Stop The Presses! Gessler Uncovers Possible (Infinitesimal) Vote Fraud

If you can hardly believe it, there’s a good reason–the Pueblo Chieftain’s Patrick Malone:

A crosscheck of ballots cast in Colorado and Kansas in [the 2010] election showed six people voted in both states, according to Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

Half of those who voted in both states cast ballots in the 3rd Congressional District that includes Pueblo and the San Luis Valley.

“They were pretty much all over the place,” said Rich Coolidge, spokesman for Gessler’s office…

We’ve got Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s full press release after the jump. We congratulate the Secretary on finding these possible six cases of double voting across state lines, but we’d say he’s proving more that existing election law works as intended than anything else–not exactly the desired message for our activist Secretary of State’s legislative agenda. Not to mention that good explanations may well exist for anywhere between one and six of them.

Oh, and six votes out of over 1.8 million cast in 2010…does not a scandal make, folks.

Cross-state Voter Comparison Identifies Double Voters

CO and KS identify individuals who voted twice in 2010 election

Denver, Colorado – Secretary of State Scott Gessler today announced his office referred information to the FBI regarding individuals suspected of voting twice during the 2010 election. Following a comparison of voting records between Kansas and Colorado, six voters appear to have cast ballots in both states.

“Voter fraud undermines our electoral system,” Secretary Gessler said. “I will continue to be vigilant and undertake these kinds of anti-fraud measures. These state crosschecks are an important component in ensuring the integrity of our election process.”

Since 2008, Colorado has shared voter records with a consortium of states to monitor and identify cross-state voters. In 2008, four individuals were indicted by an Arizona grand jury for voting in both Colorado and Arizona. Now, following the 2010 election, the investigation has resulted in six cases of individuals who voted both in Colorado and Kansas.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office turned over information to the FBI that matched individual voter records including date of birth and signature on ballots cast in both Colorado and Kansas during the November, 2010 election. In all six cases, the individuals voted either early or by mail ballot in Colorado: in five cases, the individual voted by mail ballot in Colorado and in one case, the individual voted during early voting in Colorado.

Persons convicted of voter fraud in Colorado can be sentenced to three years in prison and fines in excess of $1,000.

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59 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. dwyer says:

    I think the persistent asking for documentation via CORA put Gessler on notice that facts would be demanded.

    • Dude just wrote my next CORA for me. Now he can’t play the “There’s soooooooo much to look through! Massive amounts of staff time! Gimme money!” card.

      Six cases, I want the evidence.

      Drawing it up now.

      • dwyer says:

        You are so the spirit and the soul of CP.

        Thank you.

      • Unless you want to file a CORA for evidence that Gessler’s proposed actions (the mail-in or the voter ID or something else) would have prevented these particular six cases.

        No – you still want to go after whatever possessed him to present in testimony before Congress that tens of thousands of people may have committed fraud.  Not the raw data, but any analysis performed to come to this conclusion.  The analysis shouldn’t take many pages or much time to find.

        Your goal should be to prove that Gessler is lying through his teeth, and all that takes is showing that he has no f’ing clue what he’s talking about – you don’t have to do his homework for him.

        • These 6 cases are likely real and thoroughly investigated.  Your CORA will come back with exactly that result, or it might be denied because the documentation has been sent on to the FBI and now covers an active investigation.

          The most you’d get out of such a request is the details behind the fraud, and a few names.  I see no reason to go after that, outside of what I posted above…

          • evidence that Gessler’s proposed actions (the mail-in or the voter ID or something else) would have prevented these particular six cases.

            Maybe I’ll try that…

            whatever possessed him to present in testimony before Congress that tens of thousands of people may have committed fraud.

            Sadly, Gessler’s mental health is probably not a matter of public record 😉

          • OldAuroraDem says:

            One potential benefit of getting a list of the six folks who might be indicted would be the possibility of determining their party affiliation. Wouldn’t the Secretary of State and Arapgop find it difficult if any of miscreants turned out to be registered Republicans? Actually, anything other than Democrats suggest a massive waste of effort.

  2. ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

    Gessler will be cross checking with others, too. There will undoubtedly be more. But even when he does his job, you criticize him. It’s tiring.

    Incidentally, how many cases of vote fraud are too much for Democrats? I’m curious, since six obviously isn’t. Would ten be enough? A hundred? I’m just curious how much voter fraud it takes before a Democrat starts to care about it.

    • He’s proven that he doesn’t need voter ID restrictions or inactive mail-in ballot idiocy in order to find his voter fraud – and that, in fact, neither of these would actually have prevented the cases presented.

      • ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

        Gessler has shown the need for reform, and Democrats are in denial.

        Its ok, he’ll respond by keeping the pressure on and continuing to show that vote fraud really does happen. At some point, you won’t be able to deny it.

