Voter fraud under reported

Leah Ulatowski, Copy Editor

Voter fraud is a concept that major media outlets have long attempted to write off as a myth; it is one of the ultimate American taboos, a subject generally not addressed unless to counteract it. Nonetheless, evidence suggests that the media has taken it upon themselves to shield Americans from the existence of voter fraud, but isn’t it the citizens’ right to know?

The New York Times and Rolling Stone are among the media empires that have recently featured editorials claiming that fraud does not exist. After all, the nation is respected for its democratic processes and the concept of voter fraud has the potential to undermine one of the foundations on which America was built, as well as the fairness by which its administrations are elected. In any case, elections are not immune to human flaws, especially as the political divide grows starker.

A consequence of that divide is increasing cases of voter intimidation, which have been largely overlooked by the media. Wisconsin State Senator Neal Kedzie’s son was attacked and hospitalized due to asking a group of young men to refrain from tearing the Romney/Ryan signs on his property. The incident was almost entirely ignored on the national media level.

In addition, Black Panther Party (an American socialist group) members were stationed outside of Philadelphia polling places during the 2008 and 2012 elections. While the men haven’t initiated violence, that isn’t to say the unusualness of their tradition does not potentially turn away voters.

Interestingly, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Gov. Mitt Romney received zero votes in 59 of the state’s precincts, as well as zero in 37 of Chicago precincts. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections revealed that Romney also received zero votes in at least nine Ohio precincts, regardless of receiving 48 percent of the state’s votes overall.

President Barack Obama managed to achieve more than 99 percent of the vote in at least 100 precincts of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. A few counties in the country had more registered voters than adult citizens. Gilpin County, Colorado, which the U.S. Census states has at most 4,494 inhabitants of voting age, managed a 110 percent voter registration, suggesting an excess of over 500 votes.

Another peculiar result was the sudden 4,000-vote swing in the span of an hour that cost U.S. Rep. Allen West his congressional seat in Florida as opponent Patrick Murphy won by 1,000-2,000 votes. The unusual numbers were largely ignored by news outlets.

Election Day 2012 was filled with alleged illegalities. Fox News reported the displaying of political propaganda, including an Obama mural, at several Philadelphia polls. Nation-wide voting machines switched votes for one candidate to the other. GOP poll watchers were allegedly intimidated off the premises, the Michigan GOP sharing that a Detroit voter threatened one with a concealed weapon unless he obliged to leave.

There were also alleged reports of buses with out-of-state license plates showing up to the polls and several accounts of poll watcher prodding. The Election Protection Coalition received 70,000 voter complaints on Election Day.

In addition, The Military Voter Protection Project estimates military and overseas ballots have dropped by at least 70 percent since 2008, perhaps in part due to the Move Act, which installed voting guidelines demanding ballots be completed 45 days before the election with no room for extensions. The Act was to include the installation of voting assistance offices at most bases, but the Department of Defense general inspector’s office found that not all necessary offices have been established.

While the media fails to report on many incidents, a story that received widespread coverage by outlets like MSNBC and The Huffington Post featured a Nevada Republican woman committing voter fraud to “test the system.” It was a safe story in that the vote went toward the losing side and the woman was promptly arrested. The coverage only serves to undermine fraud as it insinuates it was the only case in the entirety of the election.

As the saying goes, the first step to solving a problem is acknowledging it. The Judicial View states that a 1981 lawsuit processed by the Democratic National Committee against its Republican counterpart resulted in the Consent Decree, which as of now restricts the RNC’s ability to engage in fraud prevention. Americans have the right to know what is happening in their country and it is the media’s responsibility to provide them with information; only then can Americans make up their minds concerning election fraud and whether or not steps should be taken to prevent it.