by Rob Roper
Back in the news recently is a case of voter fraud in Troy, New York, a community of about 50,000 just spitting distance from Bennington, Vermont. At issue is the fact that a number of Democrat elected officials and operatives attempted to steal a city council election via a scheme of absentee ballot fraud. According to the local Times Union newspaper, seven people were indicted, four plead guilty.
Again, according to the Times Union, the scammers targeted mostly people who lived in Troy Housing Authority apartments (in other words, low income individuals) because they “rarely if ever voted,” and were “unfamiliar with the process.” The guilty politicos either outright forged the absentee ballots or, in some cases, tricked voters into filling out ballots incompletely, allowing the scammers to complete the rest of the ballots themselves.
A Fox News story on this crime states that, “Two veteran Democratic political operatives in Troy said voter fraud is an accepted way of winning elections,” and, “faking absentee ballots was commonplace.” According to the Daily Caller, “Robert Martiniano, a former Democratic candidate for the City Council’s second district, testified that forging absentee ballots is a tradition in local politics. ‘It’s was something that was just in the culture….’”
The ingredients necessary for easy and successful absentee ballot voter fraud are a large number of people on the voter rolls who don’t regularly vote, and lax oversight in checking the identities of those who actually do cast ballots. This is something Vermonters need to be worried about, because we have both.
It was only back in March when James O’Keefe of Project Veritas targeted Vermont polling places for a sting operation demonstrating just how easy it is for anyone to request a ballot and vote in the name of a dead person because we do not require voters to show ID at the polls.
In Vermont, it is very hard to remove someone’s name from the voter checklist. Title 17, the section of Vermont law governing elections, says,
(3) If after conducting its inquiry the board of civil authority is unable to locate a voter whose name is on the checklist, or if the inquiry reveals facts indicating that the voter may no longer be eligible to vote in the municipality, the board of civil authority shall send a written notice to the voter.
So, how long will it take a BCA to identify that there might be a problem with a voter? Who knows? Could be years. Could be never. Then…
(5) In the case of voters who failed to respond to the notice sent pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection, the board of civil authority shall remove the voter’s name from the checklist on the day after the second general election following the date of such notice, [emphasis added, and that’s at least four years, folks!] if the voter has not voted or appeared to vote in an election since the notice was sent or has not otherwise demonstrated his or her eligibility to remain on the checklist.
But!!!, and here’s the real kicker, what this means is that if someone votes fraudulently in the name of someone who should no longer be on the voter check list, the bad name will stay on the list because the “voter” has “voted” in an election. Casting a fraudulent vote actually stops the process of removing the bad name (if it ever even started). Brilliant!
This is a problem in a state that has the most colleges per capita in the nation (And, yes, that’s us) because thousands of students who come to Vermont for one to four years register to vote. They leave, but their names stay, creating a target-rich environment for perpetrators of voter fraud.
As for enforcement, our Secretary of State, Jim Condos, describes voter fraud as “Non-Existent Problems, in a nationally published op-ed. He’s not looking for things like what happened in Troy. Or in Mississippi in the 2008 election when Lessadolla Sowers was convicted for voting for Barack Obama ten times, according to the local Tunica Times.
Sowers was found guilty of voting in the names of Carrie Collins, Walter Howard, Sheena Shelton, Alberta Pickett, Draper Cotton and Eddie Davis. She was also convicted of voting in the names of four dead persons: James L. Young, Dora Price, Dorothy Harris, and David Ross.
Or, what happened in Georgia in 2010, 12 former officials indicted for voter fraud, another scandal for Democrats which actually involved workers in the voter registrar’s office.
But this could never happen in Vermont, just thirty miles from Troy. Even when in the final days of the March election in Burlington saw well over two hundred voters register in the final days preceeding the election and vote despite the fact that the social security numbers these voters used to register did not match the names they gave. No, nothing to see here, folks. Not part of our culture. Just everybody else’s.