Like good steak, vote fraud is rare

I’ve got a gift for timing.

On the very day I posted a column supporting mail-in ballots, a story broke about a South Philly Democratic committeeman and judge of elections who had ballot-stuffed in three recent elections, which I will talk about later.

It was like Fate giving my argument a big, fat, upraised middle finger.

But was it really?

No, say I, and here is why: I wrote about mail-ballots, while the fraud was committed at the ballot box. 

The debate over the sanctity of voting by mail breaks down — surprise! — into political camps.

Those opposed are following the lead of President Donald J. Trump, who finds mail-in voting “corrupt,” “horrible,” and more, even though his last ballot was cast, yes, by mail.

Those in favor of vote-by-mail tend to be left of center.

As for you on the right, you don’t have to remind me that liberal journalists long had written there was no such thing as election fraud or voter fraud, right up until the time such fraud was proven. They now say it is rare.

We know fraud happens.

Airplanes also crash, but that doesn’t keep most people from flying. 

Let’s look at some facts. There are five states that only use voting by mail. They are Colorado, Hawaii, Utah, Oregon and Washington. In political alignments, Colorado is purple, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington are blue, white Utah is red. None have reported fraud, as far as I can tell. Over the years, more votes have been stolen in polling place than anywhere else, but I don’t hear people threatening not to vote in person because of it.

Advantages to mail-in voting: It is easy, lower personnel costs than in-person, raises turnout.

Disadvantages: The civic tradition of coming together with a common purpose is lost, expensive vote-reading machines must be bought, mail delivery is slow in some regions, and the vote count may be delayed.

That last reason is causing some consternation in Pennsylvania, which Trump won by a whisker in 2016 and which is regarded as a battleground state. Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar reports that more than 1.7 million vote-by-mail applications have been received, which is more than the 1.5 million Pennsylanians who voted in 2012, the last non-contested presidential primary. 

On Election Night, this year June 2, everyone is in a tizzy to know who won and that’s not hard to get with voting machines. When the polls close, an election official checks the tally on the machine and phones it in.

Clean, simple and fast.

Mail ballots? Oh, noooo.

In Philadelphia, and presumably elsewhere, the count will not even start until Wednesday, June 3. By Boockvar’s estimate, that will be nearly 2 million ballots, more than those cast in person. 

In Philadelphia, scanners read the ballots, followed by an audit by hand, I was told by City Commissioner Al Schmidt.

If all goes well, it could take hours. If there are screw ups — and they are likely with a system handling numbers it has never handled before — it could take days. That will infuriate the instant gratification crowd, not to mention journalists, who need answers before they can write their trenchant analyses.

Remember Florida in 2000, with results delayed for days and argued over for weeks?

Well, that won’t happen next month because, let’s face it, Joe Biden and Trump will be the candidates. The general election in November will be another matter. Delays in counting could be very serious.

Back to the recent case of fraud committed by Domenick J. DeMuro, 73, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy by adding votes to the totals of several Democratic  candidates. 

DeMuro’s tactic was low tech: When no one was looking, he slipped into the voting booth and voted over and over again.

In 2014, he added 27 votes, in 2015 he added 40 votes and then 46 in 2016. 

Schmidt said his office found that one of DeMuro’s divisions had a history of registering more votes than there were voters. Troubling numbers from 2014 and 2015 were turned over to the D.A. for investigation. “It was pretty flagrant,” Schmidt told the Inquirer.  There are an average of six questionable divisions each year, Schmidt said.

Full stop: Let’s assign blame.

First, the Republican Party for not having sufficient poll watchers to prevent DeMuro from jumping in the booth like it was a shower in his bathroom. If you don’t have enough troops, work with a local college to get poli sci majors to volunteer for extra credit.

Second, the D.A. for not nailing this bird earlier.

Yes, I hear some of you saying, “He’s a Democrat. What do you expect?”

So say hello to GOP operative Leslie Dowless charged last year with several counts related to ballot fraud in North Carolina.

It ain’t the party, it is the integrity of the individual. The record shows voter and election fraud happens, like bank robbery.

But you still keep your money in a bank. 

20 thoughts on “Like good steak, vote fraud is rare”

    To quote Yogi Berra,”is this deja vu all over again ?” We just talked about all of the illegal options in voter fraud. At least, the fraud attempts that we came up with. As always, there is plenty of blame to go around. If there’s an individual that could/can use a few extra bucks, then there’s someone that has an agenda and a few bucks to spread around.
    I don’t know how hard anyone has really looked into the various possibilities of voter fraud. As you made mention, only a few states fully practice this method. Has anyone really looked at these states to verify their capabilities ? What ever is the rational, the rest of the country should have looked at those states for a free tutorial. I can only imagine that authentication of mail – ins could only be proven by hands on spot audits. Collect a sample of ballots. Go knock on the door and verify all of the information that is on that ballot for that individual. ( just like polling ). Maybe only 5 out of 100 ballots are in error ( fraud ). Is that an acceptable margin ? I suppose that you would have to ask both a democrat and a republican that question.
    More to the point. We are in the age of high speed intelligence, gotten from every source imaginable. Nothing like this has ever been available before. What was acceptable before, is not acceptable now. Truth or lies can be verified “before the ink dries”. We, the public, demand the truth !

