January 30, 2007
Woman Convicted For Vote Fraud

No, really.  It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen.

The unusual case of an Oak Harbor woman accused of feloniously filling out her daughter's absentee ballot and signing it was settled with a plea bargain in Island County Superior Court Tuesday.

Notably, the case was one of the rare times in the state that a person has been charged for unlawfully voting, according to elections officials at the Washington Secretary of State's office.

Elizabeth Reddy, 45, pleaded guilty to the charge of "attempted voting absentee ballot unlawfully," a gross misdemeanor offense.

She won't suffer greatly; she is paying a fine which may cover court costs, and she will be on probation for a year.

Her daughter had given her permission to sign the ballot.  Would either even have been tempted to commit this fraud if they had to vote in person?  I doubt it.  Absentee ballots make vote fraud easy and almost risk free, and so we get more vote fraud as we move away from voting in person.

Reddy was voting on a school bond issue, which some may find ironic.  Her ballot was set aside, along with 22 others, because the signatures didn't look right.

This is also an example, though a small one, of what I call distributed vote fraud.

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.

Thanks to an emailer for tipping me off to this story, which has gotten little coverage, even in this region.  Stefan had an earlier post on this story, here.

Posted by Jim Miller at January 30, 2007 01:45 PM | Email This
Comments
1. And then you read where that young kid on the other side of the pond that was elected for the State legislature when he didn't even live in the District he ran in.

And you hear the Dems are bringing in the big guns to make sure the kid stays in the legislature.

Sickening!!

And this one was one of the most mild cases of fraud. What about the thousands in the '04 election?

Posted by: swatter on January 30, 2007 02:11 PM
2. Swatter, that kid is/maybe/was a county commissioner.

Posted by: Hinton on January 30, 2007 02:31 PM
3. "But there's been no evidence of fraud....."

or so they keep saying.

Posted by: Michele on January 30, 2007 02:40 PM
4. Why don't they investigate some real vote fraud? When anyone reads about this case, they think "Why bother?".

Posted by: Mike on January 30, 2007 03:00 PM
5. More lies spread by those lying Republicans...
/sarcasm

Well said Michele!

I still can't get over the fact that we had DEAD people voting... and the Dems don't seem to have a problem with that!

Posted by: David on January 30, 2007 03:37 PM
6. This is only symbolic, doesn't mean diddly squat when it comes to cracking down on voter fraud, given the current makeup of office holders. YAWN !

Posted by: KS on January 30, 2007 04:21 PM
7. C'mon! remember the great voter registration challenge by Lori Sotello? What a fiasco! R's are well rid of Diane Tebelious (sp?) King County couldn't properly prosecute an open and shut case of a dead voter - even after the surviving spouse testified (they never asked him a real question). They don't want to prosecute voter fraud. (by the way, the person in question was a Republican)

Posted by: rocketdog on January 30, 2007 04:25 PM
8. Well that's it for me. I trusted SP as an accurate source for political reporting in Washington. Well it looks like you can no longer be trusted, inventing stories out of whole cloth.

Somebody conviced for voter fraud. Yeah, right. Never happen. Not here.

Posted by: G Jiggy on January 30, 2007 04:36 PM
9. Yes, David, and even though they KNOW that the dead voted, they still try to claim "no evidence of fraud." It really does seem that they want to keep saying it, hoping they will be believed, or that no one will put two and two together.

Posted by: Michele on January 30, 2007 05:05 PM
10. throw one in the sacrificial BBQ; big deal; happy for enforcement, but the REAL remainder of the iceburg's mass (like in King Cty) is untouched;

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on January 30, 2007 05:19 PM
11. I think it sets an important precedent to have a county prosecutor in Washington State actually uphold the law! Kudos to Banks.

Posted by: huckleberry on January 30, 2007 05:35 PM
12. HI,

5. I HAVE EXPERIENCE WORKING IN THE POST OFFICE OVER THE YEARS, AND HAVE TALKED TO POSTAL WORKERS, ESPECIALLY., ON NIGHT SHIFTS AND HAVE SEEN HOW EASY IT IS TO MISS DIRECT OR DISPOSE OF MAIL. THE VOTE MAIL IS EASY TO TELL FROM THE ENVELOPS . A GLANCE AT THE ZIP TELLS YOU A LOT ABOUT THE CHANCES OF HOW THE VOTE WILL GO ON ONE OR TWO CONTESTS ON THE BALLOT. YOU DON'T HAVE TO OPEN OR STEEL THE MAIL WHICH IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT THAN MISS DIRECTING IT OR TRASHING IT. . I MY SELF, HAVE SEEN A GUYS TRASH MAIL WITHOUT KNOWING IT. ONCE YOUR IN THE GROVE YOU CAN DESTROY A LOT BEFORE YOU WAKE UP TO IT. LIKE WORKING LATE AT NIGHT AND HALF ASLEEP. LIKE COLLEGE GUYS AND MOON LIGHTERS WORKING AS TEMPS.


