Will There Be “Vote Buying”?

Maybe I’m wrong with my concerns about our new mail-in voting experiment. Maybe everything will go fine and we won’t have a Wisconsin event where many ballots were discovered last week still in a post office — somehow never delivered to the election headquarters.

But to believe that you also have to believe that the train will be up and running on time and on budget, that all the potholes will be fixed in a timely and permanent method, that we’re out of the woods with broken water mains and that nothing could go wrong with our Civil Defense missile alert system.

True, I’m less worried about “vote buying” here than I would be in some other mail-in states which might have a larger immigrant population, people with very low education backgrounds, or the extremely poor who are easy pickings if a little revenue is involved.

But we’re going against the 2005 Federal Election Reform Commission which warned of some serious issues. Its report said:

“Citizens who vote at home, at nursing homes, at the workplace or in church are more susceptible to pressure, overt and subtle, or too intimidation. Vote buying schemes are much more difficult to detect when citizens vote by mail.”

Mail-in voting states in red.

I do nor agree with President Trump’s many claims that there has been lots of mail-in voting fraud in recent years. Some cases, yes. And worrisome because one could have changed the election result. The other did require a whole new election.

Case #1 was in Dallas where they discovered 700 ballots all signed by the same person in a City Council election.

And #2, in North Carolina,where  a Republican operative had applied for and got 1,200 absentee ballots in the names of citizens, had people go to those homes and on pretext and take back the ballots the day they were delivered, filled them in and faked signatures.

Older people in assisted living complexes are particularly susceptible to having a relative say “Oh, I’ll fill that out for you, Auntie.” Ballots can be stolen from mailboxes. Or outright bought from very poor voters who need the money and will nod at the fraud.

Only 11 states allow mail-in voting. France, the Philippines and Norway so far have shied away from it. Italy allows it only for citizens abroad. Malaysia restricts it to teachers, military people and police based abroad.

It’s been called by vocal opponents a throwback to the dark old days of vote buying and fraud.

The idea is great. Many people won’t go vote at a school precinct but will fill out a mail-in ballot.

It’s the execution that troubles me. The mailboxes, the post office, and those who will be inspired to buy or influence the votes of the poor or the aged, infirm and mentally challenged.

Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Biafran War in Nigeria (1968) Vietnam War (1969-73), Iraq in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. 2 Emmys for documentaries. Married to journalist Denby Fawcett; one daughter. Brett Jones, foreign service officer, State Department.

2 replies on “Will There Be “Vote Buying”?”

  1. It certainly appears that one or more Hawaii politicos have manipulated close elections here with coerced mail-in absentee ballots for previous elections, so it stands to reason that they and others would seek to exploit the larger opportunities to be offered soon with all-mail voting.
    But the larger problem is that too many ignorant voters gleefully re-elect shameless petty parasites with bloated egos who provide absolutely nothing of value for their constituents besides name recognition, ethnic affinity, cheap entertainment, illusions of power and access to power, and parochial social status.
    Sadly, that’s probably not going to change here any time soon.

  2. I never heard of vote buying until I read your report. I find that so hard to believe. At any rate, what will happen to the mail in ballots if the post office is shut down?

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