A Philosopher's Blog

Voter Fraud

Posted in Ethics, Law, Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on October 1, 2012
Republican Party (United States)

Republican Party (United States) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Republicans warned America about the dangers of voter fraud and worked to pass various laws allegedly aimed at countering the microscopic level of fraud that has occurred. However, while the eyes of the Republican guardians of the republic were gazing outward, treachery was occurring within the walls of their own political castle.

In a scenario that will remind some folks of the 2008 ACORN incident, Strategic Allied Consulting is being investigated for fraud in multiple Florida counties (10 at last count). The company is run by Republican consultant Nathan Sproul. The Republican party apparently paid the company $2.9 million to run voter registration drives in the swing states of Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia.

The first signs of fraud appeared in Palm Beach County in my state of Florida. 108 potentially fraudulent forms were found among those submitted by Strategic Allied Consulting. The fraud was hardly masterful-for example, one of the addresses used was that of a gas station. In other counties, there are reports of dead people registering to vote. This suggests either fraud or the start of the zombie apocalypse.

While Romney has tried to distance himself from Sproul, but there are clear links. Romney’s campaign paid another one of Sproul’s firms (Lincoln Strategy Group) $80,000 for signature gathering services, apparently in 2011. In 2012 Romney’s campaign paid a much smaller amount ($889.44) to Lincoln Strategy group for rent and utilities.

Interestingly, Sproul has also been accused of tampering with Democratic voter registration forms in various states over the years. For example, there were accusations that the forms filled out by Democrats were discarded by the company.

In addition to Florida, Colorado has seen questionable activities by Strategic Allied Consulting. The Republican party in that state payed Sproul’s company $466,643. There are also concerns about his company’s activities in his own state of Arizona.

Just as the ACORN scandals had their video, the current scandal has its defining YouTube video:

When ACORN was under attack for alleged voter fraud and other problems, I wrote a series of posts  on these matters. Being a consistent person, I am applying the same standards to the current incident. In fact, I can copy and paste my original post on ACORN and then modify it just a bit.

The claim that SAC has turned in fake voter registration forms seems to be true. It is, however, important to keep the following fact in mind: by law, SAC cannot decide what forms it will turn in to the officials. After all, it is not up to SAC or other such voter registration organizations to decide which forms are valid and which are fakes. That is the responsibility of the state. As such, if fraudulent forms are turned into SAC, they must be turned in to the state.  Of course, there is concern about why SAC has apparently gathered so many fraudulent forms. There is also the concern that SAC seems to have been attempting to register only Romney voters.

One possibility is that people in SAC intended to engage in voter fraud by creating a number of fake voter identities and then using them to influence the election. This practice is not unheard of. After all, it used to be joked that the dead were a major voting block in Chicago. As such, it is reasonable to be concerned about attempts at voter fraud. In support of this is the fact that SAC was paid millions of dollars by the Republican party and it would be somewhat odd if they did not expect that their spending would yield them an advantage. While the Republican party has severed ties with SAC and condemned the company, the complete facts are yet to be determined.

Of course, there is a big difference between turning in fake voter registration forms and actual voting fraud. For a fake form to enable someone to vote, the form would have to get past the verification process. Further, the person going to cast the vote under a fake identity would need the documentation to support this false identity. As such, if SAC was going to conduct voter fraud, they would need to take steps to get the fake registrations through the verification process and then get the fake voters through the verification process at the polls. However, some of the fake forms allegedly turned in by SAC were rather easily spotted.  As such, either SACS was not involved in a conspiracy or it was a rather lame one. Then again, perhaps there are fake forms that were cleverly filled out and managed to get through the verification process. This does remain a possibility.

As second possibility is that certain people employed by SACS created fraudulent voter forms on their own and turned them in to SACS. Since people are paid to register people to vote and going around to register real voters can be a lot of work, there is a clear incentive for some unethical people to simply fill out forms on their own. As such, some of the fraudulent forms can be explained in this manner without there being a conspiracy on the part of SACS. While this might get SACS off one hook, it does raise concerns about who SACS hires and what steps are taken to ensure that these people follow the law and are properly educated in the process. Given the evidence of fraud, it is clear that SAC and other organizations need to take steps to deal with this problem.

It will be interesting to see what Fox News says about this matter. Given their harsh criticism of ACORN, they should be equally harsh with SACs.

