Electing to fight fraud

Electoral system doesn't have to be a shaky mess

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In spite of all our technology, the U.S. election system is nearing Third-World levels of credibility.

Liberals claim conservatives are trying to suppress minority turnout. Conservatives point to loose voter identification laws and bizarre election day outcomes.

In the immediate wake of the Nov. 6 election, reports surfaced of 141 percent turnout in one Florida location, and entire areas of Philadelphia and Cleveland in which the Republican presidential nominee received zero votes.

Indeed, the presidential vote was unanimous in 59 Philadelphia precincts, and in nine of Cleveland’s.

The 141 percent story turned out not to be true. But it added to the perception of a system out of control. And combined with stories of voter machine problems, voter identification squabbles and an explosion of absentee ballots – some of which are mysteriously found after the fact – it just seems our system is no longer credible.

Even U.N. observers were amazed at how loosey-goosey our electoral system is.

In a September story headlined “Voter rolls in Ohio are bloated, experts say,” The Columbus Dispatch wrote, “More than one out of every five registered Ohio voters is probably ineligible to vote.

“In two counties, the number of registered voters actually exceeds the voting-age population ...”

Right here in Augusta – which boasts one of the finest election directors around, Lynn Bailey – an Augusta Chronicle investigation recently unearthed several dozen voters whose home addresses were actually empty lots and abandoned houses across the county. The spot check, done by comparing voter registration information to county property records and Licensing and Inspection dates on abandoned properties, illustrates that voter fraud may be occurring even in areas with the most trustworthy election officials.

Imagine if rank partisans were, instead, in control of the election machinery.

It doesn’t have to be this way. And it shouldn’t be.

Voter “suppression” can no longer be considered a legitimate concern. There were no confirmations of it before or after the election – and fears that Barack Obama might be turned out of office because minorities weren’t allowed to vote were obvious puffery.

Fact is, our problem is just the opposite: There aren’t enough controls on the system to prevent votes being cast that shouldn’t be.

Even in nearby Lincoln County, Ga., incumbent Sheriff Gerald Lawson, who lost narrowly on Nov. 6, is claiming fraud.

“Lawson’s complaint,” reads a recent news story, “alleges that a dead person and felons under sentence cast ballots, that many absentee ballots were delivered by a single person near the end of voting and that absentee ballots were seen outside their envelopes before Election Day.”

It’s quite possible that, in our zeal to make voting convenient, we’ve made it far too convenient.

At the dawn of the 21st century, in the world’s most advanced society, it’s ludicrous to have such doubt shroud our elections.

At the very least, it’s maddeningly inefficient: Once again, Florida didn’t know its outcome in a presidential election for days.

Even in some Third World countries, voters are required to be fingerprinted. We can do that here – and without the ink. As soon as possible, we need to move to biometric forms of identification in elections.

In the meantime, we wish Democrats would stop fighting election reform that would bring more credibility to elections, including photo IDs.

No one knows how extensive voter fraud is. But a supposedly advanced nation shouldn’t even brook the possibility of it.

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Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 12/09/12 - 07:01 am
10
2
No Ethics- No Morals

Ineligible unintelligent, unscrupulous candidates voted in and elected by ineligible, unintelligent, unscrupulous voters! I never thought I would think of America having so many rotten, no good people, but, every day we hear something worse than the day before about our political bigwigs, and it is steadily getting worse...................

Riverman1
79526
Points
Riverman1 12/09/12 - 07:30 am
8
3
Let's Be Honest

Jane is partially right. There are unitelligent voters in Richmond County and Lincoln County galore. But I’m interested in what prompted the Chronicle to begin such an investigation? Results of elections?

What you will find is lots of poor, homeless or nearly homeless people who bounce around from one address and relative to another in Augusta being encouraged by the Democrats to vote. They are driven to the polls and their absentee ballots delivered, but I suspect they are legal and only vote once. I know the area and people well.

