Book: Voter fraud is real and has consequences (just look at Sen. Al Franken)

posted at 1:21 pm on August 9, 2012 by Rob Bluey

You’ve probably never heard of Greene County, Alabama. Yet this small county of 9,000 people in western Alabama, about an hour from Tuscaloosa, was home to one of the biggest voter-fraud scandals in recent history. Corrupt incumbents devised an elaborate scheme to rig the election using absentee ballots. When they prevailed on Election Day, skeptical citizens began asking questions. A subsequent investigation and trial led to the convictions of 11 people involved in the plot.

It’s just one example cited by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky in their new book, “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk.” It arrives in stores next week, just as voter ID laws have emerged as a major dispute before the 2012 election.

Two states, South Carolina and Texas, are already engaged in lawsuits with the Justice Department to halt their voter ID laws. Attorney General Eric Holder is currently probing Pennsylvania, which recently became the 11th state to enact a law since 2010.

All of these efforts seek to crack down on voter fraud by requiring a photo ID to vote. It’s as simple as that. Yet liberals have concocted a conspiracy that these laws disenfranchise minorities — an argument the Justice Department is now using in its lawsuits.

That’s why the case of Greene County is so significant. Blacks make up 81.5% of county residents. The median household income is $26,131, just above the federal poverty line. As a result, the county receives more than $80 million from the federal government, making elected leaders powerful figures. And in this case, also corrupt politicians.

Minority voters — the very people the Justice Department is claiming to protect in the current voter-ID cases — were the ones disenfranchised in Greene County. Yet two prominent civil-rights organizations, the NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference, sided with the fraudsters instead of the voters.

Fund and von Spakovsky use other examples like this to debunk liberal myths about voter fraud. Reviewing the book for the Washington Examiner this week, Byron York identified the case of Democrat Sen. Al Franken’s election in Minnesota as one of the most consequential:

With 1,099 examples identified by Minnesota Majority, and with evidence suggesting that felons, when they do vote, strongly favor Democrats, it doesn’t require a leap to suggest there might one day be proof that Al Franken was elected on the strength of voter fraud.

And that’s just the question of voting by felons. Minnesota Majority also found all sorts of other irregularities that cast further doubt on the Senate results.

The election was particularly important because Franken’s victory gave Senate Democrats a 60th vote in favor of President Obama’s national health care proposal — the deciding vote to overcome a Republican filibuster. If Coleman had kept his seat, there would have been no 60th vote, and no Obamacare.

Voter fraud matters when contests are close. When an election is decided by a huge margin, no one can plausibly claim fraud made the difference. But the Minnesota race was excruciatingly close. And then, in the Obamacare debate, Democrats could not afford to lose even a single vote. So if there were any case that demonstrates that voter fraud both exists and has real consequences, it is Minnesota 2008.

Wes Vernon, writing for the Washington Times, points to another anti-ID argument cited by the left: It limits access to the polls. That’s simply not true based on data from two early adopters of voter ID:

The argument that it is racist or suppresses the vote is belied by figures showing no effect or, alternatively, an actual rise in voter participation where implemented.

Take Georgia and Indiana, the two states with the strictest voter ID laws in the country: In 2008, Georgia had its largest turnout in history, second-highest increase in the nation, including a huge boost in Democratic voters (compared to 2004). Indiana’s turnout was the fifth-largest increase nationwide, and there was a very large boost in Democratic voter participation in all 50 states.

Fund, a columnist for National Review, previously wrote “Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy.” Von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Election Commission, now works at The Heritage Foundation. They spoke at The Bloggers Briefing (video below) about why they took on the project.

Watch live streaming video from heritagefoundation at

Rob Bluey directs the Center for Media and Public Policy, an investigative journalism operation at The Heritage Foundation. Follow him on Twitter: @RobertBluey

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If Coleman had kept his seat, there would have been no 60th vote, and no Obamacare.

I know Olympia Snowe let it out of committee, but the Dems didn’t really start moving on Obamacare in Congress until Franken was seated and gave them the 60 they needed.

