Archive for Saturday, November 4, 2006

Simons: High-stakes election game encourages bitterness and fraud

November 4, 2006


There's no way to prove or disprove the belief this year's midterm elections are the most bitterly fought in the country's history.

It is a fact, however, that more money has been spent on political advertising this year than in any previous off-year election, and there's no question that the ugliness, meanness, half truths and falsehoods are at the highest level in memory.

Is there any question why it is becoming increasingly difficult to get good, decent, normal men and women to seek public office? Once an individual agrees to be a candidate, he or she has lost the battle for any privacy because nothing in his or her past or present, whether about their private or professional life, remains secret.

More money has been spent in this year's election than on any previous off-year race. How can a candidate who wins a particular race not be beholden to those who provided the money to wage a successful campaign?

The intensity, bitterness and high stakes of Tuesday's election are likely to bring out the worst in many people. Emotions are so high that the country is becoming politically polarized. Part of this is due to the six-year hatred of Bush by many Democrats. The rewards of winning an election can be so significant that many people are eager to break the law to increase the odds for victory.

Unfortunately, there is likely to be a greater number of contested elections because of voter fraud. In addition to voter fraud will be the potential prosecution of cases involving illegal acts prior to Election Day. In all cases, fraud in the election process and illegal actions during the campaign far too often will result in punishment that is best described as a slap on the wrist.

The name of the game in politics is to win, in fact, win at any cost. How many times has a man or woman who won a political race and moved into public office been removed from office because campaign workers broke laws in generating support for the candidate? Not very many, if any. Again, the name of the game is to win, to win no matter what it takes, because the riches to be gained are so great. Is there any question that there will be a growing number of illegal acts and voter fraud cases this year?

In today's political climate, how can voters believe elections are honest? Already, in neighboring Missouri, election officials have discovered that an organization called ACORN has submitted as many as 10,000 names of registered voters who are, in fact, deceased.

In an effort to make it easier for individuals to vote, and with political correctness being so important in the eyes of many, less personal verification or identification is required at the voting booth.

People joke about the importance of "voting early and voting often," but this is proving to be true, not only by living voters but by using the names of people who have been dead for some time. It cannot be determined, at least with today's technology and voting practices, but it probably would be shocking to learn how many illegal votes are cast next Tuesday in the various U.S. Senate and House of Representative races across the country.

The stakes are high, with winners enjoying the benefits of political patronage, voting majorities in the Senate and House. Such power can be used to affect the lives of millions of Americans whether in judicial matters, taxes, the national economy, national security or thousands of other ways.

The effort to win the majority in the U.S. House and Senate is intense. The lucrative political and personal payoffs are immense. This being the case, the likelihood of voter fraud is great.

When such cases are detected and proven, severe punishment should be handed out, not just the usual slap on the wrist. Make punishment so severe that individuals will think twice about such actions. Some way should be found to inflict severe punishment for infractions by the winning candidates.

There are many faults with the National Collegiate Athletic Assn., but if that body can make athletic teams, players, coaches ineligible for a season or for postseason play, or take away the eligibility of a player for actions by boosters and supporters, why in the world can't something be done to impose similar penalties for those who abuse one of this country's most important freedoms: the right to vote.

Our election system is the envy of the world, but what can be done to clean up the current flagrant abuses that result in so much public distrust of the honesty and accuracy of elections in tight political races?

What ever happened to the importance of issues such as the national economy, employment numbers and national security? Now it's image, campaign promises and how much a candidate can spend to sell his or her message.

Interest in the outcome of congressional races is high, but, because of voter fraud and contested races, it may be far past Election Day before the final results are in.


bearded_gnome 11 years, 6 months ago

acorn, a loonie lefty group, wants to make it legal for felons to vote, for example, and in other areas has registered in prison as a form of civil disobedience breaking the law and causing more useless headaches for elections officials.

recall acorn was advertising in ljw...anybody know if they did any voter registration here in douglas county? if so, I hope their work is being carefully reviewed for fraud like in kc.
agree w/guitarzan, the writing of this collumn was a bit weak middle and end.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 6 months ago

GOP scandals, lies, corruption, and fraud lead to nasty politics.

GOP candidates want to cover their dung by trying to convince voters that democratic candidates are "just as bad". This results in the current negativity we see this election.

quacker 11 years, 6 months ago

"The name of the game in politics is to win, in fact, win at any cost. How many times has a man or woman who won a political race and moved into public office been removed from office because campaign workers broke laws in generating support for the candidate? Not very many, if any."

Right you are Dolph. Richard Nixon resigned before he could be removed from office.

This brilliant editorial will certainly make me think twice about committing any fraudulent acts this year.

Frank Smith 11 years, 6 months ago

A dittohead friend send me the complaints about ACORN, as if the fraudulent registrations they presented could make a difference in an election. No one since the original Mayor Daley and the Texas state Senator Lyndon Johnson has been successful in getting dead people to vote.

I replied to my friend by doing a very quick search and turning up 11 states in the past two years in which there was significant Republican voter registration fraud. Most frequently they involved throwing away Democratic registrations so that when people showed to vote, they'd find their registrations never had been turned in and they weren't on the rolls. Recently, in Orange County California, voters found that their registrations had been changed from Democrat to Republican.

A previous poster was almost correct. 50,000 names, mostly those of black Democrats, were illegally stricken from the voter lists in Florida in 2000, and that crime was what helped put George Bush in the White house. Greg Palast covers it well in "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy."

By the way, the Kansas Republican party recognized that presidential theft by instituting the annual "Katherine Harris Courage in Public Service Award," first awarding it to Rep. Harris.

