DAVID ROSMAN: Voter registration fraud could be the real problem

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The elections are over. No more bad political ads, no more emails from political parties and candidates, and the end of this two-year long election cycle. Finally.

I’m writing on Monday afternoon and my crystal ball is not working very well, and as of one hour ago I don’t care. Let Tuesday come so I can mark my ballot, find my little used easy chair and something nonpolitical to read, and grab some bourbon and snacks.

But still … I wonder if the voter ID law passed and if the Supreme Court will give a final ruling concerning the franchise of voting and its limiting statutes.

The problems associated with early voting and voting Tuesday is not limited to in-person voter fraud. But it does happen. More common is voter registration fraud.

A woman in Nevada was arrested for alleged voter fraud; a number of political organizations have been charged with voter fraud; and a number of people who wanted to vote early around the country could not. The problem is about voter registration fraud that appears to be more common than might be thought.

Here are some examples:

  • Roxanne Rubin, a registered Republican in Nevada, “… allegedly cast a vote Monday at the Anthem Community Center in Henderson. Later that day, she tried to vote a second time at an early voting location on Eastern Avenue, investigators said,” according to the Las Vegas Sun.
  • KLAS 8 News Now reported that an employee of Voters Outreach of America, a company hired by the Nevada GOP for voter registration, was caught destroying voter registration forms of Democrats. This is not the first time. VOA has been charged with voter registration fraud in Pennsylvania and Oregon as well.
  • The Washington Post reports that Colin Small was arrested Oct. 18 in Virginia on 13 counts of voter registration fraud. Small’s employer, Pinpoint, was hired by the Republican Party of Virginia to register voters. Virginia’s Harrisburg Daily News-Record says that Small was previously employed by Strategic Allied and the Virginia Attorney General’s office is expanding the investigation.
  • Again in Florida, the Huffington Post reported that during Sunday’s early voting “the Miami-Dade elections department shut down the location (in Miami) after too many people showed up and did not allow those already in line to vote. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) refused to extend the state's early voting hours or allow those standing in line to vote, thus preventing hundreds of people from casting their ballots.

But, at least one Republican governor cares more for his state than he does about political affiliation.

New Jersey’s governor Chris Christie will allow those displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote by email or fax, thus bypassing any “who are you” identification. Good guy, this Christie fella, but not to some Republicans; how could Christie dare open New Jersey up to possible voter fraud? It's a thorn in the GOP’s paw.

I take voter fraud seriously. Although it appears that the GOP may be the guilty party, we need to see how many voters file complaints because there is no evidence of registration. I wonder if the Federal Elections Commission and state election commissions have strong enough backbones to charge individuals involved and the organizations for which they worked with voter registration fraud.

I believe, more firmly than ever, that the critical issue is voter registration fraud. Answering how to eliminate voter registration fraud without denying the right to vote will not be as easy as mandatory voter registration ID.

States and the feds are identifying and investigating every person in possible voter fraud cases, and this is a good thing. However, it is still a minor issue to the problem of registration fraud. Unfortunately, I do not have a possible resolution. Maybe tougher fines and sentencing rules, though I am not sure that will hinder a desperate political party, campaign or individual.

This is really a political moral issue, one of right versus wrong and one that cannot be addressed by passing new in person or registration voter ID laws.

David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.

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