Voter fraud rare in Richmond County elections, official says

Studying fraud

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The prevalence of voter fraud and what to do about it are hot topics across the nation, but for Richmond County Elections Director Lynn Bailey, it’s almost a non-issue.

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Jennifer Baker trains Richmond County poll workers for the Nov. 6 general election. Elections Director Lynn Bailey said voter fraud is almost a non-issue in the county.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Jennifer Baker trains Richmond County poll workers for the Nov. 6 general election. Elections Director Lynn Bailey said voter fraud is almost a non-issue in the county.

In her 19 years as elections director, Bailey said she can’t recall a single proven case of voter fraud.

“Voter fraud is not an issue that takes up much of my time because we just don’t see it,” Bailey said.

Many conservative groups don’t see it that way. The push nationwide has been to increase safeguards against fraud at the polls by passing laws – such as one in Georgia – that require voters to present photo identification.

At least 30 states, including South Carolina, have enacted some sort of voter ID legislation. A panel of three federal judges upheld that law last week, but delayed enforcement until next year.

In their unanimous ruling, the judges said there was no discriminatory intent behind South Carolina’s law, ruling that it would not diminish the voting rights of black residents because people who face a “reasonable impediment” to getting an acceptable photo ID can still vote if they sign an affidavit.

Opponents of such legislation say the problem of voter fraud is greatly exaggerated and that voter ID laws don’t address areas where fraud is an issue.

Studying fraud

A recent nationwide study by News21, a student-journalism project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, found only about 2,000 cases of documented voter fraud since 2000.

Voter impersonation, the type of fraud most often cited by supporters of voter ID initiatives, was found to be extremely rare.

News21 contacted election officers throughout the U.S. for examples of all sorts of election fraud, and found only 10 cases in which impersonation fraud was alleged – about 1 percent of all cases combined.

The most prevalent type of fraud cited was absentee ballot fraud. About 24 percent of known cases involved ineligible voters casting absentee ballots in someone else’s name.

Linda Brown, the state leader of True the Vote, a national organization that supports voter ID laws and seeks to ensure accuracy and reliability of voter registration lists, said voter fraud is a widespread problem in the U.S. that has an effect on elections.

As an example, she cited the 2008 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman. The close race resulted in a protracted court battle and a recount that went in Franken’s favor. His final margin of victory over Coleman was 312 votes out of about 2.9 million cast.

After the election, a conservative group called Minnesota Majority claimed to have identified 1,099 felons who were ineligible to vote who had cast ballots.

Brown said those ineligible voters allowed Franken to win and gave Democrats enough votes in the Senate to push through the Affordable Care Act.

“That election is why we have Obamacare,” she said.

Independent journalists and Minnesota elections officials have disputed that claim, however. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that the Minnesota Majority numbers appeared to be overstated and of the felons that did cast votes, there is no record of who they voted for, making it impossible to say Franken benefitted.

Nevertheless, Brown said True the Vote has been able to find ineligible voters on rolls across Georgia – including in Augusta.

Checking rolls

Last week, True the Vote representatives challenged the registrations of 37 Richmond County voters at the monthly Board of Elections meeting. Brown said her organization found that those on the list had given business addresses as their place of residence on registration applications – primarily mini-storage businesses and a UPS Store in Daniel Village.

Elections officials found that of the 37 challenged, two people had since moved to other counties and two others had updated their addresses elsewhere within the county. The 33 others were ruled ineligible and struck from the rolls, Bailey said.

Brown said True the Vote will continue to check voter lists after the election. The goal is to ensure accurate voting rolls and not to disenfranchise legitimate voters.

“We know that the boards of elections in Richmond and Columbia counties are very good at keeping up-to-date and accurate lists,” Brown said. “They do a good job, but we are assisting in what they are doing and in no way countering what they are doing.”

Bailey said the information from True the Vote was helpful, but it falls in line with the series of safeguards already in place to ensure that those on the county’s voting rolls are properly registered and will cast legal votes on Election Day.

