I’m not sure why an investigation of election irregularities is necessary, at least as far as Nevada is concerned, when the information a person would want is easily located in the Reports from the Secretary of State (pdf) However, there’s some information contained therein which needs a bit of explication and expansion. Details below, first the Secretary of State’s description of the 3 (that would be only three) incidents of prosecutable election related crimes, then the follow up.
“In 2012, EITF agents arrested a southern Nevada woman charged with
attempting to vote twice in the same election. Roxanne Rubin early voted in
the 2012 general election at a polling location in Clark County. Later the same
day she appeared at a different Clark County early voting polling location and
attempted to vote a second time. The poll worker conducted a routine
computer database search which indicated that Rubin had already voted and
informed her of this. Rubin responded that she had not already voted, but a
search of the computer database reconfirmed that she had already voted at a
different polling place. Poll workers did not allow Rubin to vote and reported
the incident to the Clark County Registrar of Voters’ office, which notified the
Secretary of State’s office. Rubin was taken to the Clark County Detention
Center, and charged with one count of voting more than once in the same
election, a Category “D” felony.”
The outcome of this case was a plea deal for Rubin, who offered an interesting defense of her actions.
“A Nevada Republican arrested for voter fraud in the 2012 election, after claiming she was trying to test the system’s integrity, pled guilty and accepted a plea deal Thursday, forcing her to pay almost $2,500 and promise to stay out of trouble.
Roxanne Rubin, 56, a casino worker on the Las Vegas Strip, was arrested on Nov. 3, 2012 after trying to vote twice, once at her poling site in Henderson and then at a second site in Las Vegas. The poll workers at the second site said that she had already voted, but Rubin said that she hadn’t and insisted on casting a ballot, which the poll workers refused to allow her to do.
Rubin said that she was trying to show how easy it would be to commit voter fraud with just a signature. “This has always been an issue with me. I just feel the system is flawed,” she told the AP Thursday. “If we’re showing ID for everything else, why wouldn’t we show our ID in order to vote?”
Rubin, like many Republicans, claim that the threat from voter fraud — which is close to non-existent — is why voter ID laws need to be in place. But Nevada has no voter ID law — other than for first-time voters who didn’t show ID when they registered to vote — and she was caught anyway.” [HPost]
There’s more than a handful of irony in this case. A Republican, filled with the thoughts of all those “illegals” voting, decided to “test” the system — and got a conviction for a class D felony. In short, the system worked. And now, the second case:
The EITF also worked on a case in 2014 involving an undocumented
immigrant who registered to vote under a false name and cast ballots in the
2008 and 2010 federal elections in Nevada. Ortencia Segura was charged with
one count of an act concerning registration of voters and one count of
possession of personal identifying information for the purpose of establishing
false status and/or identity. She pleaded guilty to willfully and unlawfully
giving a false answer to the Washoe County Registrar of Voters and falsifying
her application to register to vote.
An immigrant living in the country illegally has pleaded guilty in Reno to violating election laws after she registered to vote in Washoe County under a false name and cast ballots in the 2008 and 2010 Nevada elections.
This is one of those cases that gets cited as “proof” there could be massive fraud perpetrated by those “illegals.” However, as in the previous case, there’s a kicker.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports Hortencia Segura-Munoz was sentenced Wednesday to 103 days in jail. But she was given credit for 103 days already served on the single gross misdemeanor count of “conspiracy to commit violations concerning registration of voters.”
Segura-Munoz also was ordered to pay $1,000 in costs and fees. She originally was arrested on two felony charges of voter fraud.
Prosecutors say she registered as a Republican, but it’s not known which candidates she voted for or if her voting affected any close elections. [KOLO]
We might reasonably surmise she voted the way she registered? And now we come to the third and last prosecutable case in the state of Nevada:
Tina Marie Parks
“Most recently, in July 2016 EITF agents arrested a Pahrump, Nevada, woman
accused of falsifying voter registration applications. Tina Marie Parks, an
employee of the community organization group Engage Nevada, is charged
with 11 felonies related to fraudulently marking the party affiliation of three
people while assisting them to register to vote and attempting to register to
vote herself while being a convicted felon without her voting rights restored.
Parks is currently awaiting trial.”
This third case really isn’t about fraudulent voting at all, it’s about fraud committed on registration forms, and yet again — we have a fly in the ointment.
