There is a reason that most countries don’t allow mail-in voting. Here are a few countries that have done away with it.
Finland has recently introduced mail-in voting but only for Fins living abroad.
France had absentee voting until around 1970, but abolished it b/c of vote-rigging.
Italy has had absentee balloting since 2001 for Italians living abroad.
Mexico ended absentee ballots in 1991 because of widespread vote fraud problems. In 2006, Mexico again allowed absentee ballots for those living outside of the country.
Russia – Russian voters have to go to the local polling stations. In order to vote you must be a Russian citizen, provide a passport and be at least 18 years old. Once they check your passport, you receive a ballot.
UK “apart from service voters and electors resident abroad, the right to apply for an absent vote for an indefinite period should, in general, be confined to those who are unable or likely to be unable to vote in person on polling day (or to vote unaided) through blindness or another physical incapacity.”
There are problems with both vote buying and vote fraud. Vote buying cases are particularly difficult to show because both the buyer and the seller have an incentive to hide the transaction. But here is an example of a conviction from 2019.
. . . From October 2013 through November 2013, Raia instructed Dio Braxton, Matt Calicchio, Lizaida Camis, and other conspirators who worked for his campaign, to pay certain Hoboken voters $50 if those voters applied for and cast mail-in ballots in the November 2013 Hoboken municipal election. The conspirators provided these voters with VBM Applications and then delivered or mailed the completed VBM Applications to the Hudson County Clerk’s office.
After the mail-in ballots were delivered to the voters, at Raia’s direction, the conspirators went to the voters’ residences and instructed them to vote for Raia and in favor of a ballot referendum that Raia supported that would have loosened rent control restrictions in Hoboken. The conspirators promised the voters that they would be paid $50 for casting their mail-in ballots and told them that they could pick up their checks after the election at Raia’s office in Hoboken. Raia and his workers, including Braxton, Calicchio, Camis, and others, checked the ballots to ensure that voters had voted the way that they had instructed them to vote. Raia and his workers also had the voters sign declarations falsely stating that they had been paid in exchange for working on the campaign, when in fact the voters had been paid for their vote. After the election, the voters received $50 checks from a political consulting firm that was paid by Raia’s political action committee. Those $50 checks were never disclosed on Raia’s publicly filed political action committee election reports.
Braxton and Camis previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. Braxton is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 10, 2019, and Camis’ sentencing date has yet to be scheduled. Calicchio previously pleaded guilty to violating the federal Travel Act and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 12, 2019. . . .US Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey, “Former Hoboken City Council Candidate Convicted of Conspiring to Use Mail to Promote Voter Bribery Scheme,” Department of Justice, June 25, 2019.
Here are more recent examples from Texas.
A jury found Constable Tyron Davis guilty of six counts of voter fraud for illegally harvesting mail ballot applications at a Waxahachie nursing home while a candidate in the May 2016 Democrat primary runoff.
Davis filled out mail ballot applications for as many as 18 senior citizens, but failed to sign the forms as an “assistant” as required by Texas Election Code. At least one of the voters he assisted suffered from Alzheimer’s.Erin Anderson, “Democrat Constable Convicted of Voter Fraud in Ellis County,” Texas Scorecard, June 21, 2017
Miguel Hernandez of Dallas was charged Friday with illegal voting, a third-degree felony, for allegedly taking a voter’s blank mail ballot, filling it out and forging her signature on it, then submitting the ballot. If convicted, Hernandez faces two to 10 years in prison.
The voter said Hernandez identified himself as Jose Rodriguez. That name was on dozens of suspicious mail ballots as an “assistant.” Prosecutors now believe it’s fake.
Similar illegal ballot harvesting activity was reported by an “off the charts” number of elderly voters in West Dallas and Grand Prairie leading up to the May 6 local elections, prompting the Dallas County District Attorney’s office to open a criminal investigation.Erin Anderson, “First Arrest Warrant Issued in Dallas Voter Fraud Case,” Texas Scorecard, June 5, 2017
In South Texas, a former U.S. Postal Service employee was convicted of bribery in a federal prosecution in 2017 for selling a list of absentee voters to vote harvesters for $1,200.Ken Paxton, “Texas AG Ken Paxton: Trump is right and Twitter ‘fact check’ is wrong – mail-in ballot fraud is a real problem,” Fox News, May 27, 2020.
