Stealing Elections How Voter F Paperback – Sep 2004
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About the Author
John Fund is a member of the Wall Street Journal's editorial board and writes the paper's daily "Political Diary." He has written on voter fraud and election irregularities for the last decade in the Wall Street Journal, New Republic, American Spectator and other publications. In the past year, Fund has made over 90 appearances on Fox News, MSNBC, C-Span, and CNBC.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I was hooked from page one, where Fund asserts that "the United States has a haphazard, fraud-prone election system benefiting an emerging Third World country rather than the world's leading democracy." Those are bold words, but in the chapters that follow Fund chronicles a rash of voter scandals from across the country-from Florida to Texas, from Missouri to South Dakota, and from Hawaii and elsewhere. The voting shenanigans pulled by many of the persons chronicled, the lax procedures and lack of serious law enforcement are particularly outrageous--if not downright SCARY.
Very intriguing was Funds reference to the "conflict of visions" concept proposed by Thomas Sowell and how those competing visions of human nature and reality provide the lenses through which competing political forces view the goals of electoral law. Seeing as this book is a compact one, Fund does not delve too deeply into the philosophical, but this reviewer (who is an admirer of "A Conflict of Visions") nonetheless appreciates this insight.
Most of the voter scandals discussed by Fund were perpetrated by Democrats (sometimes carried by Democrats battling other Democrats in local primary elections). However, Fund also points out incidents of voter fraud carried out by persons who are Republicans. Crime, including voter crime, is an equal opportunity offense. One need not be a member of a particular party to appreciate the contents of the book and the arguments presented. It should be noted that this book does not dwell upon courtroom litigation and legal arguments, particularly those involved in the 2000 Presidential election fiasco in Florida. Nor does the book spend an inordinate amount of time on the 2000 Florida mess, in general, although Fund does provide some key insights into what really happened in Florida once the dust settled, and much of it will be news to many. In any event, regardless of what may have taken place in recent times, it is of greater importance that citizens understand the voting process problems we have and the urgent need to address those problems.
Fund discusses some recent election reforms prompted by the Help Americans Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) and poses a number of suggestions near the end of this book. His advice strikes one as imminently sound. The discussion of electronic voting was very informative-showing both its merits and also chronicling some serious technical blunders. (This reviewer leans toward an electronic voting system that provides a printout paper trail.)
An experienced journalist, Fund's book is well-written and is an enjoyable read. It hits readers with first-rate reporting and solid analysis. With election season now upon us, this book is very timely, and comes highly recommended.
Fund opens his book by describing the two types of people who are concerned about threat to the integrity of elections. One group, mostly Demcorats, are primarily concerened with the most people voting as possible, the "Unconstrained" view of Democracy that deempahsizes rules governing registration and voter ID in favor of getting as many people as possible to the polls. The other, "constrained" view, held by Republicans, is that the rule of law in elections must be upheld. This came to a head in two states in particluar in 2000, Florida and Missouri. Florida's problems are well-known, and Fund effectively and convincingly demonstrates that while the largest stories about fraud focused on so-called "disenfranchised" voters, the real problem was outright fraud committed in battlegrounds like Palm Beach Co. He decontructs the myth that 1000's of lower-income and minority votes were surpressed by relying on facts and statistics, not charges that were made only in the media, not the Courts. He also demonstrates that the Media probably crushed turnout in the Florida panhandle, which operates on Central Time, by declaring the polls closed statewide while there was still and hour of voting left in the Panhandle, and then calling Florida for Gore with 12 minutes left before the polls closed in that part of the state.
In Missouri, classic, machine fraud was a problem, with the established state laws governing elections essentialled overruled on a case by case basis by judges sympathetic to Democrats. While George Bush won the state when Senator Kit Bond finally insisted the polls close 3 hours after they were supposed to, Fund demonsrates eerie coincidences that seem to indicated a pattern to defraud the vote by the national Democratic Party.
The other chapters detail the fact that by eletion stanards, America's electoral integrity is teetering dangerously close to third world banana republicanism, that Mexico has a more secure voting system than we do, and he outlines ways to ensure that the process, which he argues must be uniform, transparent, and legally enforced, can be made safe and stable again. While some on the left may not like the harsh truths detailed in the book, if you want to understand exactly what is happening to the democratic process and how to fix it before it's too late, this book is a scary but essential read.
The problems appear to have started in 1994 with the enactment of the Motor Voter Law. This innane Act allows individuals to register to vote in church, at the laundromat or at just about any government agency. And what is even more ludicrous is that absolutely no identification is required to register. When I read about this at the time I recall thinking just how ridiculous this law was. People can also register by mail, again with no identification required. And the consequences of this law should not be at all surprising. We now have many more fraudulant votes being cast by illegal aliens, convicted felons, by folks who moved away years earlier and yes even by dead people!!! And as a result the ballots cast by legitimate, law-abiding citizens are being negated. It is an outrage!
Another way elections are being stolen in this country is by the use of absentee ballots and extended election periods. It used to be that a citizen needed to present officials with a legitimate reason for being sent an absentee ballot. Today, standards have been relaxed and a greater and greater percentage of voters are opting for absentee ballots. The opportunities for voter fraud increase exponentially in such a scenario. Likewise, many states now allow voting over several days or even weeks. And in Oregon, virtually all balloting is now done by mail. Melody Rose, a professor at Oregon State University observes in "Stealing Elections" ""Vote by mail brings a perpetual risk of systemic fraud." In such a system ballots can easily be stolen from mailboxes and once again the opportunity for all kinds of hanky panky dramatically increases.
In Chapter 8 entitled "High Tech Voting", John Fund also discusses the myriad problems with just about all of the new voting machine technologies now available to states and municipalities. He points out significant problems that have occured with just about all of the new technologies including touch screens and scanners. Once again, the potential for fraud is tremendous. And even if some of these machines are working properly on Election Day recent history has taught us that poll workers are frequently poorly trained and often do not know how to operate these machines themselves. Add to all of this the new requirement for so-called "provisional" ballots and you just might agree that all of this adds up to a recipe for disaster.
As an important first step to remedy some of these issues and to return some level of sanity to the process, John Fund proposes that photo identification be required before voting. This seems like a reasonable idea. A recent poll indicates that 89$ of potential Bush voters and even 75% of John Kerry voters approve of this proposal. Yet Civil Rights groups fight such an idea tooth and nail. It is also clear to me that much of the new voting equipment in use might not be quite ready for prime time use. It is imperative that before a state commits to such new technologies that adequate testing be done beforehand. After all, what is the big rush? Are we falling all over ourselves just so the networks can get faster results on election night? Let them wait!
In "Stealing Elections" John Fund has painted a chilling picture of what our elections are turning into. I take this book very seriously and worry what the ramifications might be if people come to believe that elections can be easily manipulated or even stolen in our country. These are issues that all of us should become acquainted with and "Stealing Elections" is a good choice assist you in doing that. Highly recommended!