Fox News has a “voter fraud unit,” and it grabbed front-row seats at the electoral circus in New York’s 1st Congressional district, where Republican Randy Altschuler is locked in a tight race with Democrat Tim Bishop. Bishop, the incumbent, was ahead by over 3,000 votes on election night, but after a remarkably high number of errors were factored out of the electronic voting machines, he wound up a few hundred votes behind Altschuler. The absentee ballots have favored Bishop, with the last recount putting him ahead by about 235 votes… but 2,000 of those ballots are now under challenge.
The Fox Voter Fraud unit reviewed 438 of those absentee ballots, and found 48 double votes. These are people who voted in the 1st Congressional District, but are registered as active voters in New York City. Fox explains that many houses in the district are secondary residences, owned by rich Manhattan socialites. Registering to vote from a second home is not illegal… but voting twice most certainly is. Fox caught at least one double voter dead to rights, pulling electronic records to find the ballot he cast in Manhattan on Election Day.
A spokesman for the New York State Board of Elections said a conviction for voting twice could carry a penalty of up to one year in prison. Has the guy Fox caught been booked yet? What about the other double voters, who should be easy to nail by checking New York City records – a process I would envision taking a matter of hours at most, using modern computer equipment? Watching all those high-toned felons getting marched out of their Manhattan cocktail parties in handcuffs should make for some amazing news footage… but we all know we’ll never see anything like it, outside of a Woody Allen film.
Voter fraud remains the easiest crime to perpetrate, even though it should properly be regarded as a form of sedition. There’s no reason for well-heeled Party enthusiasts not vote twice from each of their residences. What’s going to happen to them? What happens to “community organizers” who flood voter rolls with transparently bogus names, like “Qwerty Uiop” or “Doodad Pro?” What happens to activists who show up with stacks of registration forms completed with the same handwriting? What price is paid by local election officials who conjure ballots for “machine” candidates from the trunks of their cars?
Even if the low-level operatives pay a fine or two, the politicians never suffer any repercussions. Al Franken sits comfortably in the Senate, despite continuing stories about the discovery of fraudulent ballots that got him elected. Desperate attempts were made to steal the 2000 presidential election for Al Gore, and if they had worked, none of the many subsequent reports about Bush winning under every possible recount scenario would have mattered a bit.
For all intents and purposes, even the most suspicious election is irreversible. An already chaotic government would spin to pieces if it were otherwise. We really don’t want representatives routinely marched out of Congress, months into their terms. (Really, we don’t. Stop daydreaming about it.) The need for stability would argue strongly in favor of using the most advanced methods to ensure clean elections on the first try… but instead we get wild free-for-alls marked by suspicious ballots, paperwork filed “too late” for absentee military voters, polls kept open until weird hours, and other nonsense. States which can process the sale of millions of lottery tickets per week, with perfect accuracy, can’t catch people double-voting until a news organization points it out, weeks after the elections.
The winner in NY-1 will probably be determined by a few hundred ballots. When such tiny sums can upset crucial elections, the integrity of the system is easily violated, and the penalty for cheating is minimal, it’s no wonder voter-fraud operations spring up every time we go to the polls… and squadrons of lawyers end up divining the “true” will of the people.