Massive voter fraud in the U.S. may or may not exist. It probably doesn’t, but if it does, it’s a pretty successful hidden operation. What indubitably does exist, however, is petition fraud. And why not? It’s a lot easier to fake random signatures than it is to sabotage official polling places.
That’s my theory, anyway. Those of you successfully faking ballots without anyone knowing can feel free to laugh at me.
(Quick aside: I voted in a special local election last week and was extremely disappointed to find the poll-watcher dog — a huge brown sleepy-but-vigilant creature — off duty. It seems he’s getting too old for election monitoring. If you’re serious about increasing voter turnout, you need to lobby for dogs at every polling place. Really important elections should include puppies.)
I bring this signature fraud thing up because we keep getting court rulings on petition challenges and they’re always fascinating. There’s a lot of interesting self-help when it comes to qualifying for ballots.
A New York Appellative Division panel, for example, described how a Syracuse City Councilor candidate “committed fraud when he permitted individuals to sign his designating petition on behalf of other household voters,” admitted he did it, and then claimed “he was not trying to gain any unfair advantage.”
This guy is a true politician.
Over in Albany, according to another New York ruling, a strange marital/romantic tale revolved around another election petition. A woman claimed her husband signed her name to a petition and the husband admitted it. That was weird, but it gets stranger. The candidate’s husband — who also happened to be the “subscribing witness” — insisted that the woman did sign on her own and he was backed up by the candidate’s campaign manager’s boyfriend.
The court rejected “the speculation” that those relationships made the candidate “chargeable with knowledge” of the fraud. Why would they ever talk to each other?
Meanwhile, in Arizona the state Libertarian Party decided to handicap its own signature-gathering and then sue the state over it. It’s described in a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling the other day in which we learn that the party that hates regulation seems to have over-regulated itself.
All the party needed was 1% of voters qualified to vote in its primary election to get a candidate on the ballot. But the Libertarian Party decided it wouldn’t solicit signatures from no-party members — so that percentage increased to between 11% and 30%.
You get the feeling they don’t really want to participate in government. You have to admire the consistency.
There is another odd thing in the Arizona case ruling — a note that Arizona allows online petition signatures that “are instantaneously verified.”
Someone might want to tell Arizona about spouses that can use each other’s passwords.
Government regulation. Here’s a bit of news that may surprise you: The current administration in Washington is not anti-regulation. It’s just selective about what it wants to regulate.
Bet you can’t guess what the Justice Department chose to crack down on. You can pause here to come up with an answer.
You’re right if you guessed state lotteries (although I’m guessing you didn’t guess that). I know this because a federal judge in New Hampshire last week ruled against a new Justice Department policy declaring state lotteries that send data across state lines are illegal.
There’s no explanation for this sudden crackdown. My theory is that federal prosecutors needed something to do.
Illustrative sentence from the 63-page ruing: “Either reading is consistent with the syntax of the first clause, even if neither creates a perfectly wrought text.”
This was definitely brought about by people with nothing better to do.