        • And what has Gessler done or suggested to reform this particular problem?

          Gessler proposed not sending mail-in ballots to voters who missed an election.  This would not have prevented a single case noted in this article – either these people had moved to Kansas (in which case their ballots would not have been forwarded), or they had moved here, in which case they were legitimate voters here in Colorado.

          Gessler proposes a strict voter ID system.  This would not have prevented a single case noted in this article, either.  Either the person had moved to Kansas, where they would not have shown a Colorado ID anyway, or they had moved to Colorado, in which case with or without a strong ID they were legal Colorado voters who had to register (and present valid ID to do so…).

          There is a simple solution to all of these cases: have the states share registration information in advance of an election.  (Or, as Ralphie suggests, have the Federal government set up a national database to make it easier for the states to do this…)  I dare you to find any significant number of Democrats who would be unwilling to propose and even champion such a reform; in fact, I would point out that Democrats were supportive of similar reforms at the state level designed to prevent people moving within the state from voting in multiple districts.

          Has Gessler suggested this?  No.  He and you are both still trying to justify that disenfranchising voters is the best way to prevent voter fraud, rather than addressing the obvious issue at hand.

          • VanDammerVanDammer says:

            nothing, nada, zilch — there isn’t one reform Scottie has trotted out that would “fix” the problem identified with these 6 cases.  

          • ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

            I agree there are more issues with voting fraud than just this one. Gessler has to deal with many different kinds of chicanery, you’re right about that too.

            It’s not about disenfranchisement. Not a single reform proposed by Gessler would result in disenfranchisement. It’s about having the same rules apply for everyone in Colorado, and only legal voters participating down to the very last voter. Uniformity and compliance with basic standards is not too much to ask for from voters, and Democrat reasons for opposing it quickly appear suspect.

            • Ralphie says:

              The County Clerks are.

              All of them is smarter than one of them.

            • It’s already been proven that the mail-in ballot issue would have resulted in thousands of disenfranchised voters.

              And there are documented cases of people not being able to vote due to being unable to get voter IDs, among them old ladies who have been voting for decades until overly restrictive laws disenfranchised them.  And Wisconsin is set to disenfranchise a significant portion of its college students this year under the same basic proposals that Gessler wants to institute.

        • Who says I’m denying that there’s voter fraud here?  CP admits it, I admit it.  Gessler, after being pressured by Democrats to justify his actions, went out and found 6 cases unrelated to his attempts to “reform” voting security.

          Unlike him and you, however, I’m addressing the actual problem divulged: people can vote in multiple states if they take the effort to do so.  Proposed solution from me, a Democrat: cross-check between the states to ensure that voters aren’t registered in multiple places.

          Logic – it’s weird.  You should try it sometime rather than trying to spin as something good the disenfranchising the citizens if this country out of their right to vote.

        • MADCO says:

          Mexico.  Then we’ll find some real vote fraud.

    • sxp151 says:

      Compare the number of cases of voter fraud to the number of people who are unable to vote because of onerous new voting regulations. So far the latter is more than six.

      The Founding Fathers would have said things like “Better for a hundred voter fraud cases to go unnoticed than for one person to be unjustly deprived of his vote,” but I guess that sounds pretty socialist to you.

    • BlueCat says:

      Nice try.  Multiplied by all states still a teensy tiny handful and Gessler’s proposed restrictions wouldn’t have prevented this teensy handful anyway. On the other hand thousands could be prevented from voting here in Colorado were Gessler’s policies to be put in place.  Let’s see.  Which would result in greater harm to the democratic process? Here I am not holding my breath for an answer.  I’m sure you’ve moved on to another talking point drop.  

    • dmindgo says:

      seems as though the percentage needed for a recount, or maybe half that, would be the place to start.

      • That’s my threshold, and I’m sticking to it.

        If you can catch every last case of voter fraud, and not disenfranchise any legitimate voter in the process (or otherwise trample their other Constitutional rights), then go for it.

        These are not mutually exclusive goals, and anyone who proposes something which is mutually exclusive in either direction isn’t trying hard enough, or has ulterior motives.

        Unfortunately for us, Gessler isn’t really interested in either voter fraud or voter rights – he’s interested in grandstanding and potentially eliminating thousands of legitimate Democratic (and some Republican) voters; whatever gives his party that bit of partisan advantage come next election.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          that being one penny off on a million dollar budget was unacceptable.

          The question is did it materially change the bottom line and how much of the budget was spent finding that one cent?

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          For the amount of money you spent looking for that one cent error how much more could you have done to improve the overall operation of the organization.

          Opportunity costs that result from quixotic quests for perfection are what causes people to hate inefficient organizations.

          Noble intent but poor use of resources in the real world.