A Pahrump woman was arrested Wednesday on 11 felony charges involving allegations she falsified party affiliations while registering voters before the June 14 Nevada primary, the secretary of state’s office said.
An arrest warrant issued for Tina Marie Parks listed bail at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond.
The arrest follows an investigation conducted by the state’s Election Integrity Task Force after it received complaints from voters who said Parks, while working for the conservative outreach group Engage Nevada, filled out their applications and listed the wrong party affiliation.
In two instances, voters said Parks marked their party as Republican. Another was marked as nonpartisan. All three told investigators they wanted to register as Democrats. [LVRJ]
It’s hard to draw any major conclusions from a data set of three, only two of which involve actual voting, but all three are related to voting related frauds by those identified as Republicans. Only one involves voting by a person not a citizen of the United States, one was a deliberate attempt (unsuccessful) to game the system, and one was in violation of voter registration statutes.
However, much like the motive in the unfortunate Rubin case, the mythology lingers on in conservative Republican circles that there must be massive voting fraud in this country — Why else would Democrats win elections in urban areas? Why else would Republican candidates of ideological purity and righteousness lose at the polls? For those who cannot admit that the GOP didn’t run a very good candidate, or that the candidate didn’t have an appealing message, the answer must lie in the mists of Machine Politics of Yesteryear. The hard fact my well be that Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the old machinery redundant.
After the New Deal provided jobs, the precinct captains and ward bosses were no longer the place to find employment. After Social Security was enacted, the donations from the wards and precincts weren’t necessary to put food on the tables of elders in the neighborhood. True, there are still some effective political organizations in the US, but in the wake of Medicare, Medicaid, and employment training programs their activities are now more overtly political and far less covertly economic.
There are some emotional anchors for the mythology, which underpin the conservative fears in the face of overwhelming evidence that voting fraud is definitely not a significant problem in the US, and that states are perfectly capable of handling what few instances there are.
Frankly, one of the anchors is embedded in racism and racial stereotypes. “They” must be voting against us, if we (read: white) aren’t winning. “They” aren’t “real Americans.” The roots go back to Black Codes, Jim Crow, and the segregated South of the Lost Cause. They also catch on to elements of anti-Semitic, anti-Irish and anti-Italian sentiment of this earlier era. The latest targets of these attacks are those people of Mexican or Central American heritage. The target may change but the anchor doesn’t. Commission member Chris Kobach is still on national television peddling the debunked North Kansas City case of Somalis illegally voting in the Rizzo-Royster Case. As long as these contentions go unchallenged the argument will live on.
Another anchor, related to the one described above, is the the Tip of the Iceberg argument. If there is one instance of voting fraud then there must be much more hidden from our view. It’s hard to present a rational argument to counter this irrational perspective. Present the fearful with:
“And yet the numbers indicate that voter fraud is incredibly rare. According to NBC, a News21 analysis of 2,068 instances of alleged fraud nationwide during the elections between 2000 and 2012 pinpointed just 10 cases of voter impersonation in a pool of about 146 million total voters.” [aol]
The rejoinder nearly always resembles something like, “Well, prove that there aren’t millions of illegal voters who get away with it.”
A third anchor relies on another a fear of the potential. If an enhanced fear of actual voting fraud is statistically irrational, then the fear that there is an immense potential for ever more fraud is based on little more than an unadulterated sense of peril. The dead-voter-fraud argument is illustrative of this kind of anchor. If the rolls of Precinct 10 in West Elk Hair contain the names of two individuals who are now deceased, then there is the Potential for two acts of voting fraud. This argument only works IF ballots are cast in those two names. It’s an uncontroversial fact that the dead don’t vote. However, if one amasses a long list of names which have not yet been removed from voter rolls then the argument contends that this represents a distressing potential for voting fraud — and again those of good faith in the system are called upon to defend a negative: Prove that none of these people voted.
The infamous Cross Check voter suppression project is also related to this Potential Argument. If James Smith is registered to vote in Ottumwa, IA and James Smith is registered to vote in Sarasota, FL then there is Potential double voting. Probably not. Especially not if one is James L. Smith and the other James R. Smith, or if one is 22 and the other is 37, or if any other test is applied, which in some Cross Check cases seems to have been missing.
When we whittle away the “anchors” and examine the background of voting “fraud” fears in this country we are left back at the starting gate — there are simply some people who do not want other individuals who are unlike themselves voting in local, state, and national elections. This is NO way to run a republic.