The Corner

Election Fraud in a Presidential Election

Last Thursday, according to Fox News, a jury in Indiana found that “fraud put President Obama and Hillary Clinton on the presidential primary ballot” in the 2008 election. We wrote about the discovery of this fraud in our book, Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk.

The mastermind behind the ballot-petition fraud was one Butch Morgan, then the Democratic-party chairman of St. Joseph County. With the help of three other employees of the county board of elections, Morgan faked names and signatures on ballot petitions that qualified Obama and Clinton for the May 6 Democratic primary.

Under Indiana state law, in order to enter the presidential-primary contest, a candidate must have the signatures of 500 registered voters from each of the state’s nine congressional districts. Obama’s petition for the Second Congressional District, which includes St. Joseph County, had 534 signatures. Each petition page had ten voter signatures, and, according to evidence produced by the prosecutors, all the signatures on nine of Obama’s petition pages were forged. Without those 90 fraudulent signatures, Obama would have fallen short of the 500-signature threshold. Had those signatures been challenged when they were submitted, he would not have been on the ballot for the primary.

Thirteen petition pages for Clinton were filled with fake signatures, but because she had submitted 704 signatures, she had enough legitimate signatures to meet the threshold anyway.

The court ruling certainly raises a fascinating “what if” scenario: Would history have been changed if this ballot-petition fraud had been discovered when it occurred? There were 72 delegates at stake in Indiana. Before the May 6 primary, the AP reported that Obama was barely ahead of Clinton, with 1,490 pledged delegates vs. 1,338. Clinton had a slight edge in superdelegate endorsements, 275.5 to Obama’s 258, according to Bloomberg News.

Clinton barely beat Obama in the Indiana primary, garnering 51 percent of the vote. The delegates were split almost evenly, with Clinton receiving 38 and Obama receiving 34. Had Obama been disqualified from the ballot and Clinton had received all 72 delegates, it would have put her within striking distance of the nomination. How would candidate Obama’s grassroots and financial support have been affected if he had been disqualified from the ballot and his campaign enveloped in a fraud scandal caused by local Democratic-party operatives?

Political momentum is a very delicate thing. It’s certainly possible that such a setback for Obama could have changed the outcome of the 2008 Democratic nomination contest. But of course, we will never know. All we do know for sure is that Indiana experienced election fraud committed by party activists that may have affected the 2008 election. But of course, according to some, there is no election fraud in the United States.




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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