One of the narratives of the GOP and right-wing this election season is that our country is being threatened by rampant voting fraud. Their need to “protect our country” and suppress votes for Democrats has led several states run by Republicans to restrict early voting, pass strict ID laws, and to purge voting rolls. It’s ironic then that a right-wing conservative front group would actually give instructions on how to commit voting fraud. They want people to commit a federal crime in order to make a point.
On Friday a tweet showed up in my twitter feed about a post on the Ohio Watchdog website:
— Ohio Watchdog (@OHWatchdog) September 28, 2012
Here’s a clip of the post:
HOW TO DEFRAUD THE OHIO SYSTEM
To determine whether such a scam would be possible in Ohio, we asked Earl F. Glynn of Watchdog Labs (our sister organization) to create a database of unlikely voters. He returned with a list of 306,152 registered voters who won’t be showing up at the polls in November. It’s sorted by county and precinct, and includes addresses.
We say they “won’t be showing up” to vote because they apparently haven’t in more than a decade. They are voters who registered in 2006 or earlier, but who haven’t cast a vote in the 12 years the state has been tracking that data.
Using that database, the fraudsters could easily fabricate phony documents with the unlikely voters’ names and addresses. Free paystub templates and payroll software abound online. Counterfeit utility bills are as easy as a Google search, or pasting a new name and address onto a real one and making a photocopy.
Not only does the author Jon Cassidy provide a step-by-step instruction on how to commit voting fraud but the site also provides the list of “phantom” voters “sorted by county and precinct, and includes addresses…”
Shouldn’t that be illegal? Isn’t that like providing instructions on how to crack DVDs or computer software. It doesn’t matter that the post says not to do it – they provide the database you need to do it with….
Ohio Watchdog claims they are independent:
Watchdog.org is a collection of independent journalists covering state-specific and local government activity. The program began in September 2009, a project of Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting new media journalism.
The Franklin Center has ties to right wing conservative groups and funders like the Koch brothers and is staffed by right-wing activists. Watchdog.org claim of independence is a farce at best – a lie at worst.
I think what Jon Cassidy wrote in that post and offering the list of “phantom” voters is technically illegal and if not, is definitely unethical. I would hope either the state or federal law enforcement take a look at the post and Mr. Cassidy.
But there is a bright side. Looking at the process, an actual human would still need to show up to cast the ballot so to have an effect on an election you need thousands of people ready to commit a federal crime. I just don’t see that happening.
Right-wingers like to talk tough but they are cowards when it comes to committing a crime to make a point. They are use to committing crimes under the cover of darkness like through lax banking regulations.
I think the actual result Mr. Cassidy wants to see is an increase in actual voting fraud to “prove” their narrative that there is rampant fraud.
Like I said in a previous post registration doesn’t equal a vote so those “phantom” voters, who are eligible to vote but haven’t in several elections, are not a threat just being on the registered voter rolls.