Leah Barkoukis

Think absentee voting is free of fraud? Think again. True the Vote, a nonpartisan election integrity watchdog, released its preliminary findings, which reveal 31 instances of absentee ballot fraud in New York and Florida. In a statement released Tuesday, the organization writes:  

True The Vote began the process of identifying potential absentee voter fraud by accessing Florida’s complete voter registration roll and cross-referencing it against 10 percent of New York’s comprehensive list. Preliminary audits indicated more than one million Florida voters claimed New York mailing addresses. Over 1,700 people were found with voter registrations in both states. Today 31 voters were turned over to state and federal election authorities after being matched based on full name, birth date, reciprocal mailing addresses and voting history demonstrating ballots cast in both states during the same federal election cycle.

In each case, federal and state laws were potentially violated as a result of these activities. Both New York and Florida require voters to cast ballots corresponding with their permanent residential addresses. Federal law, specifically 42 U.S.C. § 1973i(e) clearly states that voters cannot cast more than one ballot in the same election.

In an interview with Townhall Magazine earlier this year, president of True the Vote Catherine Engelbrecht explained that absentee ballots are one among many reasons voter-ID isn’t the answer to all election integrity problems. Voter-ID helps address some fraud but mainly that which occurs on Election Day at the polls. “It [voter-ID] will deter some but…in many cases it just pushes the frog further upstream,” Engelbrecht said, pointing to absentee ballots as an example.

They’re “largely unregulated,” she explained. “There are some safety checks in there but they don’t really have a whole lot of teeth…and the way they’re processed – it’s just heavy hunting ground for fraudsters.”

If the preliminary findings of a very small sample are any indication- she’s absolutely correct. Based on the results, True the Vote plans to audit the rest of New York’s records.

According to Pew, more than 2.75 million voters are registered in more than one state.


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Managing Editor at Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography