When a Secret Ballot Isn’t Really A Secret Ballot

http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=1096

The above link will take you to a great discussion of why a postal ballot, absentee ballot, or vote-by mail ballot are not exactly secret ballots. It’s eloquent, and if you are looking for a quick summation of the issue, there’s no better discussion I have found anywhere on the web.

Interesting Report on No Fault Absentee Ballot

Another report on the perils of postal voting. This one is here, and was written by Hans A. von Spakovsky, Attorney and Government Affairs Consultant.

His conclusions, whoever he is, are as follows:

  • Absentee ballots make the job of vote thieves easier
  • No fault absentee ballot laws do not increase voter turnout and may lead to greater declines in turnout
  • Absentee ballots make vote buying and voter intimidation easier to commit and make poll watching impossible
  • When voters cast absentee ballots in large numbers, the costs of political campaigns, which are already prohibitive for many citizens, are significantly increased

He also cites several studies, so it’s a good source to keep track of for further research just for the footnotes alone.

Another Great Article on VBM

http://www.jonesreport.com/articles/301006_absentee_voting.html

In my ongoing search for good writing about absentee ballot fraud, I cam across this article today. It’s from last October, and appeared originally in the Wallstreet Journal. I especially liked this quote:

Mistakes are certainly possible. In 2004, a worker at a Toledo, Ohio, election office found 300 completed absentee ballots in a storage room more than a month after the vote. At least half hadn’t been counted, and they affected the result of at least one local contest. In Washington state, absentee ballots were the main reason that two recent statewide contests, for Senate in 2000 and governor in 2004, went into overtime.

Vote Buying in Kentucky

More allegations of vote-buying, dateline Kentucky Feb 13, 2007:

http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/state/16685863.htm

The Bath County attorney, on trial for allegedly buying votes during the May primary, spent the weekend in the Fayette County jail. But officials will not say what Donald “Champ” Maze, 46, did to land there. Maze was booked Friday, but jail officials said the only information they had was that he was arrested on a federal warrant. Maze’s arrest comes in the midst of his trial for voter fraud. He is also accused of lying to a grand jury and trying to coach two women, whom he allegedly paid to buy votes for him, to lie to federal prosecutors. Maze is one of 10 people accused of trying to rig the primary by buying votes. He is the first Bath resident to go to trial.

Hmm, the article doesn’t mention it, but how does someone buy a vote if it’s a poll place vote? My guess is Kentucky has liberalized the restrictions on absentees. Just a hunch. Oops spoke too soon, my hunch is confirmed here:

http://www.wkyt.com/wymtnews/headlines/5654181.html
In that primary, more than 520 Bath County residents voted with an absentee ballot. That’s more than double the number of absentee ballots cast in 2002. Of those 520 voters, more than 240 filled out forms saying they needed assistance and brought people into the voting booth with them. Among those who needed assistance were a beautician and a hazardous materials trucker. Both said on voter assistance documents that they were blind, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Taylor said Tuesday.

More Postal Vote Fraud in the UK

The UK moved to an all postal voting system years ago, and though warned of the potential for fraud, ignored the warnings, well…

http://www.24dash.com/localgovernment/17000.htm

Human rights investigators probing alleged election fraud in the UK are visiting London and Brighton next week to take evidence.

The inquiry has been launched by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Strasbourg-based human rights watchdog.

A resolution signed by 18 Assembly members – national politicians from the Council’s 46 member countries – cites “a growing body of evidence that widespread absent vote fraud is taking place in the United Kingdom”.

The UK Electoral Commission warned of possible abuses and urged tighter security after postal and proxy voting on demand was introduced in 2001.

It repeated warnings of possible abuses in 2004 when nothing had changed.

Then in 2005, a judge hearing a case of about alleged postal voting fiddles in Birmingham said the evidence of electoral fraud “would disgrace a banana republic”.

