October 28, 2006
Mail Ballot Horror Show(XXIII): Increased "turnout"

Certain elections officials believe all voting should be done by mail:

Secretaries of State Sam Reed and Bill Bradbury today advocated voting by mail as a secure, popular way of voting proven to increase turnout.
Well it does increase turnout, after a fashion: "Woman charged with voter fraud"
The Oak Harbor woman allegedly signed and mailed her daughter's absentee ballot during a school bond election in May.
Raise your hand if you think this is an isolated incident. Raise both hands if you also think the incidence of such voter fraud will decrease if and when King County forces everybody to vote by mail.

hat tip: Lori H

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at October 28, 2006 09:01 PM | Email This
Comments
1. The two main points to take from this article are these:
"It's unusual to see a case (like this) come to prosecution,"

"she told her mother to vote on her behalf"

"So far, this is the only one from the May election that we believe was voted illegally,"

Well those and the FACT that they caught the alledged fraud.
What a waste of tax payer time and money.

Posted by: me on October 28, 2006 09:15 PM
2. How many husbands are filling out their wives ballots for them? Or maybe someone doing their kids while they are away at school?

My wife asks me what I think about on the issues and who I'm going to vote for, she usually votes the same, but I make sure she actually fills the thing out and that's normally not an issue as we vote at the polls. This year we will be gone and are voting absentee (the true reason to have this...not in state for the voting day, not that your to lazy or busy [and yes I don't count the disabled in that]). It's her vote and her responsibility to fill it in, even while sitting at the kitchen table.


Sam Reed may be an educated man and have experience with voting, but he sure doesn't seem to care about integrity of the vote.

Posted by: Dengle on October 28, 2006 09:29 PM
3. "Maybe someone doing their kids while they are away at school?"

It looks like that's exactly what happened. By all means toss that ballot out, but it seems a waste of time and money to charge these folks with a crime.

It also seems that this shows the opposite of what is being alleged here. This story really shows how safe vote by mail is. I mean they did catch it after all.

Posted by: me on October 28, 2006 09:42 PM
4. so little fraud - god, how honest are we - this site is obsessed - get a sex life shark

a few voting problems will shrink in importance

Posted by: Jac on October 28, 2006 10:28 PM
5. Jac--
Such a cute little joke you made there--I'm sure your smug little friends are so proud of your bravery and citizenship...
A little fraud here, and little fraud there... it all adds up, though. You can't just ignore it, if you value your own voting rights. It's like the broken window thing--if broken windows never get fixed, then more broken windows appear, and then graffiti, and trash, and so on.
It's better to fix those little windows now rather than have to repeat the previous governor's race.

Posted by: pseudotsuga on October 28, 2006 10:53 PM
6. So, Jac... I bet you thought the same thing about Florida in 2000 and Ohio in '04, right?

Posted by: Hinton on October 28, 2006 11:05 PM
7. This seems like something that could be best solved with a deal for a small fine, say 100 dollars. To go through the trouble of prosecuting and possibly jailing a person for this seems silly. Sure it is wrong, but wrong like a speeding ticket, not like assault. Slap the wrist and make an example, don't go overboard.

Posted by: Giffy on October 28, 2006 11:23 PM
8. Raising NO hands, right about now.....

Posted by: Michele on October 28, 2006 11:37 PM
9. Giffy,

Vote fraud, no matter how small, is not like a speeding ticket. It is not like assault. It is a very, very serious thing. I claim it is even more important than assault or any other crime, save the most serious. Name one thing more important and more critical to our freedoms than the ability to elect our own government. Sure, free speech, right to bear arms, all of these things are important. But without the right to elect our own government, how can we protect these freedoms?

Let me illustrate the importance of election integrity by examining a hypothetical situation. Suppose the people of the US really lose faith in the election system. If everyone thought that their vote really didn't count, and that some group was fixing all the elections, what would happen next? Do you think the situation will be remedied with anything but bloodshed and massive civil disturbances? It certainly can't be fixed with an election or referendum or initiative. What do you think the rest of the world will do when the American system falls into chaos? What rights will you have when there is no longer domestic tranquility in the land?

