Many of my fellow journalists are focused on Governor Rick Scott and his efforts to insure Florida’s voter rolls do not have ineligible voters on them. The question is how did we get to this point where we have dead people, felons and illegal aliens on the rolls in the first place? Why this did happen and how has voter fraud become a big business is the real story.
Both Republicans and Democrats have by either omission or commission participated in voter fraud or have fallen victims to voter fraud. Voter fraud is not new, what is new is that it has moved from a cottage industry to become a big business. The product is an illegal vote the profit is political power.
John Fund in his book “Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens our Democracy” states, “[T]he United States has a haphazard, fraud-prone election system befitting a developing nation rather than the globe’s leading democracy.”
There are three types of voter malfeasance according to John Fund:
• Voter Fraud – someone casting more than one ballot or voting if they were not a U.S. citizen.
• Vote Theft – votes stolen or tampered with.
• Voter Impersonation – a person claims to be someone else when casting a vote.
According to Rasmussen eighty percent of Americans agree these activities are wrong. Voter fraud, theft and impersonation have consequences. They put politicians into office who did not win the vote of the people honestly. Once discovered and rectified via litigation (which may take years) the damage is already done. The most severe and long lasting damage is a loss of faith by the American voter that his or her vote counts.
How did voter malfeasance move from a cottage industry to become a big business?
John Fund and Quin Hillyer, Senior Editor at American Spectator, have studied the growth of voter fraud, theft and impersonation cases in America. Both have concluded it began with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, commonly known as the “Motor Voter Law”. This legislation was the first priority of newly elected President Bill Clinton and the first law he signed after taking office. According to John Fund, “Perhaps no piece of legislation in the last generation better captures the ‘incentivizing’ of fraud and the clash of conflicting visions about the priorities of our election system than the 1993 National Voter Registration Act…” What are the two conflicting visions of our election system? One vision is that everyone in the United States should be allowed to vote, the second is that only legally eligible voters should vote. Democrats tend to come down on the side of the first vision, with some notable Democrats and most Republicans supporting the second vision.
The Motor Voter Law made it easier for people to register to vote, whether legal or illegal. However, this has not led to more people voting but rather to expansive voter fraud. As this law lowered the standard for voter registration it created an opening for those willing and able to use the system to make money and gain power. As John Fund points out, “Democrats might do better to look for ways to reform the voting system that would actually improve elections, instead of just making sure the laws do not benefit Republicans. The Republicans might wish to join the critical scrutiny of early or absentee voting, for the best evidence suggests that it no longer favors the GOP.”
John Fund in his book notes that, “[A]bsentee voter fraud [is] a growth industry.” When a person can both register to vote and vote by mail no one knows if this is a citizen or criminal. It is a third degree felony to vote illegally punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. An illegal voter is a felon.
The 1993 National Voter Registration Act opened the voter fraud barn doors and many have tried to close them for nearly two decades. Efforts to clean up voter rolls have met with resistance from groups like the ACLU, League of Women Voters and today the Department of Justice in the case of Florida. On Monday, June 11, 2012 Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner filed a lawsuit in Washington, D.C. district court to get access to the SAVE data base maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.The Hill reports, “For nearly a year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has failed to meet its legal obligation to provide us the information necessary to identify and remove ineligible voters from Florida’s voter rolls,” Detzner said. “We can’t let the federal government delay our efforts to uphold the integrity of Florida elections any longer. We’ve filed a lawsuit to ensure the law is carried out and we are able to meet our obligation to keep the voter rolls accurate and current.”
Opponents cry racism, accuse those cleaning voter rolls of disenfranchising minority voters and file law suits to stop any effort to take those ineligible off the rolls. What I believe is happening is the practice of both political parties buying voter registrations and the illegal voter industry of casting invalid votes has become too big and too powerful. This has come at the expense of free and fair elections. The examples of voter fraud, theft and impersonation are too numerous and too frequent to believe otherwise. The get out the vote (GOTV) campaigns of both political campaigns have taken on a new meaning. GOTV now have components that lead to voter malfeasance. Voters have become suspicious and cynical. This causes voters to stay at home rather than do their civic duty and go to the polls.
Voting is not a right but rather a duty that has great responsibilities associated with it. The citizen is solely responsible to register and vote legally. Americans cannot lose sight of the fact that voting is the act of the individual not the collective.
To listen to an interview with Quin Hillyer on this issue please go to this link:
I contacted Kathy Dent, Supervisor of Elections for Sarasota County, Florida. I did this after Neil Cavuto interviewed Governor Rick Scott about the voter rolls. During the interview Neil stated that all 67 county supervisors of elections were against him in his efforts. That is not entirely correct. Supervisor Dent said to me in an email, “Legal counsel representing our state association initially advised against proceeding based on the on-going dispute. But we do our own research here, and if we have evidence that someone is not a citizen, he/she will be removed. I don’t know the consensus now of all the other counties but I do know that Collier County will continue to remove voters. Having a more reliable list using the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program (SAVE) database, will help give us the reliability we need.”
Supervisor Dent also noted the actual impact on Sarasota County, “With respect to Sarasota County, we only received 14 names from the state. We worked the list, removed one, had proof of citizenship for two others, and have not heard back from the last eleven. To date we have received no other names to investigate. But it is the policy of this office to remove anyone from the rolls that is not a U.S. citizen.” Bay County, Florida is also proceeding with the cleansing of voter rolls.