Patterico's Pontifications

5/29/2007

Stuart Buck on Voter Fraud

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:47 am

Stuart Buck has a cogent argument on voter fraud that reinforces something I recently argued: just because we don’t see a lot of convictions doesn’t mean we don’t have a serious problem with illegal voting. Stuart looks at the report on voting irregularities on Milwaukee that I discussed in this post and comes to a similar conclusion:

It seems awfully disingenuous for commentators to suggest that the difficulty of investigating voter fraud somehow proves that voting fraud should never even be investigated in the first place.

Indeed.

39 Responses to “Stuart Buck on Voter Fraud”

  1. In-person voter fraud is not happening. The ‘evidence’ you and Buck point to has been investigated on many occassions and it has been dismissed as administrative errors and misidentification.

    More importantly, common sense will tell anyone willing to listen that material in-person voter fraud is a logistical impossibility. I challenge anyone to tell me how he would manufacture 130 votes by having one or more people impersonate a legitimate voter.

    Blue Neponset (a09128)

  2. The evidence that I cite was not an anecdotal report, but the result of an official investigation that was quite thorough. Do you claim that there was a second investigation in Wisconsin that undermined the findings of the first one?

    Stuart Buck (cb47f0)

  3. You cited a preliminary report that stated that investigations into the alleged fraud were ongoing. The report is dated May 10, 2005 where are all the convictions for voter fraud?

    Also, if you read Lorraine Minnite’s report on voter fraud, which you linked to, you would have found out that the Wisconsin “voter fraud” amounted to a lot of very poor record keeping and doesn’t show any in-person voter fraud.

    Further, please take my challenge and tell me how you would manufacture 130 votes by having people show up to the polls and pretend to be a legitimate voter. That scenario is the basic problem we are discussing and I have yet to hear how it could be accomplished.

    Blue Neponset (a09128)

  4. Minnite doesn’t say anything that would undermine the findings of the task force. And unless you can refute the considerations already discussed in my post and in the task force’s report, it’s a bit silly to still be treating the “lack of convictions” question as having much merit.

    Stuart Buck (cb47f0)

  5. Also, one indication of whether Minnite’s report is fair and forthright can be found in her account of St. Louis. She dismisses all accounts of voting fraud there as involving poor recordkeeping, without even mentioning the many convictions obtained for voter fraud in St. Louis just in the past few years. (See here.)

    Stuart Buck (cb47f0)

  6. From Minnite’s report:

    The newspaper opined on its own investigation and reporting:

    Republicans are quick to jump on the discrepancies, real or imagined, in voting data in Milwaukee as proof of widespread fraud in the big city. In their minds, the Journal Sentinel’s findings fit that pattern. A more plausible explanation, however, is that the findings reflect the unfortunate tendency of voting systems throughout America to err.112

    IMO, it is a bit silly to dismiss the “lack of convictions” as irrelevant. The powers that be in Milwaukee spent thousands of man hours on this and yet they can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that people are breaking the voting laws. To me that is evidence that the laws are not being regularly broken.

    You mentioned speeding tickets in your original post:

    No one thinks that the number of speeding tickets issued by the police equals the number of times that people actually speed on the road.

    If that metaphor were an apt one then the police wouldn’t be handing out tens of thousands of speeding tickets every week. In reality the police catch thousands of speeders every day and punish them. The same can not be said about in-person voter fraud. The authorities are not catching people doing it because it isn’t happening.

    Blue Neponset (a09128)

  7. Minnite’s report was discussing in-person voter fraud. The convictions you point to are not a result of in-person voter fraud.

    Blue Neponset (a09128)

  8. Did you even read my post? As I specifically highlighted, the task force found, for example, that 48 people were allowed to vote without even providing their name; that there were “persons who registered and voted with identities and addresses that cannot in any way be linked to a real person”; that there were “persons listed as voting under a name and identity of a person known to be deceased”; and that there were “persons whose identities were used to vote, but who in subsequent interviews told task force investigators that they did not, in fact, vote in the City of Milwaukee.”

    How is the task force supposed to come up with convictions here? Wisconsin doesn’t fingerprint or photograph the actual voters as they enter the voting booth. So how is anyone supposed to even find out who it was that voted in the name of a dead person, or in the name of another living voter, or without providing a name at all?

    Stuart Buck (cb47f0)

  9. I did read your post. You are assuming all of those discrepencies are illegal votes. If the Milwaukee voting officials had done their jobs correctly all of those questionable voters would have either not been allowed to vote or their legitimate votes would have been documented properly. In none of those cases do you show me any evidence of in-person voter fraud.

