada Secretary of State, an employee of the same consulting firm told Nevada reporters that he had personally witnessed his boss shredding up to 10 voter registration forms.

The Washington Times reports that in Colorado, people working voter-registration drives (like "Rock the Vote") allegedly submitted applications with forged signatures - the equivalent of creating aliases representing nonexistent people and then using those aliases to vote more than once.

Elsewhere in the state, citizens have applied to vote more than once, even up to 40 times. Complaints that residents were unable to register by the Oct. 4 deadline sparked the government to issue "provisional ballots" for those who still wished to vote.

The government has been warned that this may lead to further fraud, but citing the state's history of allowing emergency registration on Election Day, state elections official Drew Durham maintained, "These vehicles have always been here, so we're not doing something totally different."

Well Drew, maybe you ought to do something totally different.This brings us to the cases of New York and Florida. New York is not really an issue since, though it has many valuable electoral votes, there is hardly a question over which candidate the state will support. Florida, however, is one of the most volatile swing states in this 2004 election. Florida has 27 electoral votes-nearly as many as New York's 31. In this unpredictable state, voter fraud is committed rampantly, and there has yet to be an investigation.

According to the New York Daily News, "some 46,000 New Yorkers are registered to vote in both the city and Florida." According to the paper's own research, which gives you an idea of how easy it is to find this out, between 400 and 1,000 people have voted twice in at least one election. One man, 84 year old Norman Siegel, has voted twice in a total of seven elections, including the last four presidential races. A spokeswoman for Florida Secretary of State Glenda E. Hood remarked, "As far as I know, a cross-state registry has not been discussed." There is no way for states to check for voters already registered across state lines.

A friend of mine goes to college in North Carolina. She is a resident of Rhode Island. She registered to vote in N.C. with her R.I. driver's license. All she needed was a license-no other form of ID was required. Technically, if she had registered in R.I. and requested her absentee ballot in time, she could have voted in two states. Does this make any sense at all, considering the point of this type of voter fraud is to make one's vote count in more than one state (usually one is a swing state)? If this were legal, I would vote elsewhere, too, since my vote is not going to count for very much here in R.I., where there is little doubt as to which nominee the state will bestow its electoral votes. But in a democratic society, it is preposterous for this to be legal. It means unequal representation.

With voter registration becoming less and less difficult, along with the recent surge of "get out the vote" obsessions on the part of many political activists and Kerry-obsessed Hollywood-ites, voter fraud has become even easier to commit. Unfortunately, election officials themselves do not have the technology to prevent it, though it seems that investigative reporters do. A sweeping reform of the voter registration process must be enacted, right now, before it is too late. I do not want the wrong man to win on November 2nd because thousands of people broke the law and there was no way to stop them.

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