Fulton GOP Chair Questions Fulton Board Of Elections Over Voter Fraud Concerns; Questions To GOP Secretary Of State Brian Kemp Strangely Absent

So, we’re having  an election with voting currently under way.  The following concerns were just passed along from Fulton County Republican Party Chairman Roger Bonds via email, and are addressed to the Fulton County Department of Registration And Elections board members:

FCDRE Board Members: On behalf of the Fulton County Republican Party, I would like to express our major concerns regarding the upcoming November 6, 2012, Election.

  1. We believe there is ample opportunity for voter fraud now and in the future. The voter lists that are now being utilized must be accurate. Inaccuracies are not acceptable.
  1. There must be a system in place to check the application signatures of 100% of those voting via the Absentee Ballot system.
  1. We understand at your last BOC meeting, Sharon Mitchell, the Interim Registrations and Elections Director, stated that there are 635,000 registered voters in Fulton County, and the staff believes it will total around 650,000 when the new registrations are processed. Checking with the GIS department, there are approximately 700,000 residents in Fulton County who are 18 and over, and eligible to vote. It seems impossible that we could have over 90% of our residents as registered voters.

We trust the Board will ensure that these and related concerns are addressed to hold a fair election. Sincerely, Roger G. Bonds Chairman

Now, the Fulton County Board of Elections should certainly be allowed to answer for any concerns.  Ultimately, it is the constitutional responsibility of the Secretary of State to answer for the security of Georgia’s ballot.  Where is he on these concerns?  He won’t say.

I personally emailed his office 4 times prior to the primary in July asking about a known problem with voters who are registered at addresses that haven’t existed for years.  His spokesperson refused comment, citing an “active investigation.”  The investigation has been offically opened since December 29th of 2011.  A request for an update this week went unanswered.

That same email asked whether any concerns were raised by a news package from WXIA/11Alive which aired the weekend of October 14th, showing a voter registration drive despite the deadline for the November election being October 9th.  Given the recent turmoil in the Fulton County Elections office, I asked what precautions have been taken by the SOS to ensure that Fulton is holding fair elections and not allowing voters who registered after October 9th to be eligible to vote for this election, as the news package stated.  Again, No answer.

Senator Vincent Fort has raised questions about a Gun Store allowing those with an “I voted” sticker into a raffle.  Like guns or not, it’s clearly illegal as has been noted by Kemp’s predecsssor when companies such as Starbucks offered similar promotions.  Where was Secretary Kemp on this?  “not available”.

Yes, Fulton County clearly has had problems at the board of elections.  As has Brian Kemp.  Yet despite Fulton County’s Board of Elections being just a couple of blocks from the Secretary of State’s office, the Secretary can’t get them on the phone.

In the mean time, Kemp tweeted this nice infographic today.  I hope that eases your minds.

It’s great that the Fulton GOP has questions regarding how this election is being handled.  But I hope they also realize the State’s constitutional officer that oversees elections is one of their own party.

13 comments

  1. Calypso says:

    I didn’t think there was an issue with voter fraud in Fulton or Dekalb Counties until more than 110% of the total population was registered and/or 105% of the total population actually cast a ballot.

  2. DavidTC says:

    Like guns or not, it’s clearly illegal as has been noted by Kemp’s predecsssor when companies such as Starbucks offered similar promotions.

    It is indeed illegal, but I never understood that law. I don’t understand why it would be illegal to bribe people to vote _period_, just to bribe them to vote in a specific way. (This, of course, presumes that possessing an ‘I voted’ sticker actually proves you voted, when all it really proves is you have that sticker. Actually, even being given the sticker doesn’t prove you ‘voted’ in the sense of actually choosing anyone…perhaps you just put in a null vote.)

    What I _really_ don’t understand why it’s apparently legal for bosses to tell employees how to vote, as long as they do not explicitly threaten their job.

    What the hell sort of logic is that? ‘OMG, Fred got a two dollars worth of coffee, and was able to pay for a raffle, because he voted in any way at all. Tainted, tainted tainted! Frank, OTOH, had his boss send him an email saying he should vote for Person X, or the company might find itself having to make cutbacks…that, apparently, is fine. It’s not like Frank is going to the slightest bit concerned that his boss will start questioning him after he voted and he might have to lie or risk his job, and it might just be easier to vote for that Person X to start with…’

    I can see making both those illegal, or even both those legal, but I cannot, for the life of me, see why a cheap-ass token of gratitude for voting is some sort of horrible thing, but ominous email that can be read as ‘Vote X or else’ (Even if not _intended_, they can be read that way.) are fine.