    Since the City of Milwaukee didn’t indict anyone for in-person voter fraud I have to assume they agree with me that the evidence you provide has little to do with in-person voter fraud and everything to do with unprofessional poll workers, administrators, and procedures.

    Blue Neponset (a09128)

  10. I believe that the Milwaukee investigation netted a whopping five convictions.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  11. I’m not saying that this is proof of voter fraud. It could, theoretically, be the result of very sloppy recordkeeping (the all-purpose excuse).

    But at the very least, it’s evidence that deserved to be investigated — something that people on the liberal side of the debate seem determined to rule out of bounds entirely. Moreover, it’s absurd to claim that the lack of convictions here means that voter fraud has been somehow disproven. To the contrary, as the task force showed and as you concede (by the lack of a response), it’s unreasonable to expect to see convictions for an offense that can’t be tied to any one identifiable person.

    Stuart Buck (cb47f0)

  12. But at the very least, it’s evidence that deserved to be investigated — something that people on the liberal side of the debate seem determined to rule out of bounds entirely.

    It has been investigated and I haven’t heard of anyone suggesting similar problems should not be investigated.

    To the contrary, as the task force showed and as you concede (by the lack of a response), it’s unreasonable to expect to see convictions for an offense that can’t be tied to any one identifiable person.

    The task forced showed very sloppy procedures by Milwaukee poll workers/officials. It didnt’ show illegal activity. You assumed the activity was illegal.

    Blue Neponset (a09128)

  13. But, Stuart, it was investigated, and significant time and expense. And they got, what was it, 14 indictments and they lost most of those at trial?!

    Do you apply these standards to JFK Conspiracy Theories, or in that case is the failure to come up with convictions proof it’s all bunk?

    I don’t like the sloppy record-keeping; I like government to look efficient. (That’s one more reason I’m not a Republican.) But fraud is a crime, and going on about the existence of invisible crimes is generally associated with Reynolds Wrap headgear.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  14. You assumed the activity was illegal.

    That is completely untrue, as I already explained. What I assume is that the task force found evidence of activity that very well could have been illegal, but that can’t be investigated any further because there’s no way of figuring out exactly who voted under the wrong name or under no name at all. You’re the one making an idiotic assumption here, i.e., that where there are no convictions, no voter fraud occurred.

    Stuart Buck (cb47f0)

  15. You’re the one making an idiotic assumption here, i.e., that where there are no convictions, no voter fraud occurred.

    In-person voter fraud is very easy to prove when the polling place is run properly. So let’s forget about Milwaukee and please show me all of the convictions for in-person voter fraud that occured in the other 100’s of cities in the other 49 states of the Union.

    Blue Neponset (a09128)

  16. In-person voter fraud is very easy to prove when the polling place is run properly.

    How? If I come in and say, “I’m Jack Black of Milwaukee” — Jack Black being recently deceased — how is the poll place going to discover that I’m not really Jack Black?

    Stuart Buck (cb47f0)

  17. How? If I come in and say, “I’m Jack Black of Milwaukee” — Jack Black being recently deceased — how is the poll place going to discover that I’m not really Jack Black?

    a) If the polling place was run properly Mr. Black wouldn’t be on the rolls to vote in the first place.

    b) One of the old ladies at the polling place may know Mr. Black is dead

    c) in many states some a form of id or a signature is required and the polling worker would ask you for the id or to sign

    d) Mr. Black might not be registered to vote

    e) You might be stupid enough to try and vote in the same place twice

    Since in-person voter id is so rampant, according to Republicans anyway, many people should be getting caught trying to impersonate another voter via the scenarios above. Since you can’t point to any convictions it leads me to believe that in-person voter ID is not a problem we have to address.

    My solution to this non-existant problem is to require a photo or non-photo id. That would solve the “problem” without disenfranchising anyone.

    Blue Neponset (a09128)

  18. Blue, in tens of thousands of polling places, more votes are recorded for Democrats than Republicans. What better evidence of massive fraud could you need?

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  19. BN-

    Your responses to Stuart’s simple hypothetical show how ridiculously easy it would be to commit in person voter fraud.

    In fact, I bet that if Patterico’s office, for example, sent out 100 testers to try to commit in person voter fraud in Southern California, at least 95 would succeed (Success being casting a (blank) ballot.)

    Do you think that in person voter fraud is this easy to commit in the real world? (not in some hypothetical “properly run” precinct.)

    Marty

    MartyH (52fae7)

  20. What should we conclude from the fact that “We must do something about voter fraud” advocates do not appear to have attempted your experiment, MartyH? Perhaps they are not as sanguine about its chances for success.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  21. Do you think that in person voter fraud is this easy to commit in the real world?

