Roper: How I voted three times — or not

By Rob Roper

I voted three times last Tuesday. Or maybe I didn’t. My point is, you have no idea.

You see, I have two kids who recently came of voting age. They don’t care much about politics. They had no intention of voting in the Nov. 6 election despite my badgering them about how important it is, so I voted for them. Or I didn’t. You don’t know, and neither does any election official.

Rob Roper

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Both my kids are in school out of state. Just maybe, knowing that they had no intention of voting, I requested that their absentee ballots be sent to our home address here in Vermont. Or not. They would have no idea I did this, and they’ll never know because they’re not paying attention, and, for all practical purposes, neither are any election officials. They’re just happy that the statistics show these politically engaged young people voted. They’re doing a great job. Hooray! But maybe my kids didn’t vote. Maybe I did. Thrice.

I could have got my kids’ two absentee ballots, filled them out, forged their signatures, which would be easy enough, and sent them in to be counted as legitimate votes. Or not. Again, nobody has any a clue. And, I know nobody will ask any questions. Why would they?

If on the outside-the-orbit-of-Pluto chance someone did raise a question, I’d just say when the kids declined to vote I threw away the ballots. Someone must have taken them out of the trash and filled them out! How awful of them. Whoever they were. Go catch them. (Not for nothing, if this were what happened how would you catch them? You couldn’t, could you?)

So, I got to vote three times — one person, three votes! — canceling out the votes of two fellow citizens who think differently than I do, suppressing their votes as effectively as if I had tied them up in a basement on election day. More effective, actually, because they’ll never know it happened and so won’t complain and scream for justice. It’s as if they never existed. Poof.

Actually, I didn’t do this. But I could have. Easily.

The question we have to ask is, how many of the 95,000 Vermont votes cast by absentee ballot in the 2016 election (and probably more in this last election, and even more in the next election) were cast in an illegitimate manner similar to the one described above? Someone filling out a ballot for their spouse, or an elderly parent. Or all the patients in the Alzheimer’s ward of the local retirement community. Again, my point is we don’t know. And we can’t know, because no effective safeguards are in place to police this kind of absentee ballot voter fraud.

We have radically changed the way we vote, but we have not maintained the security measures necessary to protect the principals of one-person/one vote, or for that matter the secret ballot. Even if a small percentage of the total number of absentee ballots cast are thus illegitimate, this is a serious problem. We can pretend it isn’t. We can pretend that politics is an ethical business that brings out the better angels of our nature so that nobody would ever cheat, even given a clear and open opportunity to do so. But it does happen, and it is a problem. How big? We don’t know. And that’s a problem too.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Images courtesy of Flickr/justgrimes and Rob Roper

14 thoughts on “Roper: How I voted three times — or not

  1. Friend in Fla voted 21 times. Opened his mailbox, saw his absentee ballot, and proceeded to go thru the other 20 mailboxes on his street, and vote for them. Would have reported him, but he was voting for the correct candidate, so how could I?

  2. We should not have early voting. It should be on one day, show up and vote, if we need more polling stations then get them.

    • I agree Neil. Also, to show it’s an important process
      it should be a legalized day off from work holiday. Move
      Election day to August – there’s no Holidays in August.

  3. I know of two votes that this happened in one of my elections. I know who did it, because his elderly mom told me he filled out her ballot and the elderly friend who lived with her. I know the person and saw him come to vote on Election Day at the Bennington Fire House. I did say “Hello Dick, nice to see you voting again”. Although, I suspect as he walked by he really did not catch what I said.

    What other options did I have? To pit an elderly mom against her son? To potentially make two elderly women testify in a court? I could do neither and I know for a fact, neither of their votes went to me.

    And very likely if it weren’t for the influence of the far-left son, and if they were engaged, they would have actually voted for me in that election. Not many Vermonters of their age embraced the far left. I would have been very palatable.

  4. Absentee voting should be just that, you should not be available to due to an illness, disability, vacation etc. Its now used because its easy, along with it comes possible abuse. All voting absente or otherwise should involve two forms of ID and a notary signature for absentee ballots cast.

    Anyone truly interested in having a legitimate election would not object to such oversight.

    • Citizens should not be investigators ferreting out voter fraud. Citizens deserve to have a system that they can use and trust. Your statement also is not true. There are many cases that have been proved but the lion has no teeth when it comes to penalty or prevention. Why are you afraid of voter ID and insuring that the system is free of fraud? Don’t answer that. You are deceived and you will not be able to provide an objective answer. You will say something like: Voter ID=Voter Suppression.

  5. Be on a registered voters list and have two forms of Identification, one photo ID and a utility bill with your name & address … Pretty Simple Process. But this will never happen in the Liberal Strongholds, we know the reason why. Another broken Government program.

  6. If you did or didn’t, what difference does it make, Rob Roper? I think I know who you voted for and if you did do that, there are many hundreds more on the other side who did it also and voted for those you did not vote for. Or maybe not. We don’t know and we won’t ever know now that those who did that kind of voting or not are the super-majority now. By the way how many people have served any time in Vermont for voting twice or thrice? I think you are safe even if you did.

    Great piece, Rob! Thanks for shedding light so clearly on the truth that “Voter Fraud is Real”. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1860424667573411/

  7. Absentee ballots have been around for awhile. Is there a solution to the concern raised by the author of the article?

    • There is too much early voting. Go back to the days when doing an absentee ballot meant you were absent and could not vote on election day. Just the name of that type of ballot and the meaning given to it today should remind us of where we have come from and it has not been a good trip.

      • My county actually had more people vote early than on election day. They were glad because of the lines with high voter turn out. I always vote early.

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