Multiple votER fraud, multiple votes, multiple elections, multiple lessons

Story in Houston Chronicle: Candidate voted twice in same elections, records show <read>

Individual votER fraud does not happen often, when it does it seldom, if ever, amounts to enough to change a result. But here is a Rhode Island size story from Texas that provides several lessons for those concerned with votER fraud, votING fraud, and the limits of voter ID:

A Republican precinct chairman running for a seat on the Fort Bend County Commissioner’s Court has cast ballots in both Texas and Pennsylvania in the last three federal elections, official records in both states show.

Bruce J. Fleming, a Sugar Land resident running for Precinct 1 commissioner, voted in person in Sugar Land in 2006, 2008 and 2010 and by mail in each of those years in Yardley, Pa., according to election records in both states.

Fleming, who owns a home in Yardley, voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 presidential primary in Texas. His wife, Nancy Fleming, who is listed as a resident of Yardley, voted by mail in both places in the 2010 general election, records show.

The lessons:

  • Absentee balloting is the easiest fraud to accomplish. Expanding mail-in and absentee voting leads to increased opportunity for organized and individual fraud.
  • Voter ID in Texas or Pennsylvania would not have prevented this fraud. They live in Texas, presumably have IDs, while no ID is required for absentee voting.
  • Preventing this type of fraud would be more possible with better quality voter registration databases, more cross checking, or possibly a national voter registration database or universal registration.
  • In this case the voters were caught. How many would risk the criminal penalties? How many would risk the embarrassment and career limiting aspects even if not convicted? All for a very slight chance of changing an election result.
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