Electoral Fraud

Campbell and Gist both discuss various ways in which electoral fraud has occurred within the United States.  Campbell provides an in-depth exploration of the 1905 Louisville voter fraud cases, in which John Wallen successfully manipulated and bribed both city officials and local residents to vote in his favor.  Gist examines the case of Adams county, Ohio, in the early 1900’s, in which votes were bought from poor, rural citizens.  Through various practices, including strong-arm tactics enforced through bribed police officers or simply pay-outs, encouraging voters to turn up to the polls, voter fraud prevailed in these communities.  In the case of John Wallen, the stolen election was decried, leading to the reversal of the primary and the replacement of all of the initial winners booted from office.  However, Wallen was able to simply switch strategies, appealing to white supremacy in order to obtain votes.

From reading these two case studies, my initial observations indicate that suppressing an opponent’s total seem the more damaging route, indicating to the voter that his vote does not in fact matter, whereas adding to a candidate’s total simply rigs the election.  Additionally, reading about Wallen’s attempt to pin electoral fraud on the Fusion party reminded me of this most recent election.  As Trump voters decried the supposed attempts at multiple votes undertaken by Clinton voters, it was in fact Trump voters who most often resorted to these actions.  By directing the attention to the opposition and citing their actions as damaging to democracy, a party in turn is able to encourage voters to use these same tactics to combat the initial perceived wrong.  Additionally, suppressing the total number of opposition votes makes the other party seem stronger in comparison, as it wins by a larger margin, possibly discouraging future voters of the opposition party.

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