    No, I don’t think it is easy to commit in-person voter fraud. The scenarios I mentioned above would catch many people if this were really a big problem. More importantly, however, I don’t think there is any benefit to committing in-person voter fraud. That alone has kept people from doing it.

    In fact, I bet that if Patterico’s office, for example, sent out 100 testers to try to commit in person voter fraud in Southern California, at least 95 would succeed (Success being casting a (blank) ballot.)

    120 million people vote in our national elections. If 5% of all voters who committed in-person voter fraud were caught then there would be more than a handful of convictions to prove the existence of said in-person voter fraud. Since there really aren’t any convictions we can either conclude 100% of the fraudsters are getting away with it or it isn’t happening. I chose to believe it isn’t happening because there is really no benefit to committing the crime.

    Blue Neponset (a09128)

  22. Maybe they haven’t thought of it. Maybe they, like me, would never even try to cast a fraudulent ballot to prove a point, just as I would never try to sneak something through airport security to prove its weaknesses, as some individuals have.

    I’d participate if my local law enforcement asked for volunteers. I’m sure many others would as well.

    Marty

    MartyH (52fae7)

  23. I’m surprised that in this day and age of undercover drug buys, undercover bribe attempts, undercover prostitution stings, etc. no one until now has ever thought of an undercover voter fraud attempt. Or not.

    Is there any evidence for individual voter fraud being committed other than the totals for the Democratic tickets?

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  24. BN-

    We’ll disagree about the ease of committing in person voting fraud.

    The conviction rate tells us nothing; there are plenty of laws on the books that are frequently violated but rarely prosecuted. Stuart mentioned speeding, and you didn’t like that answer. How about failure to use turn signals, then?

    The lack of motive is probably your strongest argument. Individual in person vote fraud is a low reward behavior. Ironically, the lack of convictions shows that it is low risk, to. Perhaps for some the low reward outweighs the low risk.

    Marty

    MartyH (52fae7)

  25. What I love is how hard the left fights any allegations of voter fraud. If there were none, why would the left fight so damn hard to keep anyone from strengthening the voting system? What possible motive can the left have to fight, tooth and nail, against any claim of voter fraud and object to any and all attempts to ensure the integrity of our system.

    You can’t expect anyone on the left to admit that there is any voter fraud ever, anywhere, as it goes against the left’s interests. They resort to such ridiculous arguments as that requiring picture IDs are tantamount to depriving people of voting. How can you even take anyone who argues such a thing even remotely seriously? How do the people they expect to be deprived of voting cash checks, rent movies, drive, buy alcohol, order drinks at a restaurant, stay at a hotel, get airline tickets, or do any of the daily tasks that require picture ID? Such an argument (that requiring picture ID deprives people of voting) is so disengenuous and lacking in common sense or even rational thought as to be a joke.

    I say to Blue Neponset – President Bush has not been convicted of any misdoings, so you must not be one of these conspiracy minded leftists who believe he broke the law, or did anything wrong in getting us into the Iraq war? AFter all, things only happen if we can point to convictions. Otherwise, they never happen. For instance, there aren’t a lot of convictions for entering the U.S. illegally, thus there are no illegal aliens in the U.S. There aren’t many convictions in most towns and city’s in the U.S. for underage drinking – thus underage drinking doees not exist. Lindsay Lohan has not been convicted of using cocain – thus she does not use cocain. Prior to Texas’s sodomy law being overturned there were almost no convictions for consensual sodomy in Texas. Thus, there was no consensual sodomy going on in Texas. Nobody was convicted of “outing” Plame – therefore Plame was not “outed.”

    Wow, it is fun to use the left’s logic.

    Great Banana (aa0c92)

  26. The conviction rate tells us nothing; there are plenty of laws on the books that are frequently violated but rarely prosecuted.

    You estimated that 5% of potential in-person fraudsters would be caught. It stands to reason that some of those people would be prosecuted once they are caught. The fact that there just aren’t any convictions tells us a lot abuot how often this kind of thing happens.

    Blue Neponset (a09128)

  27. Great Banana,

    Have a great day!!

    Blue Neponset (a09128)

  28. BN-

    By caught, I mean that they would not be able to cast a ballot. They may be challenged and choose to leave the voting place; their chosen subterfuge may not work (how was I to know that there were no Johnsons in the precinct?)

    Their arrest rate would be zero.

    MartyH (52fae7)

  29. You estimated that 5% of potential in-person fraudsters would be caught. It stands to reason that some of those people would be prosecuted once they are caught.

    Do poll workers have arrest powers in your precinct, or do they simply deny ballots to those who don’t qualify to vote?

    The fact that there just aren’t any convictions tells us a lot abuot how often this kind of thing happens.

    No, the number of people turned away from the polls would tell us a lot. How do you convict someone when you don’t know who they are?

