The Corner

Watch Out for Voter Fraud in the New York Ninth

The latest data from Public Policy Polling (a Democratic firm) shows Republican Bob Turner is “poised to pull a huge upset“ in the race to replace Anthony Weiner. Turner led Democrat David Weprin 47 to 41 in PPP’s poll, putting the Republican candidate an astonishing six points ahead in a district that President Obama won by 55 percent in 2008.

Will this tempt some locals to resort to the kind of voter fraud that Kings County and Brooklyn are infamous for?

A source within the Turner camp tells me the campaign sent a letter and campaign literature to all the voters on the permanent list maintained by the Board of Elections who are automatically mailed absentee ballots. They have received hundreds of pieces of returned mail marked “address unknown” or “return to sender” and at least five marked “deceased.” They were contacted by another voter who received an absentee ballot he had not even requested.

As I described in a Heritage case study, Kings County was a hub of organized voter fraud that cast thousands of fraudulent ballots in elections. In 1984, former Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, who had become the Brooklyn district attorney, released a state grand jury report that detailed a successful 14-year conspiracy to steal election. The grand jury found evidence of fraud by Democrats in “two primary elections for Congress held in 1976 and 1982, four primary elections for the Assembly in three different assembly districts, three primary elections for the State Senate in one senatorial district and two elections for state committee in two different districts.”

The fraud included “the forgery of voter registration cards with the names of fictitious persons, the filing of these cards with the Board of Elections, [and] the recruitment of people to cast multiple votes on behalf of specified candidates using these forged cards or the cards of deceased and other persons.” In fact, the conspirators cast multiple ballots on behalf of deceased voters who were still registered, as well as real voters who were impersonated at the polls. And all of this went on for 14 years without detection.

Worse, the Board of Elections relied on return mail from the Postal Service of new voter registration cards to notify election officials if there was a problem with the registration. Unfortunately, however, the grand jury found that “mail carriers did not return these cards,” so the one service election officials relied on to notify them if a new voter registration was fictitious or that a registered voter had died or moved away was ineffective. That, of course, gave the people who wanted to steal elections in Brooklyn a rich harvest of potential names to use to cast fraudulent ballots — which they did.

Let’s hope that the fear of losing control over a Democratic congressional district will not entice anyone to repeat this kind of illegal behavior in tomorrow’s election.  But given the sordid history of this congressional district and what is at stake politically, election officials should be extremely vigilant for any signs of possible wrongdoing in the election.

Hans A. von Spakovsky — Heritage Foundation – As a Senior Legal Fellow and Manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, Hans von Spakovsky concentrates on voting, ...

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