LA: Two campigns debate absentee ballot fraud. Meanwhile in Hartford and New Haven plans to prove early voting works.

Apparently there is evidence and no disagreement that fraud occurred. The issue is which campaign did it. Maybe it is both? Absentee voting is a convenience, not just for voters, it really helps fraudsters as well.

Brad Friedman reviews the story and reflects the same concerns with mail voting that we have: Absentee Ballot Fraud Allegations in L.A. Underscore (Again) Dangers of Vote-By-Mail <read>

The BRAD BLOG has long detailed the dangers of Vote-by-Mail and absentee balloting, describing the practice as “terrible for democracy,” for a number of reasons. Among those reasons are the ease by which absentee ballots can be undetectably gamed, bought or sold, used for intimidation (“Show me that you voted this particular way or you will be fired/beaten, etc.”) or otherwise lost in the mail, never added to the optically-scanned computer tally, etc., just to name a few.

Usually when we point these matters out, we’ll get some amount of push back, most notably from someone from Oregon, where many voters love their all Vote-by-Mail elections (despite all the dangers, as demonstrated once again by the recent stories out of the state where, in one, a man was convicted of fraud after offering $20 for blank, unvoted ballots prior to the 2012 election, and another where an election official was charged with fraud after it was discovered she was filling in unvoted races in favor of Republicans while processing incoming mailed ballots.)

Those allegations in Oregon are new to us. It just confirms that claims that everything is fine with their all mail-in system are not justified.

Meanwhile in LA, from the LA Times as quoted by Brad:

Prosecutors are investigating allegations of voter fraud in Little Armenia, part of a Los Angeles City Council district where two candidates are waging a bitter battle for an open seat.

According to a spokeswoman for L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey, prosecutors are trying to determine whether backers of one candidate illegally filled out mail-in ballots for dozens of voters in the Armenian enclave in East Hollywood. The May 21 election will decide who succeeds Eric Garcetti, who is running for mayor…

The complaint alleges that O’Farrell campaign workers filled out voters’ ballots for their candidate while telling them they were voting for Sam Kbushyan, a candidate of Armenian descent who ran and lost during the primary election.

Kbushyan and many of his former campaign volunteers are now working on behalf of O’Farrell.

The O’Farrell campaign rebuts the allegations, saying it was [opposition candidate John] Choi workers who filled out and took ballots from voters. “These are Choi people who are doing this,” O’Farrell spokeswoman Renee Nahum said.

Meanwhile, in Connecticut, for  Hartford Courant Editorial Board, anything goes, it supports the safer option in-person early voting and unlimited absentee voting : Early Voting Options May Be Premature <read>

Changes that might be in the offing could include early voting in all its manifestations: no-excuse absentee voting, voting before Election Day at the precinct or a voting center, voting by mail and so forth.

As it stands now, the Connecticut Constitution forbids early voting in statewide elections except for voters casting absentee ballots under very strict circumstances such as illness, infirmity, religious proscriptions or being absent from the state on Election Day. This narrow early-voting rule could be scrapped by the legislature if the constitutional amendment is approved by voters.

As for the early-voting pilot program in this year’s municipal elections being pushed by three New Haven representatives: Lawmakers need to ask state Attorney General George Jepsen for an opinion on its legality.

As for the early-voting pilot program in this year’s municipal elections being pushed by three New Haven representatives: Lawmakers need to ask state Attorney General George Jepsen for an opinion on its legality…

The state constitution doesn’t speak specifically to the question of voting early in municipal elections. Neither did then-Attorney General Richard Blumenthal specifically address local elections in a 2009 informal opinion to lawmakers saying a constitutional amendment would be required to permit no-excuse absentee voting in Connecticut.

The pilot might pass constitutional muster — or it might not.

Early voting will spur turnout in elections for local office. Far too few voters go to the polls to choose mayors, selectmen and members of boards of education and finance. Low turnout drains the life from municipal government, the level of government closest to the people.

We agree that the Constitutionality should be evaluated. Where we also disagree is the claim that forms of early voting increases turnout. They increase convenience, yet are proven by the best science available to actually decrease turnout.

Cash strapped New Haven would be a bad place to test early voting in 2013. It is the first competitive election in New Haven in 20 years. Turnout is all but guaranteed to increase – early voting or not – we can predict that early voting would get the credit.

 

 

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