THANKS FOR YOUR CLEARLY WRITTEN ARTICLE. I HAVE SOME IDEAS ABOUT HOW VOTING SHOULD BE DONE. IF YOU GET A CHANCE, I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU WOULD LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.

I AM STILL TRYING TO FIGURE THINGS OUT AND HAVING TROUBLE.

1. THERE SHOULD BE A CLEAR LARGE TYPE PAPER BALLOT MARKED BY THE VOTER.
IT SHOULD BE AVAILABLE IN NEWS PAPERS AND THE INTERNET BEFORE HAND SO THE VOTERS CAN STUDY IT.
IT COULD ALSO BE AVAILABLE IN LIBRARIES AND SCHOOLS AND OTHER PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND OFFICES.
THE ORIGINAL CAST BALLOTS SHOULD BE KEPT ON FILE IN A SAFE PLACE FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS, MAYBE TEN

2. ALL VOTES SHOULD BE HAND COUNTED IN PUBLIC, IN THE PERCENTS BEFORE SHIPMENT ANY WERE ELSE BY THREE SEPARATE GROUPS: A. PARTISANS, B. NONPARTISANS AND C. OFFICIAL COUNTERS

3. THE VOTER SHOULD PUT THE BALLOT THROUGH AN OPTICAL SCANNER FOR COUNTING (A FORTH CHECK ON THE HAND COUNTS, ONLY A CHECK}. A COPY COULD BE MADE THAT THE VOTER CAN KEEP OR SHRED. THE COST OF AN ACCURATE VOTE IS ONE OF THE JUST PRICES OF DEMOCRACY.

4. THE VOTERS SHOULD HAVE A CHOICE WHEN VOTING TO BE ABLE TO MARK THEIR BALLOT WITH A RANDOM NUMBER KNOWN ONLY TO THEM BEFORE IT IS SCAND AND STORED.

IN A DISPUTE THE VOTERS WHO KEEP SUCH A BALLOT COULD BE ASKED, ON A VOLUNTEER BASES, TO LET THEIR BALLOT BE CHECKED AGAINST THE ORIGINAL RETAINED BALLOT. MAYBE THE VOLUNTEERS NAMES SHOULD BE MADE PUBLIC SO FORGERIES COULD BE DETECTED. IT WOULD BE VOLUNTARY. I AM NOT SURE ABOUT THIS.

Posted by: JIMMY on January 30, 2007 06:45 PM
13. As I have always said.

"It's not how many votes you count, it's who counts the votes!"

JVS

Posted by: JVS on January 30, 2007 06:50 PM
14. I believe that "convicted" means found guilty by a judge or jury. If you plead guilty, I think that's different from being convicted, even though they're the same in principle and practice.

I'm glad she was prosecuted and plead guilty, but I imagine you'd want to get the details right.

Posted by: Bruce on January 30, 2007 08:56 PM
15. Ummm @ 14

If you plead guilty, you are convicted.


Ok, let me make this simple.... The court CHARGES you with a crime..... You either plead guilty or innocent.

You plead guilty, you are convicted. You plead innocent, you get a trial or court hearing. At that time either the Jury(trial) or court (judge) finds you guilty or innocent.

BUT WHEN YOU PLEAD GUILTY, YOU ARE GUILTY....PERIOD.

The difference is, the Judge may go lighter sentence if you plead guilty (without the whole trial). But your record will show a conviction.

Posted by: Chris on January 30, 2007 09:16 PM
16. Chris@15 - I'm not a lawyer, but the law.com dictionary defines "conviction" as "the result of a criminal trial in which the defendant has been found guilty of a crime". My impression is that you are guilty if (a) you plead guilty or (b) you are convicted. Are there any lawyers out there who can give a definitive answer?

You use capital letters to shout, "BUT WHEN YOU PLEAD GUILTY, YOU ARE GUILTY....PERIOD." I agree. The illegal voter is as guilty as if she had been convicted. My only issue was with the headline saying she was convicted. She was guilty, not convicted. I think.

