Election Integrity Roundup 10.27.19
Here’s a look at election integrity news from around Texas and the country.
15 Charged in Connection with Voter Fraud Scheme
On Thursday 15 individuals were formally charged with illegal voting, save one defendant who was charged with both illegal voting and engaging in organized election fraud.
This particular group of individuals and others are connected to a plot that’s been in the news for some time stemming from the 2017 municipal elections in Edinburg, Texas.
Earlier this year, the mayor and his wife were arrested. A business associate of the mayor is also alleged to have been part of the conspiracy.
A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that the City Secretary, in charge of facilitating local elections, was charged and would therefore not be administering the 2019 municipal election currently underway.
Making news this week in the ongoing saga was a comment from a family member of one of the accused.
An account given by the family member to a local outlet, seems to suggest that the woman’s mail was being delivered to an address that was not her residence, a practice the family has engaged in for some time.
Based on media accounts the defense being deployed is ignorance of the law. But the family stated that “if it was illegal voting, they’ll take the hits, but they want others locked up too.”
“We’re going to clear our name, because if we’re gonna go down, a lot of people are going to go down too.” Great, so there’s more fraud and it sounds like everyone is motivated and incentivized to suss it out.
During the 2019 legislative session, election administrators testified that more deterrents were needed to curb mail-in-ballot fraud. No action was taken.
Preemptive lawsuit to secure elections
In Hamden Connecticut, four residents have filed a lawsuit to “prevent absentee ballot fraud in the upcoming municipal election.”
At issue, is a state law that stipulates absentee ballots be distributed to individuals who have been identified as accountable persons and have applications on file with the Town Clerk. This law appears to have been violated and applications have been issued to non-voting institutions including a slew of senior living facilities.
The elderly and infirmed are a vulnerable population both in Connecticut and across the nation, prime targets for fraud. Ballots by mail are regularly cited as the method of voting most susceptible to fraud.
Texans recently polled on election integrity rejected by wide margins the idea of statewide balloting by mail, perhaps because they are informed about ballot-by-mail harvesting or naturally suspect such a system is fraught for abuse.
In 2018 there was a widely publicized case of voter fraud in North Carolina. The reason it was well-publicized is it involved Republicans and appeared to harm President Trump. The publicity was a case of the media harming a leftwing narrative, that voter fraud doesn’t exist, to pick up some political points.
Election fraud is not the domain of one party or another, enjoying equal opportunity offenders from any party inhabited by the power-hungry.
Now, North Carolina is working to build voter confidence in it’s election product.
In part, this work to rebuild confidence stems from the erosion of trust following the fraud uncovered in 2018. Additionally cited is foreign interference. In Texas, polling showed that voters were by-in-large not concerned with the threat of foreign interference in elections.
Still, messaging by the mainstream media insistent on injecting Russian interference into the information supply line has policy implications.
In 2017, in response to handwringing over the foreign interference narrative, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has designated elections as part of the nation’s “critical infrastructure” meaning some part of the fed likely has insight into state election apparatus and information.