Op-Ed: Jay Delancy: Does Voter Fraud Even Matter?
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This issue was discussed heavily at VPAC 2016 (Veteran Patriots Action Conference) in front of a large group of veterans and their spouses. The conference was aimed at boosting veteran participation in the political process and voter fraud was a chief concern among the participants.
A school principal named Larry Henson watched a woman vote three times and on April 10, 2013, he told a North Carolina legislative committee about the experience.
“On the second time, I pointed her out to the chief judge,” he said. “The third time, I again pointed her out to the chief judge . . . [who] looked into it and saw that the lady was trying to vote for a man. When questioned, she replied, ‘you’re trying, to deny my neighbor’s right to vote.’ She was voting for someone else.”
Besides voiding the ballot, the chief judge took no further action. Nobody collected evidence—not even a fingerprint—that could aid in prosecution. Instead, the judge told the triple voter, “Go get your neighbor.”
Such catch-and-release policies ensured that she could try again later, after Larry went home.
But this was not voter impersonation fraud.
Because, without prosecution, fraud-deniers’ mantra gets louder: “There is no vote fraud in North Carolina.”
Clear-headed evidence suggests otherwise.
For the past five years, the Voter Integrity Project has forensically analyzed vote fraud and made corrective recommendations to any lawmakers and law enforcers who are brave enough to listen. So far, we’ve inspired a few good reforms. We’ve also triggered 17 criminal referrals, three indictments and two felony convicitions.
Our first-ever conviction was a registered republican who admitted he voted in three states during the same federal election (November 2012) and even submitted a false SSN in one of his registrations.
Responding to such news, our critics stammered, “B-b-b-but voter ID wouldn’t have prevented those crimes.”
Half true. While “real” voter ID laws would, indeed, have prevented this felony, North Carolina’s “fake-ID” law does little to stop this and several other types of vote fraud.
This problem stems from 1993 election reforms that shifted the landscape to allow only laws that might expand the opportunity to vote, with not even a thought of any sort of risk assessment.
Until the public demanded voter ID, every single election reform further loosened our system’s ability to prevent fraud. In 2012, it was so corrupt that even saintly UN observers walked away, stunned by our porous process.
Pick any law: no-excuse absentee voting, early voting, same-day registration, non-governmental registrars and out-of-precinct provisional voting. We’ve found fraud and abuse with each provision.
Efforts to “improve turnout,” always invite more fraud. Granted, such laws do help activists drag a few more low-commitment voters into the polls, but the overall participation rate remains stagnant. Perhaps other, more informed voters, give up, wondering, “Why bother?”
Even Norway halted their on-line voting experiment after it failed to increase turnout and demonstrably lowering public trust in their system.
Such disenfranchisement by vote fraud deserves equal consideration when reforming election laws; but instead, we get fraud-denying assurances from academic ideologues who fallaciously confirm the null hypothesis. And this scares cowardly politicians into conceding their central concern about vote fraud.
Without further review, the media, academic and political elite mindlessly buy into the myth of honor-based elections and join the chorus that attacks anybody suggesting discordant facts: Vote fraud is real.
Illustrating this point, the first time VIP identified vote fraud, we challenged more than 500 voters who had ducked jury duty by claiming to be non-US citizens. Instead of thanking us, an election official publicly scolded us for “undermining public confidence in the electoral process.” Eventually, first WRAL and then MSNBC twisted our work to call us “racists.”
Afraid of such propaganda, well-meaning politicians wind up rigging elections to facilitate enterprise-level vote fraud.
Our system deserves better.
For example, the Federal Republic of Mexico now requires a “real” government-issued photo ID card, thumbprint included. Then, on Election Day, each voter must sign a form and give a thumbprint, just like cashing a check at bank.
We never thought we’d believe Mexico conducts elections more honestly and competently than America; but thanks to our fraud-friendly election laws, the only banana republic remaining on this continent . . . is ours.
Meanwhile, North Carolina’s reformers are left litigating over statistics.
Our nation’s con-game approach to elections must be corrected, but useful reform will never start unless mitigating fraud is valued–at least, equally–with increasing turnout.
If political corruption is worth fighting, then the battle begins with vote fraud.
– Lt. Col Jay DeLancy (retired, USAF) is Director of the Voter Integrity Project, a Raleigh-based non-partisan organization with a mission to “restore trust in the democratic process through analysis, detection and prevention of vote fraud.”