Is There Corruption of the Election System?

Right From the Start

Several years ago while at a dinner party, the conversation got around to the burden that illegal immigration was putting on the country’s welfare system.  The hostess, a generally thoughtful and well reasoned person, disagreed asserting that she had worked at one time for a welfare agency and that illegal immigrants were not eligible for welfare payments as a matter of law.  I agreed but then asked her whether she ever asked any of the recipients whether they were lawful residents.  She said no.  I then asked her whether anyone in the agency ever checked on the resident status of any of the recipients.  Again she said no.  I then asked how she could know that illegal immigrants were not a burden on the welfare system if no one asked and no one checked.  There was silence.

The fact of the matter is that we know that advocates for illegal immigrants (most of them employed by virtue of some government grant) routinely coach their clients to remain silent about their immigration status and, if asked, to lie about it.  (These are the same welfare advocates that direct illegal immigrants to the emergency rooms as the city hospitals so that they can receive free care of even the most minor illnesses and injuries – free.)  These advocates know that government workers don’t ask, and most assuredly don’t check.  As a result, welfare advocates are free to say there is no evidence of welfare abuse by the illegal immigrant community.  It is a customary response by government when confronted with a problem they don’t want to solve – don’t ask, don’t tell.  The absence of information means there is no problem.  And you wonder why nobody trusts the government – it lies regularly by omission.

And the same goes for voter fraud.  President Donald Trump, during the presidential campaign alleged that there was widespread voter fraud.  The Democrats, usually the beneficiaries of voter fraud, dismissed the allegations saying there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud – a statement supported by the fact that no one has ever asked or checked.

But Mr. Trump is asking.  He has appointed a commission to look into the existence and extent of voter fraud across the country.  In the course of the commission’s investigation, it has asked each state to provide it with specific responses to requests for information relating to voter registration, voter identity, and voter frequency.  Of course, the fake news perpetrators led by CNN, The New York Times and the Washington Post, and accompanied by ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and their acolytes promptly responded by headlining that forty-four States, including the state of the vice-chairman of the commission have refused to provide the requested information.  That folks is a deliberate lie – in fact, two deliberate lies.

The first lie is the Commission demanded information not publicly available.  Virtually all of the requested information is readily available to the public and, in fact, the major political parties routinely request the information – even unsavory elements like SEIU request and receive the information.  However, the Democrats and their publicists in the mainstream media seized upon those portions of the requests relating to Social Security information and drivers license information.  The Commission, in fact, requested a laundry list of information and conditioned its requests by limiting the requested information only “if publicly available under the laws of your state.”  If the information is not publicly available, the Commission did not request it.

The second lie is that forty-four states refused to provide the information.  With the exception of those state officials blinded by their hatred of Mr. Trump, the overwhelming majority of these states responded in the same fashion as did Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson:
“Oregon policy prohibits disclosure of some of the information that you requested, such as social security numbers and drivers’ license numbers. Please see ORS 247.945(4) and ORS 247.955. It is my duty to follow these statutes. Oregon Law provides that any person may receive a statewide list of electors upon payment of $500. It is a violation of Oregon law for voter registration data to be used for commercial purposes.”
Apparently, CNN noted that discrepancy between its headline and the truth in the body of its story but it is the headline that got the attention as CNN knew it would – fake news.

Be that as it may, the issue of voter fraud or corruption of the electoral system is a serious one.  It is insufficient to apply the “don’t ask, don’t tell” preferred by the political elite who generally benefit from ignoring problems.

Democracy is substantially dependent on voluntary compliance of the law by its citizens.  And Americans respond accordingly – the overwhelming majority of people comply with the laws – running all the way from traffic laws to capital crimes.  And that is an admirable quality.  But it is also an opportunity for the unscrupulous – a significant number of whom are a part of the political class.  There is a rich history of political corruption in America – including corruption of the electoral process. These unscrupulous recognize that because democracy relies on voluntary compliance, there are few safeguards or barriers against those who would cheat.  Voters have been paid, the dead have voted, ballots have been stolen and destroyed.  People vote other people’s ballots.  Suspected voter fraud even gave Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-MA) his crucial win in Illinois to become President of the United States.

Oregon’s vote by mail system is probably among the easiest election systems to corrupt in America.  Ballots are mailed to voter rolls with little or no validation as to eligibility, address or even existence of the addressee.  More scrutiny is given to the validation of signatures on voter initiatives than on the actual elections.

Historically, acquisition of an Oregon drivers license was the gateway to voter registration.  At one point it was reported that the administrations of Govs. John Kitzhaber and Ted Kulongoski (both Democrats) issued over 150,000 drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.  Any or all of them could have also been registered to vote in Oregon (including federal elections).  Nobody knows because those responsible never checked.  They could still be eligible to vote because those responsible still have not checked.
Beyond the corruption of the registration system, the actual voting process is easily corrupted.  Remember the ballots are mailed to an address and until returned to the election officials, there are no safeguards in place to make sure that the person to whom the ballot was sent actually voted the ballot.  Here are five easy ways the voting process can be corrupted.

1. Vote someone else’s ballot.  There was a story in the Corvallis paper several years ago about a woman bragging that she had voted multiple times by simply using the ballots of other people in her house.  This opportunity is even more prevalent in places where the sick and the elderly are housed.  A caretaker can easily vote multiple times by using the ballots of those in the residence.  Often times those residences are staffed by union members who have an active interest (increased wages and benefits) in the outcome of elections.
2. Tap the illegal immigrant community that has secured voter registration through the drivers license system.
3. Set up ballot retrieval systems and use voter identification information to determine whether the ballots acquired are from people registered to a political party that you support or oppose.  Deliver only those supporting your position and destroy the rest.  Nobody checks to determine whether their ballot was actually received and/or counted.
4. Acquire and vote ballots of prisoners by granting or withholding privileges. (Only imprisoned felons are denied the right to vote so those imprisoned for other than a felony still vote.)  Again the jails are often staffed by public employee union members who have an active interest in the outcome of elections.  Nobody checks and therefore nobody gets caught.
5. Match information on those who have died since the previous election cycle with voter registration rolls and request ballots for those dead but still registered to be sent to a convenient address.  Vote and return the ballots.

Grab a cup of coffee and take five minutes and you can probably add substantially to the list.
The point here is that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy encourages corruption – particularly if there is little chance of being caught.  Instead of whining about an initiative to determine whether the most fundamental right in a democracy remains free of corruption, we should be celebrating those who are asking.  The best case scenario is that we will be able to say with confidence that the system works – at worst we will identify the sources of corruption, apply corrective measures and hold the corrupters accountable.  Although don’t hold your breath with regard to the latter since, in Oregon, corrupt officials are seldom held to account.