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on October 1, 2012 at 8:53 am

    At least you are now admitting the possibility of voter fraud. Baby steps, Mike, baby steps.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      If you look at my posts, I never claim that voter fraud is not possible. In fact, I presented the data showing that it does occur, albeit at a minuscule level. I also argued that the voter ID and other Republican suggested requirements would not seem to counter the forms of voter fraud that seem to have occurred. My overall argument was that the level of fraud is so low that it does not seem to warrant the dire claims of the Republicans and the methods presented by the Republicans seem clearly aimed at voter suppression rather than preventing voter fraud. For example, reducing voting hours and restricting early voting do not seem to calculated to impact fraud.

      In this case, it is important to note that it is not yet voter fraud in a strict sense, since there was no actual voting involved.

  2. T. J. Babson said, on October 1, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Have you considered the possibility that Democrats intentionally turned in fraudulent forms just to create this incident?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 1, 2012 at 11:54 am

      An interesting hypothesis. I didn’t take into account Republican duplicity when it came to ACORN, but if the Democrats could have engaged in Machiavellian machinations to sink SACS, then perhaps the Republicans manufactured the ACORN scandal.

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm

        Was the video shot in Florida? If so, the person who took it could be facing a jail term as Florida law is strict about recording people without their consent.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm

          Not in this case: http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/florida-recording-law

          “Florida law makes an exception for in-person communications when the parties do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the conversation, such as when they are engaged in conversation in a public place where they might reasonably be overheard. If you are operating in Florida, you may record these kinds of in-person conversations without breaking the law. ”

          This also makes moral sense, since a person speaking in a public area does not have a legitimate expectation of privacy. While it might be rude to listen in to a public conversation, this would seem to be a matter of etiquette rather than ethics.

          • biomass2 said, on October 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm

            In these days the rudeness is usually flowing the other way. You try to avoid the conversation at the table behind you in a restaurant, and you turn to find that it’s a businessman and his phone.

            • biomass2 said, on October 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm

              Or Homer and the voting machine.

            • biomass2 said, on October 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm

              Not at a restaurant, of course.

          • T. J. Babson said, on October 1, 2012 at 10:26 pm

            What about the Romney tape? Did Romney have an expectation of privacy?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 2, 2012 at 11:04 am

              I answered that in another reply, but I’ll repeat my remarks:

              1. Given that the event was private ($50,000 a plate private), then it could be argued that Romney had an expectation of privacy and thus the secret recording would violate the law.
              2. However, there is the question of whether or not such political events should be considered public or private. After all, Romney was acting in his role as a political candidate and raising funds for his campaign. A reasonable moral case can be made that such events should be public in the sense that the public has a right to know what goes on in said events. After all, the influence that is being bought and sold is a matter of legitimate public concern. As such, the recording of a candidate at a political event would seem to be morally acceptable. Naturally, privacy would apply to non-political matters, so secretly taping Romney while he was having a private meal at home would be wrong.

              It is interesting that your main concern is with the taping of Romney rather than what he actually said.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 2, 2012 at 12:02 pm

              Sorry, I missed your earlier reply.

              I tend to agree that politicians should consider themselves “on the record” anytime they speak in their role as leaders, so I am not particularly worried about the legalities of the tape. I do worry that the tape was selectively edited around the time of Romney’s 47% remarks, with about 2 minutes missing. Presumably Romney said something that would tend to mitigate his earlier remarks, but we will never know.

              I wonder why you tend to attach more weight to a selectively edited secret video than to a person’s 40 year public record.

              I actually have considerably more sympathy for the confused girl in the video you posted. She was clearly set up by the older lady, and the “honey bunch” at the end gives it all away.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm

              Romney did reply to the tape, so it is not a mystery what was missing. That is, he did not follow the 47% remark with something like “while that is what some people say, I do believe a word of it.” Also, the taped sections do seem to provide considerable context and what he says seems to stand reasonably well on its own. That is, the meaning of the comments is not changed by the use of snipping of some remarks before or after the available part.

              As far as the weight, I do take Romney’s remarks as seriously as anything else he said. As far as his 40 year record, I have to point out that he seems to have repudiated a big chunk of that himself and has changed his views as the political winds have blown. So, which years reveal the real Romney?

              The woman in the video does seem to have been caught by the person making it. As I noted, she does seem a bit confused by what she is doing and who hired her. However, she does seem to admit to having been attempting to register only Romney voters. As such, it doesn’t seem that she was “punked” into this.

              In any case, the main issue is the matter of what SAC was doing. While the video provides a visual, it is what got SAC fired that is more important.