Some of these people continue to list addresses where they lived decades ago. It’s a cultural feature. It’s an Augusta feature, a Lincoln County feature and present in many of the Democratic voting districts.They are not illegal voters, voting more than once. Heck, it’s hard enough to get people to vote once, much less twice.

WalterBradfordCannon
1378
Points
WalterBradfordCannon 12/09/12 - 07:41 am
5
5
The reality is that keeping

The reality is that keeping information on voters is an imperfect process. That does not mean that every imperfection in the system is fraud. People have looked very carefully at potential fraud in voting, and found it to be nearly non-existent. However, virtually every "solution" for this non-problem leads to disenfranchising of voters - typically minorities or those with lower earnings. Here is a quote and link to a story in the Washington Post on a study on potential voter fraud.

"A new nationwide analysis of more than 2,000 cases of alleged election fraud over the past dozen years shows that in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which has prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tougher voter ID laws, was virtually nonexistent.

The analysis of 2,068 reported fraud cases by News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/election-day-impersonation-an-imp...

Rhetor
978
Points
Rhetor 12/09/12 - 09:12 am
4
9
sore losers?

Obviously any effort to improve the accuracy of voter lists is commendable. But: 1. For the ACES to cite a statistic that they admit in the next breath is false is regrettable from a journalistic standpoint. Internet rumors are not valid supporting material. 2. The effort to suppress minority voting was obvious. 3. Most true voter fraud--the kind that actually affects real-life election results--occurs after the polls close due to corrupt election officials. Yet many area voters must use voting machines that create no paper trails and that basically cannot be audited.

CobaltGeorge
150479
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/09/12 - 09:25 am
8
2
Here's One Known Incident.

A close white friend in the Glen Hill District who has voted in the same polling place in ever election for 27 years went to vote on the 6th. When she presented her ID she was told that she had already voted!!
After some heated discussion and research, it was discovered that a lady in Lincoln County who had the same Name (middle name also) and Birthday had voted. She was only allowed to cast a Provisional Ballet.

"reports surfaced of 141 percent turnout in one Florida location, and entire areas of Philadelphia and Cleveland in which the Republican presidential nominee received zero votes."

Anybody with one ounce of Common Sense will tell you that is TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE.

Riverman1
79526
Points
Riverman1 12/09/12 - 09:49 am
6
1
CGEE

As much as I'd like to believe Obama cheated to win, it's really not true.

The front page of the St. Lucie County, Florida elections website even explains:
NOTE* - TURNOUT PERCENTAGE WILL SHOW OVER 100% DUE TO A TWO PAGE BALLOT. THE TABULATION SYSTEM (GEMS) PROVIDES VOTER TURNOUT AS EQUAL TO THE TOTAL CARDS CAST IN THE ELECTION DIVIDED BY THE NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS. ALSO NOTE THAT SOME VOTERS CHOSE NOTE TO RETURN BY MAIL THE SECOND CARD CONTAINING THE AMENDMENTS.

In fact only 123,301 votes were cast in the Presidential race, and that turnout was 70.49 percent instead of 141 percent. We lost, the country is turning socialist without having to manfacture illegal votes. Sad I know.

CobaltGeorge
150479
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/09/12 - 09:55 am
5
2
RM

Point made....but....would the 3 million vote difference in his winning been the same?

CobaltGeorge
150479
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/09/12 - 10:05 am
7
3
Can't

accept a fact, can you TSD!

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/09/12 - 10:51 am
7
3
Good Writing

dead on point on so many points.

It begs the Question:
WHY are the: liberals, socialists, ACLU and Democrats stone walling better Voter verification and ID?

dichotomy
30659
Points
dichotomy 12/09/12 - 10:57 am
8
2
"virtually nonexistent." In a

"virtually nonexistent."

In a country that is basically 50/50 and with lots of local elections and runoffs decided by 4 or 5 votes and national elections decided by the electoral college votes of a few states with a lot of voter fraud, "virtually nonexistent" is not good enough. Like the old saying "where there is smoke there is fire" stories persist like the Democrat precinct in Ohio that is always the last one to report. The story is that when it's time to report the results the conversation goes like this; "how many you got" and the answer is "how many you need". The fact is that we do not know that voter fraud is virtually nonexistent because our system is so loose that no one can positively say that it is virtually nonexistent.

