Thursday, August 16 , 2018, 10:57 am | Overcast 75º


Diane Dimond: Voting Fraud Exists, and We Should Not Be OK with That

Crimes are being committed in the United States every time there is an election.

There are plenty of illegally registered voters on the rolls, and a good portion of them are casting ballots. Some are not U.S. citizens. Others flout the law and either vote in more than one state or vote posing as a registered voter who is dead.

These are facts. This is voter fraud, folks. So don’t let those who pooh-pooh the existence of voter deception tell you otherwise.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation, a nonprofit law firm that proclaims it is “dedicated to election integrity,” reports that Virginia quietly struck 5,556 noncitizens from its voting rolls between 2011 and this May.

Why were those people registered? I wonder. And how did 1,852 of them proceed to cast a total of 7,474 illegal ballots during various elections?

And get this: Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic governor of Virginia, refused to sign a bill earlier this year that would have investigated areas where voter rolls have more registered voters than eligible citizens. Why would a public official hesitate to take steps to uncover potential voter fraud?

Maybe there’s something to the idea that most noncitizen voters are minorities, and minorities most often vote for Democrats. Maybe that’s why it is mostly Democrats who sneer at the idea that there is a problem and something should be done to determine exactly how widespread it is.

Instead, like one-time presidential candidate and self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders, they deny the facts and conjure up conspiracy theories.

“At a time when we already have one of the lowest voter turnouts of any major country, Republicans are working overtime trying to make it harder for poor people, people of color, older people and young people to vote,” Sanders said.

Please, can someone tell me how cleaning up the voter registration rolls would stop any legally eligible voter from voting for the candidate of their choice? That’s like saying authorities investigating possible bank-fraud charges will keep people from being able to make transactions at the bank. That makes zero sense to me.

And Virginia is not the only place where voter deception has been uncovered.

North Carolina’s voter rolls were so out of whack a few years ago that the State Board of Elections found that 35,750 residents were registered to vote there and in another state — and had voted in both in the 2012 general election!

In addition, officials had to admit that more than 13,000 dead people were registered to vote, and 81 of those names were recently used to cast illegal ballots.

Yet some still insist there is no meaningful voter fraud in America. I would argue that any illegally cast ballots should raise major red flags and spark automatic investigations and prosecutions.

In Southern California last spring, investigative reporter David Goldstein of CBS2/KCAL9 was able to do what election officials were apparently unable or unwilling to do. He identified at least 265 dead voters in his area of the Golden State, many of whom had cast ballots “year after year.” For the record, most were registered Democrats, and 86 were registered Republican.

In Ohio earlier this year, officials discovered that at least 821 noncitizens were illegally registered to vote and more than 100 of them had cast ballots.

“When you consider that in Ohio we have had 112 elections decided by one vote or tied in the last three years, every case of illegal voting must be taken seriously,” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted pointed out.

Given that America now has more than 200 million registered voters, are the cases cited here a drop in the bucket? Yes.

But we really have no idea how many of those 200 million should not be on the rolls. We don’t know how widespread the problem is because no one has ever really looked into it.

In May, President Donald Trump appointed a bipartisan commission to study the issue of election integrity, but it is already being attacked as unnecessary and, as the League of Women Voters president put it, will likely “undermine our elections by spreading falsehoods.” The commission’s work is condemned before it even starts.

One side says voter fraud is nonexistent, yet there is proof it exists. When confronted with the facts, they switch tracks and proclaim the problem really isn’t that bad. They maintain that their political foes are up to no good and their real goal is voter suppression. I suppose they also worry that the sun may not come up tomorrow.

It all comes down to one common-sense question: How many illegal votes are OK with you? I say the answer should be none, or as close to none as we can possibly get.

Diane Dimond is the author of Thinking Outside the Crime and Justice Box. Contact her at [email protected], follow her on Twitter: @DiDimond, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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