State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: Vote Tampering

Weekly Wrap Up

Facebook sued over election results: Majed Moughni,a Michigan Republican who lost in the primary in 2010, is suing Facebook, claiming that he lost the election because his Facebook page was shut down. Moughni claims his page was shut down for criticizing one of his opponent’s views, but a Facebook spokesperson said it was because of suspicious behavior. Moughni had been adding 20-100 friends per day.

Kentucky judge gets 26 years for voter fraud:former federal magistrate judge in Kentucky was sentenced to 26 years in federal prison for heading a conspiracy to control politics in Eastern Kentucky. Prosecutors say that 8,000 people were paid $50 for their vote and 150 votes were stolen from the machines.

Charlie White saga continues: The Indiana Secretary of State’s office lost two staffers this week, as the chief spokesman and the deputy secretary of state both resigned in the wake of the allegations against Charlie White. White, who is charged with seven felony counts including voter fraud, is also being investigated for abuse of power–that he improperly accessed a document shortly after taking office containing evidence against him in the voter fraud indictment.

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Paperless Gangstas: The Reliability of South Carolina Voting Machines

The U.S. democratic system is no stranger to meteoric rises.  This is the country that pit a community organizer against a PTA mom from America’s Siberia for the leader of the free world.  Yet our penchant for the underdog doesn’t always mean a free pass.  So when Alvin Greene—an unemployed, cash-strapped veteran who is facing felony obscenity chargeswon the Democratic primary for a shot against incumbent Jim DeMint for the U.S. Senate, a concerned citizen raised some questions.  Specifically, could electronic voting machines be to blame for such a bizarre result? Continue reading

Weekly Wrap Up

Vote Early, Vote Often (Even if You’re Dead): An 81-year-old Oregon man was sentenced to 12 months in jail and a $5,000 fine for voting as both his deceased brother and son.

SAFE Voting in Kansas: Kansas’ Secretary of State Kris Kobach unveiled the Safe and Fair Elections (SAFE) bill January 18 that would require voters to show ID at the polls and proof of registration when registering for the first time.

Provision Ballot Chaos in Ohio: In a case that may end up in front of the Supreme Court, a U.S. District Court and the Ohio Supreme Court issued conflicting rulings on some provisional ballots cast at the wrong precinct in the November elections.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Did Michelle Obama violate Illinois state election law? After Michelle Obama turned in her early voting ballot yesterday, she stopped outside the voting booth to take pictures with people in the area, including an electrician, Dennis Campbell. According to Campbell and a reporter who was nearby, Michelle stated that it was very important that he vote “to help keep her husband’s agenda going.” Illinois state law (Sec. 17-29 (a)) states that “No judge of election, pollwatcher, or other person shall, at any primary or election, do any electioneering or soliciting of votes or engage in any political discussion within any polling place, within 100 feet of any polling place.” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs responded to the accusation by stating that “I don’t think it would be much to imagine, the First Lady might support her husband’s agenda.”

Charges were filed against a Maryland man, Jerry Mathis, for distributing an official-looking sample ballot that turned out to be fake.  The false ballots alarmed several candidates when they saw that the wrong matchups were checked.  Under Maryland law, Mr. Mathis could be facing a maximum of one year in jail and a $25,000 fine. Continue reading

Ye Olde Election Law: The Bizarre History of Election Law

Election law has certainly earned its eccentric reputation.  From zombie voters to hanging chads,  the strange history of modern election law has become ingrained in the public consciousness.  But, as odd as the last decade has been, the previous centuries of election law have been even more bizarre.  So, in this series of articles, State of Elections will take a closer look at some of the stranger moments in election law.

One such moment happened in California’s Siskiyou County. In 1895, Clarence Smith was elected school superintendent of that county by a single vote.  His opponent, George Tebbe, contested the result.  When the ballots were recounted, the court found three additional votes for Tebbe, and declared Tebbe the new winner by two votes.  However, until the ballots could be counted in open court, they had been stored under the desk in the county clerk’s office.  This sounds all well and good, except that Tebbe was deputy clerk at that office, and worked in the same room where the ballots were stored.  Imagine Tebbe, sitting just a few short feet from the ballots, the ballots that would decide his political future.  Even if there was no actual vote tampering, surely even the appearance of impropriety would warrant a stern rebuke from the court.  Of course, no such rebuke was forthcoming. Instead, the court praised the “prudence of the clerk and the fair dealing of all concerned”, and required that Smith prove that ballot tampering took place before taking any action.

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