Archive for Thursday, August 16, 2012

Election integrity

August 16, 2012


A new study about voter fraud coupled with the story of a perhaps outcome-altering mistake at a Topeka polling place last week may make Kansans wonder just where the greatest threat to election integrity actually lies.

News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, this week released an analysis of reported voting fraud cases in the United States. The reporters for the project sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states asking for every alleged case of election fraud involving registration, absentee ballots, vote buying, false election counts, campaign fraud, ineligible voters such as felons or non-citizens casting ballots, double voting and voter impersonation.

News21 looked at 2,068 fraud cases and found 491 cases of alleged absentee ballot fraud and 400 cases related to registration fraud. But despite the recent rush of state legislatures to pass laws requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, the project found only 10 cases in the nation of alleged in-person voter fraud since 2000.

Of course, Kansas is one of the states that now requires ID at the polls. Next year, a new requirement that voters show proof of citizenship when they register for the first time in Kansas will go into effect. Although those efforts are touted as a way to ensure the integrity of elections in the state, it doesn’t solve every problem — as illustrated by the experience at one Topeka polling place in the Aug. 7 primary.

When Shawnee County commissioners canvassed the primary vote on Monday, they agreed not to count 25 of the 26 provisional ballots cast by people who failed to show ID either at the poll or later at the election office. The much bigger problem in Shawnee County was the voters at one polling place who received the wrong primary ballots because a supervising judge at that poll had not properly followed the county’s election protocol. It was unclear how many ballots were involved, but since one race on some of the ballots was won by just 41 votes, commissioners decided some corrective action was needed. Therefore, a special election has been set for Aug. 28 for about 425 people who cast their ballots in the precinct in question.

A special election may have been the best the county could do, but one of the interesting sidelights to this story is how much havoc one irresponsible or careless election official can cause on an election. In this case the actions of the election judge probably were entirely accidental and, fortunately, were discovered and dealt with promptly. Think how much worse it could be if someone with malicious intent were involved, especially someone with the capability to manipulate a computerized voting or vote-counting system.

Although some Kansans still have concerns, the ID requirement didn’t appear to have a significant impact on voter turnout or convenience during last week’s primary. The situation in Topeka, however, is a good reminder that there are many other ways — either innocent or malicious — to undermine the integrity of the voting process.


Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

So in my mind, every legislator who voted for Kobach's voter ID scam bill is guilty of wasting taxpayer money. Furthermore, the 25 provisional votes that were thrown out by Shawnee County were almost certainly cast by legitimate Kansas citizens. Their only crime was insufficient paperwork. Throwing out their votes is a greater crime than the total number of alleged in-person voter fraud cases that were found by News21 in the entire United States.

That's the story here.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 7 months ago

Don't you have to have ID to sign up for welfare? Tell those folks to bring that same ID when they come to vote.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Next you'll want them to sew patches on their lapels identifying them as welfare recipients (or non-Christians, non-Republicans, etc.) to shame them for not being just as petty and small-minded as you are.

tomatogrower 5 years, 7 months ago

Good grief, snap. First, you say there are a bunch of undocumented Mexicans who come here to get welfare without any identification. Then you say that you have to show ID to get welfare. You conservatives need to look at the gaping holes in your stories.

Kate Rogge 5 years, 7 months ago

ID may not have had a big impact on the primary election because only motivated voters who made sure they could vote actually voted. We'll see what happens in the general election when many of the people who come to vote didn't vote in the primaries.

I think it is obscene that American citizens who move to Kansas will be required to produce a birth certificate or passport to prove citizenship to register to vote (an Oklahoma or Maryland driver's license is insufficient in Brownbackistan?). Disgraceful.

rtwngr 5 years, 7 months ago

The statistics are based on reported irregularities. How many votes have been cast that were illegal? There is no way to quantify that number. Voter I.D. laws will go a long way to keeping both sides honest.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

That does not justify throwing out the 25 votes in Shawnee County because they could/did not produce a valid ID. We just created a bigger problem with the "solution" to a problem that nobody has been able to document exists.

All at taxpayer's expense, courtesy Mr. Kobach.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

"despite all evidence that there was no problem to start with"

There is no such thing as "evidence" that something does not exist.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

But Republicans are basing these vote suppression laws on something they swear DOES exist, but have yet to provide any evidence of it.

Your attempts at invoking logic are a total failure.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

And how would you recognize logic, Bozo, being so unfamiliar with it?

The same argument could be made for those opposed to voter ID laws, i.e. those who claim there are all these legitimate voters being disenfranchised yet being unable to produce any. Funny how the logic only "fails" in one direction (which always seems to be yours), Bozo.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

The difference is that these laws don't prevent what they are purported to do, while creating conditions that most certainly will and have prevented otherwise eligible voters from participating in elections.