          • If you can prevent all of the vote fraud without impacting anyone’s rights, I’m for it.  In your budget analogy, I’m not interested in spending a dollar to save a penny.  In fact, I’m not really interested in spending a penny to save a dollar under that flawed comparison, because the penny is in a stronger currency – civil rights – than the dollar, which is in the currency of civil offenses.

          • I do believe an investment in the machinery of democracy is a Good Thing.  That goes for better voting systems, improving voter access, broadening voter registration and involvement, and improving all aspects of election security.

            Trust in our election system is worth money, and a single case of election fraud – even in an election where it didn’t materially affect the vote – has an impact on our system.  (See this current situation, where six cases of interstate fraud are enough to give justification to a pack of Republicans eager to use them to tear down trust in the current system in order to get what they really want – fewer legally registered Democrats voting in elections.)

            • Gilpin Guy says:

              Investment in machinery of democracy good.

              If you compare the effort of chasing “voter” fraud versus the attention paid to “election” fraud, I would say that election fraud as perpetrated primarily by Republicans is a whole lot more pervasive and insidious than a few people voting twice or under different names.  Jamming phone lines on election day, robo-calling people to vote at the wrong precincts or voter suppression strategies against minorities are the kinds of premeditated actions that can alter the outcome of a close election and deserve a lot more attention then a few individuals voting twice.

              Actually Geissler is going to be in the forefront of instigating election fraud this year and you can bet he wants everyone to look at the birdy of voter fraud while he tries to steal the presidential election for Republicans.  Hopefully the Obama campaign takes “election” fraud as serious as Arapajoke takes “voter” fraud.

    • VanDammerVanDammer says:

      See, it was a consortium of states that together checked the records so don’t you think that results would come out in the same report? Undoubtedly there are NO more. And BTW, this is 14 friggin’ months after the fact so what was shit-for-brains Sherlock Gessler doing in the interim?  

      Come on, voter fraud is his noble cause (fuxsake, he got to fly to D.C. on our dime to give bullshit testimony on fraud) so why did it take so long?  Why so few? Hell I can’t even find this in any KS papers so guess they don’t think it merits any attention & neither does the DoJ. It’s pretty silly shilling for this assinine fool following his grand conspiracy theory. That & your whole bevy of GOP reps and causes makes your lot in life pretty sad. Then again, might be nice being bereft of critical thoughts …  

    • AristotleAristotle says:

      why we should enact draconian, vote-discouraging policies for the sake of preventing EVEN. ONE. BAD. VOTE. (The logical end of your statement is that even one fraudulent vote is unacceptable – am I right in concluding that that’s your opinion?)

      A few fraudulent votes, coming hand in hand with high voter participation, is better than absolute security which discourages votes. You lose far more votes than you protect – which, ironically, magnifies the impact of fraud when it does happen. (And which it probably will, regardless of what Gessler proposes.)

      But, all this is beside the point, isn’t it? This isn’t a problem. Six people voted here and in Kansas, and didn’t statistically affect the outcome in either state. Sounds to me like the system is working, and you know how you shouldn’t fix what ain’t broke, don’t you?

  3. Not that six cases justifies disenfranchising thousands, but I don’t want to overly minimize the significance of a few votes.

    OTOH, the SoS’s office found these six cases of voter fraud without resorting to disenfranchising thousands of voters through oppressively overreaching voter ID restrictions.

    I repeat – Gessler did not need a single additional restriction on voters themselves in order to root out these cases.

    • Ralphie says:

      Voter ID or no Voter ID, the “problem” that Gessler “discovered” can’t be fixed without a national voter registration database and a national pollbook.

      This is not a Voter ID problem.  It’s a problem that exists because we have fifty separate systems in place.

      How would showing an ID in Colorado prevent you from voting in Kansas?

      • BlueCat says:

        has nothing to do with protecting the democratic process from fraud.  

      • Gessler obviously did find the problem without either a statewide photo voter ID or a national system – and if it can be found, it can be fixed (in this case retroactively, but it could be more proactive).  A national registration database would make the cross-checking more simple, but the Federal government seems loathe to get involved with interstate governmental data sharing (see: violations, traffic).  In this case, we have states voluntarily co-operating with each other to effect a similar solution.

        But you’re right – neither the ID system nor not mailing ballots to “inactive” voters would have solved this problem.

        • gertie97 says:

          would make it a lot harder on the few who seem disposed to vote in more than one place.

          • I’m not generally a fan of mail-in ballots.  They’re inherently less secure than in-person voting, because they reduce the privacy of the “ballot box”.  But they are necessary in some cases – e.g. service members or those with important business out of state.