Even if everyone in the entire US speeds, they cannot cause this kind of damage. That is why vote fraud is so critical and why it is so important to prosecute every case and apply an appropriate penalty. Should the American people ever actually believe that elections do not matter, we will have a far bigger problem on our hands than old ladies doing 70 in a 60 MPH zone.

Posted by: Jonathan Gardnr on October 28, 2006 11:38 PM
10. ..and I don't know why this is so hard for trolls to understand: even ONE fradulent ballot is too many. Why are these people not disturbed that someone's vote got cancelled out ILLEGALLY because of this fraudulent vote? Why should people go through the motions of voting if nobody takes election integrity seriously? The casual tossing off of this story by trolls is unacceptable. I and many here will NOT call even one fraudulent vote acceptable. IT WRONGLY CANCELLED SOMEONE ELSE'S VOTE OUT. THAT MATTERS.

Posted by: Michele on October 28, 2006 11:44 PM
11. ...so, Giffy, what you're not getting is that speeding doesn't necessarily hurt anyone else. It CAN in some instances, but often doesn't. Even ONE fraudulent vote hurt someone else who cast a legal vote. There WAS harm. Why you're not seeing that is beyond me.

Posted by: Michele on October 28, 2006 11:53 PM
12. It also matters that so few of the voting population are not honest..... you all are obsessed.

It is like shitting your pants. Never plan on it ..... but then all goes wrong and it is the best solution.

Out of hundreds of thousand of ballots there is little fraud, by anyone.

Take heart, people are really good. I think Jesus would be happy.

Do you all make money doing this? If not, get a life. Do some real charity ... I cook at the mission two evenings a week. Better than obsessing so much on so little ..... but I guess that is the definition of an obsession.

Posted by: Jac on October 29, 2006 04:17 AM
13. Jac,
Why do you feel the need to tell people how they should spend their own time?

Pot, meet kettle.

Posted by: Elaine on October 29, 2006 07:04 AM
14. I got to be an observer last week, as ballots were opened and signatures were compared, in Grays Harbor County. Temporary Election Employees were diligent and appeared honest and impartial. They get maybe 10 seconds to compare signatures on the screen with those on the envelope. I noted signatures being checked that didn't even look close but were approved because "the slant was the same" or "look at the age (1931) the person is old" or "signatures change with age, it's ok just note the curl in the last letter". I had the opportunity to throw down the red challenge card on at least 10 questionable signatures.

They brought in the Elections supervisor who quickly determined all but one was OK and told me I was not an expert in reading signatures. The one she did not approve, had one mans name printed on top and signed by a different mans name (correct DOB for the name on top). She said it went to suspension?

On one of the 10 which was Oked, the mans name on top was written by femine handwriting. Signature was bold, heavy, shaky. The date of birth was 1901. The elections suppervisor said anyone could fill out a ballot as long as the person voting was the registered one and the signatures were correct with one on file. Might have been the same person, but the signature did not look like the one on the screen (very changed). But it was approved because "old people's signatures change over time". I wondered what nursing home allowed someone to vote for a resident.

Two might have been interchanged by spouses..or?

I have filed challenges to all 10 asking they go before the canvasing board. I would bet she will present them with the same comment: Observer is not an expert and we determined they are all correct. I look forward to Monday afternoon and seeing the board's decisions.

We have manditory mail in. Sorry for this post being so long, but I encourage everyone to volunteer as an observer and really see what goes on.

Prosecuting on any illegal signature is the biggest surprise I have in this case.

Oh, did I mention I am a retired Cop who used to work forgeries? But then I am not an "expert".

Posted by: Old Sgt on October 29, 2006 07:44 AM
15. Jac-squat sez, "Out of hundreds of thousand of ballots there is little fraud, by anyone."
Sorry, you are the weakest link--goodbye.

