Blog Post 3/20 Voting Fraud, How to Rig an Election

The articles by Campbell and Gist each contain examples of electoral fraud in places like Louisville and Adam’s County where issues of voter intimidation, the secret ballot, purchasing of votes, abuse of police authority, and many other methods of electoral fraud greatly disfranchised African Americans and other groups. In Louisville, specifically, manipulation by the ruling Democratic party in which democrats actively sought to thwart the republican vote or more directly the votes of African Americans, presented itself in the form of false registration, phantom voting by the support of police and firemen, and the theft of registration books by drugging individuals to name a few. In both Louisville and Adams County we see the effect of electoral fraud in disfranchising voters, however, what is worse for democracy? Fraud that adds to a candidate’s vote total or fraud that suppresses an opponent’s vote total?

My first inclination is to say that fraud which suppresses an opponent’s vote total is worse for democracy. A quote I found particularly interesting in Campbell’s reading is, “Reducing the turnout was as critical to stealing the election as was intimidating voters and falsely registering others.” (Campbell, pg. 280) However, both have the same desired effect of manipulating the vote and suppressing certain groups or parties to cater to another. Each method also equally infringes on the right of voters and the right to a clean and fair electoral process necessary for democracy. The Shapiro article, however, provides a good example of the use of election fraud in which Matthew Weaver added to the total of his vote by stealing personal information and committing identity theft in which he voted or re-voted on other’s behalves. It makes it difficult for me to say that one is definitively worse than the other, then, as I can see how both could be detrimental to democracy. Thus, I do not know which is worse, being kept from voting in which you completely lack a say in the election process, or having your identity stolen in which someone registers on your behalf to add to a candidates total or creates a false identity all together?

One thought on “Blog Post 3/20 Voting Fraud, How to Rig an Election

  1. This was a great overview of the readings.
    After reading, I thought that suppressing an opponent’s vote could potentially be more damaging to democracy because there isn’t really a way to track people not voting… At least, I think that suppression is more so systemic and easier to create loopholes with (which we obviously still see happening today – with polls closing early, long lines, and mandatory valid identification).

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