            However, I am a fan of early voting and increased voter participation.  If I had a choice between eliminating early voting and setting up a national voter registration database to help states weed out these kinds of offenses, then I’d go for the database every day of the week.  And it would probably be more successful than eliminating early voting, too – after all, someone could travel to numerous states on election day if they were really dedicated.  (Someone in the SE of the state could hit up CO, KS, OK, NM, and TX if they tried…)

        • Ralphie says:

          with a one-shot comparison to one other state.

          Our Statewide pollbook prevents people from voting in more than one county, but it would take a national pollbook to keep people from voting in more than one state.

          The proper course of action is for Gessler to quit grandstanding and prosecute those who voted more than once.

          Then if he has the balls to lobby for a national pollbook, more power to him.

          Guaranteed it will cost billions, be built by some Beltway Bandit, and not work worth a shit.

          • And I’m sure he did this just to “show” that his “reforms” are necessary.

            Given that states have exchanged information for years without Federal involvement, I disagree that a national pollbook or national registration system is necessary; maintaining the current state-by-state registration system while implementing interstate data sharing (either with a national database or individually) would be sufficient.

            I’ve always wondered why government IT projects had such cost overruns.  I bet a few of us on this board could put together a system – hardware, database, front end, security audit, data interchange with the states, and administration (e.g. account) setup for the first year – at consulting rates for a few hundred thousand and come out with a decent profit.

            • Ralphie says:

              It would have to work in real time, as the State pollbook does.  The biggest issues there are bandwidth and speed/capacity.

              As a post-election audit tool, it would still have to work in a very short turnaround.  There isn’t much of a time window between the election, canvass, and when the election is certified.

              An after-the-fact system won’t prevent fraud, just uncover it.  And if the election has been certified by the time the fraud is detected, it can’t be undone.

              • RedGreenRedGreen says:

                The voter rolls would just have to be reconciled between states after the registration cut-off deadline before voting.

                Of course, real-time would be ideal, but states could flag voters who appeared to have simultaneous registrations in different states and treat them like provisional ballots until it was determined after the election whether the suspected elector cast ballots in more than one state.

                Honestly, it seems like a lot of expense and trouble to go to in order to keep six voters from voting twice, and opens up all kinds of potential voter-suppression possibilities, like when Florida purged names that bore a slight resemblance to names that weren’t allowed, for one reason or another, onto the rolls. But if the ballots were treated as provisionals, rather than the names being stricken from the rolls, that might satisfy critics.

              • First, I agree that any system would be truly effective only if it prevented the fraud from happening in the first place.

                Bandwidth isn’t really an issue – initial transfer is a pain, but could be done out of band.  Incremental updates won’t put a dent in the bandwidth available to state governments and the Federal IT system.  And, too, if sending an update results in an incremental verification response, capacity isn’t a major issue.  In order to work well, this would have to be centralized at the state level – no county clerks requesting updates.

                It doesn’t need to be in real time to be largely effective, though.  Yes, some states have same-day registration, but others prohibit (wisely, IMHO) online updates of voting equipment during a voting period.  These are mutually exclusive and if I were king I would probably err on the side of security in limiting database updates around an election.  Capacity for such operation is therefore also not a problem.

                However, it might be wise to consider a near real-time “has voted” update from each of the states, as they make it available (e.g. any location here with vote centers has a centralized list of who voted available electronically in real time, perhaps to be collected once per hour to the state level and sent on to the national database…)  This would present a bit of a design challenge, but if each state were to assign a voter ID to a voter, then such a data update would have an acceptable impact.

                The real issue to start is likely to be data interchange – every state has its own system, and some don’t maintain statewide registration info yet.  The number of different data export and import mechanisms are likely to be annoyingly large and uninterested in talking to other systems.

  4. there’s a John Smith who’s fearing a knock on the door?

    “They were pretty much all over the place,” said Rich Coolidge, spokesman for Gessler’s office…

    Like Coolidge said, that fucker seems to be everywhere . . .  

  5. Gray in Mountains says:

    is Kris Kobach. Gessler is a clone of Kobach’s.

    Were these 6 KS residents or CO residents? Were the CO votes or the KS votes fraudlent? Were these voters Mexicans? Were they D? R?

    How much did the 6 increase total turnout?

    Wouldn’t Gessler rather just get laid?

    • WestDem says:

      half and half

      both CO and KS fraudulent, by definition

      doubtful

      1/3 each D, U and R

      completely non-measurable

      probably not, unless he has a mistress

      Ok, admittedly this is a bored at work response.  But this whole concept of widespread voter fraud is such a farce, so I had to waste a few minutes reading the comments.

      I can’t help but think that if a Dem was pushing this, Repugs like my idiot rep Lamebrain would be decrying waste by the big government.

      If I had to guess, at least 5 of the 6 cases are accidental, i.e, someone moved after getting and sending a mail ballot, or something similarily lame.  Tammany Hall, this ain’t.

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