A longstanding Democratic practice comes into its own in the Age of Obama.
In 1980, fresh out of school and working on Wall Street, I also worked for the Reagan campaign. I had the job every night at around 11 p.m. of going to Times Square and getting one of the first copies of the next day’s New York Times. I would take it to the Reagan New York City headquarters in midtown Manhattan, where a phone number would be left for me as to where the traveling Reagan campaign party was staying that night. My job was to cut out the articles in the Times covering the Presidential campaign and “quip” (an early fax) them to the hotel where the Reagan party was staying.
As the election neared, I learned that the campaign high command had decided that Reagan would probably not win unless he racked up a vote margin of 2-3%. That was what was thought necessary to overcome Democrat big city machine voter fraud.
On Election Day, I was part of a team working to counter that fraud in New York City. A couple of us went to heavily Democrat neighborhoods to see what was going on. One of those was the orthodox Jewish Williamsburg neighborhood. A van was driving through the streets blaring something over and over in Yiddish. I asked my Jewish partner what the van was blaring. He said the van’s message was “Vote for Reagan. He’s the only hope.” I knew then that Reagan would win, as he did 51% to 41%.
Extensive voter fraud has persisted to this day. Former Justice Department official Hans von Spakovsky discusses in a recent Heritage Foundatioin report a shocking 1982 election for Governor in Illinois in which 10% of the votes cast in Chicago, 100,000 overall, were found to be fraudulent by a federal grand jury investigation that produced 63 criminal convictions for vote fraud. Spakovsky writes:
One primary method of perpetuating such fraud was for impersonators to vote in the name of dead people, people who had moved away, and fraudulently registered names. Impersonators were sometimes paid in cigarettes, liquor, or cash, known in the trade as “walking around money.” Votes for a straight Democrat ticket, regardless of the actual voter’s preferences, were also cast for the elderly, the disabled, and the sick who were unaware of what was going on. Then Chicago U.S. Attorney Dan Webb estimated that 80,000 illegal aliens were registered to vote in the city at the time, and that was 25 years ago.
Precinct captains filled out absentee ballots obtained by others, and absentee ballots with Republican votes were trashed. Another method was to alter the vote count by repeatedly running straight party line ballots through the counting machine, or altering the counting machine vote totals.
Unfortunately, as Spakovsky notes, the Justice Department has never again engaged in such a thorough investigation of vote fraud. Most likely, the practice continues in Chicago today. Moreover, similar practices have recently been exposed in Philadelphia, where sometimes more votes are cast than the number of residents, and in Wisconsin and Tennessee.
The problem of voter fraud today is thoroughly revealed in a recent book by Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund, Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy (Encounter Books). One of the best features of that book is that it reveals what really happened in Florida in 2000: The Democrats tried to steal the election for Gore, but failed.
On the day after the election, Bush was declared the winner in Florida by 1,784 votes. Gore kept demanding broader and broader recounts, which were conducted in heavily Democrat counties mostly by Democrat party officials. Bush’s margin kept declining, but he kept winning the recounts by hundreds of votes. Finally, Gore won a decision by the notoriously liberal fiction writers on the Florida Supreme Court, who began rewriting Florida election law to require a new statewide hand recount without clear uniform standards for each county. Both because the state court was changing the election rules as specified by the legislature, and because the counties would do the recount without uniform statewide standards, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the mandated recount violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. With the recounts ended, the Florida Secretary of State declared Bush the final winner by 537 votes.
After all the shouting was over, a consortium of major news organizations conducted their own thorough Florida recount. Despite well-developed Democrat mythology, supported by an idiotically irresponsible HBO movie on the controversy, the New York Times reported the results as follows: “A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last year’s presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won even if the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward.”
But Fund shows that only widespread Democrat vote fraud made the election as close as it was. The highly liberal Palm Beach Post conducted an investigation concluding that the county had illegally allowed 5,600 convicted felons to vote. Felons, of course, vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, apparently seeing them as soul mates. By contrast, Democrat lawyers won a motion to disqualify 1,420 military ballots because they didn’t have a foreign postmark (which most likely resulted because the ballots were sent back through the U.S. military rather than foreign post offices). Those serving in the U.S. armed forces overwhelmingly vote Republican.
The national TV networks declared that Florida’s polls were closed at 7 p.m. Eastern time, even though the polls in the heavily Republican Florida panhandle were still open for another hour because they are in Central time. Fund notes that CBS broadcast 33 erroneous statements between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. that Florida’s polls were closed. NBC followed almost immediately by other networks even called the state for Gore at 7:48 pm Eastern time. Fund cites Democrat and Republican pollsters, as well as academics, who concluded that this cost Bush a net loss of close to 10,000 votes.
Most importantly of all, Fund conducts a detailed analysis of Palm Beach County election return anomalies, buttressed by local interviews, to conclude that Bush was deprived of another 15,000 votes through a little scam known as double punching. After the polls closed, Democrat election officials appeared to have taken dozens of the punch hole ballots at a time, and punched through the little box for Gore on all of them, using a nail or pencil. For ballots that had been voted for Bush, this would have resulted in invalid ballots that appeared to have been punched for both Bush and Gore. For ballots that had been voted for Gore, this would have had no effect, because the nail or pencil would have just pushed through a box that had already been punched out for Gore.
Fortuitously, what Gore was trying to do by seeking recount after recount in Florida was demonstrated in the Governor’s race in the state of Washington in 2004. On election night that year, Republican Dino Rossi had apparently won the Governor’s race over Democrat Christine Gregoire by 3,000 votes.
Washington is comprised of heavily Democrat Seattle and King County, surrounded by a sea of Republican counties. Democrats in King County first focused on provisional ballots that were legally invalid because they were not signed or the signatures did not match the voter registration on record. (Provisional ballots are ballots that are cast because the voter does not appear on the registration rolls, so his vote is taken and kept to be verified later if possible.) Even though federal law requires the identity of such voters to be kept private, the Democrats found a judge who ordered that the names and addresses of these provisional voters be given to the Democrat party so they could go to the residence of each one and get the signatures straightened out.
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