Vote Early, Vote Often by Kay Daly


Reproduced under the Fair Use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.


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While voter fraud is not new in this nation, it seems to be gathering steam in recent years with the absentee voting explosion, loosened voting registration requirements and fewer controls, not to mention the enormous incentives for successful practitioners.

A scant 87 votes changed the course of world history in 1948. Out of one million votes cast, an 87-vote margin caused a young Texas congressman named Lyndon Baines Johnson to become a United States senator. What the history books neglect to tell us is that, but for widespread vote buying and shameless ballot box stuffing in the corrupt barrios of South Texas, LBJ would not have become a senator, then vice president and ultimately president. The rest is history.

In the fall of 1948, my grandfather, J.K. Ray, was working at the San Antonio office of the Alcohol Tax Unit when he received a phone call from Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. My grandfather and Hamer had worked on the infamous Bonnie and Clyde case years earlier and trusted each other implicitly.

My grandfather joined Hamer on a mission that took them to Alice, Texas, to look into reports of voter fraud that marked the famed Senate race between former Gov. Coke Stevenson and LBJ. The corruption and voter fraud they witnessed is well documented in Robert Caro's award winning biography entitled Means of Ascent.

When they arrived at a bank in Alice, my grandfather and Hamer found it surrounded by armed pistoleros, thugs, and other assorted henchmen committed to an LBJ victory. With guns brandished, Hamer and my grandfather, who were not small men, made their way through the crowd and into the building. They discovered men burning ballots and altering the voter rolls. According to my grandfather, he witnessed the crux of the scam that permitted sympathetic sheriff's deputies and election officials to steal the election for LBJ.

Even direct vote buying reared its ugly head that year when LBJ allies at the government-contract dependent Brown and Root construction firm spread a bundle of money across South Texas. To hear my grandfather tell it, Hispanics in selected South Texas precincts were paid $5 each for their votes.

While pages out of history like these may make for great family lore and political intrigue, sadly, the plague of voter fraud is very much alive and well. Indeed, it still thrives to this day.

One favorite example took place during John F. Kennedy's pivotal victory in the 1960 presidential primary in West Virginia. No less an authority than former House Speaker Tip O' Neill, D-Mass., recalls that one of Daddy Joe Kennedy's bagmen went through West Virginia with pockets stuffed with cash. He would visit sheriffs doling out thousands of dollars with the promise of more money should the county end up in Kennedy's column.

Then, of course, there are the mafia-union payoffs that led to the unprecedented ballot box stuffing in Mayor Daley's Chicago giving JFK his razor thin, winning margin over Nixon in 1960's general election. The scandal is so infamous that there is now a standard joke on the rubber chicken circuit for candidates that goes, "I want to be buried in Chicago so that I can stay politically active after I die."

While motor voter programs, early voting schedules, and Internet voting plans offer convenience for today's busy, on-the-go voter, the increased opportunity for fraud is undeniable. Currently, 47 states do not require any form of identification to vote. It practically takes an act of Congress and a blood sample to write a check these days, but voting on Election Day requires only the utterance or mere presentation of a name and address, any name and address will do, to cast a ballot.

To be sure, modern day election rigging takes all forms from the absurd to the sublime.

North Carolina, for example, has been the locale for a variety of unscrupulous games in recent years. A 1996 state senate race and a 1998 state house race actually had to be redone with special elections when egregious irregularities could no longer be ignored. Several board of elections supervisors have been forced to resign, fired, indicted and even imprisoned. Just last week, a Democrat city councilman in Dunn was indicted on 11 counts of election fraud.

Consider the 1990 U.S. Senate race between Senator Jesse Helms, Republican-North Carolina, and Democrat Harvey Gantt. Democrat lawyers went so far as to find a liberal, black Democrat Superior Court Judge who ordered predominantly black precincts in Greensboro and Durham to be held open for several hours after all the other polls closed. After church buses bearing the words A.M.E. Zion on their sides delivered full loads of voters, Gantt still couldn't muster the votes he needed to win. But the damage was done. Two Republican statewide judicial candidates narrowly lost their races because of the illegal votes that were thrown in the mix.

Also in North Carolina, Cleveland County election officials only recently discovered that a 14-year-old chocolate Labrador has been on the voter rolls for over a decade. He's even gotten votes in his two candidacies for mayor of Kings Mountain. Perhaps he would have fared better had he run for dogcatcher instead.

The Democrat party of North Carolina has not quite cornered the market on voter fraud, however. In 1990, the North Carolina legislature made it a crime to intimidate voters after the North Carolina GOP mailed postcards to hundreds of thousands of black voters telling them they would go to prison if they voted improperly. Indeed, to this day, the Republican Party of North Carolina continues the shameful tradition of the poll tax by illegally charging for convention participation via registration fees.

