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George Michael: Voting early and often

October 26, 2012|By GEORGE MICHAEL

Have you voted yet? Why wait until election day? Early voting is all the rage lately. Some 20 states have already allowed citizens to cast ballots. The old joke about “vote early and vote often” has new possibilities these days. 

In a story that received little attention in the media, the Democratic candidate for Maryland’s 1st District against incumbent Andy Harris was forced to quit the race a few weeks ago. Wendy Rosen was the challenger against Harris but after it was revealed that she had voted in both Florida and Maryland in 2006 and 2008, she had to step aside. How embarrassing.

The question then becomes, is this an isolated incident or just the tip of the iceberg? This particular fraud was only discovered because Rosen was running for Congress.

A second question is obvious: Why so little attention given to this case? Liberal media sources have been promoting the idea that voter fraud is insignificant. But they give scant attention to obvious cases of fraud like the Rosen case and then run stories opposing voter identification. 

There is suspicion in some circles that we have a big problem.  Polls show a majority of Americans believe that voting fraud does occur. 

According to their website, Election Integrity Maryland is researching Maryland’s voter registration rolls, using publicly available information. Since February, they have submitted more than 11,000 irregularities in the voter rolls to the Maryland State Board of Elections and to local boards of election in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. These are mostly people who have died whose names have not been purged from voter rolls.

Is that a problem? Election Integrity Maryland’s review revealed that several deceased individuals either voted or registered to vote after their deaths. Who knows how many more examples have not been discovered.

Cathy Kelleher, who founded the group, said she’s “also found several examples of people still living who have registered to vote twice in two different states.” She also said, “For every time one vote that’s fraudulent gets cast, it’s erasing my vote which is a legitimate vote.”

Last week, nbcnews.com reported that potential voter fraud is “more than an anecdote here and there. A study this year by the Pew Trust estimated that 24 million defective voter registrations are currently on file. Nearly 2 million dead people are still listed as voters, 2.75 million voters are registered in two places, 70,000 in three and 12 million contain incorrect addresses.”

Granted, these statistics do not prove that voter fraud is widespread. But they do suggest the huge problem facing election officials in keeping the rolls up to date and knowing who is voting on election day. The opportunity for fraud is present.  

In the same nbcnews.com story, it was reported that “the undisputed champion of voter fraud is ACORN, supposedly disbanded in 2010, but actually still doing business under multiple names. Their operational model is to hire unqualified workers and incentivize them to ‘register’ as many voters as possible at the last minute, thus overwhelming local election officials. When registrations are challenged, voter suppression is alleged, even though duplicates and obvious errors are common.”

Meanwhile, investigative reporters from NBC2 in Ft. Myers, Fla., are reporting on their website two specific cases of non-citizens voting in Florida this week. The problem cannot be brushed aside.

No one wants to suppress the vote of American citizens.  Everyone who is a citizen and an eligible voter should be able to vote. But at the same time, all Americans should desire a fair and honest election where the integrity of the system is paramount and faith in the outcomes is assured. 

Numerous elections in recent years around the world have been fraught with large, sometimes violent, protests once the voting was over. Citizens in these nations were convinced that the election had been stolen. They lost faith in the election process in their country. 

It is a serious issue when Americans doubt the integrity of the election process. Everyone should be on the side of ensuring not just fairness but confidence in the process. This is one thing we must get right.


George Michael, who lives in Williamsport, is a former principal of Grace Academy. His email address is gfmichael46@gmail.com.

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