Posted by: pseudotsuga on October 29, 2006 07:45 AM
16. Jac...
Jesus is WEEPING that a person like you can so easily and flippantly explain away and dismiss obvious dishonesty. That makes YOU no better than the dishonest person.

Sorry, Jacko. I have to disagree with your mistaken assertion that "people are really good". Since you injected Jesus into the discussion, I will point out that after man fell from grace, his nature became inherently EVIL, and it requires a continual and conscious act of the will to do GOOD. If human nature was inherently good, then that would make Jesus' sacrifice completely pointless, wouldn't it?

BTW... if you had read the article completely, you would have read where voter fraud is a FELONY. Speeding is NOT.

Vote at your local polling place. Sign the log book. Fill out your ballot, and feed it into the machine YOURSELF. Make sure your vote is counted!!

Posted by: BRC on October 29, 2006 07:47 AM
17. Old Sgt,

Your story confirms what those of us who pay attention have been saying for several years now. I realize that someone who was born in 1901 COULD still be alive and COULD possibly be fully aware of the issues and be voting accordingly...but chances of that are pretty slim! If you get the chance during the hearing, try to get the address of the voter and check the database to see how many other ballots came from that same address. I'd be curious to see if it is a nursing home and if perhaps a whole slew of "voters" had some help in filling in their ballots! The whole process is a mess and I don't know what it will take to fix it, although I'd love to go the "purple finger" system which seems pretty straightforward and would certainly cut out the frauds. I live in Sno County and have now been forced to all mail voting. I took my ballot, along with my husband's, to a polling drop off for the primary last month and Snohomish County isn't sure if they actually received it! Really gives me a feeling of confidence in the elections department!

Posted by: suzihomemaker on October 29, 2006 07:58 AM
18. I have a hard time calling this whole thing fraud as the mom was asked to fill out the ballot for the daughter. She was filling it out in the manner the daughter wanted.

Posted by: me on October 29, 2006 08:09 AM
19. Jac--if "a little fraud here-there" happend in YOUR checking account or credit card, you are the first type of person to throw a clot! hyprocrite. liberal smug apathy. never been a victim in your comfy world bubble, eh?

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on October 29, 2006 08:11 AM
20. It would be interesting to see the on-line Social Security Death Index combined or compared with the voter registration database.

Posted by: Elaine on October 29, 2006 08:33 AM
21. I'm still a bit unsettled with jac revealing his problem with incontinence...

Posted by: alphabet soup on October 29, 2006 08:50 AM
22. Not surprising coming from the SOS Office where Nick Handy is telling folks who express concern about issues related to King Kounty Elections that King Kounty does a real good job except for a couple past problems which have been fixed. HOW WOULD NICK HANDY KNOW????

By the way....what do you suppose happened to those 1,100 Voter Registrations sent in too late to King Kounty by ACORN????
I think it's very important for someone to get a copy of each of those Voter Registrations and try to track down every single one of them at the address listed. That will be mighty interesting, don't you think?? Apparently King Kounty has set them aside in a box unopened. Really?

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on October 29, 2006 09:02 AM
23. Check this story out in the Olympian about vote by Mail. Voter turnout proves mail-in election a hit. http://www.theolympian.com/109/story/47483.html

Here is just part of what it says

Secretary of State Sam Reed recently reported that 93 percent of Washington state voters who participated in the Sept. 19 primary did so with a mail-in ballot.

and they follow up with

But the statistics from the primary clearly show that voters prefer to vote from the comfort of their home.

My only question is, what is the percentage of registered voters actually voted?

Posted by: TrueSoldier on October 29, 2006 09:30 AM
24. Michelle and Jonathan: You are confusing vote fraud with someone making an honest mistake.

One could in good conscious believe that 1)they have the authority to sign for their children and 2) its ok to fill out ballots for family members as long as you vote how they tell you. These are, of course, incorrect, but are a far cry form say voting many times, forging numerous ballots ect. Like I said this is a good opportunity to correct those assumptions and impose a nominal fine.

