Absentee Ballot Problems From Around The Web

The following is a collection of highlights from stories around the web regarding problems with absentee voting. Advocates of silly ideas like touch screen voting machines and forced-vote by mail schemes continue to say to the press that there’s no evidence of fraud. Well… the more I search the web the more reports I find. So the following type of “web collection” post will probably become a theme of this blog.

Absentee Ballot Fraud Worries Officials

From Political Wire.com

September 12, 2004

“As both major political parties intensify their efforts to promote absentee balloting as a way to lock up votes in the presidential race, election officials say they are struggling to cope with an array of coercive tactics and fraudulent vote-gathering involving absentee ballots that have undermined local races across the country,” the New York Times reports.

“Some of those officials say they are worried that the brashness of the schemes and the extent to which critical swing states have allowed party operatives to involve themselves in absentee voting — from handling ballot applications to helping voters fill out their ballots — could taint the general election in November.”

The AP notes early voting “is transforming the landscape for political campaigns.”

Here’s an insteresting conversation from the Democrats over at Daily Kos, with good run-down of a practice called “Granny Farming.” I have only highlighted the portion on this practice:

Granny Farming

“Here’s how it works.

1. Paid teams go to senior centers/homes and sign up people for absentees. Most have a list of those that they sign up in past elections.

2. Elections dept. posts list of absentee mailings each day.

3. Teams arrive at doorstep of home or center and grab the ballot and fill out for the Seniors. They rarely question who they voted for and do not review. Often the team just collects the ballot and fills out elsewhere.

They also get the list of those sent out and knock on the door saying they are with the Kerry campaign or the Castor campaign(who may have gotten them to fill out absentee application in the first place), grab the ballot and fill in Bush and Martinez.

This is common place and normal here. I am writing a book about my experiences running a county wide campaign here and the multitude of tactics like this that are used. This is tame compared to much of what they do.”

From The Atlanta Journal Constitution comes the following highlighted news story:

Absentee Fraud Most Common Complaint In Georgia

Bunnis Williams left nothing to chance.Determined to win a fifth term on Valdosta’s City Council in 2001, Williams falsified voters’ applications for absentee ballots. He filled out some ballots himself. Then, records show, he mailed them in — unwittingly including his fingerprints and sealing his fate as a convicted felon.

Williams pleaded guilty in 2003 in a case that epitomizes the most common form of election fraud in Georgia: the manipulation of absentee ballots.

The case underscores what’s missing in a new state law requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls.

The law is designed to ensure voters are who they say they are. It does nothing, however, to address widespread irregularities in absentee voting, the subject of more allegations filed with the State Election Board than all other abuses combined. Since the beginning of 2004, 16 of 27 cases brought before the board involved absentee balloting.

If anything, critics say, the new measure may enable more fraud.

This comes from the, “I told you so” file:

Hawaii Reports of Union Review of Absentee

From the Hawaii Reporter
“There were complaints in 1998 and 2000 by union employees reported to the Hawaii Republican and Democratic Parties, Lagareta says, that union employees were being forced to vote by absentee ballot at work, submitting the ballot to a supervisor for review before being returned to the county clerk for tally.”

Ok, so with just 20 minutes I came up with a New York Times article, a personal testimony about the practise of granny farming in Florida, hard statistics of absentee ballot fraud from Georgia, and an interesting report from Hawaii. Well it didn’t take too long to find reports of problems, contrary to the claims made by the Vote By Mail cheerleading crowd. Stay tuned for more…


Sam Reed Opposes Precinct Level Counts

From an old article I just tracked down:

Sam Reed, Washington’s secretary of state, told the state’s congressional delegation to oppose any election reform bill that would outlaw vote-by-mail, including legislation by Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., that would require every vote to be tabulated at precincts so machines can identify ballot errors and give voters a chance to correct their ballots.

Reed said the delegation should fight any effort to outlaw centrally-counted voting, saying vote-by-mail is “tried-and-true” in the state and trusted by the voters.


Just wanted to post that in the blog to keep track of it for later. Imagine my suprise finding that Reed opposes precinct level counts. Being that precinct level hand-counts prevent the types of electioneering possible with both touch screens and vote by mail schemes.