The Biscayne Times

May 23rd
Voter Fraud That Works PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jack King - BT Contributor   
November 2012

State lawmakers love absentee ballots so much, they decriminalized criminal conduct

IPix_JackKing_11-12t’s really too bad the presidential election has overshadowed so many state and local contests. Part of the problem is there are fewer news outlets to cover local politics than a decade ago, so we simply don’t learn about some elections. Couple that with a ballot that will be 12 pages long in some areas, and there just isn’t enough manpower to go around.

For instance, how much have you heard about Florida’s U.S. Senate race between incumbent Bill Nelson and Connie Mack? Not much. And what about the local congressional race between Joe Garcia, whose opponent, Rep. David Rivera, calls Garcia “the most corrupt politician in South Florida.” Funny, I thought Rivera had already been crowned Most Corrupt Politician in South Florida.

The list goes on and on, through many races you’ll never hear about, being won by people you’ve never heard of, who will then be in a position to make a difference in your life -- for better or worse.

Another for instance: The billionaire, right-wing, nut-case Koch brothers have decided the Florida Supreme Court is much too liberal, so they want to get rid of three justices who are up for merit retention. Not only have the Kochs politicized the judiciary, they’ve spent more to oust the three sitting judges than their annual salaries combined. Too much money in politics? Nah…

Add to all this the 11 proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution -- spelled out in deadening legalistic jargon on the ballot; all of which are useless and should be voted down -- and we have one of the worst election cycles in many years.

But wait! It gets worse.

As we all know, absentee voting doesn’t work very well in Florida, unless you’re a Republican who knows how to game the system. (And boy, do they!) How’s it done? You start off by heading to Hialeah and contacting some ballot brokers, who seem to be on every street corner.

It certainly wasn’t hard for current Republican stars Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio to find them. Case in point: Scott got 75,000 absentee votes in his successful run against Alex Sink, who garnered 25,000. Without the absentee ballots, Sink would have very nearly won the governor’s race.

Which leads us to another part of the discussion. If in-person voter fraud  -- the kind involving illegal immigrants, felons, and stolen identification -- is so rampant in Florida (even though no one can find any), why don’t the Republicans do something about absentee voter fraud, which we’re finding on a daily basis?

The answer is that Republicans own the voter fraud that works (absentee ballots). Their efforts to curtail nonexistent in-person voter fraud are really designed to suppress voter turnout.

Absentee voter fraud works because the state legislature decriminalized it years ago. Miami-Dade County has made it a misdemeanor, but in reality no one gets charged, even if they’re caught red-handed with hundreds of absentee ballots. So much for law-and-order Republicans.

So is there a better way to vote? I think there is, and that’s by mail. It has been used for a dozen years in Washington state and Oregon. You might think it’s no different from absentee ballots, but it is quite different. Here, you call up and ask for a ballot and the elections department just sends it to you. There, they send you the ballot because you are on the voter rolls and you return it by mail. Period.

Here, absentee ballots are picked up by ballot brokers, who can then do anything they want with them. There, voter fraud is serious business. Oregon mailed out 15 million ballots between 2000 to 2010, investigated thousands of complaints, and found just nine violators, all of whom got jail time or deportation. Here, our illustrious Governor Scott has investigated thousands of voter-fraud claims and found nothing. But if he were to investigate absentee voter fraud, he’d find hundreds of cases that are not prosecuted because there are no penalties.

When you mail in ballots, you also have another layer of security: The feds take a dim view of mail tampering.

Would a system like this work in Florida? It should, as it has more safeguards than the current system, which is without doubt broken. You’d think it would be a no-brainer to adopt a system that works, saves millions of dollars in taxpayer money (no poll workers because there would no polls) and saves voters time and money because they don’t have to drive anywhere.

Until the mentality in Tallahassee changes such that the best interests of Florida’s citizens are always put first, it probably won’t happen.

Phil Keisling, the former Oregon secretary of state who shepherded vote-by-mail through the initiative process, put it best when he cited political cowardice and calculation as obstacles, along with the “craven fear of that has been demonstrated on both sides of the aisle that this is bad for their side.”

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