There has been much debate as to whether or not electoral fraud occurred in the 2020 election cycle or for that matter if it even exists at all. So, does electoral (voter) fraud actually occur? The answer, quite simply, is yes. It happens all over the country and has occurred with elections for many years now. Now, what exactly is electoral fraud?
From Ballotpedia.org, the definition of electoral fraud is “illegal interference with the process of an election. Electoral fraud can take different forms, including in-person voter fraud and fraudulent activity involving absentee or mail ballots, and can occur at different points of the election process, from registration to the tallying of ballots.”
Ballotpedia.org is an online encyclopedia of election information at all levels of government from across America. Their site states that they are a neutral non-profit organization. You can find a plethora of election information on this site. The Heritage Foundation is another site that has information on electoral fraud. It records case information as well as the outcome for each case whether it ended in criminal charges, civil penalties, diversion program, official findings or judiciary findings.
There are many types of voter/electoral fraud that can occur in this country with any given election. Absentee ballot vote fraud, voter registration fraud, and voter buying are three of the types of electoral fraud listed at Ballotpedia’s website.
Absentee ballot fraud is defined at Ballotpedia as a person who “attempts to fill out and turn in an absentee ballot containing false information. For example, this can occur when a person attempts to fill out and turn in an absentee ballot with the name of a false or non-existent voter. The term can extend to manipulation, deception, or intimidation of absentee voters.” One current example of this type of fraud happened in Illinois in the 2020 election cycle. According to an article at davidharrisjr.com, Colleen A. Kirchoff, 60, of Naperville has been charged with forgery and purgery after she allegedly tried to cast a ballot for someone else. As this is an ongoing case, details have yet to be released.
This type of electoral fraud is quite common. Since 2000, there have been 142 cases that have resulted in criminal convictions across 33 states according to the information collected at the Heritage Foundation’s website. The Heritage Foundation has electoral fraud case information that is listed state by state with the type of fraud and whether the case ended with a criminal conviction or not.
Voter registration fraud is also rather widespread across America. Ballotpedia defines voter registration fraud as “filling out and submitting a voter registration card for a fictional person, or filling out a voter registration card with the name of a real person but without that person’s consent and forging his or her signature on the card.” This is another area of electoral fraud that we need to work on trying to eradicate.
According to the Heritage Foundation’s website, there have been a total of 163 criminal convictions across 36 states since 2000 for voter registration fraud. This demonstrates a need to look into how not only states are handling registering voters, but how each county is keeping its rolls clean and up-to-date.
If we go back a little further in time, we find an instance in Illinois where 63 individuals were criminally convicted in voter registration fraud. This case dates back to 1982, so to say that electoral fraud is something recent is a fallacy.
The buying of votes has been portrayed in movies over the years, but does it happen in real life? Yes it does. Since 1986, there have been 119 criminal convictions and two cases that were sent through the diversion program for charges of buying votes. In California in 2020, there were 4 individuals convicted of buying votes. They passed out money and cigarettes to homeless individuals to procure votes. There was also a case in Texas where two women passed out baggies filled with cocaine as a way of buying votes.
Electoral fraud has been going on for a long time now. This writer would wager that though these cases are newer and have been legally proven, electoral fraud is something that has been going on longer than anyone wants to admit. This is definitely an issue that We The People are going to need to take care of for the sake of having honest and fair elections in the future. In the next and final piece, I will go over ways in which any citizen of America can join in and help fight back against electoral fraud in this country.
*Information for this piece was gathered from Ballotpedia.org and Heritage.org .