Logic says that the real reason for these laws is vote suppression, and in rare moments of honesty, Republican lawmakers have even admitted as much.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

"while creating conditions that most certainly will and have prevented otherwise eligible voters from participating in elections"

And yet there's absolutely no evidence for that. So, just to clarify, those in favor of voter ID laws are required to show evidence, but those opposed, such as your estemmed self, require none. Or to put it another way, you dismiss someone else's argument while using the same one. Glad to see my time away from here hasn't changed your hypocritical nature one iota.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"And yet there's absolutely no evidence for that."

You mean no evidence that you have the intellectual integrity to acknowledge.

Carmalee Winebrinner 5 years, 7 months ago

The lawsuit currently in the courts in Pennsylvania has a plaintiff who has no possible way of obtaining a valid PA identification card, yet is a US citizen and has voted in every election for the past 30 years, if not more.

There's your evidence.

Mike Ford 5 years, 7 months ago

love the stereotype snap......what about the ricky bobbies and carrie sue's from mildred, kansas or some other podunk place who rarely see minorities until they get in the city and lived on srs in the country....they don't vote anyway.... punishing everyone for your closet prejudice.....right snap judgement......

scarlett 5 years, 7 months ago

Yup, and that means it's ~podunk, and the brownbackistanis and republicans in other states are doing everything possible to suppress voting amongst the poor and unwashed people who might not vote republican if given an actual opportunity. It is blatent election fixing, republican style.

Alyosha 5 years, 7 months ago

Snap's question about welfare and "those folks" has nothing to do with the topic of this editorial.

One wonders at snap's motives bringing an unrelated topic into the discussion.

Since it adds nothing to the topic of the editorial, reasonable people are warranted in believing snap has zero interest in sound public policy and 100% interest in disinformation and unethical rhetorical behavior.

As such he has no business taking part in this discussion until his unethical behavior stops.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

I recall a discussion I was having with an individual during the 1976 presidential campaign. I mentioned to this person that I was considering voting for McCarthy for President, as I had become disillusioned with the two party system. This person, also a voter, said they were surprised I was considering voting for McCarthy, his image being what it was. When I questioned him further, it became evident that he thought I intended to vote for Joe McCarthy, whose image of course was indeed tainted by the communist hearings on the Senate floor back in the '50's. The person I was speaking with was obviously unaware that Joe McCarthy had been dead for nearly two decades and that I was referring to Eugene McCarthy.

As much as I hate to admit it, I distinctly remember thinking to myself that I hoped this person didn't vote because they were, in my opinion, not aware enough of the issues to make an informed vote. And as much as I hate to admit it again, if you're unable to get an ID, or you're unaware of the requirement, despite all the debate about it, if those people stay away from the ballot box, I can't say I would be very bothered. I recently saw a survey that indicated that a third of the population could not identify all three branches of government while another third could not identify even one. And again, as much as I hate to admit it, if they stayed home, I would be none too bothered.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

So, you favor the "literacy tests" for voters that they used to have in the south, I take it.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

No, Bozo. I didn't say that.

I was lamenting the fact that huge numbers of voters are unaware of even the most basic issues. I would think that would be a concern of all who want an informed electorate. You do want an informed electorate, don't you? Or are you more comfortable with an uninformed electorate? It's got to be one or the other.

verity 5 years, 7 months ago

I agree that too many voters are woefully uneducated.

This is partially because a lot of money is being spent to misinform us. It takes time to search out the truth.

Would it not be better to spend the money on voter education rather than mostly non-existence ID fraud?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

You suggest we spend money on voter education. That sound great. Like the example I gave about the three branches of government. I learned that, when? Sixth grade? Seventh? I can't remember. But I do know for a 100% fact that I learned it in taxpayer supported public education. Everyone learned it. Everyone. So where is the problem, with the schools that already taught it or with the student who forgot it, or never paid enough attention?

I'm a big supporter of public education and frequently advocate for more spending on public education. I sent my child to a private school and am not in support of "vouchers' or any other subsidy. But as the old expression goes, "you can't teach a person who he doesn't want to know".

verity 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes, I have certainly experienced trying to teach a person something they didn't want to know and you can't. However I don't remember everything I was taught either even though I wish fervently that I could.

We are talking about two different things here---knowledge of how government works and knowledge of the issues/people being voted on. Of course, they are related and are both important.

What do you suggest we do?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

Well, this discussion is fairly narrow, in that it's about an informed electorate. I threw in education, so I'll expand on that without limiting it to how it relates to politics.