              If you don’t already work for the RNC, they should hire you.🙂

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm

              People did care about these laws when Democrats stood to get hurt:

              Linda Tripp Laws

              One of the states in which ACORN workers were secretly video taped was Maryland. ACORN has since filed a Maryland civil suit against the critics who made the secret recording. Maryland has laws that, some in the legal field argue, forbid the secret recording of conversations without the consent of all participants. These laws gained national attention previously during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal and have become know as “Linda Tripp” laws, in honor of the person who made secret recordings of a Whitehouse intern’s confessions of an affair with former President Clinton.

              Kevin E. Wood wrote an article analyzing Maryland’s laws on interception, and concludes that secret voice recordings are not necessarily a violation of Maryland law, and that Linda Tripp’s actions did not violate Maryland law. To support his view, he makes numerous citations to Maryland Law, and additionally asserts the fact that Linda Tripp was never charged with a violation of Maryland’s wiretap law. The editorial staff of the Oklahoma Journal of Law and Technology is concerned with a more fundamental matter than whether Maryland law was violated. We would like brief submissions on whether or not the Clinton/ACORN interpretation of Maryland law, “that it is unlawful to record a conversation which a person is a part of unless all parties to the conversation consent to the recording” is consistent with the Constitution of the United States.

              http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/1998/07/were_tripps_tapes_illegal.html

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm

              Apparently people still do care about these laws. At least you do.🙂

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm

              “If you don’t already work for the RNC, they should hire you.”

              How did you catch me out? The RNC has given me $100,000 in an attempt to convince one philosophy professor to vote GOP.

              So far, I’m afraid I have failed😦

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

              But you could still be the One, Mike. One can hope–or is Hope merely the last evil in Pandora’s box?

            • magus71 said, on October 2, 2012 at 6:33 pm

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 2, 2012 at 6:35 pm

              Forget about 47%–Obama is selling out 100% of the country.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 3, 2012 at 11:12 am

              How so? Also, if he is so bad, how is he doing so well?

            • biomass2 said, on October 2, 2012 at 7:24 pm

              magus—We know the verbal and physical context of Romney’s 47% speech. What, exactly, is the verbal/physical context of the little Obama snippet?

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 2, 2012 at 10:27 pm

              biomass,

              The context is that Obama feels he can’t tell the American people what he wants to do for Russia until after the election.

            • biomass2 said, on October 3, 2012 at 6:49 am

              TJ–Context is much more complex than that, and you know it . We know the whys, wheres, whats of the Romney ‘47%’ speech, so let’s hear the same info about the Obama snip you present here. For example, where was that statement coming from—i.e. what had they been talking about before that? Was there any verbal context here that we’re not privy to? Is this little 10-11 word bit all there was? Did Obama’s statement really start with the words “This is my last election. . .” or was there a sentence or two or three before it? If so, why were those sentences not included in the final version?

              TJ Do you seriously believe there is some nefarious, underhanded deal (being whispered while on stage, in front of an audience, no less )to sell the soul of America? Or might it just be diplomacy on the part of two leaders who may be dealing with each other in the future? . . .
              Unless, of course, you believe Obama has also bought the election and ‘knows’ he’s going to win🙂. Unless you would deny a sitting president the right to carry on diplomatic maneuvers prior to an election. . .:)

          • T. J. Babson said, on October 1, 2012 at 10:27 pm

            And it is possible the girl in the tape is a minor–do you think that is relevant?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 2, 2012 at 11:12 am

              As I have gotten older, I have gotten worse at judging age. However, she looks like she is in the upper teens or low 20s. I’m not an expert on Florida law, but I do not think there are special laws forbidding recording of minors in public under normal circumstances. After all, when they do crowd shots of events for the news they don’t seem to blur out the kids or require special permission. But, I could be wrong about this.

              I suppose that if SACS also hired minors, they might be in violation of child labor laws.

              As far as being relevant to the voter fraud and other activity by SACS, then the age of the person would not be relevant and this would just be a red herring to divert attention from the actual issue, namely the misdeeds of SACS.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm

              Do we know the girl is an employee of SACS?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm

              Apparently she did. Although she seems to think that she was working for the state.

              But, of course, this has no impact on the other allegations of fraud leveled against SAC.

      • magus71 said, on October 2, 2012 at 6:40 pm

        I believe around 54 ACORN employees or associates were convicted of voter fraud. That would be quite a machination.