Watching polls

To purge dead voters from the rolls, for example, elections workers check newspaper obituaries every day and remove names of voters who have died. They also check a statewide database that tracks voter deaths and periodically check records with the local department of vital statistics, Bailey said.

They also look for felony convictions. The state notifies the board of election of such convictions and those people are also removed from voter lists.

“I would say every county in Georgia uses the same practices,” she said. “I’m very confident with the checks we have in place.”

Another problem they check for is duplicate registrations. With more than 7 million registered voters in Georgia, Bailey said it is possible for someone to be registered in two locations. It is probably the most common problem encountered with voter rolls, she said.

Most often this occurs when a voter has moved to a different county and registered again, instead of just updating their information, she said.

If someone tries to subvert election laws by registering in a place other than where they live, they have committed a crime, Bailey said

“That would be considered false swearing – a felony in Georgia,” she said. “We would refer that case to the district attorney’s office.”

Brown said True the Vote intends to have poll watchers in as many local precincts as possible on Nov. 6 to ensure election machines aren’t manipulated and that poll workers are doing their jobs properly.

“We are also training people to be poll watchers and we need more volunteers,” she said. “We will have as many as volunteers as we can train.”

Bailey said her poll workers are well trained, but poll watchers aren’t uncommon in local elections and each party is allowed to have two at each precinct.

“Generally, in this type of election we do have poll watchers,” she said.

EARLY VOTING

The last day for voting by mail and early voting for the Nov. 6 general election is Nov. 2.

In-person early voting starts Monday:

COLUMBIA COUNTY

WHERE: Board of Elections Office, 500 Faircloth Dr., Bldg. E, Evans

WHEN: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

MORE INFORMATION: Call (706) 868-3355 or visit columbiacountyga.gov

RICHMOND COUNTY

WHERE: Board of Elections Office, 530 Greene St.

WHEN: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

MORE INFORMATION: Call (706) 821-2340 or visit augustaga.gov.

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TK3
562
Points
TK3 10/13/12 - 09:42 pm
1
4
Blind and Don't see it !

Of course not, IMHO, almost all election officials are blind unless the wrong side happens to be found getting ahead.
“Voter fraud is not an issue that takes up much of my time because we just don’t see it,” Bailey said.

Even IF the election game wasn't rigged from the start, having candidates backed by Neo~fascists New Order Republicans vs socialist Collectivist Democrats is NOT a acceptable choice for real Americans ...thus I choose to send a message along with the majority that I won't play their game anymore and will vote for neither !

Truth Matters
7217
Points
Truth Matters 10/14/12 - 05:12 am
4
0
Voter Fraud

I believe Ms. Bailey when she says that voter fraud in Richmond County is virtually non-existent. Every election office should do its job as Ms. Bailey and her staff then fewer citizens would be wrongfully kicked off the voter rolls across the nation. The most fraud is known to be possible with absentee voting. Suburban voters tend to use this method more, yet, I do not know of one state that has made changes to ensure no voter fraud in absentee voting. If you still think that there is not a clear mission in these new voter ID laws one is naive. (Just listen to what the head of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania said for further proof of the motivation behind these laws.)

Message to True the Vote: I will have my camera phone near the poll; if I see you harassing one single person, "smile, you are on candid camera" and it will be texted straight to FoxNews, Drudge, Rush (because some of you don't believe anything unless Fox says it happened), CNN and all the other outlets!

avidreader
3377
Points
avidreader 10/14/12 - 06:00 am
2
1
Border Hoppers!

Compared to many cities throughout the U.S., Augusta does not have a large population of illegal immigrants. So, it's unlikely that we will have a large problem with voter fraud. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm sure Ms. Bailey is happy that this isn't Arizona.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 10/14/12 - 06:45 am
6
0
Stopping poll level fraud

It is true, there has been no old school organized Voter Fraud like in the old days of extra: printed ballots, ballot boxes and those sudden come from behind wins after midnight.

