Vote Fraud Explained, and Prevention
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 2, 2016
I write the following as an experienced election official, having participated in various levels and capacities of electioneering, as poll watcher, at polling locations, re-counting ballots in close and contended elections, and counting absentee ballots.
Voter fraud and voting fraud may be two sides of the same vote fraud coin. Allow me to explain.
In some lesser-developed nations, evidence of having voted has been accomplished by having the voter dip their finger in an indelible, semi-permanent ink. The world has seen it used in Iraqi elections, among others, and is often purple. It thereby prevents duplicate voting by an individual.
So-called “ballot stuffing” is a lesser way to commit vote fraud, and has commonly been experienced or suspected in totalitarian nations under despotic rule, where the election process is not made public, nor does the public at large have access to balloting, or ballots. In that type vote fraud, numerous ballots are fraudulently cast by members or supporters of the existing government (most typically), and counting or re-counting ballots is frequently not performed. The winner is declared by fiat, and often, the military is complicit in the exaction and enforcement of the fraudulent results.
Another type of vote fraud is registration fraud, as referenced in this news article. In registration fraud, an attempt is made to create an opportunity to cast a ballot using a fictitious name, which name sometimes may be the name of a deceased person, or of someone totally fictitious who may, or may not have a common name. When balloting opportunity arrives, the fraudsters present themselves to a polling location in an attempt to impersonate the fictitious voter and cast a ballot in their name. Unless election officials are complicit in the attempt, the potential crime is most often thwarted, which was the scenario cited in the article.
Another type of vote fraud somewhat related to registration fraud is absentee ballot fraud. In a way similar to registration fraud, an impersonation attempt is made by a perpetrator to fraudulently cast a ballot in the name of the registrant. The key to such an opportunity – as are all vote frauds – is anonymity. The identity of the person casting a ballot is either not made by visual inspection, or by verification. While identity impersonation can occur in person, it is less frequent than in absentee voting. However, whether in person, or by absentee ballot, voter registration is the key to prevention of vote fraud. And voter registration is most often done in person, and identification of the voter is accomplished at that time by using mailings, or other governmental documents which has the same address and name as the registrant.
And in some states, absentee balloting is accompanied by a certification form, and the voter’s signature, and by extension, their identity, is accomplished by notary. In some cases, if a notary is unavailable, at least two people unrelated to the voter must attest – under penalty of perjury – that the voter’s signature is that of the voter, and by extension, the person casting the absentee ballot.
In our modern society, with the preponderance of numerous types of ways to validate and verify identity, including photographic IDs through employment, driver license, military, passport, etc., it is inconceivable that vote fraud could genuinely occur, or occur in quantities enough to influence any election. Furthermore, when a person presents to register, or cast a ballot – even if no photographic ID is used or required – a provisional ballot could be cast, which, following the election, could be checked to determine validity.
Opining further, if voter registration occurred at the time of obtaining or renewing a driver license, it would significantly prevent vote fraud attempts by impersonation.
See also: http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title52/subtitle2/chapter205&edition=prelim
United States Code Title 52 – Voting and Elections, Subtitle II – Voting Assistance and Election Administration, Chapter 205 – National Voter Registration, §20504. Simultaneous application for voter registration and application for motor vehicle driver’s license
§20505. Mail registration