        • WTP said, on October 2, 2012 at 10:41 pm

          TJ, this is the basis of leftist cerebral processing, what Magus points to here. You’ll never change it once it is set. Take for example something such as socialism. How it can fail on a huge scale from the smallest to the largest countries in the world, failure on a large scale is simply explained away as a one-off. But the slightest error in its far superior rival of capitalism, whose only failure has been to bring about such huge prosperity never before perceived, thus creating jealousy on a scale never before perceived, is amplified. This is called “balance”.

          As Blair/Orwell said, We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right….therefore war must be peace, freedom slavery, ignorance strength. Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

          • T. J. Babson said, on October 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm

            It is so obvious, isn’t it? As soon as a country elects a leftist you know the economy is going to tank. So why are people surprised? Spain elects Zapatero, now they are on the ropes. France is next.

            Nice quote. First TR, now Orwell. You are on a roll!

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 3, 2012 at 11:14 am

              What about Bill Clinton? The economy did well under him. Also, the tanking took place before Obama was elected. Or is there some sort of backwards causation at work here?

            • biomass2 said, on October 3, 2012 at 11:28 am

              No, Dr. I do believe what you see here is a textbook case of conservative selective forgetting . They still have a few obstacles to overcome if they want to master the ‘balance’ thing.

            • WTP said, on October 3, 2012 at 11:39 am

              Working with a Republican congress (congress is where spending bills originate), with Clinton declaring that “the age of big government is over”, the Clinton years saw a DECREASE in government spending. Clinton moved the country to the right in so far as that was concerned. OTOH, it was in the Clinton years that the ticking time-bomb of pressuring banks and other lending institutions to give loans to questionable credit risks, along with the government “guaranteeing” those loans, that led to the fiscal crisis we have today. Government mucking around in the market place leads to disaster. As I said, where has capitalism ever destroyed the economy of a country? Where are capitalism’s Soviet Unions, Cubas, North Koreas, Eastern Europes, Cambodias, North Vietnams, Mao-era Chinas, etc., etc., etc.? Note that in every country that has turned away, or turned partially away, from central planning and a large government footprint on the economy, the quality of life has drastically improved.

          • biomass2 said, on October 3, 2012 at 6:55 am

            TJ: “Balance” is looking at that quotation from both sides.
            For example, many Republicans/conservatives/RINOs believed Bush when they knew in their hearts he was lying. Many, now, deny they ever believed him. Even deny they voted for him. Would stone him if he were hanging on a cross.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 3, 2012 at 7:00 am

              I never cared for Bush–which is why I never voted for him.

              It is all about figuring out which is the lesser of two evils. In this election, Obama is far more dangerous than Romney.

            • biomass2 said, on October 3, 2012 at 7:44 am

              I didn’t vote for Bush. They all say that. . . 🙂 (By the way, I’ve heard that one so often, that’s my version of “There you go again”)

              I think a question someone should be asking is: “Do you think you’d be better off now if McCain/Palin had won in ’08? Or perhaps, “What solid reasoning can you provide that convinces you that you’d be better off if,say, Romney/fill-in-the-blank had won in ’08?”

              Choosing the “lesser of two evils”. . . Not much for a nation to “hang it’s hat on”. A pair of worn crystal balls might be more useful 🙂.

  3. biomass2 said, on October 1, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    TJ: Voter ID vid for you.

  4. magus71 said, on October 2, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Mike,

    You’ll admit that the problems with ACORN went beyond an incident in 2008?

    What is truly telling, here, is that the Republican Party immediately fired SAC when they found about about the fraud. How long did it take Democrats to distance themselves from ACORN? Years.

    “It will be interesting to see what Fox News says about this matter.”

    Not CNN or MSNBC? Actually, FOX beat you on this story by two days.

    http://foxnewsinsider.com/2012/09/29/rnc-fires-consulting-firm-after-florida-counties-report-voter-registration-fraud/#more-96130

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 2, 2012 at 11:29 am

      ACORN did have problems. It is interesting to compare the coverage of ACORN by Fox with what was said about the SAC incident. The article you link to basically says that the RNC fired SAC because of one bad employee. If that were the case, what accounts for the problems in other states? What about the past problems with the owner of SAC?

      True, the RNC did fire SAC. Of course, the Democrats could not fire ACORN because they did not hire ACORN. It is, however, interesting that the RNC hired SAC given the past problems with the owner of the company in regards to voter fraud.

