Is voter fraud a problem? Yes, and we have choices; do nothing, take a chance that it might get worse, or try to fix it.
Democrats are clamoring for a change from voting booths to mail-in voting because of the coronavirus pandemic. Is mail-in the right solution? Let’s take a snapshot of the current problem and then you decide.
In California, it has been determined that 1.5 million individuals were registered, even though they no longer were eligible to vote. Recently, California Gov.. Gavin Newsom signed an order ensuring that every registered voter will receive a mail-in ballot this fall.
In North Carolina in 2018, the 9th Congressional District election was overturned because of illegal vote harvesting. Criminal charges were later filed.
In Oregon, a survey of one county found that 5 percent of registered voters admitted that other people marked their ballots, and 2.4 percent said someone else signed their ballots.
The Election Assistance Commission found that 28.3 million ballots in federal elections between 2012 and 2018 were lost or disappeared in the mail.
In Virginia, an investigation found 592 examples where registrants were simultaneously registered in another state. There are about 11,600 dead people on Virginia’s voter rolls, all of whom would receive mail-in ballots if an election were held by mail.
In New Mexico, the Public Interest Legal Foundation found more than 3,000 individuals registered multiple times; 1,700 registrants who are dead; 1,500 voters aged 100 or above, 64 of whom are over 120 years old. All would receive mail-in ballots.
These are just a few examples of the ongoing voter fraud in America. Imagine if we went state by state and searched out voting and voter registration investigations. Mail-in ballots are the tools of choice of election fraudsters making it easier to steal, forge, or alter ballots, and intimidate voters.
Ballot harvesting is the collecting and submitting of absentee or mail-in ballots by volunteers. In California, campaigns can legally go door-to-door as often as they want and offer to collect the filled-out ballots and drop them off to election officials. Fraud comes into play when one questions the collector’s intentions. Could they be motivated to not deliver the ballots once they are collected?
These cases demonstrate that significant election fraud does exist and, unchecked, can compromise the integrity of the entire election process.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s $3 trillion Heroes Act, recently passed by the House, says that states “shall permit a voter to designate any person to return a voted and sealed absentee ballot.” In effect it would impose ballot harvesting nationwide.
Voter fraud in America is a problem. With a concerted effort, the voter rolls and voting procedures can get cleaned up with a little common sense and attention to detail.
Moving the nation to mail-in voting, as a reaction to the pandemic, does not solve the kind of problems enumerated above and could well make things a lot worse, leading to many contentious election results like the 9th District in North Carolina in 2018.
Here is what could — or should — happen leading up to the November elections:
n The U.S. Attorney General should put pressure on all of the states’ attorneys general to get involved and clean up the mess. State election officials appear unable or uninterested in doing so.
n Ban ballot harvesting across the nation. For those who cannot go to the voting stations (military, infirmed, etc.), tighten the requirement for a signed request for an absentee ballot and do the entire process with specific due dates well ahead of Election Day.
n If we are concerned about social distancing requirements, extend voting over three days to alleviate the crush and long lines.
The U.S. Constitution specifically gives Congress the power to regulate “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections.” In 1845 Congress passed a law designating the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November for federal elections. It would be easy to change it with a two-sentence law: “The 2020 national elections will be held Nov. 1-3, 2020. No results will be released until every voting station in the nation is closed.”
This is the 21st century, and everyone needs a valid form of identification. It is about time we stopped the nonsense of arguing about voter ID. The state Department of Motor Vehicles could easily provide a valid ID for those few legal citizens who do not have a driver’s license, a passport or a federal ID.
Lt. Gen. Marvin L. Covault, U.S. Army (ret.), is the author of “Vision to Execution,” a book for leaders.