Posted by: Bruce on January 30, 2007 09:37 PM
17. Being found guilty by trial or entering a plea does not convict a person. "Conviction" is the final judgment - by the presiding judge - of the plea/trial after the accused has entered a nolo contendere, a guilty plea, been found guilty by trial before a judge (sans jury) or been found guilty by a jury.

Posted by: Tyler Durden on January 30, 2007 09:48 PM
18. Yeah... what the soap salesman said.

Posted by: TB on January 30, 2007 10:01 PM
19. And Reddy was convicted. Miller's post and the linked article clearly indicate she was sentenced. Can't have a sentence until after a conviction.

Posted by: Tyler Durden on January 30, 2007 10:04 PM
20. You guys want to see vote counting? You shoulda been there when I was in charge!

Posted by: Katherine Harris on January 31, 2007 06:12 AM
21. Hey Katherine -

You needed the Supreme Court to help you out. In Ohio we didn't need no stinkin court. We just denied access in the Democratic districts and made those suckers stand out in the rain. Oh yes - a couple of my people were just convicted of tampering with the vote, but that was way after the fact and we've had our Glorious Leader in office for two years before they were convicted. The country won't go back,at this point, and have a doover. NOW THATS HOW YOU STEAL AN ELECTION!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Ken Black on January 31, 2007 08:16 AM
22. Hey Katherine -

You needed the Supreme Court to help you out. In Ohio we didn't need no stinkin court. We just denied access in the Democratic districts and made those suckers stand out in the rain. Oh yes - a couple of my people were just convicted of tampering with the vote, but that was way after the fact and we've had our Glorious Leader in office for two years before they were convicted. The country won't go back,at this point, and have a doover. NOW THATS HOW YOU STEAL AN ELECTION!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Ken Black on January 31, 2007 08:17 AM
23. The fluttering of moonbats in the rafters passes practically unnoticed. This too shall pass.

Posted by: huckleberry on January 31, 2007 08:56 AM
24. Here's the editorial response I wrote about this a week ago:

Today's editorial from Whidbey Island's Newspaper, the News-Times, is fairly interesting, and recaps the case of a mother who illegally voted for her daughter, a daughter who consented to the act, and a mother who now faces more than 2k in fines, and a criminal record. The editorial in closing poses this hypothesis:

It was an unfortunate lesson that proved costly for one woman, but if it helps restore public confidence in our electoral system then something good came out of the process.

This answer of course is no... no it does not restore the public's confidence. A confidence that has been eroded by inept public officials, the privatization of our vote counting system, and the new proposal to take away the Secret Voting Booth all together by moving to Forced Vote By Mail Systems throughout the State.

No, this woman's vote just exemplifies one of the many problems inherent in vote by mail systems--the fact that other people can vote for you! Restoring the secret ballot booth is the way to solve this problem, because the voting booth is a key element in making secret ballots secret. Prosecuting someone who was only following the actual instructions of the voter herself, does not restore my confidence in a system that is broken in so many other notable ways. In fact, if the woman's daughter were simply to have said it WAS her signature, the vote would have counted. The only reason this woman is paying the price for illegally voting for her daughter is that both her and her daughter were.... HONEST, and a system that prosecutes the HONEST is one that I don't trust.

If you want to restore public confidence in our Voting System here in Washington you have to start elsewhere. You could start by supporting a ban on private corporate controlled voting machines, like Diebold, or privately corporately controlled ballot sorting companies, like PSI Group. You could also support the removal from office of the politicians who have sold us down this river in the first place. From Sam Reed to Ron Sims, this has been a bipartisan era of dismanteling many of the protections we used to enjoy in Washington State. So getting back to a system we can trust will require their bipartisan replacement with people who understand why we used to vote at our precincts, on secret paper ballots, in secret voting booths, and the vote was counted by hand at the precinct by members of the public.

Anything less is unacceptable.

Of course you can keep up on all your Vote By Mail Fraud News here:
http://www.novbm.com

Posted by: Gentry on January 31, 2007 11:45 AM
25. and I thought that this would be an article about the Governor.....

Posted by: eric on January 31, 2007 12:21 PM
26. That would be unfair. Christine didn't steal the 2004 election. There were others she knew she could count on to do that for her.

Posted by: TB on January 31, 2007 01:25 PM
27. #12 here is a better way to make voting more secure....actually have to vote at the polls.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on February 1, 2007 08:40 AM
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