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A Small Case of Voter Fraud:

Atlantic City councilman Marty Small and thirteen others who worked on his failed mayoral campaign have been indicted on charges of voter fraud. Among other things, they are accused of destroying absentee ballots and submitting fraudulent absentee ballots -- to no avail, apparently, as Small lost the election. (HT: Jim Geraghty)

Prof. S. (mail):
On the upside, they have a promising career opportunity with Senator Franken's reelection campaign.
9.4.2009 9:52am
shertaugh:
I grew up in Atlantic City.

Usually, our mayors were indicted -- as I remember it, three mayors in about 15 years found the inside of federal prison back in the 70's and 80's.

I guess this is an improvement. It's only someone who wanted to be mayor.
9.4.2009 9:52am
neurodoc:
So there's something to that schoolyard taunt, "Cheaters never prosper."
9.4.2009 9:56am
K. Dackson (mail):
Reminds me of the line in "The Dirty Dozen":

"You know what your problem was? You let somebody see you do it."
9.4.2009 10:17am
Steve:
People convicted of tax fraud can get a lesser sentence by establishing that the actual tax loss to the government wasn't all that much. I wonder if a similar argument works in the context of election fraud.
9.4.2009 10:20am
DrDrew:
I'm guessing Al Franken will easily win in 5 years. He will turn out to be a very good Minnesota Senator in the Wellstone tradition.
And what's the point of this post, other than to highlight a failed Democrat's misdeeds? A link to Jim Geraghty usually doesn't do much to open up a dialog.
9.4.2009 10:33am
NowMDJD (mail):
Maybe losers are more likely to be prosecuted for voter fraud (or anything else). They are powerless, after all, having lost.
9.4.2009 10:36am
LarryR (mail):
I'm shocked that several Atlantic City, NJ politicos have conspired to violate the election laws and tried to steal an election. This incident has made me seriously question my faith in politicians.
9.4.2009 11:01am
DiverDan (mail):

He will turn out to be a very good Minnesota Senator in the Wellstone tradition.


I'll take Oxymorons for $1000, Alex.
9.4.2009 11:03am
DangerMouse:
But the libs told me that voter fraud was nonexistent!!!

Of course it happens in NJ. That's how dems win elections there. Dead people voting, dogs voting, etc. It's just the way things are done. I don't know if there's ever been an election in NJ in which the dems haven't done something like this. Not always successful, but they always give it the college try.
9.4.2009 11:04am
Sammy Finkelman (mail):
This was not like old-time Chicago or Texas. They committed voter frauid without having any idea of how many votes they would have to create. TTHis was maybe because they coujldn't do it. THis fraud was not committee by people in chargew of conductinbg the election. It was a shot in the dark.

In Chicago and Texas they waited to report results until they knew how many votes they needed. Precincts that report suspiciously late may be a place to look for such things.
9.4.2009 11:10am
egd:
LarryR:

I'm shocked that several Atlantic City, NJ politicos have conspired to violate the election laws and tried to steal an election. This incident has made me seriously question my faith in politicians.

Next thing you know, we'll see a blog post from Yglesias that he's outraged, absolutely outraged, that a politician could not only sacrifice his principles, but commit actual criminal acts in seeking or maintaining his elected office.
9.4.2009 11:17am
Dave N (mail):
A link to Jim Geraghty usually doesn't do much to open up a dialog.
Neither do ad hominem statements.
9.4.2009 11:22am
first history:
On the upside, they have a promising career opportunity with Senator Franken's reelection campaign.

Last time I checked, Franken's campaign was never accused of voter fraud, not even by the Coleman campaign. Nor did they steal the election:

....Mr. Franken, nor ...his attorneys or any of his partisans, "steal" this election, in any appropriate sense of that term. .... [A]t most Franken did was work the system by making arguments about what disputed ballots should be counted or rejected--nothing different from what Coleman did, or for that matter Bush and Gore in 2000, or any other candidate trying to achieve a favorable resolution to a post-election dispute.
....
The State Canvassing Board, which was unanimous in all of its legal rulings and essentially unanimous in virtually all of its ballot-by-ballot review of voter intent, had five members, two of which were state supreme court justices with demonstrably Republican backgrounds, including the Chief Justice. It would be out-of-touch with the reality of the situation to suggest that the State Canvassing Board attempted to steal the election for Franken.

Likewise, the three-judge trial court was selected to achieve partisan balance: one member was a Republican appointee, another a DFLer, and third an independent (Ventura-appointee). It, too, was unanimous in all of its rulings. Whether or not one agrees with its rulings on the merits--in other words, whether one thinks the 3-judge panel correctly or incorrectly interpreted Minnesota or federal law--there is no basis whatsoever for thinking that its legal rulings were biased in a desire to throw the election to Franken for partisan reasons.


The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that voters must strictly comply with the law when completing absentee ballots. Don't conservatives favor strict compliance with the law? Or do they favor court rulings that re-write the law? Candidates shold make certain their supporters know how to fill out a ballot.