The point is that a large percentage of the citizenry believe that there is widespread voter fraud and that in itself is a bad thing. And instead of doing the necessary things to reassure people that our elections are fraud free we continue to loosen the process with early voting, absentee ballots for people who are not really going to be absent, and little or no enforcement even when fraud is found.

Right or wrong there is a lack of confidence in our election system and that should not be. We have the techonology to eliminate fraud with coded ID cards and biometric ID. Anyone who can manage to be carried, carted, driven, or go on their own power to vote, early vote, or get an absentee ballot can manage to, ONCE IN THEIR LIFE, go get an ID card and have their fingerprints put on file. We should do it and stop the speculation about voter fraud.......unless certain parties fear it might affect their ability to win an election.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/09/12 - 11:07 am
7
0
Maybe it is time

To hold the Presidential Election separate from the State Elections (local, state and State picked US House and Senate seats)?

One in July and the other in August (vacation months).

Remember, November was originally selected because we we're and agricultural nation 1780-1940's and November was after harvest time. Which is no longer the case.

It would allow the voters the opportunity separate and balance Congress's and the President powers accordingly.

soapy_725
43555
Points
soapy_725 12/09/12 - 11:57 am
0
0
To many election days already.
Unpublished

Each election increases the chances of fraud and adds to the cost of political manipulation. One voting day per year. Any and all issues or elections could be held that day and it should be a National Holiday. The socialist should love fingerprinting of everyone? (they will when it serves their purposes). November is still the best. The majority of voters should be at their given address. Bottom line, It is not who votes, but who counts the votes. Stalin said it, but it has always been true. We would be foolish to thing otherwise.

Jake
31681
Points
Jake 12/09/12 - 11:58 am
3
8
Better late than never editorial

Where was the outrage for the purging of the eligible voters from Florida and New Mexico in the 2000 election? Oh, I forgot, your man won.

WalterBradfordCannon
1378
Points
WalterBradfordCannon 12/09/12 - 12:57 pm
3
6
dichotomy, perhaps you SHOULD

dichotomy, perhaps you SHOULD be wondering who is creating a perception of voter "fraud" from inaccuracies in maintaining voter identification. As Riverman1 noted, the country is turning socialist. AND, voter turnout has been shown time and time again to favor the Democrats. The obvious solution is to disincentivize people to vote by making new voter verification laws in the name of "voter fraud", when such fraud does not even exist. If turnout is lowered, the vote tallies will tilt towards the Republican ticket.

The reality is that maintaining voter records is an imperfect process. Studies of the imperfections in this process have not found any sort of conspiratorial fraud - in fact fraud levels are so low they fall below the noise of the vote counting process! The bigger problem in the election process is voter turnout. Making new laws in the name of fraud that doesn't exist to reduce voter turnout is exactly the wrong thing to do. Georgia is ranked 34th in the nation in percent voter turnout, a clear 18% behind the top state. Maybe instead of combatting non-existent fraud to reduce turnout, we should be asking what the states with better turnout are doing that we are not. You know, so we could act more like a democracy and less like an oligarchy?

allhans
23288
Points
allhans 12/09/12 - 12:59 pm
4
2
During the Bush-Gore

During the Bush-Gore elections there were rumors that poll workers in Fl (maybe other states too) would "misplace" absentee ballots until the count was in. If the candidate of choice won then the ballots were discarded, if their candidate lost the ballots were located in a "storage area" or some such in the hopes it would change the outcome.

Riverman1
79526
Points
Riverman1 12/09/12 - 01:59 pm
5
2
Incompetent Voters

I totally agree photo ID should be a necessary requirement to vote and voters who should be who they say they are. But this looking up voters in Augusta with the wrong address is misguided. As I said, many are semi-homeless who move from relative to relative or friend to friend. The Democrats are good at getting these types to vote. We all know that.

