Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Saturday, December 12, 2009
Vote By Mail: “Tool of choice for voter fraud”
By Andrew Walden @ 6:42 AM :: 16257 Views :: Office of Elections

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Both Neil Abercrombie and outgoing Chief Election Officer Kevin Cronin are raising the idea of an all-Mail-in special election for CD1.  So Hawai`i Free Press is re-posting this article, originally posted July 29, 2009.   

Wednesday, July 29, 2009: Hawaii Democratic Chair Brian Schatz is the latest politician peddling Oregon’s Vote By Mail system as a cure-all for voter apathy in Hawaii. But a report commissioned by President Jimmy Carter’s Commission on Federal Election Reform presents a sharp warning to those considering adopting Oregon’s system in Hawaii. In addition to casting doubt on claims of increased voter participation, the commission’s warning against VBM also illustrates reasons why a Larry Mehau associate such as Schatz, might support VBM--which is essentially a 100% absentee ballot system.   

The report can be accessed online. Here are some key excerpts:

(Unlike Hawaii,) Oregon has historically had a clean, open, and permeable election system, with no history of machine politics or election fraud. … (W)hile voting by mail has worked well in Oregon, it may not work as well in regions, states, or localities with a more contentious political culture....

Critics of VBM and no-excuse absentee balloting raise a number of security issues. First, ballots sent through the mail might be obtained and filled out by someone other than the legal voter. Second, without the necessity of appearing in person, it is easier to falsely register and vote. Third, without the privacy of the ballot booth, a vote could be coerced or unduly influenced.

These concerns have been heightened by a number of disputed elections and documented cases of absentee ballot fraud. The November 2004 Washington gubernatorial election was the closest governor’s race in this nation’s history and was only resolved in the courts on June 6, 2005. Those contesting the results pointed to absentee ballots as a source of some of the problems. In January 2005, King County election officials announced plans to pursue the prosecution of three people suspected of casting absentee ballots for their dead relatives.  

And on May 13, 2005, King County’s absentee ballot supervisor testified that, due to ongoing computer problems, absentee ballots were misplaced and not tabulated during the November ballot count.

Absentee ballots played a key role in the 1998 Miami mayoral election fraud case. The courts overturned the original election results and installed Joe Carollo as mayor after throwing out all 4,740 absentee ballots that had been cast in the previous November’s election.  During the investigation, police discovered more than 100 absentee ballots in the home of local political boss Alberto Rossi. Other recent allegations of election fraud involving absentee ballots have occurred in Denver, Colorado; Benton Harbor, Michigan; Albany, New York; and Tallahatchie County, Mississippi.

...The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has even referred to absentee ballots as “the tool of choice for those inclined to commit voter fraud.”

The official guide to (Oregon’s Vote By Mail system) VBM, published by the Secretary of State’s office, claims that it “raises voter participation, decreases costs and increases the overall integrity of the election process. It is a system that the vast majority of Oregonians love.”...

(But) the evidence on turnout is mixed. Liberalized absentee balloting leads to a small but measurable growth in turnout, although one study finds an effect only in primary elections. …However, the turnout increases result from the retention of existing voters and not from the recruitment of new voters into the system, and the increase is noticeable only in low profile contests....

One of the primary VBM security measures in Oregon is the signature verification process. Election workers compare the signature on every return identification envelope with the signature scanned from the voter’s registration card. While the state does not consider these election workers to be handwriting experts, these workers are required to complete a signature identification course....

According to the Oregon’s Secretary of State’s office, in the November 2004 election 1,057 ballots were not counted because the signature could not be verified. This compares to 606 in November 2003 and 602 in November 2002....

Where there does seem to be more of a risk for election fraud is with the return of legitimate ballots. “By mail” is a misnomer…. (Ballots are often) left at unofficial drop sites or picked up at people’s door by volunteers, most often sponsored by political groups or by elected officials who see this as a valued form of constituent service. …These practices are a cause of concern.  Election officials admit that they have no way of knowing whether they received every single ballot that was handed over to someone other than an authorized election official.... While the state legislature is moving to ban unofficial drop sites, Oregon legislators are unwilling to curtail their ability to have campaign volunteers pick up ballots....

…Ballots are never sent to a forwarding address. Multnomah County, the home of Portland and the most populous and urban county in Oregon, reports that 4%-6% of the ballots it sends out each election are return to them as “undeliverables.”  (This means that many voters never receive their ballot.)

If the address on the ballot is not up to date, the post office must return the ballot to the county election office. While the ballots are never forwarded, the information from the forwarding address is used to update the voters’ registration. (This means that an unknown person or a voter who has not acted to update his or her registration will receive the ballot in the next election.) If there is a forwarding address from inside the county…a ballot will be sent to this location the next election.

(John) Kauffman (Director of Elections for Multnomah County, Oregon) argued that before VBM the voters’ roll was often artificially inflated, with it taking two, three or four years for election officials to discover that a voter had moved out of the county.  

(ED NOTE: This assertion casts further doubt on claims that Vote By Mail increases voter participation, since an inflated voter roll obviously produces deflated voter turnout figures.) 

Still, changes in USPS procedures or erosion in the quality of their staffing could impact the integrity of the ballot under Oregon’s VBM system....

VBM also requires cooperation with universities, private mail services and group homes. County officials contact persons at these locations to help them keep tabs on the voters at those addresses and to make sure that ballots delivered to students who have moved are returned to the county as undeliverable.

(ED NOTE: Group homes present truly extraordinary opportunities for absentee ballot fraud. With dozens of patients whose faculties may be failing, it can be very easy for a corrupt worker or owner to fraudulently submit ballots by mail. The fraudster would of course become the Election Commission contact person in order to facilitate their continuing fraud. Likewise in group living arrangements for students, a fraudster could easily take advantage of the students’ high rate of turnover to submit numerous fraudulent ballots.)

The Commission expressed concern, however, over the potential for fraud and coercion under systems which lack the “fundamental privacy of the voting booth.” In many respects, these conclusions remain valid, at least when examined in the context of Oregon’s all-mail balloting system.

LINK: "Ballot Integrity and Voting By Mail: The Oregon Experience"

TOTALLY RELATED: Big Island Rancher Larry Mehau Hosts Community Rally for Sen. Akaka

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT