Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Voter Fraud in Kansas City

I received this email through a totally credible source. I'm editing out identifying information, because I have not yet received permission to post it:

Dear friends,

I want to warn you about a new kind of voter fraud we just learned about the hard way yesterday. Most of you know my son X. When my family went to the polls to vote, (my hausband) and I were able to, but X, who had been on the rolls and voted in the last election, was unable to because his name did not appear on the voter registration rolls for our precinct. At the time this happened, only about 5 or 6 people came and went in the polling place (midday), but one other man, a regular all the poll workeres recognized, also found he was off the rolls. He left before we finished trying to clear it up and before we could offer him a ride downtown to the Election Commission, where we went next (and spent much of the hottest afternoon this year). We never saw him down there and figure he probably didn't go because of work or transportation. Or maybe just the hassle.

We assumed it was just some computer glitch. At 18th & Walnut, they were swamped, but we waited. It turned out that X had been reregistered by someone who had his birthdate and the last four digits of his SS# at a new address in another precinct. __________, to be exact. (We live at _____________) X was concerned about identity theft, naturally, but the director of elections, who had had to take his case, assured him that it was simple voter fraud. She was seeing a lot of it. She said an organization had paid someone to reregister him. When he asked how they could have his personal information, she said it was because organizations could and did buy the rolls and that info was on them. (Incidentally, this is no criticism of the Election Commission. They handled it as well as they could under the circumstances.)

This is a nearly flawless scheme of voter fraud. No one is thrown off the rolls, so no red flags in the system go up. But when you're moved to another precinct on the rolls without your knowledge, the only way you can vote is to go down to the central office and wait to have it taken care of individually. People move and reregister every day, and legitimate organizations like Rock the Vote often send in bundles of registrations from events. You can't even learn the true extent of it since many voters can't take the time from work or haven't the transportation to go downtown and spend hours straightening out so they can vote. And without them doing that, it looks just like a legitimate change-of-address.

We don't think it's any coincidence that we live in a predominantly African American, overwhelmingly Democratic precinct. Last night at an event at the Kerry headquarters in town, I spoke with an African American woman who had three friends at work all suddenly gone from the rolls of their normal polling place. All live in different mostly black, strongly Democratic precincts. None of them went downtown. All had to go on to work. Look at November and see what we're facing.

X has given the state Kerry campaign a written statement about this. After he posted it on his live journal to encourage his friends to check their registration before November or vote absentee, a reporter from the Pitch interviewed him by phone and a representative of the Western Missouri ACLU asked him to send a statement to them, which he's doing. I think we need to get the word out about this as widely as possible and encourage people to check their voter registration address before the elections or vote ahead of time by absentee ballot (where the discrepancy will show up before the election and can be fixed).

You all know how critical this election is. Please pass this information on to everyone you can, and take any opportunity you have to publicize it so people will know about it and protect their right to vote.

If anyone wants to talk to X or e-mail him personally about this, our home number is ______________ (we screen so leave a message) and his phone at work is ____________. His e-mail is ______________. (I"ve deleted this info - if you want it, contact me.)

Let's get the word out and try to keep a slicker version of what happened in Florida in 2000 from happening here in 2004.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One person, one vote. That's the way it should be. I hope they catch whoever did this.

We need vigilant voters in both parties keeping an eye on this election. Let's not forget the nonsense the Dems pulled in St. Louis during the last Presidential election.

I have no patience for those who would steal an election - whether they are successful or not.

8/04/2004 7:00 PM  
Blogger lj said...

Ok, you may want to sit down before I say this.

I agree! Believe it or not, we can agree on something.

I also agree with the other comment. Both sides should ensure that this doesn't happen ANYWHERE.

Of course, Florida was a cheap shot, seeing how many dems wanted to discount absentee ballots and the alleged fraud of other states. Wasn't Missori involved in a scandal about closing polls?

Anyway, if we want more people to vote, these kind of things won't help either side.

8/04/2004 10:15 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I'm not surprised in the least, LJ, that we would agree on the evil of voter fraud. The integrity of the process is something we all have a reason to support. If safeguards are not adopted to prevent things like this from happening, I'm sure a few nutcases on the left would engage in similar tactics.

As for St. Louis, yes, there were allegations of improprieties, but the issues were murky, to say the least. In hindsight, had Ashcroft won, we may have wound up with a sane Attorney General.

8/05/2004 6:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alas, it was too good to be true.

Turns out a man with an identical name as the young man in the story did file a change of address form, and the election board tells us it was applied to the wrong guy.

When we questioned the election commissioner who supposedly told this family that they had found a conspiracy to fraudulently change addresses in a minority area, they said the family had confused what they actually said -- that the snafus were much more pedestrian and not nefarious at all.

As for that conspiracy, we did wonder why (supposedly Republican operatives) would bother to disenfranchise a minority-heavy district in a Democratic primary that had virtually no consequences for Republicans.

But we're still glad we talked to this family and checked things out.

Sincerely,

Tony Ortega
Managing Editor
The Pitch

8/05/2004 9:26 AM  
Blogger Michael Tedesco said...

Linked to it!

8/05/2004 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am interested in what would appear to be an unusual number of "spoiled" ballots. As I left the voting place, I heard more than one person complain about the "butterly ballot" set up that had the sections of the card color coded for candidates by party and then for the issues. Some didn't realize that the issues were at the back and some didn't realize that they shouldn't have punched in more than one color of the ballot. Our 2000 experience suggests that punching a chad in more than color coded section of the candidates' section of the ballat, that is, in one party's primary should invalidate the ballot, a call to the election board said it didn't. How can that be correct?

A worker at another polling place told me that she almost never had any spoiled ballots and they had dozens by noon when I talked to her.

This was also mentioned on the noontime news and a newspaper article, but I have seen or heard no more of it.

Apparently about 88,400 ballots were cast in Kansas City (per www.kceb.org) but only 79-80,000 counted in each of the amendment and question issues. OVer 8,000 uncount ballots out of /88,400 cast is almost 10 per cent.

That would appear to mean 1 out of 10 votes cast did not count. It doesn't sound good, but I have nothing to compare it to. How does that compare to usual in KC? in MO? compared to Florida?

An explanation would be nice.

Denise

8/05/2004 11:01 AM  

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