The question become has Voter Fraud Gone Green? Now we have electronic voting. NO paper, 95% electronic, saving trees, except for the campaign road signs everywhere.

Touch Screen layouts can, and have been accidentally programed to read one thing, an vote another. In these cases without a paper trail we the voters, are NONE the wiser how the vote was tabulated. This is why a number of states have moved to voter printed receipts.
-
Bruce Schneier a world-renown security technologist, and CTO of Counterpane Internet Security, Inc (Super respected in the IT Sec industry) wrote on Electronic Voting Machines and nailed it on the head, when he stated:
-

"The error rates in modern systems can be significant. Some voting technologies have a 5% error rate, which means one in twenty people who vote using the system don't have their votes counted. "
-
He goes on to extrapolate that since some machines have a history of tabulating votes incorrectly over others. Careful placement of the problem machines in the right locations can help win or lose close elections.

This is why I vote absentee in GA. when ever possible. Its paper, tracked in and out, and it logged.

Paranoid maybe, but I have brother that worked on a local GA county's systems and he has the same concerns.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 10/14/12 - 07:40 am
1
8
Now we have the GOP

Now we have the GOP committing voter fraud in their favor with registration and in their favor with purging roles. We should have known since they screamed the loudest about fraud, they were the ones committing it.

justthefacts
22767
Points
justthefacts 10/14/12 - 08:48 am
3
0
Typical Dims

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch is at it again. The Democrat who presided over a 2010 vote casting and counting scandal in the tight race for governor was caught on video Friday guaranteeing Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Christopher Murphy a big result in the state’s largest city–even if it takes days to count.

Bridgeport provided a crucial and dubious margin of victory to Democratic and Working Families Governor Dannel P. Malloy in 2010 amidst unprecedented chaos at the city’s polling places. The 2010 Bridgeport assault on democracy included photocopied ballots, altered hours at polling places, a mysterious bag of votes and Finch’s abuse of the city’s emergency notification system to increase turnout on Election Day.

Murphy, locked in a dead heat with Republican Linda McMahon, needs the grimy Bridgeport Guarantee. He got it from Finch on Friday while visiting small businesses in the poverty-wracked city. A laughing Finch boasts even if it takes a couples of days to get the results,”You can be guaranteed you’re going to get the vote.” Two years after the 2010 fiasco, it remains no laughing matter to the rest of Connecticut.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 10/14/12 - 08:50 am
1
0
I agree with OpenCurtain re:

I agree with OpenCurtain re: electronic voting machines.

too bad former Secretary of State Cathy Cox never expanded the paper trail system beyond a trial district.

Anyone care to guess who Diebold is heavily supporting this presidential season?

justthefacts
22767
Points
justthefacts 10/14/12 - 09:08 am
3
1
Let me guess

"Anyone care to guess who Diebold is heavily supporting this presidential season?" Well, since they are probably pro-business, jobs and such, I would say Republicans. What's the point?

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 10/14/12 - 09:21 am
1
0
oh nothing, justthefacts, no

oh nothing, justthefacts, no conflict of interest there at all.

justthefacts
22767
Points
justthefacts 10/14/12 - 09:24 am
2
0
Well

I mean if you have proof. Share it with us..please. Who did they support in 2008? Who won?

soapy_725
43772
Points
soapy_725 10/14/12 - 09:45 am
0
0
Never was and never will be.....
Unpublished

known for certain except in some remote district with ten citizens and ten pieces of paper. And all ten count them independently. The old machines with the curtain and the giant handle and switches. The new touch screens of today. No quarantines. It is an "exercise in democracy". It is administrated by "the state". The state has the most to gain by manipulating the votes. Individual candidates mean nothing.