I would add that prosecuting and jailing a mother who tried, in good faith, to help her daughter vote would do equal damage to peoples faith in the system. I highly doubt that many would even consider what she did to be fraud.

Posted by: Giffy on October 29, 2006 09:38 AM
25. Giffy you mean like the people who voted their dead spuses ballots in 2004, because that is the way they wanted them voted. This thought process is one of the many problems with the liberals. You have to do things as to not hurt anyones feelings. Don't punish children for misbehaving, don't prosecute druggies cause they may have had a bad life, We have to give the terrorists the same rights as Americans to prove to them we are not as bad as they claim, don't prosecute voter fraud becasue it might just make people not want to vote.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on October 29, 2006 09:44 AM
26. My only question is, what is the percentage of registered voters actually voted?

Posted by TrueSoldier at October 29, 2006 09:30 AM


3,250,216 Registered voters statewide
1,261,030 Ballots counted statewide
38.7983% Turnout in Primary

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskold on October 29, 2006 09:45 AM
27. Thanks #26 Ragnar Danneskold for the info. I would not call that a significant gain in turnout due to all mail voting.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on October 29, 2006 09:49 AM
28. TrueSoldier: Having someone tell you to vote for them and assuming how they would vote are two different things.

I also never said she should not be punished. I think a small fine would be sufficient to deter her and probably enough to deter others. The choice is not punishment vs. no punishment, it is what sort of punishment.

Posted by: Giffy on October 29, 2006 10:16 AM
29. Giffy, you miss the point. There is already a punishment on the books. You just want to change the punishment to a more touchy feely punishment.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on October 29, 2006 10:46 AM
30. Soldier: I think you miss the point. Throwing a mother in jail for mistakenly helping her daughter vote (with her daughter's permission) is extreme, especially since no one was harmed. Most people recognize that this kind of punishment mentality is more representative of the oppressive societies we supposedly oppose.

Also, I would certainly question the judgment of a prosecutor that wanted to waste taxpayer resources on this case. It's going to be almost impossible to prove the criminal intent necessary to obtain anywhere close to the maximum penalty.

Posted by: scottd on October 29, 2006 11:04 AM
31. TrueSoldier:
"falsely signing this oath is a felony punishable by a maximum imprisonment of five years, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both."

Notice the use of the words 'maximum' and 'or'.

Posted by: Giffy on October 29, 2006 11:58 AM
32. With all the technology out there you would think you could do it by computer! What makes it any better if you go vote by person!? This is liberal land for god's sake! You know there will be dishonesty all over the place!

My opinion is that they are afraid of this system of technology because then it would be made tamper proof and omit the bipartisan folks!

The far left Democrats don't get it and never will!

As for all the liberals out there (and they are really out there out of their minds!) Liberals just want us to tell them the truth over and over! It's just so their story gets twisted enough to suit what ever the hell they believe!

This is why scrolling trolls and not letting them annoy me has been my decision!

Seattle is full of these obnoxious little trolls! And like their parents I don't have time for the little assholes!

Posted by: dcat on October 29, 2006 12:56 PM
33. Jimmie@19, in fact, this sort of thing does happen with credit cards. Before my wife and I were married and shared credit card accounts, we would occasionally sign each other's credit card slips out of convenience, and there was never a problem. That was a perfect analogy to asking someone to complete a ballot (not that we ever did that, though I'm sure with this admission Richard Pope will now launch an exhaustive investigation...).

Michele@11, your analogy is flawed. This illegal voting could have made a difference (just like most speeding offenses), but didn't in this case.

Nonetheless, I agree that even this case of "friendly" vote fraud should be prosecuted as an example. And, in light of the circumstances, the defendant should and doubtless will be given a minimal fine at most.