Harris is presently expected to lose her race for U.S. Senate by 20 points because in part of her incredibly expensive dinner meetings with the lobbyist whose bribes put Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in prison, and because of his illegal campaign contributions to her.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 6 months ago

Our election system cannot be the envy of the world to any nation paying attention. What happens nationwide happens right here in Lawrence,Kansas as the upcoming elections will reveal. No one has envy for elections controlled by large corporate special interests including the media.

Our own uncontrolled growth machine did not do so well in the last two cycles. What does that mean? That means this group will spend more money than ever in an effort to restablish its' absolute control over the city commission and city/county planning commission. The local real estate industry includes the Chamber,banks and any other major players aka developers. It's the Washinton D.C. mentality.

What's the answer? Locally we want representative government that will keep property taxes in check yet provide economic growth without promoting expensive retail or residential sprawl and unplanned growth.

Lawrence and Douglas County voters,taxpayers and citizens may want to consider placing a cap on campaign spending in order to contain our own special interest financing of local political campaigns. I am told Topeka, Kansas writes the rules regarding local campaign spending. I say put this matter on the local ballot,if possible, to send a message if nothing else. Lawrence must keep its' elected positions within reach of real,practical and prudent people.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 6 months ago

James Baker III has of the the best yet. Our soldiers in Iraq somehow were not registred to vote in the right precinct so their votes don't count.

maxtin 11 years, 6 months ago

Diebold. Florida. Florida. Diebold. Let's just let the Republican's have the picture i.d. thing guys... best estimate it'll disenfranchise a statistically insignificant 40,000 people NATIONALLY and take this bogus card OUT of their hands... sometimes, unfortunately, pragmatism HAS to trump ideals... Voter fraud should NOT be a REPUBLICAN issue... but it gets out the racist vote... There y'go.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 6 months ago

"In today's political climate, how can voters believe elections are honest? Already, in neighboring Missouri, election officials have discovered that an organization called ACORN has submitted as many as 10,000 names of registered voters who are, in fact, deceased."

Curious that Dolph fails to mention the shenanigans that Republicans engage in that almost certainly swung the last to presidential elections to them.

And considering the very close Senate race in Missouri, it's no surprise that Repubicans and the Republican-controlled Justice Dept are attacking ACORN as it registers inner-city voters who are very likely to vote Democratic.

Consider this view from ACORN:

*ACORN is required to turn in ALL signed voter registrations collected Missouri to the Board of Elections, even ones it suspects to be invalid.

*ACORN flags cards it knows to be incomplete or potentially invalid at the point when they are turned in, for appropriate verification of follow-up by the Board of Elections.

*In the course of ACORN's voter registration drives, the organization routinely meets with Board of Elections officials to review the quality of its work, and to establish a cooperative relationship.

*In a handful of cases, ACORN has identified (and fired) employees who may have tried to defraud the organization by submitting duplicate or bogus cards. In such cases, ACORN seeks to have these individuals prosecuted.

*ACORN encourages anyone to investigate these matters and cooperates with these investigations.

Darrell Lea 11 years, 6 months ago

Of all of the columns Mr. Simons has presented for our review, this one seems a bit more hastily composed and ill-thought than most. Perhaps he is very busy, and doesn't have time to work on his writing as much as he should.

Too bad Tim Miller isn't here with his correction pen. In his absence, I'll go ahead and give the piece a "C-".

Fritz 11 years, 6 months ago

Hey Dolph, which is easier, laboriously rounding up 10,000 individuals to go out and vote two or three times, coordinating what fake names they are to use, or:

¢ one individual throwing out 100,000 names from the voting rolls by falsely calling them "felons"

¢ one individual throwing out thousands of legitimate voter registration forms because they weren't on 80# paper stock

¢ one individual not giving densely populated urban areas enough voting machines, ensuring 3+ hour waits to vote, while stocking the suburbs with so many most are barely even used

These "voter fraud" arguments are the same tired ones idiots like Dolph trotted out before the 2004 election when polling showed Dubya was about to lose (of course, Diebold took care of that little "not as popular as the other guy running" problem that Dubya has always had.) Voter disenfranchisement is the real problem with American elections, and it is the Republican's best electoral strategy.

Oh, and does every column Dolph write have to try to blame every problem on "Bush haters". Sure, I hate Bush. But it's hardly irrational - it's not like he took my lunch money in gradeschool or something. He's been dillengently running the country into the ground for six years, so yes, I get to gripe about his policies. My hatred is based on how his lunacy affects my life - nothing at all like Dolphs irrational hatred of Clinton.

kugrad 11 years, 6 months ago

The failure of the LJW to endorse candidates in an important midterm election shows that the Simons' lack the cojones for the job. The LJW editorial board should hang its collective head in shame for being amoung the thousands of journalists who have failed in their duty to be watchdogs over our government. Now they have failed to take any kind of stand for the same reasons; they don't want to alienate anyone and lose business. Even in a one newspaper town.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 6 months ago

I agree, maxtin. Require the voter ID, but make sure any legitimate voter can easily get one.

Then get rid of Diebold and the rest of the vote-rigging cabal. Optical scan ballots are good enough, and quite verifiable.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 6 months ago

Dolph did endorse Ryun. But I think that's because he was a famous KU athlete.

Cait McKnelly 11 years, 6 months ago

Ummm my understanding was that ACORN themselves turned in the fraudulent registrations and fired the people responsible. How does this make it THEIR fault that it happened? Whether they are a "loony left" organization or not they at least did the right thing, more than can be said for some the Republican groups up to and including various and sundry election comissions controlled by Republicans across the country.

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