It is not who votes, but who counts the votes - - Joseph Stalin

Riverman1
87157
Points
Riverman1 10/14/12 - 09:46 am
0
0
I grew up in a South Carolina

I grew up in a South Carolina county where there was voter fraud. Elections were rigged for many years and everyone knew it. But another aspect to all this is illegals are counted in the census already and representation is alloted based on the population.

soapy_725
43772
Points
soapy_725 10/14/12 - 09:48 am
0
0
Lee Anderson is the poster boy
Unpublished

for why "grassroots politics is the answer to turning this country around" is a myth. The "steering wheel" of the USA is in the hands of the designated driver. And he ain't no tractor driving, good ol boy, evangelical farmer, lawyer or dentist.

Conservative Man
5577
Points
Conservative Man 10/14/12 - 11:15 am
0
0
Voter fraud...?

...maybe not, ...but vote buying?.....you betcha....

rebellious
21306
Points
rebellious 10/14/12 - 02:42 pm
1
0
Magic Eye

I suspect Voter Fraud is like the Magic Eye printed posters. The more I stare at them, the less I beleive there is anything to see.

My Dad used to tap his finger deliberately on a table until someone would ask what he was doing and why. He would respond that he was keeping the elephants away by doing that. They would inevitably say "That doesn't keep elephants away" to which he would reply...."You don't see any elephants, do you?"

Or to quote Sargeant Shultz "I see nothing, nooothiiing"

Besides at a cost of 4 votes for a car, fraud is too expensive.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 10/14/12 - 04:02 pm
0
0
Those pesky facts again:

A recount of the Bridgeport governor's vote from the chaotic Nov. 2 election shows that about 1,500 of the nearly 6,000 photocopied ballots used when polls ran out of regular ballots were incorrectly counted, never counted at all or misrepresented on the city's final returns. The photocopied ballots were a part of the overall 24,000 cast in the governor's race.

In three precincts, the photocopied ballots weren't even included in the city's final report.

The net effect was that Democrat Dannel Malloy was shortchanged by 761 votes; Republican Tom Foley by 174; and Independent Tom Marsh by 19.

The errors affected the candidates in roughly the same proportion as Bridgeport's reported results, which suggests there was no fraud afoot. The missing votes would have increased Malloy's margin of victory by nearly 600 votes above the official statewide margin of 6,404. Thus, the final result of the gubernatorial race would not have been swayed.

Read more: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Bridgeport-vote-recount-shows-widespr...

Try not to rely on a sketchy right wing blogger from the loss leader neocon mag The Weekly Standard, started by Faux News' Rupert Murdoch and edited by neocon Bill (thanks for Palin and the Iraq war) Kristol, who uses 20 seconds from a video from a paid GOP tracker.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 10/14/12 - 04:24 pm
0
0
"illegals are counted in the

"illegals are counted in the census already and representation is alloted based on the population." So Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, and other southern and western states are gaining seats (of course they're GOP seats) based on illegals. Since the GOP is so against illegals, why aren't they screaming to refuse gaining those seats? Oh yeah, it helps them have more power in Congress. With their usual hypocrisy, they are happy to overlook it

Dixieman
15999
Points
Dixieman 10/14/12 - 06:55 pm
0
0
Rubbish

There are people registered and voting in more than one place (especially NY and FL).
There are convicted felons and illegal aliens registered and voting.
There are people being bribed to sell their votes.
Source: "Who's Counting?" a recent fact-filled book.
Election officials' job is to get the election over and done, not to challenge people. This is like saying oh, there isn't a serious murder problem because the meter maids don't see any. DAs don't prosecute unless pressure is brought. Vote fraud is rampant and needs to be stopped. Al Franken is already in the Senate due to fraud. Wake up! Read the book!!

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 10/15/12 - 09:45 am
0
0
Look no further than locally

We recently had a recount in the area and the vote DID change, not by much, but it did change. Voting machines are NOT 100%.

Also someone please chime in about the 2010 Pine Hill voting debacle.

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