“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).

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One Response

  1. […] Everytime I see an article about the push to ease absentee ballot restrictions, I’m always amazed that the League of Women Voters supports this move. Why is this suprising? Because the League of Women Voters has traditionally supported the secret ballot. However absentee ballots are not secret ballots, and for one, enable fraud like Granny Farming. […]

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