Then Teddy Kennedy died and they lost their 60th vote…

… and the MA rules had been changed in 2004 (at Teddy Kennedy’s insistance) so that only a vote of the people (not a Governor’s appoint by Republican Mitt Romney) could have filled John Kerry’s Senate seat had he won the Presidential election.

The Democrats didn’t want to follow their own rules and wait for the January election, so they CHANGED THE RULES to seat one of Teddy Kennedy’s staff (Paul Kirk) in that seat until the election. Kirk gave them the 60th vote in the Senate on Christmas eve.

When they lost that seat to Scott Brown, they lost the 60th seat. So, they could no longer break filibusters. And the House did not want to pass the Senate bill. For a while, it looked like a stalemate, and looked like Obamacare would die.

But the Dems decided to pass the Senate bill in the House, then pass a new bill in the House with “Fixes”, including the takeover of the student loan industry, and then pass it through the Senate using the Reconciliation process, requiring only 51 votes.

The whole process, from start to finish, epitomizes the very, very worst of politics in this country, especially the corrupt practices of the Democratic Party.

ITguy on August 9, 2012 at 7:19 PM

Absentee ballots are the biggest worry re. fraudulent voting. Most cases of elections won by fraudulent means involve absentee ballots. How is a voter ID law going to solve that problem. I’m all for voter ID laws, but there are other areas that need to be addressed such as out dated registration rolls, absentee ballots, manipulating the machines, ballots found in trunks of cars, etc.

they lie on August 9, 2012 at 7:54 PM

I hadn’t known the particulars of the 1960 election, a serious thank you for the info.

LibraryGryffon on August 9, 2012 at 3:16 PM

I seldom pass up a chance to promote my geek hobby of board gaming.

A real educational (and FUN!) experience regarding the Nixon-Kennedy election can be found in the board game 1960: The Making of the President. It simulates the last two months of the election, including one round of “debates” and a round of “election day” where last minute swings in the voting can change the outcome in a state.

At its heart it is a “territory control” game not unlike Risk, but control of areas is not based on combat but on jockeying for the electoral votes in each state. And instead of being determined by random, crummy dice rolls, the players have a hand of cards that they play for different effects, which represent real people and events from the campaign season, including things like Nixon’s lazy shave, Eisenhower’s early reluctance to endorse him, the “revolt” of the Stevenson loyalists, LBJ getting jeered in Dallas, things of that sort. Even the late-election hijinks are highlighted in the game, like the late returns from Cook County that delivered Illinois to Kennedy (oh look! Chicago politics!), the 15 southern electors that cast their votes for Harry Byrd instead of Kennedy, and yes, even a Recount card, since Nixon considered a recount in light of the sketchy results.

I can’t say enough good things about this two-player gem. It’s historically thematic, the strategy runs deep, the production quality of the pieces is solid, and it’s just plain fun to play. It is one of the most well-regarded designs in modern board gaming.

The Schaef on August 9, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Senator Coleman won the US Senate race in 2008. With a friend, and strong conservative, I oversaw the recount in MN”s 3rd largest county. There had been specific rules in place as to which ballots would be recounted. Around 5 PM on the first day of the recount, Democrat SOS Mark Ritchie, changed the rules. I looked at my teammate and said, “We’re toast.” It was just a matter of time and “how” the Dems would find the necessary votes to “win” the race.

It was absurd but MN election law is appalling. You can register to vote on election day with proper ID. Without ID, you can still register if someone will vouch for you. That is, one individual registered in the precinct, can vouch for up to 15 people who have absolutely no way to prove they are valid voters. MN does NOT have provisional ballots so all these same day registrants’ votes go into the ballot box and are counted.

Verification cards are sent to those who register on Election Day (and earlier). After the 2008 election, over 17,000 of those “verification” cards were returned to respective cities and counties: Address unknown, person unknown. Coleman won. Psst – I don’t think those 17,000 plus ballots were for the conservatives.

Final point – if you register to vote early, or get an absentee ballot, you must show ID yet you can show up on Election Day with nothing and vote. OH, if you qualify for reduced transit rates, you must show an ID yet you don’t have to show an ID to vote in MN. I could tell you tons of stories of messes in MN – next time someone says “MN Nice” not for elections.

Just disgusting.

MN J on August 10, 2012 at 12:30 AM