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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vote fraud

Apparently, part of the right-wing anti-ACORN screed is about potential voter fraud. ACORN is registering voters and some of the registrations are obvious fakes (using clearly fake names, etc.). Matt Yglesias and Scott Lemieux note that registration fraud isn't the same as vote fraud. Will Mickey Mouse be allowed to vote?

I blogged about vote fraud before, but it is really important to keep in mind this quote from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Report on Florida Voter Fraud Issues (January 1998). I referenced it often in fall 2000:
  • The absentee ballot is the "tool of choice" for those who are engaging in election fraud.

The absentee ballot's very nature makes it the mechanism to use when trying to capitalize on a voter's infirmities or desire to make some quick money. Both federal and Florida law make absentee ballots available to anyone who seeks them, with no requirement of "justification" for not appearing in person at the polls. Given this easy access to absentee ballots, the "tool of choice" will remain popular among those who corrupt the elections process.
More from a bit later in the document:
"Actual false impersonation at the polls continues to occur regularly, although use of absentee ballots appears to be the preferred method of committing fraud."
My 2004 blog post quoted from a Paul Krugman column noting that Republicans were encouraging their voters to use absentee ballots. In Florida 2008, Republicans are requesting significantly more absentee ballots than are Democrats. In one part of Florida, they are requesting 75% more absentee ballots.

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