    Another good marker is the number of ballots cast by the dead.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  30. 1. If large scale vote fraud benefited Republicans you’d see all these people screaming for prosecution and reform.
    2. How do you manufacture voters? I have old experience from my youth, so here goes. You substitute your voter list for theirs (the absolute best way); you have “your people” count the votes (Stalin’s system); in any “open registration area” it’s not only easy to load up but it’s common, mainly because when an organization is behind it (my experience) you don’t manufacture five thousand votes when there are only five hundred voters registered, but throw in a hundred or so in a large district and as few as ten in others; the most common and therefore the easiest to spot is regestering “fence posts” as voters. (Easy to spot but almost never ever prosecuted, making it the strategy of choice all over this country). Although there were very few “retirement communities” where I lived, it is easy to manipulate senile people to vote as instructed and we had “our people” transport elderly voters (known as fucking old farts) to the polls and showing them exactly how to mark ballots. I can only assume that with the advent of computers it is only necessary to have “our people” involved in the process.

    An observation: voter fraud has been common since voting was invented. In fact it can be argued that there has never been an honest election. Or more accurately, that there never has been an honest election anywhere on the planet.

    Howard Veit (4ba8d4)

  31. a) If the polling place was run properly Mr. Black wouldn’t be on the rolls to vote in the first place.

    Unless of course someone purposely registered Mr. Black (ACORN)

    b) One of the old ladies at the polling place may know Mr. Black is dead

    None of the old ladies and men at my polling place know me from Adam, and I have lived here in the same house for 20 years, and only missed about 3 school elections, never a primary or general.

    c) in many states some a form of id or a signature is required and the polling worker would ask you for the id or to sign

    My state requires you sign a book, there is no example signature for the poll worker to compare to. Literally, as long as you knew someone’s name was in the book, you could sign for anyone. And if you had previously registered Mr. Black, intending to vote for him, you would know his name is in the book.

    d) Mr. Black might not be registered to vote

    see a) or ACORN

    e) You might be stupid enough to try and vote in the same place twice

    A large precinct, or multi-precinct polling place, some poll workers only working half-days, and appearing in the morning and evening. pfft. And even if the poll worker thought they recognized you from the morning, you simply deny it, and how could they prove it? You voted as Mr. Black this morning, but are now voting as Mr. Brown.

    Loren (af2946)

  32. Then again there’s the old Philly classic. Polling places run by party operatives, who when the polls close simply go through their lists and “vote” for everyone still on the list who didn’t show up that day.

    Another Philly classic: Get carpools going to rotate people to friendly polling places run by party operatives, who then have the “commuters” cast votes for known no-shows.

    And of course registration fraud is rampant. The question there is how much it translates into actual illegal votes cast.

    Tully (e4a26d)

  33. Another good marker is the number of ballots cast by the dead.

    Fair enough, how many ballots cast by the dead can you point to? How many of those were cast by people pretending to be the dead person or by corrupt election officials or were simply mistakes?

    Bottom line: You could never manufacture enough votes to affect an election via in-person voter fraud. It is a logistical impossibility. As a result there is no benefit to voting multiple times or impersonating legitimate voters. That is why it isn’t a current problem and why it doesn’t need to be “fixed” by requring a photo-id only.

    Blue Neponset (a09128)

  34. So since you can’t, in your opinion, change the outcome, why bother…

    Brilliant.

    You can’t ticket every speeder, so why give anyone a ticket?

    You can’t stop murder, so why arrest anyone for it?

    Seriously, do you listen to yourself, or do you just fade in and out?

    Scott Jacobs (90eabe)

  35. So since you can’t, in your opinion, change the outcome, why bother…

    Right, it ain’t broken so let’s spend a lot of time, money and effort “fixing” it and disenfranchise a lot of legitimate voters while we’re at it. Can’t argue with that logic.

    Blue Neponset (a09128)

  36. You need to learn to keep reading after the first sentence…

    Scott Jacobs (90eabe)

  37. You need to learn to keep reading after the first sentence…

    I read the whole comment.

    Blue Neponset (a09128)

  38. And still missed my point… Maybe you should work on reading for comprihention, then…

    Scott Jacobs (90eabe)

  39. I know someone dead who voted in 2004. She lasted just long enough to fill out a Kerry absentee ballot as soon as she received it; died before election day. I think it was her main motivation for not giving up sooner.

    Seriously, when the “dead” voting comes up, it’s usually the death record that is mistaken.

    By the way, how many of the dead are voting absentee? Why aren’t the conservatives more interested in absentee ballot fraud? Oh, wait, those Democrat lovin’ colored people don’t use as many absentee ballots.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2564 secs.