KNIGHT: Vote fraud as ‘payback time’

Ballot abuse strikes at the heart of self-government

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Melowese Richardson is the poster girl for vote fraud.

The Ohio poll worker was sentenced last July to five years in prison after being convicted of voting twice in the 2012 election and voting three times — in 2008, 2011 and 2012 — in the name of her sister, in a coma since 2003, according to USA Today.

This might be below Chicago graveyard standards, but it’s still impressive. Ms. Richardson has become a heroine to the left, which is working with its legal arm — the U.S. Justice Department — to kill voter photo-ID laws in order to ensure that creative voting continues.

“Richardson was previously convicted of threatening to kill a witness in a criminal case against her brother; of stealing; of drunken driving; and of beating someone in a bar fight,” The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. When sentenced for vote fraud, she was unbowed, claiming to be a victim of racism.

Assistant prosecutor Bill Anderson, however, saw it differently: “[She] is an ideologue who was hell-bent on stuffing the ballot box with as many Obama votes as possible.”

So, you have a problem with that? The Rev. Al Sharpton doesn’t. He and Ohio Democrats hailed Ms. Richardson at a March 20 rally in Cincinnati following her release after serving eight months of her five-year term for voter fraud.

“There is a growing toxic movement in some corners of the country that are perfectly willing to accept criminal acts in the election and furtherance of a broader progressive agenda,” former Justice Department Voting Section attorney J. Christian Adams said during a March 25 interview on “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“There is this corrupt attitude that is beginning to gain total acceptance in some corners of government and academia, that accepts criminality in American elections in the name of payback time.”

Mr. Adams was among Justice Department staff during the Bush administration who investigated vote fraud and intimidation in Mississippi, where the white power structure oppressed black citizens for decades, followed by corrupt, racist black political machines.

In his book “Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department,” Mr. Adams recalls Democratic operatives in Noxubee County who “visited black voters who had requested absentee ballots on the day the ballot arrived in the mail. Sometimes the operatives snatched the ballot out of the mailbox before the voter knew it arrived. Other times, ballots were sent to black residents who hadn’t even requested them .” At the polls, “assistors” hounded people, telling them how to vote.

Last fall, Mr. Adams and his former Voting Section boss, Christopher Coates, won two consent decrees on behalf of the American Civil Rights Union from two Mississippi counties — Walthall and Jefferson Davis — in the first privately filed lawsuits under the National Voter Registration Act. The counties, which have more registered voters than eligible residents, agreed to clean up their rolls. The American Civil Rights Union has since filed similar suits in two Texas counties — Terrell and Zavala.

Back in Ohio, along with Ms. Richardson, the vote-fraud dragnet snagged a nun, Sister Marguerite Kloos, 55, of Delhi Township. A dean at the College of Mount Saint Joseph, she lost her job and was placed on probation, according to USA Today. There was also Russell Glassop, 76, of Symmes Township, who got probation for sending in his deceased wife’s absentee ballot in 2012.

A new report from Heritage Foundation scholars Hans von Spakovsky and Peter McGinley provides more recent examples of vote fraud:

An NBC station in Fort Myers, Fla., aired a report about many noncitizens it caught voting illegally.

California Democratic state Sen. Roderick Wright was convicted of eight felony counts of voter fraud and perjury for acts committed in five different elections.

A criminal investigation in Iowa turned up 80 cases of potential voter fraud. Many recent legislative races in Iowa were decided by fewer than 100 votes, including 10 decided by fewer than 50 votes.

A similar report by a Philadelphia city commissioner in 2012 chronicled multiple instances of voter fraud through impersonation, double voting and voting by noncitizens.

To all of this, the left’s election think tank, the George Soros-funded Brennan Center at New York University, has a uniform answer: There are so few prosecuted cases of vote fraud out of millions of ballots cast that it makes no difference.

That’s like saying “there’s nothing to see here” if a home in a 1,000-unit residential development is burglarized. “After all, 99.9 percent of the homes were not robbed.” Every fraudulent vote steals a legitimately cast ballot.

A recent Rasmussen poll of “likely U.S. voters” shows that 78 percent favor voter-ID laws that include proof of U.S. citizenship, with only 19 percent opposing that requirement. Other polls show broad support for voter photo-ID requirements, regardless of race or party.

When someone like poll worker Melowese Richardson is feted after being convicted of fraud, it strikes at the heart of election integrity — and self-government.

She’ll probably turn up next in Chicago, where she could go beyond poll work and get herself elected to something or other.

Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.

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