These are stunning incidents that impugn the credibility of the electoral process in our state.
Another case of voter fraud in Houston County, Alabama leads the Dothan Eagle to call for legislation to address the problem:
Last week, the mayor of a small Houston County town was arrested on charges of absentee voter fraud. Elbert Melton, 69, of Gordon, was charged with three counts, and was booked into the Houston County Jail. . . . Ironically, the three absentee ballots in question don’t change the outcome of the election, in which Melton, with 99 votes, defeated opponent Priscilla Wilson, who had 83 votes.
Voter fraud did change the outcome of a 2013 Dothan city election in which incumbent Dothan City Commissioner Amos Newsome edged out a challenger by just 14 votes – votes that turned out to be fraudulent.
Four of his campaign workers have either pleaded guilty or been found guilty of absentee voter fraud involving more than enough ballots to change the result of the election. However, Newsome has not been charged in the matter, and continues to serve on the Dothan City Commission.
These are stunning incidents that impugn the credibility of the electoral process in our state, and even the Secretary of State, John Merrill, has expressed frustration with the lack of statutory authority to ensure our election results are valid and enforceable.
To the anti-integrity Left’s chagrin, recent court rulings have given the upper hand to proponents of voter ID laws. Alabama’s experiences with its voter ID requirement, implemented in 2014, are a good example of why, as Secretary of State John Merrill explains:
“Our goal is and has been and continues to be to ensure every eligible U.S. citizen who is a resident of Alabama is registered to vote and has an ID,” he said. “We want to make it real easy to vote and real hard to cheat.”
In February, a federal judge denied a request by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to block enforcement of the law for the March 1 presidential primary election and, Merrill noted, the state saw its highest voter turnout ever for a primary.
He said that not a single valid voter was turned away at the polls. He said 88 percent of all eligible black residents are registered to vote, even higher than the 84 percent of eligible white voters who are registered. Merrill said the state’s free voter ID cards are so rarely used because most people have driver’s licenses. The 3.5 million licensed drivers exceeds the 3.1 million registered voters.
No joy for opponents of Alabama’s photo voter ID law:
U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler refused a preliminary injunction request to allow alternate means of identification for voters in the upcoming 2016 elections… Coogler criticized the request as a backdoor method to do away with the photo identification requirement that took effect in 2014.
“They are asking the court to rewrite the positively identify provision in a way that circumvents the photo identification requirement altogether — without actually providing proof that the photo ID requirement is unduly burdensome on Alabama voters,” Coogler wrote…
The judge did not rule on the merits of the overall lawsuit but hinted that it might not prevail. Coogler wrote that courts, “already answered the question as to whether photo ID laws like Alabama’s violate the U.S. Constitution and/or the Voting Rights Act.”
Yes, voter fraud happens and yes, it changes the outcome of elections: “A fourth person connected to the 2013 re-election campaign of District 2 Commissioner Amos Newsome has been found guilty of absentee ballot fraud.”
Daniel Webster Reynolds III pleaded guilty to three felony counts of absentee ballot fraud, bringing the total number of charges the four defendants have pleaded guilty to or been convicted of to 42. Newsome “won” his election by just 14 votes.
The Washington Free Beacon reports on the latest effort in a national push to challenge state voter ID laws, this time in Alabama:
“A lawyer who has donated thousands to Hillary Clinton and works alongside former attorney general Eric Holder is part of the newest team to bring a lawsuit forward challenging a state’s voter identification laws, the fourth such suit filed this year.”
Three lawsuits filed earlier in 2015, in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Virginia, “were pushed by Marc Elias, Clinton’s top campaign lawyer and partner at the D.C.-based Perkins Coie, who filed the suits independently of the campaign although Clinton’s campaign publicly backed the efforts.”
“The initial plans to launch a multi-state push challenging voter ID laws dates back to January 2014 when liberal billionaire George Soros got wind of Elias wanting to file numerous lawsuits across the United States. Soros threw his weight behind the effort, vowing to put at least $5 million into the campaign.”
159 ballots due to be rejected
After losing her 2013 Tuscaloosa City School Board race, candidate Kelly Horowitz contested the election, alleging voter fraud by members of the University of Alabama greek system – including a ‘booze for votes’ scheme – skewed the results. Horowitz challenged the votes of over 300 UA students as “illegal based on lack of residency, bribery or misconduct, and ineligibility.”