Posted by: Bruce on October 29, 2006 01:23 PM
34. Bruce--nice try--signing a joint credit account (contract) of which you are jointly & severally liable is ok per credit card rules (to my latest knowledge). look 'em up.

yours is a misapplied analogy. voting is a personal thing. i'm not a lawyer, but i think it requires power of attorney and is not subject to delegation (in theory). one person, one vote. unique. like the person. can't be 2.

you anaogy is misapplied--close, but no cigar. like me signing a contract for my wife & alleging i'm her. not true. it's a fraud on the courts & the contracting parties. individual voters are unique--not blocks of votes. it's like you saying your birth cert. is also you wife's. not true. cant be. try another analogy.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on October 29, 2006 01:45 PM
35. GIFFY: Here is the voter oath you are taking when you sign an absentee ballot. It is plainly printed right above the signature area--"I do solemnly swear or affirm, under penalty of perjury that:...IT IS ILLEGAL TO CAST A BALLOT OR SIGN AN ABSENTEE ENVELOPE ON BEHALF OF ANOTHER VOTER, EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY LAW" and "....FALSELY SIGNING THIS OATH IS A FELONY PUNISHABLE BY A MAXIMUM IMPRISONMENT OF FIVE YERAS, A MAXIMUM FINE OF $10,000 OR BOTH."

Ding, you lose. Stop making excuses for vote fraud.

Posted by: Michele on October 29, 2006 01:50 PM
36. Bruce, if you don't believe that there were at least several hundred signed and illegal votes counted in '04, then I wonder where you've been. Many people's votes got cancelled out because of dead and double voters and illegal provisionals and felonious voting. Whether it was blatant fraud or "unintentional" illegal voting, many legal votes were cancelled out. I abhor that. So do most people here. Thank goodness there are more honest people here than the ones like you who excuse dishonesty. There is still hope for this county.

Posted by: Michele on October 29, 2006 01:53 PM
37. Bruce, Me, Giffy, Scottd -

Your situational ethics aside, what she did is ILLEGAL. She had many warnings that she ignored. She blew it.

If her daughter had asked her to shoplift, or rob a bank, or punch a neighbor for her, would those acts have been any more legal or acceptable?

You seem to have a very low regard for the sanctity of the vote.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on October 29, 2006 02:10 PM
38. With all the technology out there you would think you could do it by computer! What makes it any better if you go vote by person!? This is liberal land for god's sake! You know there will be dishonesty all over the place!

My opinion is that they are afraid of this system of technology because then it would be made tamper proof and omit the bipartisan folks!

Me thinks the liberals doth protest too much... it looks like their commie mentor and good pal Hugo is going to help them perpetuate vote fraud...

FEDS PROBE CHAVEZ LINK TO VOTING MACHINE FIRM

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskold on October 29, 2006 02:21 PM
39. There will be voter fraud out there until we scrub the rolls & re-register with proof of US citizenship & WA citizenship. Right now, on the TVW channel, there is a US Senate community forum/debate with candidates, but get this...it is being delivered by an over-voice in Spanish! Aren't only American citizens allowed to vote in this country? And to be a citizen, aren't you supposed to be proficient in English? Why is this being delivered in Spanish over a government TV station? Unless, there are alot of no-good illegals out there that are voting in our elections!! The Help America Vote Act has compromised our system to where non-Americans are voting.

Posted by: Susu on October 29, 2006 04:24 PM
40. If vote fraud is no big deal Bruce, me, Scottd et al the other KLOWNS, I have an idea........
Why don't the DEMOCRATS propose Legislation to minimize the penalty????
Please write your Legislator & Governor and encourage them to propose this Legislation immediately.......
Whatsamatta KLOWNS....afraid of the consequences????

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on October 29, 2006 04:46 PM
41. Jac, your self-righteousness isn't playing well here or helping to cover up your inclination to excuse "just a little vote fraud." And don't insult Jesus by putting forth the equally fraudulent notion that HE thought "just a little sin" was okay. If that were the case, he would have committed 'just a little bit' of sin. I notice that he didn't. And for good reason. Don't assume that you are the one person on earth helping the less fortunate. I will not elaborate how we do that here at our house because it's not cool to brag about how generous you are to other people like you are doing, here, especially while excusing blatant fraud by someone who surely read all the warnings about doing what she did. I'm surprised that you're not seeing that irony, but oh well.

