Missouri Takes Action Against Voter Fraud
Stealing votes through mail-in ballot harvesting is not unique to Tarrant County, or even Texas. Last fall, a harvesting scheme was uncovered in St. Louis, Missouri. Candidate for State Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr. was the victim of this type of fraud in his race against incumbent State Rep. Penny Hubbard. Numerous ballots were found to be fraudulent. His race was stolen.
Stolen Votes, Stolen Voices.
During early voting and on Election Day voter complaints from the polling locations cam flowing in to the Elections Office. Voters were showing up to vote and being told they had already voted by mail. Their votes had been stolen. These complaints caught the attention of the local media and word got out that something was wrong. When the results showed a Hubbard victory, Bruce Franks took action. He took those voter stories to a judge, a couple of them are included below:
Charlene Williams, a Missouri voter, said she recalled signing something she thought was a petition. Unfortunately for her, it was a scheme by vote harvesters to illegally steal her signature, and ultimately, her vote.
“It was a paper they were bringing around,” she said. “Others said they never intended to vote absentee — but somehow, applications for absentee ballots were submitted on their behalf anyway.”
Reynal Caldwell was presented with a copy of his ballot by mail application after the election. He was reported as saying, “’[T]he document bore my signature. But some of the handwriting wasn’t mine’…and the application wasn’t the only document someone else filled out for him.” In fact, he came to find out that someone else had come to his home and filled out his ballot for him.
Read more of their stories HERE.
Missouri Courts Take Action
In the Fall of 2016, Bruce Franks, Jr. petitioned St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison to obtain physical copies of ballot by mail applications and envelopes for his race against incumbent State Rep. Penny Hubbard. Fortunately, Judge Burlison fulfilled Franks’s request.
The results were staggering. At least 142 fraudulent ballots were uncovered in an election decided by only 90 votes. But since these facts were revealed after the legal deadline, the outcome of the election could not be altered. Franks and Hubbard would have to fight it out again in a future election granted by the Judge.
Judge Burlison described the blatant voter fraud in his ruling:
“[I]rregularities were more than petty procedural infirmities but abuses of the election law which cannot be ignored. The number of votes called into question exceed the margin of the apparent victor and is of sufficient magnitude to cast doubt on the validity of the initial election.”
Read more on his decision HERE.
Votes and Voices Returned to Citizens!
September 16, 2016 Bruce Franks celebrated his 3-1 victory in the Special Election ordered by Judge Burlison. In the first race absentee votes clearly put Hubbard over the top. She received 416 votes to his 114. The second told a very different story. She received only 95 to his 69.
Read more about Franks’s victory HERE.
Whether or not Hubbard will face criminal charges for her alleged participation remains to be seen. However, Missouri voters can take comfort in the fact that their true choice for Representative of District 78 now holds that seat. Instances where voters are vindicated is the exception, not the rule. Hopefully, cases where justice prevails will set a positive precedent for the future. Texas could learn a lot from Missouri when it comes to recognizing the weakness of our election laws, and reforming the process to reduce the likelihood of mail-in voter fraud.