Absentee voter fraud untouched by ID lawMost frequent form of cheating may be eased by recent rules
Bunnis Williams left nothing to chance.
Determined to win a fifth term on Valdosta's City Council in 2001, Williams falsified voters' applications for absentee ballots. He filled out some ballots himself. Then, records show, he mailed them in — unwittingly including his fingerprints and sealing his fate as a convicted felon.
Williams pleaded guilty in 2003 in a case that epitomizes the most common form of election fraud in Georgia: the manipulation of absentee ballots.
The case underscores what's missing in a new state law requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls.
The law is designed to ensure voters are who they say they are. It does nothing, however, to address widespread irregularities in absentee voting, the subject of more allegations filed with the State Election Board than all other abuses combined. Since the beginning of 2004, 16 of 27 cases brought before the board involved absentee balloting.
If anything, critics say, the new measure may enable more fraud.
Okay, where to start dissecing this one. I suppose the original complaints against voter fraud by the sponsors of this law have more egg on their faces than on their country ham biscuits. In such a dogged effort to revamp the process aimed at deterring fraud, you'd have thought this would have been a hell of a lot more well reasoned. Particularly when your adversaries are screaming "Disenfranchisement! Racism!" at you, and rightly so. So what becomes the new rhetoric?
"There's a huge distinction as we have gone to electronic ballot boxes in Georgia, without a paper trail, which concerns some of us," Perdue said during a news conference Thursday. With absentee ballots, "you have a signature record, a paper trail that can be tracked back."
The new law's chief sponsor, Sen. Cecil Staton (R-Macon), said he wanted to close loopholes that regulating absentee balloting would not address.
"I think it's quite disingenuous to say that all the fraud is in the absentee ballots," Staton said. "How can we say that when the system we previously had allowed for virtually no way to catch it?"
House Speaker Glenn Richardson said he told critics to draft separate legislation if they wanted to address absentee balloting.
"All they did was come back with proposals to put back the law as it existed before we changed it," said Richardson (R-Hiram). "That's no solution."
What 'huge distinction', Sonny? Other than the difference between paper and electronic technology? I recall last year that three different people at my polling place identified me before I was allowed to cast my vote - I want to clarify, three different people IN PERSON.
On to Cecil Stanton, the asshat responsible for initiating this bullshit in the first place. Who the fuck said that all
fraud is in the absentee ballots, and if in fact there were even a modicum of truth involved in this as theory, shouldn't that have been considered before proposed legislation was submitted as a final draft, or did no thought go into that little bit of trivia whatsoever? Clearly he is unaware of the contradicion in this one statement quoted in the AJC alone. Spinning it won't help, just ask Sue Burmeister
. The fact remains that there has historically been more instance of fraud (or at least the potential for it) with the absentee ballot, yet it was glossed over by the state GOP pushing for this law. Look at the shining examples within the party of election fraud, is that not one more bit of strength to support the suspicion that this is just another scheme for political gain on the part of the Georgia GOP?
Glenn Richardson leaves it up to the Dems in the house to make necessary addendums in the interest of preventing absentee ballot fraud, even though that is the cornerstone majority of fraudulence within the entire system. You're the guys pushing for he reform, but you want to leave the most important case to your political adversaries. There was no solution in changing the law in the first place, you fucking dumbass - THAT'S why they made no changes in favor or this proposal.
David Worley, a Democratic appointee to the State Election Board, said the bill was "designed to correct a problem that doesn't exist."
"There have been no cases that have come to the State Election Board of people trying to vote and claiming to be someone else," he said. "At every regular meeting of the State Election Board, there have always been cases involving allegations of absentee ballot fraud."
Well then - I think that's pretty damning evidence, no?
Democrats have accused the General Assembly's Republican majority of pushing the voter ID law for political gain, not to prevent fraud. They have complained bitterly that the law will hurt minority voters, the poor and others who don't possess acceptable identification.
By not addressing absentee voting, "it says to me they're not interested in cleaning up voter fraud, period," said Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.
Votes cast in person are secure, Cox contends, but "there's very little, if any, control over the process when the ballots have left the elections office."
Thank you, Cathy Cox. You of all people would know. This was nothing more than a weak attempt towards even more regressive politics in this state.