Posted by: Michele on October 29, 2006 05:48 PM
42. Michelle: I never once said it was ok, legal, or anything like that, to do what she did. Hell I even said they should make a public example out of her. IT WAS ILLEGAL. clear enough for you.

She either failed to read the oath, though her conduct fell under the "EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY LAW" exception, or just figured it was not a big deal. All, like I said earlier, were wrong.

What I objected to was prosecuting her as opposed to making a deal for a modest fine. Not all wrongs are equal. If they were we would give the death penalty to shoplifters.

Posted by: Giffy on October 29, 2006 05:52 PM
43. #37

"situational ethics" Hell yes I use "situational ethics" sometimes you need a hammer and sometimes you need a sledge hammer. It's an important skill to be able to distinguish between the two.

PS ethics are by their nature situational, you're confusing ethics with morals.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics

Posted by: me on October 29, 2006 09:08 PM
44. Me at #43. You depend on Wikipedia for all your problems, don't you? Maybe tht's your problem. Anybody can write anything in Wikipedia, and too many have intentionally written in false information and wrong stories about people.

Am I too polite to call you a fool?

Posted by: Bob in SeaTac on October 29, 2006 10:34 PM
45. Jimmie- You misread my post. My wife (then girlfriend) and I would sign each other's credit receipts when we weren't on the account. So your analogy is wrong. Nonetheless, as I said, doing this with a ballot is more serious.

Posted by: Bruce on October 29, 2006 10:34 PM
46. I'm told that next year Washington State driver's licenses will not be acceptable as ID for plane flights because we allow illegal immigrants to have State driver's licenses. Now think hard about that for a moment. Really focus. If you can no longer board a plane because your Washington State issued driver's license is not acceptable, do we in Washington State have a problem with fraudulent voting? The anointed one says NO. What do you folk say? Do illegal aliens (non-citizens) vote? Do Democrats register illegal aliens? Does mail-in voting encourage outside help (Democrats) with marking ballots for those folk that don't read English? Our anointed First Lady of Washington State won by how many votes?

Forget the Mom that helped the daughter. We have much bigger game to hunt.

Posted by: snuffy on October 29, 2006 10:44 PM
47. bruce - Jimmie's analogy is correct. What you admit to doing is a felony in this state (and most others as well).

Fortunately, you can count on me's situational ethics (and your wife's tolerance), otherwise you could be breaking rocks...

Posted by: alphabet soup on October 30, 2006 09:31 AM
48. The worst thing is that these are supposed to be "secret" ballots. I hate vote by mail and I'm voting against the county auditor that mandated it for Skamania county.

Posted by: Teri Pittman on October 30, 2006 02:37 PM
49. Giffy, the consequences are listed right there on the ballot. That's a better warning than pretty much ANY crime/infraction one could commit! Where else do you get that much warning before you break the law? Stop making excuses for people who commit vote fraud. If you tell the patrolling officer that you thought it was okay to speed, they still ticket you. I'm amazed at how sympathetic trolls are to vote fraud. I consider it a very serious crime. So do a lot of other people.

Posted by: Michele on October 30, 2006 07:36 PM
50. ..and fortunately for the rest of us, Giffy, the lawmakers thought vote fraud was serious enough to make the kind of penalties outlined here. If you think they are too serious, run for office and change it. As for me, I'm with the lawmakers who think you need that kind of penalty to discourage people from doing it.
Otherwise, there's a lot of groups out there that would consider the cost of business small for a $100 fine. For $12,900, you can buy a gubernatorial victory. Such a deal. John Kerry and Big Labor came up with WAAAAY more $$$ than that to buy Mrs. Gregoire her 3rd count. Such a deal.

Posted by: Michele on October 30, 2006 07:41 PM
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