    I also think it’s somewhat absurd, because there actually is a lower limit for things to be ‘gifts’. A slight discount on coffee, or being _allowed_ to buy a raffle ticket, are not actually ‘consideration’ in the common understanding of the word, and thus those are not really a ‘payment’ anyway! (And if they are, why doesn’t the _sticker_ count as payment? Is only the state allowed to bribe us?)

  3. DavidTC says:

    Incidentally, why the hell is the GOP talking about Fulton’s incompetence _now_? This is _not_ the time to start attempting to purge voters from the rolls.

    Federal law prohibits systematic purges within 90 days, as one of the article says…but I’d be surprise if _any_ purges were allowed less than two week out. That’s not even legally enough time for a round-trip letter!

    Perhaps the GOP should actually start paying attention when, you know, there’s not a damn election two weeks away. You cannot wait until the last minute and then talking about cleaning up the voter rolls.

    Also, I am unsure what sort of ‘fraud’ the GOP is hinting at. Someone’s going to have to explain that to me. Invalid addresses on the voter rolls, and lack of voting by those addresses, do not indicate any sort of fraud, just incompetence at the election office at purging names.

    Purging does not actually stop fraud in the first place, because people who are committing fraud will just, duh, return the letters saying they exist and live where they live. (Which will not be an invalid address to start with.) Purging drops _non-responsive_ voters, and people who are committing fraud are, in fact, responsive.

    • Harry says:

      I assume the main issue is when a party has massive mailings or e-mailings of absentee ballot requests to voters who have voted in their primaries and many of whom are now relocated or deceased. The form requests are filled in and returned by other persons at the receiving address, and absentee ballots are mailed out and thereupon voted by the unauthorized and unidentified persons.

      If dead or moved individuals are not scrubbed from the database, then fairly widespread fraud can occur as happened in 2008 in Philadelphia. It’s actually fairly simple and easy to make these scrubs by simply interfacing the voter rolls with issued death certificates, lists of college graduates, and utility cutoffs in a given area.

      • inlimine says:

        When an absentee request application arrives, the BOE is required to match the signature on it to the voter’s registration card. Also, when an absentee ballot is returned, the BOE is required to match the signature on the yellow envelope with the registration card and absentee application. There is already a procedure to make sure ‘other persons at the receiving address’ do not vote as someone else – but the BOE’s compliance with this rule is critical to avoid absentee voter fraud.

        • Harry says:

          In the case of Fulton, based on statistics it would appear the voter rolls are not being routinely scrubbed of non-existent voters. If this is the case, and given the problems happening with management in that county, it would also seem likely that the follow up procedures on absentee applications which you mentioned are not in place and being enforced. Consequently there is high potential for fraud. Hopefully Kemp will get involved.

      • DavidTC says:

        I assume the main issue is when a party has massive mailings or e-mailings of absentee ballot requests to voters who have voted in their primaries and many of whom are now relocated or deceased. The form requests are filled in and returned by other persons at the receiving address, and absentee ballots are mailed out and thereupon voted by the unauthorized and unidentified persons.

        Yes, I get all that. I was just saying the way that ‘purges’ happen (As opposed to individual removal via death certs and whatnot, which is supposed to happen near-continually.), they are done by sending a bunch of letters out and having people respond. This, obviously, does not stop fraud…if people are willing to forge absentee ballots, they’re willing to forge a response to ‘Are you still there’ letters.

        It is much too late to attempt to do any mass purges anyway, and the apparent failure of Fulton to do _routine_ work cleaning the records is not something that is is possible to fix before the election. If the GOP wishes to complain, the place to do it was any other time.

        Of course, for all I know, they _have_ been. Fulton is just completely screwed up WRT elections. And yeah, like the article points out, this is all the Secretary of State’s responsibility. This is why complete single-party government is not a good idea. Hell, just the _slightest_ possibility that the Democrats might take the Secretaryship would either force Kemp to either do something, or force the Republicans to primary his ass out of office.

        But I still have to take issue with the GOP saying there is amply opportunity for fraud _now_, by which I presume they mean this election, because we are missing an important stat: How many absentee votes are there?

        There’s no possibility of any sort of voter fraud unless those voters are actually voting, which would be noticeable via the higher percentage of absentee ballots. _Is_ there a higher percentage in Fulton?

        To put it another way: I think we should not bring up questions of possible fraud unless we can point at something that can most likely been explained by fraud, whereas too many voters registered is pretty easy to explain via very very very incompetent election officials.

        …of course, they are so incompetent we probably wouldn’t even _notice_ signs of fraud. Like the much mocked 23,300% turnout, although the actual problem there is they had a district marked as having _one_ voter, which seems rather improbable. And then they mysteriously let 233 people vote in it! Both those things are clearly wrong!

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