Monday, 23 January 2012

Hidden Camera Reveals How Easy It Is for Phantom Voters to Vote

Written by  Kurt Hyde

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas sent investigative reporters to the polls during the New Hampshire presidential primary on January 10. The goal was to show how easy it was for someone to obtain a ballot using the name of a deceased person. They attempted this at more than a dozen polling places, and were successful in obtaining ballots in all cases except one. That was one where an alert poll worker personally knew the deceased person. The Project Veritas reporters were careful not to actually cast the ballots as well as being careful not to infringe on the privacy of the voters’ secret ballots.

The reaction to this sting has gone nationwide, and it’s raising questions about weaknesses in our voting systems. If it is this easy to get a ballot using the name of an easily documentable case of a phantom voter, what about the other, subtler forms of phantom voters, such as people who have moved or the fictitious persons who have been registered in a deliberately fraudulent manner?  

Traditionally, the bulk of the fraudulent ballots cast in these people’s names were cast via absentee ballots, but that has changed dramatically in the last five or 10 years due to early voting.  

While the absentee ballots typically have a relatively weak system of written documentation, there is at least somewhat of a paper trail in the request and on the envelopes. Sometimes there’s enough evidence to lead to convictions for electoral fraud. With early voting, repeaters — the slang term for people in the electoral fraud trade who vote repeatedly in an election using assumed names — have a week or more to cast their fraudulent ballots rather than needing to cast them via absentee ballots or cast many fraudulent ballots on election day.

Critics of this sting operation have noted that there have been very few convictions of electoral fraud in New Hampshire in recent years. One could argue that the low number of convictions could be caused by a lack of enforcement rather than a lack of electoral fraud, but this is probably not the case in New Hampshire. New Hampshire elections have a number of safeguards that are, unfortunately, missing in most other states. New Hampshire elections are public. There are no tedious poll watcher application requirements such as those which are used to suppress public monitoring of elections in other states. New Hampshire is one of the few states where the elections are run by the towns rather than by counties. Keeping the administration of elections closer to the people also helps keep things honest. The only time a Project Veritas investigative reporter failed to get a ballot in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary on January 10 was when he encountered a poll worker who knew the voter had died. There were no cases encountered where the voter had already voted. That’s strong evidence that what was discovered was the possibility of electoral fraud rather than actual electoral fraud.

Project Veritas has identified a valid security weakness, and many people believe the solution to this problem is in requiring a government-issued photo ID. But computer experts have been warning for years that photo IDs are frequently more of a false sense of security than a real security improvement. People’s facial appearances change when they change hair styles, change hair color, gain or lose weight, or grow or shave a mustache or a beard. Additionally, today’s technology makes it possible to equip repeaters with counterfeit picture IDs that are indistinguishable from genuine IDs. The fake IDs could have the repeater’s picture on each ID along with the fictitious voter information.

Voter ID laws work only when the public is allowed free access to monitor elections, such as in New Hampshire. But in those states where electoral fraud is protected by shutting out the public and disallowing use of video and audio recording devices, voter ID laws will be ignored whenever electoral insiders want to ignore them.

A real-life example of the weakness of photo IDs occurred at O’Hare Airport in Chicago in 2007. ABC News reported that temporary workers, some of whom were suspected illegal aliens, were re-using other people’s picture badges to use employee entrances into O’Hare Airport. It was further reported that perhaps as many as 100 such badges were issued illegally. All they had to do was pick a badge based on such similarities as thin, medium, or heavy face and light, medium, or dark complexion and someone else’s badge would look enough like the individual to use it to enter the airport via one of the employee entrances. Think about that the next time you and other law-abiding citizens are being herded like cattle at an airport security checkpoint, hoping and praying not to be exposed to radiation from a scanner or, even worse, being sexually molested in the name of security by the TSA.

Photo ID requirements will help somewhat to reduce electoral fraud, but not unless we also enact laws allowing unrestricted public access to the polling places, remove restrictions on allowing video and audio recording devices, establish proper controls on early voting, do away with mail-in only elections like those in Oregon, disallow Internet voter registration and Internet voting, and clean up voter registration lists regularly.

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