Election fraud, voter suppression, and voter fraud allegations are brought up during every election year, and are often the focus of concern, and the 2018 midterm elections are no exception. The concerns aren’t new. Election Justice USA issued a report in July 2016 that voting issues might have cost Bernie Sanders up to 184 delegates. Meanwhile, others have voiced concern that suppression measures might prevent people from voting when they should be able to do so.
Despite this, however, elections can generally be trusted. Since 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote and George Bush won the electoral vote and “hanging chads” were a huge controversy, there hasn’t been a big debate surrounding general election results. Candidates typically accept the results, believing they are an honest representation of the population’s vote. But the problems that plagued the 2016 election are still spilling over into 2018. These concerns, however, shouldn’t stop anyone from voting.
The issues of voter suppression, voter fraud, and election fraud are all different. Voter suppression occurs when officials or rules make it harder for people to vote. Election fraud is the illegal interference in the election process itself. Voter fraud occurs when people who shouldn’t vote do, such as being bused in or when dead people “vote.” (You can see a full list of previous year’s voter fraud cases provided by Heritage Foundation here.) It’s important to note that just because an allegation of fraud is made doesn’t mean that fraud actually happened. But how can you tell which concerns are valid and which aren’t? This article is going to list some of the major concerns shared during early voting and during the mid-term elections on November 6, on a state-by-state basis.
This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day.
In 2018, Richard Howard offered some homeless people cash and cigarettes in exchange for forging signatures on petitions, using the names of actual voters. Howard and others were arrested during an undercover operation.
Georgia: Voter Suppression, Hacking Allegations & Voting Machine Concerns Get National Attention
Georgia has been front-and-center in voter suppression and election fraud concerns this election cycle.
The Atlantic Journal-Constitution reported that a Jefferson County clerk ordered 40 black senior citizens off a bus that was taking them to vote on October 15.
Then a week later, Royce Reeves Sr., a city commissioner, spent much of the day driving poor residents to the polls, and the police were called on him twice, Intelligencer reported. He was told he was campaigning to close to the polls.
The biggest news came from Brian Kemp, the Republican Secretary of State who is running for governor. His office is overseeing voter rolls, while he’s in a heated race against Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams. Kemp was sued in October when 50,000 voter registration applications were placed on hold, claiming that personal information didn’t exactly match the state database. But two federal courts on November 2 ruled that 3,000 naturalized U.S. citizens affected by that purge should still be allowed to vote, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a request by Kemp to prevent election officials from being stopped from throwing out mismatched absentee ballots with letting voters contest it and confirm their identity.
Meanwhile, civil rights groups in Georgia filed complaints that early voters believed voting machines had deleted votes for Democratic candidates or flipped them to Republican votes, similar to concerns expressed in Texas, Newsweek reported. These voting machines, like the ones of concern in Texas, have no auditable paper trail.
On the flip side, Brian Kemp is also claiming that Georgia Democrats are being investigated over an alleged hack, The New York Times reported. On Sunday, Kemp announced that the Georgia Democrats were under investigation for an allegation of trying to “hack” state voter registration files. The inquiry, his office said, came from an email they received from someone named Rachel Small who talked about trying to hack the Secretary of State’s system and wrote to the Democrats’ voter protection director. The Democrats, meanwhile, released the email exchanges which appeared to voice concerns about potential weaknesses in Georgia’s election system.
In June 2018, Cassandra Amber Marie Ritter pleaded guilty to voter fraud in Frederick County, Winchester Star reported. She voted illegally, knowing that she was a felon and was not allowed to vote.
Texas: Voters Expressed Concerns About Vote Flipping & Malfunctioning Machines, & a Mayoral Election Is Thrown Out Due to Fraud
One of the major concerns brought up during early voting in Texas was a worry that some machines might have been flipping votes, PBS reported. Some Texans said that certain machines had flipped their straight-ticket votes in key races during early voting. The Secretary of State office in Texas said the issues were reported with the Hart eSlate voting machine used in 30 percent of counties across the state. But the office said the problems were caused by voters’ completing and submitting ballots too quickly.
“The Hart eSlate machines are not malfunctioning, the problems being reported are a result of user error — usually voters hitting a button or using the selection wheel before the screen is finished rendering,” said Sam Taylor, spokesman for the office of Secretary of State Rolando Pablos.
Ted Cruz himself advised voters that if they select the Republican party ticket, they should be patient and not select “next” until all the selections on the ballot are populated, to ensure they are filled out correctly. The Texas Democratic Party, meanwhile, called the issue a malfunction.
Meanwhile, in early October the results of a run-off election for Mission, Texas mayor were thrown out after the judge found evidence that Mayor O’Cana’s campaign was part of a conspiracy to bribe voters and manipulate mail-in ballots, Valley Central reported. The plaintiff’s attorney said that ballots were filed illegally and other ballots were changed. The defense attorney said there was no evidence of this. But Judge Dorsey said there was clear and convincing evidence that illegal votes were in excess of 158.
And in Kaufman County in March, a judge tossed the results of the March Republican primary and ordered a new election for Kaufman County Court at Law No. 1. The lawsuit alleged that multiple mail-in ballots were illegally filed and submitted by a vote harvester, and provisional ballots were rejected that should have been counted, Empower Texans reported.
And in Tarrant County in April, Justice of the Peace Russ Casey pleaded guilty to turning in fake signatures so he could get on the March 6 primary ballot, the Star-Telegram reported.
A Maryland man pleaded guilty in October to illegally voting in both Maryland and West Virginia more than nine times since 2006, Metro News reported.
In August 2018, former Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West pleaded guilty to election fraud. She confessed to falsifying signatures on petitions so she could qualify for a spring election, JS Online reported. Several people whose names were on her nomination petition told a detective that they never signed the petition. Others said she did not personally obtain their signatures like she was required to do.
This is a developing story.