The Realities of Voter Fraud in Michigan

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Did you vote last week in the August 2nd primary?

Eminem did.

... or did he?

Last week, James O'Keefe's Project Veritas (the same guerilla media group that busted ACORN) put Michigan's voter-ID laws to the test.

Michigan law allows individuals without an ID to vote if they simply fill out an affidavit claiming they are who they say they are.

In a series of videos, O’Keefe and those at Project Veritas asked different Michigan poll workers for the ballots of: 

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan

House Minority Leader Tim Greimel

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich

Detroit Free Press columnists Stephen Henderson and Nancy Kaffer

Wayne State University Law School dean Jocelyn Benson

All of these individuals strongly oppose voter-ID laws, and each time Project Veritas was offered their primary ballot.

O'Keefe was also offered the ballot for – wait for it – Eminem!

O'Keefe never accepted a ballot or signed the affidavit to cast an illegal vote, but his investigation nonetheless casts a light on the serious possibility of voter fraud. 

John Fund, author of Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy and national-affairs columnist for National Review, has more about the Project Veritas investigation:

The one exception was O’Keefe’s effort, in Birmingham, Mich., to be offered the ballot of Brian Dickerson of the Detroit Free Press. The veteran poll worker he met there was a personal acquaintance of Dickerson’s and became suspicious. Dickerson then wrote a column dismissing O’Keefe’s ploy, saying, “What’s dubious is his assertion that the crime would have gone unnoticed or unpunished.”

Oh, really? Even with a voter-ID requirement, O’Keefe’s team received multiple offers of ballots that belonged to real voters. In states without an ID law, his team hasn’t even faced an affadavit requirement.

Nor is his experience unusual. In 2013, New York City’s Department of Investigation detailed how its undercover agents claimed at 63 polling places to be individuals who were dead, who had moved out of town, or who were in jail. In a story titled, “The Dead Can Vote in NYC,” the New York Post reported that in 61 instances, or 97 percent of the time, the undercover agents were allowed to vote. (To avoid skewing results, they voted only for nonexistent write-in candidates.) One of their two failures occurred when a poll worker discovered that the impersonator was trying to vote in the name of her own son.

How did the city’s Board of Elections respond? Did it immediately probe and reform its sloppy procedures? Not at all. It instead demanded that the investigators be prosecuted.

The reaction of government officials in Detroit was similar. When O’Keefe went to the office of Detroit mayor Duggan to obtain a comment about the ease with which a stranger had been offered the mayor’s ballot, Detroit’s chief attorney, Melvin “Butch” Hollowell, confronted O’Keefe. Rather than show concern about the potential fraud, Hollowell reprimanded O’Keefe: “So you know that you’re an accessory to a crime?” He wouldn’t let O’Keefe take any notes of their meeting and treated him like a suspect.

Dickerson, the anti-voter ID columnist for the Detroit Free Press, ignored the O’Keefe videos that showed the filmmaker being offered ballots. O’Keefe’s investigation, Dickerson said, was nothing more than a “social-media circus.” He concluded that “although [O’Keefe] and others have been advocating for tougher voter-I.D. laws for years on the grounds that fraud is rampant, none has identified a single instance in which a U.S. election turned on counterfeit votes.”

But there certainly are examples of elections being overturned for reasons of fraud, including mayoral elections in Miami and East Chicago, Ind. We’ve also seen clear evidence of fraud in more important races. In 2008, illegal felon voters appear to have swung the outcome of the critical 2008 Minnesota Senate election. The day after the election, GOP senator Norm Coleman had a 725-vote lead, but a series of recounts over the next six months reversed that result and gave Democrat Al Franken a 312-vote victory.

The outcome had a significant impact because it gave Democrats the critical 60th Senate vote they needed to block GOP filibusters. Franken’s vote proved crucial in the passage of Obamacare in the Senate.

After Franken was sworn in, a conservative group called Minnesota Majority looked into claims of voter fraud. Comparing criminal records with voting rolls, the group identified 1,099 felons — all ineligible to vote — who had voted in the Franken–Coleman race. Prosecutors were ultimately able to convict only those who were dumb enough to admit they had knowingly broken the law, but that added up to 177 fraudulent voters. Nine out of ten suspect felon voters contacted by a Minneapolis TV station said they had voted for Franken.

Minnesota Majority also found all sorts of other irregularities that cast further doubt on the Al Franken victory results. It’s noteworthy that evidence of fraud and irregularities in Minnesota had to be gathered by a private group. 

The fact is that prosecutions for voter fraud are rare in part because the crime is so hard to catch, the level of proof required is high, the priority in filing such cases is low, and district attorneys are reluctant to pursue cases that will anger half of the ruling political class. 

Without undercover journalism like this, the weaknesses to Michigan's voter-ID law would go unnoticed. 

Liberals claim that there is no fraud and oppose efforts to protect the integrity and value of a person's vote. They shouldn't any longer.

It is possible to both "make it easy to vote and hard to cheat." The soundness of our representational government requires it, and voters should demand it. 


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