I'd expand public education to year round. Of course, that would necessitate a huge increase in spending and I'd bee all in favor of that. As school is beginning this week, it highlights the fact that over the summer, students lose much of what they learned last year. I'd be willing to guess that a substantial amount of time will be spent these next few weeks reviewing what was learned last year.

Maybe that would help the electorate retain information about the three branches of government. Maybe not. But I'd give that a try.

I'm not a big fan of term limits. It leads to inexperienced legislators making poor decisions. But I'm less of a fan of career politicians who feed at the public trough for their entire careers. Somehow, we need to return to the days of citizen legislators. People who will serve for a short period of time and then return to their chosen profession. Strict term limits might do that. No more ten years in the assembly, ten in the senate and then ten more as a lobbyist. I would strictly limit the ability of former government officials becoming lobbyists.

I've mentioned my position about a flat tax, where everyone pays the same percentage. That, coupled with no deficit spending, should raise the taxes of everyone. Everyone. And it should do so a lot. I'm in favor of that. I do believe that if proposals were made to raise everyone's taxes, voters will become aware and vote. And with that, they will decide what we need as opposed to what we want. More will decide what we can afford and what we can't.

I'd start a universal draft, with no exemptions. When Senator's daughters come home in body bags, wars of choice will end. And if the electorate's daughters come home in body bags, the electorate will vote. Basically, you need to give people a big reason to vote.

somedude20 5 years, 7 months ago

This state and its leaders are all suffering from a medical condition!!

verity 5 years, 7 months ago

We are allowing ourselves to be distracted from the bigger problem---not to belittle it at all, but there are other things happening. Mentioned above were intimidation, outright breaking of the rules and so forth.

I think that the unlimited money being spent is our biggest problem. The fact that it can be done without anybody knowing who spent it makes it even worse. As long as lies can be perpetuated by Americans for Prosperity, the C of C, etc, our elections are generally going to the highest bidder.

Go to Jean Schodorf's Facebook page and read what she has to say about the Kansas Primary. The Repubican extremists are truly eating the more moderate people in their party.

If America fails, it will be a self-inflicted wound that brings us down.

Carmalee Winebrinner 5 years, 7 months ago

Which means to me that moderate Republicans need to be willing and fully prepared to vote for the Democrats running against the extremists, rather than just vote the party line.

The question is: will they do so??

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

"But despite the recent rush of state legislatures to pass laws requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, the project found only 10 cases in the nation of alleged in-person voter fraud since 2000."

And how, pray tell, is one able to determine whther there were any cases of "ineligible voters such as felons or non-citizens casting ballots, double voting and voter impersonation" when ID wasn't required???

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Umm, the fact that there is absolutely no evidence that it's been happening is a pretty good tip off, dontcha think?

verity 5 years, 7 months ago

Oh, no, Bozo. In this case it's proof that it is happening. Guilty until proven innocent. Isn't that the way our system works?

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

And again, Bozo, how would one gather such evidence if there is no ID requirement? How exactly does one establish that there has been no voter impersonation if nobody has to verify who they are? Too much for you to grasp?

And as I mentioned above, the fact that there has been no documented examples of legitimate voters being disenfranchised hasn't kept the liberal hens from cackling about that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Show some evidence that it IS happening, nota. If it's so prevalent, that should be a piece of cake, right?

(hint-- that's the exact opposite of proving a negative, so you have no excuse.)

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

Show some evidence that it disnfranchises voters, Bozo - should be a piece of that same cake (but as a typical whiny liberal, I'm sure you'll come up with some variation on "But ... but ... but that's DIFFFffffeerrrrenttt.......").

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

There was a report of 26 provisional ballots being thrown out in Topeka because the voters had no ID.

Your turn.

formerfarmer 5 years, 7 months ago

If there are so few incidents of in person fraud, then why are there so many complaining of low Hispanic voter turnout because they have to show picture ID?

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 7 months ago

Definition: Ethics is the rules for deciding proper conduct. While not absolutely timeless, ethical principles change very little though the ages. Morality is the standards for behavior that exist at some point in time.

For example, slavery was once considered moral but it was not ethical.

Today the Republican Party is attempting to redefine what is moral regarding election laws but what they are doing will never be considered ethical in a Democratic society.

The decision as to whether gerrymandering and rigging of elections through restrictive voting rules is moral will be decided by the people who are able to vote. They will decide whether to endorse the morality of these changes instituted by Republican politiicians in order to gain a strategic advantage.