Gilberto Hinojosa, Texas’ Democratic Party chairman, said Republicans “turn a blind eye” toward election fraud by mail-in ballots, which is more prevalent in the state.
Elderly voters like Esteban Martinez, 78, were called to court to testify. His ballot was filled out and mailed by Lopez’s opponent, Guadalupe “Lupe” Rivera. Martinez told News21 he chose to vote for Rivera after the candidate promised to fix the alley behind Rivera’s home. “A lot of my friends here, they sell their vote for a 24 or 12 (pack),” he said. “They don’t care. They just get the beer.”
Martinez told investigators that Rivera assisted him in filling out the ballot, but he did not see how other candidates were marked. As promised, a load of “caliche,” or gravel, was dumped in his alley after he voted. Three years later, potholes are starting to form.
Letty Lopez finally took over as city commissioner after she defeated Rivera in a special election in November 2015. Rivera was later charged with 16 election violations and pleaded guilty to one charge of unlawful assistance to a voter in July.Nicole Cobler, “Texas Prosecuted 15 Illegal Voting Cases,” The Texas Tribune, August 22, 2016.
There is another case for Harris County, Texas that is currently being investigated.
“people with prior forgery convictions picked up large batches of ballot by mail applications for local campaigns and a number of voted ballots were marked identically,” said SOS Director of Elections Keith Ingram when he referred the matter to OAG earlier this month.
A video first made public by watchdog group Direct Action Texas, showing what appeared to be illegal mail-ballot harvesting in Harris County’s 2018 Democrat primary, prompted Vera’s research.
The video shows a woman identifying herself as a campaign worker for State Rep. Harold Dutton (D–Houston) and telling an elderly voter how to fill out her ballot, adding “we’ve done over 400 already.”Erin Anderson, “Texas AG Launches Mail-Ballot Voter Fraud Probe in Harris County,” Texas Scorecard, May 22, 2020.
South Texas political worker Zaida Bueno explains in the video below the process of Mail-in ballot harvesting.
Real Clear Investigations notes:
Harvesters are generally paid by the ballot or by the application. Bueno said she made $1 per application. State records show she earned $1,525 in the three months leading up to the 2008 Democratic primary as a canvasser for Armando Barrera, who upset the incumbent in the primary by 350 votes and eventually became district attorney.“True Confessions of Texas Vote Harvesters,” Real Clear Investigations,
Examples of successful prosecutions for vote fraud are available here, here, and here. Here are some cases of people receiving mail-in ballots for non-existent people, and they haven’t resulted in prosecutions.
The [Public Interest Legal Foundation] is currently suing Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, for allowing the same person to register to vote seven times. “It’s the exact same name, the exact same date of birth,” [J. Christian Adams] said, as well as the same address. But the city and state won’t remove the extra registrations. “In a vote by mail scheme, they’ll mail seven ballots,” he said.Margaret Menge, “Mail-In ballots make voter fraud easy. I know because I did it,” Sun Sentinel, April 16, 2020
In 2011, when I was living in Palm Beach County, Florida, I decided to test the system, and so I asked for three voter registration applications. I filled them out, listing three different names — two that I pulled out of my head Rebecca Bugle and Hannah Arendt — and my own name, Margaret Menge. . . . A few weeks later I got two notices back, saying applications for Rebecca Bugle and Margaret Menge could not be processed because a driver’s license number or Social Security number was not provided. But I also received in my mailbox a new voter information card for Hannah Arendt. . . .A few days later, I checked the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections website and sure enough, there was Hannah Arendt, listed as an eligible voter — a person who existed in history, the celebrated author of “Eichmann in Jerusalem” — but not a person who was in existence in 2011 in Palm Beach County, Florida.Margaret Menge, “Mail-In ballots make voter fraud easy. I know because I did it,” Sun Sentinel, April 16, 2020
An interesting case from Mississippi.
When we were at the Justice Department, we were involved in a case of systemic vote-by-mail fraud in Noxubee County, Mississippi. A federal court found that mail ballot fraud was very real, part of an organized scheme to disenfranchise voters.
It worked like this. The harvesters snatched mail ballots from the mailboxes of people they knew. They would then knock on their doors, ballots in hand, offering to “help” them vote. The harvesters would then fill in the ballots for their candidates, regardless of what the intended voters had told them.
