The debate over mail-in voting is still raging, with Democrats and their media allies insisting it’s virtually fool-proof and conservatives reminding everyone that fools have an unlimited capacity for cleverness. But how do we separate hard facts from the hype? The New York Post has taken the unusual step of going straight to the horse’s mouth this weekend by interviewing someone who is well aware of the reality of vote-by-mail fraud because he’s been engaged in the illegal practice for years. The subject in question is being described as an anonymous source, so you can assign whatever level of validity to this that you like. But the Post also specifically states that they know his identity and have checked out his “identity, rap sheet and long history working as a consultant to various campaigns.”

He’s further described as a “top Democratic operative” who has been engaged in voter fraud in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania “for decades.” And he’s done time for it. That could possibly help us narrow down his identity, but let’s just push forward with what we have, shall we? He has “not only changed ballots himself over the years, but led teams of fraudsters and mentored at least 20 operatives” who have done the same. So how does this work? The easiest way is to generate your own phony ballots.

The ballot has no specific security features — like a stamp or a watermark — so the insider said he would just make his own ballots.

“I just put [the ballot] through the copy machine and it comes out the same way,” the insider said. But the return envelopes are “more secure than the ballot. You could never recreate the envelope,” he said. So they had to be collected from real voters.

He would have his operatives fan out, going house-to-house, convincing voters to let them mail completed ballots on their behalf as a public service. The fraudster and his minions would then take the sealed envelopes home and hold them over boiling water.

“You have to steam it to loosen the glue,” said the insider.

Open the envelopes, replace the real ballot with the fake one and mail it in. Easy as pie. But how many of these phony ballots could one team actually submit and would it really impact an election? As the witness said, that depends on how big the race is and how careful you were in submitting the ballots. In one city council race in Patterson, New Jersey this year, a sloppy fraudster was caught after 900 ballots were found in three individual mailboxes, including one packet of 300 ballots bound together with a rubber band.

Nearly 900 ballots that appear to have been mailed in bulk from three individual mailboxes, including more than 300 rubber-banded together from a mailbox in neighboring Haledon.

How do you suppose 300 ballots from 300 different voters wind up in one person’s outgoing mailbox with a rubber band around them?

There are other methods described by the fraudster. He talks about “inside jobs” where postal workers who strongly favored one party over the other were convinced to simply toss out all the ballots from a neighborhood known to be a stronghold for the opposite party. In other instances, postal workers were recruited to sift through the mail, pick out all of the return ballot envelopes and turn them over to the crew harvesting the ballots.

And, of course, the Post’s interview subject was experienced in ballot harvesting at nursing homes where his team posed as volunteers and “helped” the senior citizens vote. But that tactic has been repeatedly exposed all over the country. Finally, they would research the voter rolls and find the names of people who consistently failed to vote in local elections (in places that don’t require voter ID) and send people out to vote in their names. Even if a poll worker became suspicious, the team members could almost always claim to be confused about the polling station they were supposed to be at and be able to leave.

In some ways, it’s rather worrisome that the newspaper would publish what amounts to a “how-to guide” on committing voter fraud. But I think most of these methods were already pretty well known. It’s just a bit different when you hear it firsthand from someone who (mostly) got away with it for years. The states who have been doing 100% mail-in voting for years are obviously better at defeating these schemes, but the big states who are just dipping a toe in the pool for the first time this year will probably be ripe for the picking.