The bottom line is whether our morals are ethical in a free and Democratic society and whether this is the kind of country we want our children to believe in.

jmadison 5 years, 7 months ago

News21-- 500 journalism students working to reshape journalism.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Journalism students, eh-- one thing we can be certain of-- none of them will ever work for Fox News or the Weekly Standard.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Thanks - I see you don't believe in democracy.

But, at least you're clear and honest about it.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Also, it's interesting that you don't seem to want very smart people to vote as well as those with IQ's under 90.

tbaker 5 years, 7 months ago

So does anyone have any evidence which documents an otherwise qualified person being prevented from voting because of the ID law?


If they can get to the polling place, they can get to the ID place.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"If they can get to the polling place, they can get to the ID place."

Total straw man. There are millions of people throughout the country who will have considerable difficulty in obtaining an ID. That's just a fact.

notajayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

"Total straw man."

Says the same clownish hypocrite that said "So, you favor the "literacy tests" for voters that they used to have in the south, I take it" up above.

Katara 5 years, 7 months ago

The ID place can be located at the county seat across the county from a person and a polling place can be the church down the street.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"I will reply to any and all posts I deem it of interest, and as long as it is within the rules of the LJW. "

You've been banned so many times for flouting the rules of the LJW that I doubt that you'll ever be able to learn new spots.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"The center’s registration forms, some of which have been addressed to the dead, children, even pets and felons ineligible to vote in Virginia"

Ooh, this must be a sign of pure evil.

Either that, or the mailing list they purchased included "the dead, children, even pets and felons," and guess what? The dead, children, pets and (all?) felons could not be registered, and if they can't be registered, they can't vote.

"The zip code on the form will send it somewhere other than the actual State Board of Elections."

This could just be a clerical error. Or there could be a valid reason for using that zip code. But given that there is no information out there that I can find that isn't part of the wackosphere echochamber that even mentions it, I'm guessing that there really isn't anything nefarious going on other than a group doing the dastardly deed of helping people get registered to vote (which, for the new GOP, truly is an evil act.)

beatrice 5 years, 7 months ago

Many Republicans believe it is important to disenfranchise American citizens in order to get their way. Chilling.

Now -- Show me your papers!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

That comparison isn't apples and oranges; it's apples and fire hydrants (and not the ones painted red.)

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

OK, JW news staff: There is now a head count of 25 folks whose votes were thrown out in Shawnee County because they did not provide documentation. There is every reason to believe that these folks were law abiding citizens of the State of Kansas since they were given provisional ballots, which I believe you cannot receive unless you are a registered voter showing up to your appointed precinct, correct?

How may other voters in the state were similarly disenfranchised by a process that the Secretary of State and the legislature set up? How many in Douglas County? Are we going to start a head count of voters who turned up to vote and were disqualified not because they weren't registered voters but because they didn't have an approved ID? This new law has already potentially rejected more legitimate voters in our state than have ever voted fraudulently.

Where's an investigative reporter when you need one?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

" I would believe there was good reason to toss these votes"

The stated reason was because they failed to produce a valid ID. That's not a good reason, but it's the law-- a law that has already invalidated the votes of more eligible voters, in one precinct in one election, than there have been fraudulent votes in the entire country over the last 10 years.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

Sageon, I very much DO want to push this. In the name of preventing theoretical voter fraud, 25 legitimate voters were deprived of their vote, and this is just one county. I think that if we are going to turn the state upside down looking for vote fraud, we should also closely inspect the newly disenfranchised voters to see whether they are really trying to pull a fast one or whether they were squeezed out of being able to vote by an overly active bureaucracy. Throwing babies out with the bathwater is not good form, and if you are disenfranchising far more voters than you are preventing voter fraud, then that's exactly what you are doing.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 7 months ago

I don't have privy to any additional information--that's why I asked for an investigative reporter to check into it. I would think that the polling stations could tell them whether they claimed that they were someone already on the registered voter rosters, in which case I would think that there was an excellent chance that they were deprived of their vote. There is certainly a much greater probability that they just threw in the towel or did not have the right paperwork than the probability that they were folks who were from outside the country trying to stuff the ballot or other such nefarious voter fraud scheme.

To appeal to following the law is disengenous at best, since the law up until this last election would have allowed such folks to vote. It preventing potential voter fraud only culls people who don't have the right paper trail but who would otherwise be eligible to vote, then this is a form of voter suppression, plain and simple.

Kate Rogge 5 years, 7 months ago

Voter ID laws are willful voter suppression and it is all coming from the Republican party FOR the Republican party.

"Lawyers challenging the Pennsylvania law asked Simpson to note that state House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) listed the law as an accomplishment at a meeting of GOP activists. “Voter ID — which is going to allow governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania — done,” he said. "

Commenting has been disabled for this item.