The court ruling contains tragic testimony from one victim, Susan Wood. When asked why she allowed a harvester to fill out her ballot, Ms. Wood answered that the harvester “knows folks” better than she did—a classic case of trust betrayed.Hans A. von Spakovsky and J. Christian Adams,, “Integrity Vote-by-Mail Makes Fraud and Errors Worse,” Heritage Foundation, April 2, 2020.
A copy of Susan Wood’s Ballot Harvesting Transcript is available here.
There are bizarre instances in which the number of mail-in ballots delivered to a residence was larger than the number of actual residents. In 2016, 83 registered voters in San Pedro, Calif., received absentee ballots at the same small, two-bedroom apartment. In another case in that same city, 87 mail-in ballots went to another residence.
A month after California’s March 3, 2020, primary election, even Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla confirmed that at least a dozen people had both received two mail-in ballots in their name and voted in the March 3, 2020 election. The Election Integrity Project, California has discovered another 75 cases of suspected double voting. With the all mail-in voting expected in the November 2020 California election, the Election Integrity Project found that about 458,000 California registrants who have likely died or moved will be mailed ballots, since while they have died or moved, they remain classified as “active” voters. While it is possible for dead people to vote via mail-in ballots, but they can’t do in-person voting when Voter IDs are required.
CBS Channel 2 in Los Angeles found 265 dead people who had supposedly voted year-after-year after their deaths using mail-in ballots.
Mail-in ballots raise problems just because they are not secure. Just this year, at an apartment building in Paterson, New Jersey, “a stack of ballots [was left] sitting on top of the mailbox because these are people that have moved away.” Others could have simply taken these ballots and voted with them. Indeed, Patterson appears to be a hotbed of attempted fraud. This only seems to have been uncovered by the sloppiness of how those committing the fraud mailed in the ballots, though this case also illustrates how hard it is to determine who committed the fraud. Just because the perpetrator was dumb enough to lump all the ballots together and a mailman was observant enough to realize that something was wrong, how does one determine who committed this crime?
In some cases, hundreds of ballots were left in a single mailbox, including one in neighboring Haledon. Those ballots were lumped together, unseparated by any other mail . . .
The third batch of suspicious ballots were collected from two separate mailboxes in Paterson: one was a group of 40 and the other a bundle of 13.
Around 600 ballots are facing challenges, most of them from Paterson’s 3rd Ward, where Councilman William McKoy faces former councilman and mayoral candidate Alex Mendez. . . .David Wildstein, “More suspicious ballots seized in Paterson,” New Jersey Globe, May 12, 2020.
Criminal cases have now been brought against four people in the Paterson case.
Following accusations of widespread fraud, voter intimidation, and ballot theft in the May 12 municipal elections in Paterson, N.J., state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal (pictured) announced Thursday he is charging four men with voter fraud – including the vice president of the City Council and a candidate for that body.
With races still undecided, control of the council hangs in the balance. Paterson is New Jersey’s third largest city and the election will decide the fate of a municipal budget in excess of $300 million, in addition to hundreds of millions more in education spending and state aid.
In the City Council election, 16,747 vote-by-mail ballots were received, but only 13,557 votes were counted. More than 3,190 votes, 19% of the total ballots cast, were disqualified by the board of elections. Due to the pandemic, Paterson’s election was done through vote-by-mail. Community organizations, such as the city’s NAACP chapter, are calling for the entire election to be invalidated. . . .Mark Hemingway, “1 in 5 Ballots Rejected as Fraud Is Charged in N.J. Mail-In Election,” Real Clear Politics, June 26, 2020.
Another case of fraud involving mail-in ballots was discovered this year in West Virginia. This raises the possibility that mail carriers could collect mail-in ballots before they were voted with and then use those ballots to cast votes.
Cooper, age 47, of Dry Fork, West Virginia, is charged with “Attempt to Defraud the Residents of West Virginia of a Fair Election.” According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, Cooper held a U.S. Postal Service contract to deliver mail in Pendleton County. In April 2020, the Clerk of Pendleton County received “2020 Primary Election COVID-19 Mail-In Absentee Request” forms from eight voters on which the voter’s party-ballot request appeared to have been altered.
The clerk reported the finding to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office, which began an investigation. The investigation found five ballot requests that had been altered from “Democrat” to “Republican.” On three other requests, the party wasn’t changed, but the request had been altered.
Cooper was responsible for the mail delivery of the three towns from which the tampered requests were mailed: Onego, Riverton, and Franklin, West Virginia. According to the affidavit, Cooper admitted to altering some of the requests, saying it was a joke. . . .US Attorney’s Office, Northern District of West Virginia, “Pendleton County mail carrier charged with attempted election fraud,” Department of Justice, May 26, 2020.