I don't know what kind of Senator Al Franken will be, but the fact is he just won a very close election.
9.4.2009 11:40am
A.S.:
Impossible. I simply don't believe it.


After all, I've been repeatedly assured by left-winger after left winger than voter fraud does not exist.

Nothing to see here. Move along.
9.4.2009 11:52am
Steve:
Individual voter fraud does not exist. Virtually no one is going to risk a felony conviction just to vote twice.

Systematic voter fraud, like fabricating ballots, corrupt officials rigging the count, etc., certainly exists and I doubt many people would deny that it exists. Good luck stopping it with ID requirements though.

If you want to play the gotcha game with liberals by calling this story a case of "voter fraud," then Diebold's alleged manipulation of election results - an article of faith for many on the left - falls into that same category of "voter fraud." Making it pretty hard to believe that liberals don't think voter fraud exists.
9.4.2009 12:02pm
second history:
Sounds like they have futures as Afghan and Iraqi election officals (elections we supported, by the way.)
9.4.2009 12:05pm
karrde (mail) (www):
My experience as an Election Inspector (in my state, that's the title of the person who checks your name on the voter-list, instructs you in how to vote, and keeps an eye on any on-site tabulators) makes me a little surprised.

Not too surprised, though. They had to intercept absentee ballots to do it.

If the local Clerk that manages elections does their job right, it is hard to commit systematic fraud.

On the other hand, it is easy for the Clerk to negligantly or deliberately encourage fraud. Were there instances of "discovered absentee ballots", and mismatches between ballot-counts and lists of names on the voter-list? While the MN Senatorial race may not have included that, State-level elections in Washington included some such events in 2004.

The easiest way for individual voters to commit fraud is to cross jurisdictional boundaries. (Move between cities/States, and vote at both old and new locations. It may be possible, depending on how the cities/States manage their voter-registration lists.)

Another way for fraud to be possible is for names of dead voters to be "claimed" by a transient.

Both methods of individual voter fraud can be circumvented by requiring voters to show state-provided photo ID.

Do you wonder about how easy fraud is? Volunteer to help your local City Clerk during the next election. You will learn a great deal about the elections, the people running them, and how easy (or hard) fraud is.
9.4.2009 12:27pm
Widmerpool:
DrDrew asks: And what's the point of this post, other than to highlight a failed Democrat's misdeeds?

Son, I say, son, there's these things heah called jokes like the title of this heah post. Jokes, you see, make people laugh and that's the point. I do believe, son, I said, I do believe, that you have a mind like a steel trap--full of mice.
9.4.2009 1:16pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):

I do believe, son, I said, I do believe, that you have a mind like a steel trap--full of mice.

NOOOO! I've been waiting to use that one for so long at just the appropriate moment. Curse you, Widmerpool, curse you!
9.4.2009 1:42pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Interestingly, Geraghty yesterday posted links to another voter fraud story involving a New Jersey politician - who was registered to vote in 2 different states (NJ and FL) - and claims FL as her residence for tax purposes.

Nick
9.4.2009 1:49pm
Angus:
All close elections in which my guy loses are stolen.

All close elections in which my guy wins are legitimate.

So say we all.
9.4.2009 2:54pm
Prof. S. (mail):
First history -- apparently you have forgotten about the ballots magically appearing in someone's trunk, the ballot totals that did not match the number of ballots actually cast, the "count every vote until I get ahead, now stop," and the fact that Mark Ritche, who campaigned for Franken, was on the panel that sorted through the votes before it ever got to the Supreme Court.

The election totals were within the margin of error - even though the subsequent actions narrowed that margin down. The mere fact that the Supreme Court certified the coin toss (which was made with a weighted coin) does not mean it was definitively correct.
9.4.2009 3:09pm
NotMyRealName:
I'd say this case undermines the call for voter ID. It certainly doesn't support calls for voters to show photo ID when they show up at the polling place.

In this case, the election fraud appears to have been conducted by tampering with absentee ballots. That's consistent with history: many or most of the recent cases of election fraud in the US have involved absentee ballots. Absentee ballots seem to be one of the greatest fraud risks, a much higher risk than votes cast at the polling place.

And guess which kind of ballots are exempt from the requirement to show photo ID, under many voter ID proposals? Yup, absentee ballots -- exactly the ones that are the greatest fraud risk.

If voter ID advocates were truly concerned about election fraud, they'd focus more on securing absentee ballots and less on demanding photo ID from voters who show up in person to cast a ballot at their polling place.
9.4.2009 4:12pm
Taltos:
If voter ID advocates were truly concerned about election fraud, they'd focus more on securing absentee ballots and less on demanding photo ID from voters who show up in person to cast a ballot at their polling place.

Well I'm in favor of requiring ID to vote, and abolishing absentee ballots altogether with the exception of overseas military as they have no choice in their ability to be home to vote.
9.4.2009 6:12pm

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