Be careful about making an issue about those voters. I know there are senile people on the Hill whose relatives obtain absentee ballots for them when they don't even know what planet they live on.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/09/12 - 03:07 pm
5
0
I like the idea I saw some years ago

Voter ID with a spaces on it for the Poll worker to punch a hole out when have you voted.

1. It proves to your employer you voted
2. It keeps a person from extra voting that election.
3. It is badge of honor every time you show your ID.

dichotomy
30659
Points
dichotomy 12/09/12 - 06:12 pm
5
2
WalterBradfordCannon.........

WalterBradfordCannon.........'dichotomy, perhaps you SHOULD be wondering"

No, I should not have to wonder about anything. That is THE point. I should be able to know for a fact that everyone who voted had a valid picture ID, possibly coded and computer tracked, possibly with biometric data, and that there was absolutely no chance of voter fraud. I should not have wonder either way whether there was voter fraud or whether someone was making false allegations of voter fraud.

Here is a true statement. If every eligible voter had an a scannable picture ID it would absolutely stop any question of voter fraud and it ABSOLUTELY WOULD NOT suppress anyone's vote. There is just no logical agrument against it.

WalterBradfordCannon
1378
Points
WalterBradfordCannon 12/09/12 - 03:51 pm
3
5
The question is why do you

The question is why do you think there is voter fraud? People have actually gone to lengths to track down thousands of cases of error in information about voter residence and registration, and found there is not really any fraud, just an imperfect system. Now the Chronicle editorial concludes we need to make the voter registration and/or voting process more cumbersome for the voter because of voter fraud. AT THE SAME TIME, we have an enormous turnout problem no matter how you look at it. Unequivocally, it is a problem. And you propose to make it worse to solve the non-problem of voter fraud. That is resources that are better spent elsewhere.

dichotomy
30659
Points
dichotomy 12/09/12 - 06:27 pm
4
2
I didn't even say I thought

I didn't even say I thought there was voter fraud. I said there is a perception there is rampant voter fraud and that alone does damage to our election system. How many don't vote because they think elections are being stolen so why go vote? The point is, there is NO reason to give anyone an excuse to think there may be voter fraud. As they say on the Six Million Dollar Man, we have the technology. And there would be nothing cumbersome about asking every adult citizen to get an ID. And it would certainly not suppress anyone's vote. You have to have an ID to do most everything nowadays from drive a car, open a bank account, get on an airplane, apply for benefits.....so what is so damned difficult about showing an ID to vote. And it would put an end to any discussion, fear, paranoia, etc. about voter fraud.....and it might actually stop some too.

WalterBradfordCannon
1378
Points
WalterBradfordCannon 12/09/12 - 07:45 pm
3
0
You do realize that in

You do realize that in Georgia you are already required to show a photo ID when voting in person, don't you?

http://www.sos.georgia.gov/gaphotoid/default.htm

fedex227
10755
Points
fedex227 12/09/12 - 11:04 pm
3
3
Rhetor, that was my favorite line too.

"In the immediate wake of the Nov. 6 election, reports surfaced of 141 percent turnout in one Florida location." ... "The 141 percent story turned out not to be true."

Is this a high school newspaper?

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 12/11/12 - 02:43 pm
1
0
Here is a list of PUBLIC

Here is a list of PUBLIC Databases where you can get all of the info needed to be able to investigate voting irregularities............all it would take from A/RC admin is using a couple of IT for maybe a week or two, and they could have a "patch" program created that would link the databases............or just make it an "extra credit" project for Augusta Tech or Aiken Tech...........they would love it................

http://www.gsccca.org/ Here you can search by home / property address

http://appweb.augustaga.gov/Graveside_Search/graveside_default.asp Here you can search by name for deceased voters.

http://www.blackbookonline.info/GA-Augusta-Richmond.aspx Here you can find out almost anything from Augusta / Richmond County Databases.

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