In Nevada in May 2020, “thousands of ballots are being sent to inactive voters.”
The excess ballots have drawn complaints from local residents, who worry that anyone could pick up a ballot off the street and cast a fraudulent vote, as well as from Republican Party officials in the state who see a nefarious motive behind the vote-by-mail system being employed by the Democrat-dominated Clark County Commission.
“What’s going to happen with these things, they’re not secured at all and there are thousands of them just sitting here,” Jenny Trobiani, a postal worker in Clark County who told Fox News that she has seen hundreds of ballots being mailed to inactive voters.
“This just seems fraudulent to me, something stinks here,” she added.Andrew O’Reilly, “Nevada’s vote-by-mail primary stirs fraud concerns, as unclaimed ballots pile up: ‘Something stinks here’,” Fox News, May 15, 2020.
And how exactly are people going to detect and stop vote buying where both parties have an incentive to hide the transaction? Here is a recent case from Los Angeles.
Four men have admitted to paying homeless people cash and cigarettes in exchange for forged signatures on ballot petitions and voter registration forms in Los Angeles’ Skid Row neighborhood.
Richard Howard, Louis Thomas Wise, Christopher Joseph Williams and Nickey Demelvin were arrested in November 2018 for their participation in the voter fraud scheme during the election that year and in 2016.
The LA County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday announced that Howard, 64, and Wise, 37, pleaded no contest to one felony count each of registration of a fictitious person and subscribing a fictitious name or the name of another to an initiative petition.Megan Sheets, “Four men have admitted to paying homeless people cash and cigarettes in exchange for forged signatures on ballot petitions and voter registration forms in Los Angeles.,” Daily Mail (UK), July 30, 2020.
Trump writes: “The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one.” But there are lots of anecdotal examples that the ballots might not just be going to people living in the state.
The Cal Tech/MIT Voting Technology Project has noted that mail-in voting to be more susceptible to fraud and irregularities than in-person voting.
The Carter-Baker 2005 report on “Building Confidence in U.S. Elections” provides examples of such fraud, such as the “notorious” case of the 1998 Miami mayoral election that resulted in 36 arrests for massive absentee ballot fraud. The election had to be re-run, and the result was reversed.
Another famous example was a 1994 Pennsylvania race that gave Democrats control of the state Senate. Democratic candidate William Stinson’s staff forged the names on absentee ballots of people at nursing homes as well as people who were living in Puerto Rico or serving time in prison. The federal judge overseeing the case found that “Substantial evidence was presented establishing massive absentee ballot fraud,” and he awarded the seat and control of the state Senate to Republicans.
In 2017, a voter fraud investigation of a Dallas City Council election found 671 fraudulent mail-in ballots all signed by the same witness using a fake name. The discovery temporarily left two city council races “in limbo” and was much larger than the vote difference in one of those races. The case resulted in a criminal conviction.Nor are these cases just involving fraud by Democrats.
In a 2018 North Carolina Congressional race, the Republican Mark Harris edged out Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes. But fortunately, due to a history of absentee vote fraud, the state has relatively complete absentee ballot records. Election officials became suspicious when they discovered that the Republican received 61% of the mail-in votes despite registered Republicans accounting for only 16% of those requesting ballots. The Republican consultant involved in this case was charged with similar frauds in both the 2016 and 2018 elections.
Here is a 2012 analysis of large numbers of people being registered to vote at the same Houston addresses.
They took the first 3,800 registrations of the flagged 19,596 homes with six or more registrants and began to investigate further. The group visited addresses and scoured property tax records. The group found many of the addresses were vacant lots or business addresses. Thirty-nine were registered at businesses and 97 of the addresses were nonexistent. One hundred six of the registrations revealed the same registrant registered more than once, and 207 of the addresses turned out to be vacant lots. Meanwhile, 595 registrations had registrants with driver’s license addresses not matching the registration, and many were voting in a district they did not live in.
Elisabeth Meinecke, “Possible Voter Fraud Lights Up Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s District,” Townhall, March 12, 2012
In March 16, 2018, a classic example of illegal mail ballot harvesting was caught in the video at the top of the page. The video shows a campaign worker for State Rep. Harold Dutton (D–Houston) harvesting a voter’s mail ballot in the March Democrat primary.