Voter fraud, also called electoral fraud, refers to the illegal intervention with the process of an election. This kind of fraud is aimed at affecting the vote counts either to increase the vote share of the favored candidate or to depress the vote share of the rival candidate. Either way, voter fraud is carried out to tip the scales in favor of those orchestrating or committing the fraud.
The United States, like other countries, has not remained untouched by voter fraud and the history of the United States has witnessed plenty of voter fraud. Back in the year 1758, George Washington won his seat in the Virginia House of Burgesses by spending almost 40 pounds on booze for his neighbors. Mind you, 40 pounds was a fortune at that time. And this tradition of voter fraud still exists in the United States. It goes much beyond buying booze for neighbors and you will find many different types of it in the United States. Read on to find out what they are.
Knowingly Voting In The Wrong District – Voter Registration Fraud
According to Answers.USA.gov:
“Voter registration fraud occurs when people register to vote in an area that they are not eligible to vote in, or register when they know they are not eligible to vote. Examples include: a person under the age of 18 attempting to register; a person registering under a false name; a person registering who is not a U.S. citizen; a person registering in an area where he/she does not hold a place of residence; or a person registering in multiple voting districts.”
There have been several high profile instances of this recently – and there are likely many more “everyday occurences” of this felony offense that go unreported. However, many states have implemented their own initiatives to allow citizens to help stop voter fraud.
Reporting Voter Fraud & Potential Consequences Of Voter Registration Fraud (And Other Types Of Voter Fraud)…
Again, according to Answers.USA.gov:
“State and local election officials have the responsibility of administrating elections. The first step a person should take to report voter fraud or voter registration fraud is to contact their state election office.
Federal authorities may become involved in election fraud matters when a state prosecutor asks for federal assistance. In cases where intimidation, coercion or threats are made, or attempts to intimidate, threaten or coerce are made to any person for voting or attempting to vote, federal civil voting rights claims may be brought by the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division within the Department of Justice (DOJ).
If you have information about voter fraud and/or voter registration fraud, you may also contact the nearest office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), local U.S. Attorney’s office, or the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division within the DOJ.”
Ballot stuffing is the most common type of voter fraud in the U.S.A. This involves a person casting more votes than he is entitled to, thus “stuffing” the ballot box. In other words, the voter drops multiple ballot papers in the ballot box. Some people also cast multiple votes in multiple booths claiming that it is their only vote. Measures like marking the fingers of the voters with election ink have been taken to prevent multiple voting but this issue is far from over as the ink is easily removable. Sometimes, the fraudsters, in attempts to make their fraud inconspicuous, impersonate an absentee, a deceased person or register themselves as someone entirely fictitious. On the other hand, some fraudsters just don’t care about hiding their fraudulent activities and capture a polling place forcing the people to vote in favor of a particular candidate or vote on behalf of them.
Money might not be able to buy sleep or happiness, but it sure can buy votes. In vote purchasing, voters are given money or other rewards for voting for a particular candidate or not voting at all. This can also be done indirectly by paying a person of high influence to ask his subordinates to vote in a particular way.
When all else fails (including buying votes), the criminals resort to intimidating the voters. Violence or the threat of violence is the most common one. Voters who are bound to vote for a candidate from a particular party are threatened by supporters of a rival party not to vote. Bomb threats, vandalism and destruction at polling place are other ways in which the criminals get the election results in their favor. You might also be surprised to know that voters are given legal threats to make them vote in a certain way or not to vote at all. This includes making the voters believe, by real or implied authority figures, that they are not legally entitled to vote. It can also be the other way round. Voters are made to believe that they are obliged to vote for a certain candidate. The fraudsters also give economic threats to the voters to get desired results in the elections. If the voter is found not to have voted in the way as instructed, he is fired from his job and has to face troublesome consequences.
Other Forms Of Voter Fraud
Other forms of voter frauds include misinformation, misrecording of votes, misleading or confusing information, destruction of ballots, and misuse of proxy votes. These scandalous frauds are the highest when elections draw nearer. The reason why we have not been able to find solutions to voter fraud is because we have not been able to define what voter fraud actually entails.