It’s election season, which means the sphere of public opinion and political intrigue is rife with dishonesty, scams, and double-speak, and I’m not even talking about the candidates. Voter fraud, while a contentious issue, is a sad reality especially in municipal elections throughout the state of Alabama.
According to the Tuscaloosa News on September 6, 2012, State Attorney General Luther Strange, with the help of federal authorities, launched an investigation into several blatantly fraudulent activities, including Perry County’s Uniontown in which a remarkable 130 percent of the town’s population registered to vote in upcoming municipal elections. Barring any unnoticed and unlikely influx of 18-and-up men and women into Uniontown since the previous Census, this represents a very evident case of voter fraud.
The numeric inconsistencies in Uniontown, combined with Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman’s new Voter Fraud Unit, in an already controversial year of voter ID laws makes this political season one for more-than-usual concern.
But what can you do to prevent voter fraud? A great deal of voter fraud happens outside the voter’s individual influence and is therefore difficult to combat as a concerned citizen. However, staying vigilant and reporting any suspicious or over-inquisitive activity can certainly make a difference.
Typical fraudulent methods used to influence voters include:
· Disenfranchisement – When those working at the polling station require a condition such as a literacy test or ID in order to distribute or receive your ballot. As of 2012, Alabama DOES NOT require a voter to present his or her Identification to vote, nor does it require any sort of examination or test. Ongoing legislation may require voter ID in Alabama as soon as 2014, but as of 2012 no such requirements exist.
· Intimidation – By which one threatens violence, vandalism, or other harm to people or property to influence a vote. This extends to corporations as well, handing down hushed mandates or threatening one’s employment.
· Legal Threats - Any U.S. citizen, naturalized or otherwise is entitled to vote as a resident in any municipal, state, or federal election. This does not mean only once, or once annually, as perpetrators of voter fraud might insinuate. Anyone who attempts to impose limits on an individual’s number of or, legal right to vote is committing fraud. The only exception extends to convicted felons, and even then only if the disenfranchisement of the vote was not appealed.
· Vote Buying – In which services, exceptions, or money might be offered to any individual for his or her vote.
If you have anything to report, please visit www.StopVoterFraudNow.com
To read more about Luther Strange’s investigation into Alabama voter fraud, visit http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20120906/NEWS/120909853
For information about the upcoming election, including information on polling places and sample ballots, please visit AlabamaVotes.gov which is published by the Office of the Secretary of State of Alabama.