So I hear about “ineligible voters” from Donald Trump and others, where they talk about how them illegal Messicans is gonna waltz into a gubmint office, sign a statement that (in Spanish) says they’ll go to jail if they vote and they’re not an American citizen (yep, the forms are bilingual in most states), and then will illegally go into a gubmint building sometime later and vote. This is usually on the same timeframe that they talk about how voter registration forms for Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny got turned in at the registrar of voters.
Thing is, this isn’t how vote fraud is done. It really isn’t. I’m from Louisiana, and we wrote the book on election fraud. So let me tell you how it’s done. (Remember, we call counties “parishes” in Louisiana, been calling them that since before the United States existed):
1) One-armed bandits. These are the old mechanical clunk-clunk machines that we used to count votes, rather than ballot boxes. I once watched people rig one of these machines to drop votes for the candidate that they wanted to lose, by filing teeth off of a gear deep in the innards of the machine so it’d skip counting votes for that candidate every so often. The one armed bandits are now gone, but they’ve been replaced by electronic versions that are even easier to rig in a centralized manner. This is done by bribing the parish elections commissioner to look the other way as you mess with the machine, or, in the case of the new electronic machines, by just hacking the machines with a last-minute “software update” that does much the same as the one-armed bandit hack. Most of the machines are just running Windows with a touch screen GUI voting program written in Visual BASIC running on top of Windows, so they’re really easy to hack. And most of the parish elections commissioners and their staff are elderly women who aren’t familiar or comfortable with technology, so it’s really easy to drop in dressed as the dude from the voting machine company and tell’em that you need to validate the machines before the election — and drop in your hack. Social engineering for the win (or lose)!
2) Voting the nursing home. Politicians court the parish sheriff, and pay him bribe money to pass on to the nursing home directors. The nursing home directors enlist their entire rosters as absentee voters — including those in final stage dementia (they’re preferred, actually, because they won’t register to vote themselves). When the absentee ballots arrive at the nursing homes, the nursing home directors fill them out as directed by the Sheriff, then the Sheriff’s man comes around and inspects them, makes sure they’re voted “right”, seals them, and forks over the per-vote bribe money. Thus the first job of any politician running for statewide office in Louisiana is to get the support of the parish sheriffs. John Bel Edwards, the current Democratic Governor of Louisiana, is the son of a sheriff, which is one way he got a leg up in his own race for governor — by using his father’s connections with other sheriffs.
3) Outright voter intimidation. This isn’t so popular anymore, but prior to Federal supervision of Louisiana elections caused by blatant violations of black people’s civil rights, it happened all the time. In most parishes of Louisiana the difference between the Sheriff’s Department and the KKK was whether it was day or night, day they wore their Sheriff’s uniforms, night they wore their bedsheets. Posting deputies at precincts where you wanted to suppress the black vote, and arresting black voters who showed up on bogus “warrants” if they tried to brush by the deputies and go inside to vote, was A Thing. Most black voters took a look at the KKKlansmen posted outside the polling place and turned around and went home, not wanting a stay in the parish jail.
4) Cuts in voting hours, mysterious “voting machine breakdowns”, etc. in precincts where your opponent draws most of his support. If you can make voters wait for hours in line to vote, most of them will give up and go home before voting. This depresses your opponent’s vote.
This is how you steal elections. This is how we did it in Louisiana, this is how it was done in Chicago back in the day. You don’t do it by registering Daffy Duck, because Daffy Duck’s voter registration card would get returned as “addressee unknown” and he’d be struck from the rolls. You aren’t going to do it by hiring tens of thousands of people to show up and impersonate dead or moved voters — how are you going to recruit tens of thousands of people without tipping your hand that you’re doing something ridiculously illegal? Have you ever even *tried* hiring that many people within a few weeks’ time while keeping it secret? That’s insane!
No, you’re not going to do it that way. You’re going to do it by methods that require the involvement of relatively few people, but which can amount to tens of thousands of votes. Specifically, you’re going to do it by ways that suppress the vote for your opponent (rigging the machines, intimidation / cuts in hours / etc. at polling places in precincts that support your opponent) and by voting the nursing homes (absentee ballot fraud) to inflate your own vote. You’re not going to do bullshit like registering illegals and trotting thousands of people past polling places doing voter impersonation. It’s too damned easy to get caught that way, because how the fuck can you keep something secret if thousands of people (as versus dozens of people) know about it? And if you don’t keep it secret, you go to jail. Crap, I don’t know any politician who wants to be elected enough that he’d take this almost 100% chance of exchanging his suit and power tie for prison stripes!
So why are Republicans so fixated on the vote fixing methods that *won’t* work? Well, it’s because they get to do #3 (and to a certain extent #4) in a different way if they float this bullshit about “voter impersonation” and “illegals voting”. In short, Republicans have invented this “voter impersonation” and “registration fraud” bullshit in order to rig votes the good ole’ fashioned Louisiana way — by depressing the vote of opponents to their rule via intimidation and via striking people off the voting rolls who’ve been voting since before I was born half a century ago.
Next time a Republican talks to you about voter impersonation, ask them how tens of thousands of people are going to be hired *secretly* within a few weeks time and how are the Democrats going to keep every single one of those tens of thousands of people from talking. Ask them how they would hire these tens of thousands of people and keep them from talking, because if they talk, the person who hired them goes to jail. If you get a coherent answer from them, I’ll be amazed. Probably what you’ll get is some bizarre conspiracy theory involving ACORN, the Illuminati, New Black Panthers, and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (usually abbreviated “George Soros” by this ilk). Because some vast improbable conspiracy is the only way that you could so something like that — and the chances of such a vast improbable conspiracy occurring undetected under the eyes of the Republican-dominated law enforcement agencies of this country? Really?!
– Badtux the Exasperated Penguin