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Fox News Touts Another Incident of Possible Voter Fraud

Fox News continues its drumbeat on the “rampant, largely ignored and troubling issue” of voter fraud with a story about Daytona Beach City Commissioner Derrick Henry, whose computer was allegedly “used to obtain dozens of absentee ballots prior to the city’s Aug. 24 elections, in which he was re-elected.”

An isolated incident in a small city government election? Hardly, notes Fox News, which trots out its favorite former Department of Justice lawyer Hans von Spakovsky, now a senior legal fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, to comment:

“Absentee ballots are now the weapon of choice for people who want to commit voter fraud,” said Hans von Spakousky, a former Justice Department attorney who monitored voter fraud. “Campaigns will order absentee ballots and then follow the postman door to door on the day they are delivered to pick them up and control the vote.”

“Any time you get large numbers of absentee ballots being issued, it should be taken as a sign that trouble is brewing,” he warned.

The story is already getting churned up on right-wing websites with other incidents concerning possible phony voter registration forms in Harris County, Texas, and dire warnings that many states have not sufficiently purged their voter rolls of dead people. RedState, for instance, expounds upon the threat posed by absentee ballots:

Some of the tactics employed in voter fraud and perpetrated by individuals associated with a special interest supporter of a candidate include Pressuring and coaxing first-time voters or those who were “less informed or lacking in knowledge of the voting process, the infirm, the poor, and those with limited skills in the English language” to vote by absentee ballot; Paying voters in cash for casting absentee ballots; Instructing people applying for absentee ballots to phone the candidate’s campaign when the applicant received his or her ballot so that the candidate’s supporters could go to the applicant’s home and “though not authorized by law to do so, ‘assist’ the voter in completing the ballot;” Illegally keeping a stockpile of unmarked absentee ballots and delivering ballots to voters; Lying about whether the person applying for an absentee ballot would in fact be absent on the day of the primary.

All these hypothetical scenarios represent legitimate issues of concern that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent should they occur, but aside from reports out of Daytona Beach and Harris County, it’s hardly clear how “rampant” this phenomenon is, or, for that matter, what kind of impact a couple hundred dead people being left on a state voter roll or a couple dozen absentee ballots being stockpiled by a city commissioner will have on the outcome of the impending midterm elections. It’s worth noting that these stories, intended to stoke fears of stolen elections, are often linked to districts with a high percentage of minority voters.

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