    1. If you don’t want to vote by mail — don’t. I believe you should have a choice. There may be some fraud. So you do not vote because of that? (Rhetorical question, no response required.) 🙂

      1. I’ll be working the polls come Tuesday. Our town normally has two election polling places, but because of construction, we only have one poll. Be interesting to see what the turnout will be.

          1. Stu,
            way out here in the country people pretty much follow the edicts – and then some. Earlier today, I was in Walmart. People still cover up from head to toe, although, last week, there was a young couple that didn’t have any masks. I tactfully thanked them for their ignorance and stupidity, then went and complained to the management.
            I will give you an update from Chester County at my earliest opportunity.
            Of a different note: UPDATE:
            Sunday I was at several cemeteries. Governor Wolf did his job denying our Veterans their due respect. There were a few Vets doing “Flags In” at Holy Sepulchre in Cheltenham, but no activity in Old Cathedral , West Philly, sorry to say.

  2. unless you can’t physically get to the polls , or are out of town ,absentee ballot. Your duty is to go and vote . You vote in your neighborhood. You start massive mail in ballots you are asking for fraud in Philly. Remember the NEW WAY To VOTE scandal with Bill Sinson and Bruce Marks , That was organized and efficient . just got to the polls , keep it simple . Snail mail, who does that anymore besides bill collectors and advertisers Mark

    1. That was election fraud. Absentee ballots had nothing to do with it. Mail in voting is a normal progression just like voting machine were from hands written ballots. Large voter turnout benefits democracy. United States had the lowest turnout of eligible voters among first world countries. Shameful.

  3. Imagine a future where you can vote in a general election from your iPhone while sitting on a couch at home.

  4. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    Like anything new or untried, massive mail-in voting will likely be subject to manipulation by insiders who know the ins and outs of the thing as it develops. That’s one danger. Keep to the traditional methods and everyone better knows where to look for the funny-business, but try new methods and there will be new opportunities for funny-business which almost no one outside the details of the process has thought of before.

    With the traditional methods, the vote tallies in the media create intensive attention to the process in a short span of time, and people know where to look for anomalies. Change everything around for the tallies and stretch it out over days or weeks and the intensive attention to the process will die away–creating more opportunity for funny business.

    Our South Philly judge of elections and his indictment tell us something about the lowly sorts who do indeed sometimes “see their opportunity” and “take it.” (Do we recall the old Tammany man George Washington Plunkitt?) Might mass mail-in voting create vast new opportunities?

    H.G. Callaway

  5. There’s a distinction between voter fraud and election fraud. Election fraud is stuffing ballot boxes. Some places (like Philadelphia) it’s rampant. Dominick DeMuro pleaded guilty to taking bribes to force through enough machine votes fix precinct Democratic primarily elections. Voter fraud is when ineligible people register to vote. That is quite rare. Mail in ballots are no more susceptible to voter fraud than machine votes. I actually think their less vulnerable to ballot stuffing than traditional walk in voting.

    1. HAPPY TUESDAY !!!
      I have to disagree with you. Are dead people voting, voter fraud or election fraud. As is pointed out here in Stu’s blog,” s**t happens”!
      The other day, I asked, what if I vote for some one I know. Easy enough to get their credentials and get a mail-in.
      Off the subject a bit. I remember at the ripe old age of 18, I was with Uncle Sam. A member of a legal team told me that should you ever need legal representation, get the people that wrote the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That’s the military version of the constitution, et al.
      BTW: For all of our sake, I hope Stu is right. Vote fraud is rare.

  6. Voting is a privilege that should not be taken lightly. Yes there are people who have to vote by mail but not everyone should be allowed. We are making people lazy. If you care enough to vote then you should take the time to go to the polls. I compare it to handicap license plates. Yes there are people physically disabled who need them but all you see for the most part is someone too lazy to walk a few extra steps to get in the store.

  7. I will be voting in person and voluntarily showing two forms of photo ID.

  8. As I still wait for my mail in ballot and the location of my polling place it’s questionable that voting might not be an option at this time. The is almost forcing the mail in concept by closing 77% of the polling places. They are very conveniently not notifying the voters to the last minute where the new polling places are located. It’s ironic that I just read in today’s Washington Post or Inquirer South that Maryland has more then a million missing or undelivered ballots. As stated earlier there needs to be better control. One way of doing that is using the postmark instead of having to be delivered. This way we don’t find 1000 ballots 2 days later.

Comments are closed.