Don’t Think Voter Fraud Happens? Here Are 5 Cases From 2015 That Will Make You Think Again
This column by ACRU Policy Board member Hans von Spakovsky and Brandon Johnson was published July 14, 2015 by The Daily Signal.
Despite being only six months into 2015, there have already been a slew of sometimes bizarre stories about voter fraud across the country. They show just how far some people will go to cheat the system. Here are a few of the most outlandish stories:
1. Madison County, Ga.
Mohammad Shafiq of Madison County, Georgia, was none too happy with Madison County sheriff candidate Clayton Lowe.
So Shafiq started campaigning for the other candidate by submitting fraudulent voter registration cards supposedly for new voters, apparently intending to eventually vote under those registrations.
When the fraud was detected, he coerced a couple to sign affidavits falsely saying they had registered themselves.
He was charged with two counts of voter identification fraud, two counts of perjury, and three counts of tampering with evidence.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years probation and a fine of $6,750.
2. Magoffin County, Ky.
During the November 2014 election for county judge-executive, Larry Perkins of Magoffin County, Kentucky, saw fellow resident Simon Marshall with a crisp, new $50 bill.
When Perkins asked Marshall —- who had limited intellectual ability —- where the money came from, Marshall replied, “It is Election Day.”
A judge threw out the results of the election, which was decided by only 28 votes, citing evidence that “people sold their votes” as well as numerous other violations of election rules, including a lack of required information on applications for absentee ballots, precinct officers failing to document how they identified voters and improperly helping people vote, and residents casting early ballots when there was no Republican election commissioner present as required.
The judge ruled the election was the result of fraud and bribery.
3. Turkey Creek, La.
In a close election, Mayor Heather Cloud of Turkey Creek, Louisiana, was voted out of office by a margin of only four votes.
It was later revealed, however, that a campaign employee working for challenger Bert Campbell had paid $15 each to four mentally impaired individuals in exchange for their promise to vote for Campbell.
Following Cloud’s challenge to the results of the election, a Louisiana Court of Appeals ordered the four votes struck and a new election held.
In the aftermath, Cloud won the election and the campaign employee pleaded guilty to illegal electioneering.
The guilty plea carried with it a six month suspended jail sentence, 18 months probation, $500 fine, and $2,000 in restitution to Mayor Cloud.
4. Fort Worth, Texas
Hazel Woodard, a Democratic precinct chairwoman candidate in Fort Worth, Texas, was concerned that her husband would not make it to the polls to vote for her.
So, she simply had her teenage son vote in his place in an election in 2011 before the state’s new voter ID law was in place.
The impersonation at the poll went unnoticed until the husband showed up at the same polling place later that day and tried to cast a second ballot in his name.
Hazel recently pleaded guilty to impersonation fraud at the polls, and was sentenced to two years of deferred adjudication probation.
5. Perth Amboy, N.J.
A lot of elections between candidates are close —- but New Jersey politician Fernando Gonzales won his seat on the Perth Amboy City Council by only 10 votes.
A judge found that his wife, Democratic Chairwoman Leslie Dominguez-Rodriguez, took advantage of nursing home residents, including a blind man, a resident who could not remember her address or voting, and others who testified Dominguez-Rodrigues coerced them into voting for her husband.
A Superior Court judge overturned the election results and ordered a new election be held.
6. Sandoval County, N.M.
One prosecution resulted from a voter trying to show how easy it is to commit voter fraud.
To prove his point, Eugene Victor of Sandoval County, New Mexico, voted twice. Victor first voted at the polls under his own name, and then waited until the next day to do the same thing under his son’s name.
After getting away with impersonation fraud without being detected, he turned himself into the authorities.
Victor pleaded no contest to the felony charge of false voting, and is currently serving 18 months probation.
The above stories are just a very small sampling of recent cases that comprise the long and unfortunate American tradition of election fraud.