The bribery charge stemmed from reports that “greek students were incentivized with free alcohol at two local bars, as well as UA Panhellenic and in-hours points, as a means of securing votes” for Horowitz’ opponent.
A lower court dismissed the case, contending “there were not enough potential illegal ballots to overturn the results.”
The Supreme Court disagreed, concluding that “though Horwitz was unable to prove the illegality of the votes on the basis of misconduct in the form of bribery, there were 159 ballots due to be rejected, 105 of them based on residency and 54 based on other factors of ineligibility.” The case now goes back to the Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court.
Two years in prison is the sentence for Olivia Reynolds, the girlfriend of Dothan, Alabama City Commissioner Amos Newsome who was convicted on 24 counts of felony absentee ballot fraud in the 2013 election Newsome “won” by 14 votes.
“Three words – integrity, integrity, integrity.”
The Dothan Eagle reports:
“Three Dothan city commissioners are calling for the resignation of District 2 Commissioner Amos Newsome after a third worker from Newsome’s most recent commission campaign was convicted of voter fraud.”
Newsome himself hasn’t been charged with any crime, but fellow commissioners believe Newsome’s continued presence “could lead to a lack of confidence from voters toward the commission as a whole.”
District 1 Commissioner Kevin Dorsey: “Three words – integrity, integrity, integrity… We have to have integrity on the commission as a whole to serve the people.”
District 4 Commissioner John Ferguson: “It’s obvious to me now, whether Newsome knew or not, that a substantial number of absentee ballots that were counted in his favor are in fact, invalid. As a result, Commissioner Newsome has to go.”
District 6 Commissioner Hamp Baxley: “I am concerned about the sanctity of the election process. If there were illegal votes cast, then Mr. Newsome should consider stepping aside.”
Earlier this week, campaign worker Olivia Reynolds was convicted on 24 counts of felony absentee ballot fraud in Newsome’s 2013 election, which was decided by just 14 votes.
“When the integrity of the ballot is lost we all lose.”
Another conviction results from the investigation of “widespread voter fraud” in a 2013 Dothan, Alabama city election decided by just 14 votes:
Assistant District Attorney Banks Smith said the jury found 66-year-old Olivia Reynolds guilty of 24 felony counts of absentee ballot fraud…
Houston County Sheriff’s investigators arrested Reynolds in May 2014. She was one of three women charged who worked on the 2013 campaign for District 2 City Commissioner Amos Newsome. In the August election, Newsome beat challenger Lamesa Danzey by 14 votes. Newsome received 119 of the 124 absentee votes that were cast…
Smith said some of the voters testified at trial how they never even wanted to vote for Newsome yet their ballot was cast for Newsome anyway. “This case is about the sanctity of the ballot,” Smith said.
How were these votes stolen? Not by mere technicality or honest mistakes, but by willful disregard for the law designed to prevent just this type of fraud.
Smith said the law requires there to be two witnesses for a valid absentee ballot, and a witness means two people actually watch the vote. Smith also told jurors the court would instruct them on what the law says about willful conduct, which he said included how there was an intent to defraud voters in this case by tricking.
Two convicted, two to go:
A Dothan woman was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison—a term later amended—for her part in a voter fraud scheme that got a city commissioner re-elected. Lesa Coleman is one of four people arrested for falsely witnessing absentee ballots in the 2013 municipal election. Of 124 absentees cast, Commissioner Amos Newsome received 119 votes in the District 2 contest.
Houston County Circuit Judge Henry D. “Butch” Binford opted to give Coleman a split sentence—180 days in the county jail followed by probation…
Coleman is one of four people, including Newsome’s longtime girlfriend, arrested in the alleged voter fraud scheme after a lengthy and complex investigation by the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. Olivia Reynolds—the commissioner’s girlfriend—and another person have yet to be tried. Defendant Janice Hart pleaded guilty earlier this year and was sentenced to probation.
Yes, people do risk felony charges to commit voter fraud – sometimes in coordinated efforts – and sway election outcomes, especially in local races decided by small numbers of votes. See also Mississippi, New Jersey, South Texas…