Vote By Mail a Growing National Attack on Democracy

All across the country VBM is being proposed, this article gives a run down of legislative bills aimed at forcing VBM on unsuspecting citizens in several different states:

http://electionline.org/

Once limited to Oregon and some counties in the Western portion of the country, vote-by-mail has gained some traction in recent weeks with proposals advancing in several state houses.

“Granny Farming” Allegations in Michigan, Virginia, and California moves towards VBM

Granny Farming is the process of convincing the elderly to hand over their absentees to political operatives. And a new case has arisen in Michigan:

http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=local&id=5038701

– (02/15/07)–With less than two weeks until Election Day, there are accusations of absentee ballot fraud in Flint’s First Ward.

There is now an investigation into the recall election against Flint City Council President Darryl Buchanan.

Authorities won’t comment on the specific allegations, but we’ve learned a number of people have complained about someone soliciting at a senior center in Flint’s First Ward.

The suspect is accused of asking seniors to sign their envelope and hand over the unmarked ballot.

“The type of people who work for me have a clean slate,” Buchanan said.

It’s been learned the city clerk’s office has also received several other complaints of solicitation; those complaints are now in the hands of local and state authorities.

Someone is allegedly trying to convince seniors to authorize and hand over their absentee ballots so they can vote for them.

And in other news, a trailer park case Western North Carolina sparks new controversy:

http://www.smokymountainnews.com/issues/02_07/02_21_07/fr_election_controversy.html

Election controversy plagues Swain
By Becky Johnson • Staff Writer
When Commissioner Glenn Jones pulled into the Stillhouse Branch trailer park in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Swain County last October, he’d strayed far from the campaign path of most candidates. The trailers were banged up, dented, dirty, and rusty. “Beware of Dog” signs were rampant, with pit bulls staked to the front stoop of several trailers. Jones got out and walked up to April Fisher’s door, passing a hole in the side of her trailer patched with weathered plywood. Jones was there to ask for her vote, and Fisher was moved.

“I was very impressed with Glenn Jones,” Fisher recalled several months later. “He walked into my house and talked to me like I was a real person. He was the nicest person I ever met.”

But Fisher had never voted, didn’t know where to vote, and didn’t have a car. No problem, Jones explained. All she had to do was sign on the dotted line and a ballot would arrive in her mail box.

Jones had a strategic escort that day: the owner of the trailer park, Phillip Smith. Smith told Fisher to call when the ballot arrived. So she did, and the men came back to guide Fisher and her husband though the process of voting, not forcefully, but just in a helpful way, Fisher said. Fisher and her husband handed over their ballots when they were done.

The scenario was repeated over and over throughout Swain County last fall. In Jones’ crusade for re-election — a tough race that was ultimately decided by less than 200 votes — he systematically targeted the poor, elderly and disabled living in dense areas like trailer parks and nursing homes with his absentee voting pitch. Working in concert with a couple of main supporters, Jones pulled in at least 130 of absentee ballots — about 40 percent of the total absentee ballots cast securing his victory over Republican Jim Douthit.

And in still other news, California moving towards VBM:

http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/2007/02/all_mail_electi.html

The main reason for not doing so is that forced mail ballots place additional burdens on voters – especially working class voters. And to date those working class voters have been less willing to pay the increased opportunity costs of participation.
While absentee ballot applications can be legally supplied by political campaigns or political parties (including the 40 cent stamp needed to mail the application to the clerk), the postage for the ballot itself must be supplied by the voter. Representatives of the campaign or party may not offer to return (by hand or mailman) the voted ballot to the clerk. (An anti-fraud measure imposed by interpretation by a Republican Secretary of State which can’t be overturned by statute because of Republican opposition).

These impediments have meant lower mailed ballot voting rates for working class voters – and that has meant that Republicans outvote Democrats among absentee voters.
All mail ballots, then, could provide a partisan advantage to Republicans. (Republicans remain ambivalent about all mail ballots because of their paranoid fear that millions of illegal aliens will use it to joint the Democratic ranks).