I do a lot of debates with opponents of election reform measures like voter ID, proof of citizenship requirements for registering to vote, and stricter absentee ballot laws, and I was pretty busy this week after DOJ objected to the new Texas ID requirement. They like to use one sound bite over and over again. Their alleged zinger: A voter has a greater chance of being hit by lightning than of having his vote stolen through voter fraud. Oh really?
According to the National Weather Service, the last reported death from a lightning strike in the state of New York was in 2009. On the other hand, Eric Shawn at FOX News reported that a recent voter-fraud prosecution in Troy, N.Y., produced evidence, including testimony by voters in court whose ballots were stolen, of at least “38 forged or fraudulent ballots,” enough to have “likely tipped the city council and county elections” to the Democrats.
Last December, four local officials and political operatives pleaded guilty to felony charges in the Troy case where one of the defendants told police investigators that “faking absentee ballots was a commonplace and accepted practice in political circles, all intended to swing an election.” According to FOX, numerous voters told them that “they were stunned” that ballots were cast in their names in the 2009 election. So at least 38 voters had their votes stolen by fraud, and we have four guilty pleas by the vote stealers. That is a lot more than one terminal lightning strike three years ago.
In West Virginia, the National Weather Service reports that the last death from a lightning strike was in 2005. FOX News just reported a voter fraud case in which the sheriff and county clerk in Lincoln County, W.Va., pleaded guilty to stealing the May 2010 Democratic primary by stuffing ballot boxes with illegal absentee ballots. The sheriff admitted “to falsifying more than 100” absentee ballots.
The losing candidate for county clerk was ahead by 235 votes on election night until additional batches of absentee ballots “started mysteriously appearing, repeatedly, throughout the evening.” He went to court and a judge threw out more than 300 ballots and overturned the results of the election.
So we know that anywhere from 100 to 300 voters in Lincoln County had their ballots stolen through fraud in 2010 (and we won’t even mention the 2005 conviction of the former Lincoln County auditor for felony voter fraud conspiracy). That means that there was at least 10,000 percent more voter fraud in just one county in West Virginia than terminal lightning strikes in the state over the past 7 years, and potentially as much as 30,000 percent more.
But remember, according to liberals, there really is no such thing as voter fraud. So pay no attention to the vote stealers behind the voting-booth curtain.
— Hans A. von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a former commissioner on the FEC.