Democrat Ed FitzGerald’s campaign sent out a fundraising email today with an interesting accusation. The gubernatorial candidate’s campaign accused Republican Governor John Kasich of cheating.
The message was sent in response to a pair of elections laws aimed at reducing voter fraud. One provision reduces the time frame of early voting while the other limits the distribution of unsolicited absentee ballots.
In the email, the campaign states, “Your elementary school teacher has a word for it: CHEATING.” Just below is a graphic noting, “John Kasich says” just to the left of a “DO NOT VOTE” sign.
Hyperbole aside, the charge is quite ironic.
The basic breakdown of Democrat-GOP elections reform debate harkens down to two rather boiler plate positions. Starting backward, Republicans, concerned with voter fraud and the sanctity of the American democratic process, often propose and pass laws aimed at eliminating voter fraud. These come in the typical forms of voter ID laws and limiting early voting.
Democrats, on the other hand, respond in kind with accusations of voter suppression. Such reforms, they charge, disproportionately affect minorities, women, and the elderly, and amount to nothing more than a GOP attempt to steal elections by limiting votes from Democratic constituency groups.
Where the Democrats run into irony is in that early voting, absentee balloting, and the absence of voter ID requirements are the foundation of voter fraud.
It should make sense to any logical person: afforded the opportunity to vote without proving one’s identity, either in person or in advance of Election Day, provides an opening to submit fraudulent votes.
The so-called “Golden Week,” during which voters can both register and vote on the same day, gives an early shot at fraud. Bogus voters can register illegitimately and vote on the same day, so there is a chance that their fraudulent votes might county, anyway.
Early voting also provides a chance for both fraudulent and double votes. One could vote early under one name—or variation of one’s name—and then turn around and do so again on Election Day. Absentee ballots afford the same opportunities.
Democrats might call this paranoia, but 2012 alone provided said scenarios here in Ohio, particularly in the Cincinnati area. Several voters were convicted of voter fraud for voting in the names of others or of voting under multiple derivatives of their given names. One case had a nun voting for herself and her deceased colleague while another woman voted under several different names.
The 2008 election cycle was similar. A Florida city commissioner and his campaign manager were charged with completing more than 90 fraudulent absentee ballots. A vacant lot was the return address of more than 250 Connecticut absentee ballots that year. Poll workers in Texas asked voters if they would like to a vote a straight party-line ticket. Even back in 2002, a South Dakota Senate race was likely decided by fraudulent votes, largely ballots cast by deceased voters. Each case benefited Democrats.
In other words, voter fraud is real. Parties might disagree with intellectual honesty as to the severity of voter fraud, but examples abound. The logical conclusion one could draw from the battle lines is that Republicans are fighting voter fraud while Democrats are fighting to protect it.
Put another way, both sides are jockeying for an edge on the fringes. Assuming both sides’ sentiments are sincere, then Republicans are aiming at an edge by eliminating fraudulent votes while Democrats are protecting votes that may be fraudulent.
Of course, there are certainly instances of GOP voter fraud—it’s just that the public examples happen to come from, typically, the Democratic side of the aisle. Thus, it is quite ironic that Ohio Democrats are accusing Ohio Republicans of cheating when it is they who seek to protect the “right” to cheat.