      I also wonder why the RNC would pay so much to SAC to register voters. One hypothesis is that the RNC is concerned that everyone gets a chance to vote. This would require believing that they spent millions to see to it that people would be registered with no expectation at all that the process would focus on getting more Romney voters registered. In this case, SAC betrayed the RNC by engaging in what appears to be voter fraud. As to why SAC would do that if they had been hired to simply register people, well that would be a mystery. A second hypothesis is that SAC was actually paid millions to take steps to get more Romney voters registered. This seems consistent with the available evidence. In this case, a key question is whether SAC just struck out on its own in this matter or if it was actually paid to do this. On the face of it, it would seem odd that the RNC would spend so much money to register voters without expecting that doing so would be to their advantage. The same, of course, would apply to any companies hired by the Democrats.

      The ACORN and SAC incidents certainly provide reasons to address the matter of third party voter registration groups. Naturally, it is worth noting some some volunteer groups have very good records. However, the idea of political parties paying companies to register voters is problematic.

  5. Logarchism » Shot to the Foot said, on October 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

    […] Voter Fraud […]

  6. magus71 said, on October 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Industrial level voter fraud in Florida. Dems are mailing letters telling registered Republicans they’re not eligible to vote:

    http://www.clickorlando.com/news/Florida-Republican-Party-leader-receives-hoax-letter-FBI-investigates/-/1637132/17117694/-/acss1ez/-/index.html

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 26, 2012 at 5:29 am

      The article doesn’t indicate who mailed the letters. While it might be the “Dems”, the mailing apparently also includes a form requesting personal information-so it is worth considering it is a identity theft scam. Of course it could be both a scam and an attempt to keep people from voting.

      In any case, I condemn it.

      • WTP said, on October 26, 2012 at 8:50 am

        Yes, I’m sure it’s a phishing scam with a little voter intimidation thrown in for fun. Just one limited to “white, registered Republicans who consistently vote in elections.” Because when you’re phishing it’s best to keep the target population fairly limited.

        Of course when it comes to Leftist issues, such reasoning is treated with derision. When Republicans attempt to prevent voter fraud by requiring picture ID, well they’re likely up to something. Of course Mike covers himself with the usual “might be”s and “could be”s and “perhaps”s. So it’s all “legitimate”. No bias on Mike’s part. He’s straight up down the middle. Alinsky would be proud.

    • WTP said, on October 26, 2012 at 10:03 am

      And here’s some voter fraud tied directly to the Democrats:
      Police say they have launched a criminal investigation following the release of undercover video showing the son of Democratic Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia discussing a plan to cast fraudulent ballots.

      http://www.theblaze.com/stories/dem-reps-son-now-under-criminal-investigation-after-undercover-voter-video/

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      Time to have web based voting.

      • WTP said, on October 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm

        Spoken like a typical philosopher lacking real-world experience. Lack of transparency, enormous opportunity for voter fraud, extremely limited auditing capability. An Alinskyite’s dream world, though.

  7. WTP said, on October 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    … the lost mail was limited to one zip code.

    But they recommended that election officials resend a new ballot to anyone who requested one since the first ballot may have been destroyed in the crash and fire.

    Seems a reasonable solution to me. Ballots are generally given a unique ID. So long as they know which ballots went out to those troops, it should be a non-issue. But they being military ballots, don’t be surprised if the Dems fight it on any technicality. Before the days of early voting, my wife liked to vote absentee. In the 2000 election, due to some technicality in Seminole county FL, the Dems attempted to throw out ALL absentee ballots from the Seminole vote, partly because it’s a GOP leaning county, but also because absentee ballots are used extensively by military personnel in remote locations and those personnel lean toward the GOP. The irony was that she had voted for Gore. She was quite upset that they were going to throw out her vote. And this after years of me telling her that if she doesn’t vote, she shouldn’t complain.

  8. WTP said, on June 3, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Voter fraud still not a problem in Mike’s home state of Florida…what?

    Congressman Joe Garcia’s chief of staff implicated in phantom absentee-ballot requests scheme

    Congressman Joe Garcia’s chief of staff abruptly resigned Friday after being implicated in a sophisticated scheme to manipulate last year’s primary elections by submitting hundreds of fraudulent absentee-ballot requests.

    Friday afternoon, Garcia said he had asked Jeffrey Garcia, no relation, for his resignation after the chief of staff — also the congressman’s top political strategist — took responsibility for the plot. Hours earlier, law enforcement investigators raided the homes of another of Joe Garcia’s employees and a former campaign aide in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation into the matter.


    Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2013/06/02/not-yet-national-news-fla-dem-congressmans-chief-staff-resigns-after-adm#ixzz2VANrNi45

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2013/06/02/not-yet-national-news-fla-dem-congressmans-chief-staff-resigns-after-adm


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