Bogus absentee ballots became commonplace in Miami's municipal races. In 1998, the abuses caused the Florida Court of Appeals to take the extraordinary step of removing the Republican mayor and installing his opponent. In this case, 46 people were indicted, 12 were convicted. Incidents of fraud included forged signatures, voting more than once, and fictitious names and addresses on absentee ballots.

In the 1996 race for U.S. Senate in Louisiana, Democrat Mary Landrieu beat Republican Louis "Woody" Jenkins amidst charges of vote purchasing, multiple voting and the casting of fraudulent votes. An investigation revealed that "large-scale violations of federal and state election law have occurred."

Attorneys for Woody Jenkins put together more than 8,000 pages of affidavits and exhibits, alleging 7,454 illegal or "phantom" votes. Although the effort was impressive, Jenkins still lost the election by 5,788 votes out of more than 1.7 million votes cast.

In the 1994 Maryland gubernatorial race, Republican candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey lost a very tight race against Democrat Parris N. Glendening. Interestingly, Sauerbrey lost by exactly 6,000 votes. The Sauerbrey campaign cited numerous cases of substantial voter fraud, but fell short in their challenge.

This year's election cycle is no different. Evidence of widespread irregularities and abuses continues to pour in from across the nation.

Vote selling on the Internet became a hot commodity this year. "Nader-Traders" sought to pledge their votes for Gore in competitive states in exchange for Gore supporters casting their votes for Nader in states Gore would almost certainly win. ran into legal troubles when it provided a forum for more than 15,000 people to sell their votes to the highest bidder. It truly boggles the mind to imagine that the direct purchase of voting rights is still with us today.

Milwaukee was the site of an interesting exercise in democracy. Gore campaign volunteers were caught on video distributing packs of cigarettes to homeless people after they' d been given rides to the polling places. Maybe Gore is getting his tobacco allotment back after all. The local district attorney is already conducting a criminal investigation as a result.

Democrat backed "motor voter" legislation has given rise to the appearance of millions of phantom voters on the voter rolls across the country. The prohibition of periodic voter purges means dead people, convicted felons and people who have moved pollute the pool of genuine eligible voters.

Consider what happened in St. Louis this past Tuesday. Taking a page out of Harvey Gantt's playbook, Congressman Dick Gephardt's former chief of staff-turned-judge pulled off a fantastic stunt. The judge kept the polls open until midnight Tuesday night so that Democrat-heavy precincts could turn out the vote. Voila! Senator John Ashcroft and gubernatorial nominee Jim Talent came up a little short when all the votes were tallied. Can litigation be far away?

In New Jersey, the pay was better for the homeless. In a stunning new twist in electioneering, Senator-elect Jon Corzine invented a new jobs program even before he's sworn in. In a $2 million effort to "get out the vote," Corzine "hired" numerous homeless individuals and drug addicts.

In Broward County, Fla., several ballot boxes "disappeared." Just disappeared. Unlike 1948, the ballot boxes reappeared.

Numerous reports from across the country reveal an all out effort to register convicts to vote. In a particularly innovative twist, even those not yet convicted of felonies, but incarcerated and awaiting trial dates were registered in droves.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service in Florida conveniently established a program entitled the "Backlog Reduction Program" in which INS examiners were given an extra 40 hours paid time off and other bonuses for expediting the naturalization process for illegal aliens and reaching specified numeric goals. The "goals" of the program had to be met between October 1, 1999, and October 1, 2000. In Florida, a new citizen can register to vote up to October 10. Thousands of aliens, many with criminal backgrounds, were rushed through the citizenship process and registered to vote.

The list goes on.

The ramification of election irregularities and outright voter fraud is an increasingly cynical voting public. As noble and lovely as it may sound, campaign finance reform is not going to fix this part of the system. The liberal media continues to stop the presses over the mere mention of campaign finance reform by Bradley, McCain and Nader. They would be well served instead, to focus the public's attention on the most dangerous threat to the very essence of democracy. Voter fraud poses a far greater threat to the republic than people exercising free speech with their own money.

We send armies of election watchers across the globe to Third World countries and feel superior in our democratic evolution. But we would be better served to take a close look at our own election shenanigans lest we become a banana republic. If professional poll watcher Jimmy Carter is really looking for election fraud, he need not buy a plane ticket abroad. We have plenty right here at home.


Kay Daly is the vice president of the Washington office of The Signature Agency, a public relations/advertising firm headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina.



| EJF Home | Where To Find Help | Join the EJF | Comments? | Get EJF newsletter |


| Vote Fraud and Election Issues Book | Table of Contents | Site Map | Index |


| Chapter 1 — Introduction To Voting Problems |

| Next — Chicago Rules Of Election Fraud |

| Back — Voter Fraud Issues: A Florida Department Of Law Enforcement Report And Observations |


Last updated 6/14/09