Sunday, March 11, 2012

Voter ID Impersonation Does Exist

Last month the Minnesota ACLU placed a bet with Minnesota that they would pay $1000 for proof of a case of voter impersonation in the last 10 years.
"There is no voter impersonation fraud in Minnesota," said ACLU-MN Executive Director Charles Samuelson, "and we are willing to bet on it."
As pointed out on Look True North, this was a convenient time frame to be able to exclude the cases where, "Channel 5’s Tom Hauser pointed out that in 1997, KSTP reporters uncovered several instances of voters using false identities to vote and some were even convicted."  As a publicity stunt this had great promise for the opponents of Voter ID, with highly improbable downside risk.

Everyone thought this would be an impossible to achieve task, as the current system allows only very loose election day registration (which 500,000 some did) such that the votes will be counted even when the subsequent voter verification (postal verification cards) fails after the fact.  Since there is no way to identify the person who voted, after the fact, there is virtually no possibility of conviction or even charging.  However Minnesota Majority has found a case in Anoka County where a Mother voted using her daughter's name and certified it herself, thus giving documented evidence.  This is a clear case of voter impersonation that has been carried to court.

Here is the video of the press event

Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority has obtained the court records that show that the mother appears to have requested an absentee ballot on September 24, 2008.  She then voted and signed with her daughters name, certified it as herself on Oct 26, 2008.  Her daughter then voted in person, 10 days later (how long is a phone call?), on Nov 4.  When the felony charged case came to court, the mother had 2 charges dismissed, the false certificate charge was stayed.  She received a year of probation, was required to pay $200 court costs, and the records were essentially expunged. Making it extraordinarily difficult to find the case, as Dam McGrath states in the video. One argument from the ACLU and LWV is that voter impersonation is a felony, why would anyone risk it.  Aside from the virtual impossibility of finding and charging for it, the court was clearly not wanting to leave any significant mark on her record, or to acknowledge the very real fraud perpetrated.  So what should they fear?

Minnesota ACLU's Chuck Samuelson denies that the Voter ID argument is won,
"the fact that it was caught and prosecuted proves Minnesota doesn't need voter photo ID".  
An odd turn of phrase since the whole point of his bet was that it had to be a case where it was officially caught and charged/convicted.  Which by his initial logic was to be a convincing argument.  It would seem that no amount or quality evidence will be considered adequate for those who argue against any reasonable verification system.

The problem of Voter fraud, and the potential for affecting the elections since the votes count and cannot be removed, is very significant.  This is pointed out in the Minnesota Majority analysis of the undeliverable Postal Verification Cards (the best evidence available for voter fraud).
In Minnesota’s 2008 general election (a presidential election year), 6,224 Election Day registrants provided unverifiable names and/or addresses resulting in challenge due to PVC returns for reasons other than forwarding addresses after voting.
1,244 Election Day registrants provided unverifiable addresses when voting in Minnesota’s 2010 election (a non-presidential election year). Even if only a fraction of these returned cards were the result of fraudulent registrations, the numbers could be significant enough to affect the outcome of several elections. In 2008, Minnesota’s US senate race was decided by just 312 votes and a state representative was elected by just 13 votes in 2010.
The burden on the State for election integrity is to assure that the treatment of all voters is "substantially equivalent".  There is a clear division here that fails that test.  Voters who properly register before the election day must have their identity confirmed before their vote is counted.  Voters who show up on election day and register do not have their identity confirmed, or found false, until after their vote is irrevocably counted.  This fundamentally violates the trust we should have in our election process.

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