Skip to comments.Talking Points Memo (South Dakota Voter Fraud)
Posted on 12/16/2002 12:19:16 PM PST by End Times Sentinel
Department of Curious Omissions: Last Friday in National Review Byron York wrote yet another article on purported "massive" South Dakota voter fraud scandal ("The South Dakota Vote Scandal: How High Does It Go?") The article strongly implies that the State's Attorney General Mark Barnett is covering up evidence of Democratic voter fraud abuses. Never once in the article does York identify Barnett as the Republican State Attorney General. (He ran for the Republican gubernatorial nomination earlier this year.)
How high does the Democratic voter fraud scandal go? Apparently all the way up into the Republican party. Now that's massive!
Back during the South Dakota Senate campaign we devoted lots of space to trumped-up Republican charges that Democrats had turned the state's Indian reservations into hotbeds of voter fraud. At some point I want to devote a long post to all the ins and outs of what happened in the voter fraud pseudo-scandal. But for now it's enough to remember that Republicans made a series of wild-eyed allegations of 'massive voter fraud.' Those charges were then amplified by a number of local reporters who turned out to be working in embarrassingly close coordination -- in one case, cohabiting -- with the Republican operatives who ginned up the accusations in the first place.
The whole thing was a rather shameless attempt to stymie efforts to get more people to exercise their legitimate right to vote -- and stir up politically-helpful racial animosity too. The 'massive fraud' charges eventually collapsed under the weight of their own ridiculousness, though this didn't stop Republican candidate John Thune and the RNC from a series of scurrilous ads and mailings accusing Democrat Tim Johnson of having a hand in the fraudulent voting.
On election day Johnson beat Thune by a minuscule margin of 524 votes. The Thune campaign grumbled about voter fraud. But in the absence of any evidence, Thune took the high road and conceded the race.
But there turned out to be an interesting division of labor: While Thune was taking the high road, his Republican operatives -- working for the RNC -- fanned out across the state's Indian reservations collecting affidavits purporting to prove widespread voter fraud -- enough to have cost Thune the election.
These affidavits were turned over to the State Attorney General Mark Barnett and, helpfully, to Byron York of the National Review and a number of other conservative news outlets. York's piece, which was based on the 50 RNC-collected affidavits, made the cover of the current issue of the National Review with the headline "South Dakota's Invalid Senator: How the Democrats Stole a Senate Seat."
As you might expect, the charges got lots of play in DC, reviving the claims of voter fraud. But if you were reading the South Dakota press you'd see that the state's Republican Attorney General, Mark Barnett, found the affidavits a good deal less impressive than York did. On December 10th he told the Rapid City Journal ...
Realistically, many of the things set out in those affidavits are not crimes. They are what I would call local election-board management problems. A fair number could be read as complaints about how effective the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort was. They had people watching, then jumping on the phone to one of their drivers.Barnett didn't think any of the allegations would have changed the result of the election. But he said he would open investigations into "two or three affidavits out of 50" which included allegations of vote buying.
A few days later Barnett came back with the results of his investigation, recounted here in December 13th AP story ...
Barnett dismissed allegations in three affidavits, purportedly from people who were offered rides to the polling place in a Johnson van and offered $10 to vote. One of the people could not be located, and the others said they did not vote and were not offered money to vote. One said his signature had been forged on his affidavit, and the other said she signed hers because a friend told her to.So Republican attempts to substantiate their own charges of fraud and forgery end with RNC operatives caught filing perjurious or forged affidavits to prove their phony case. At least, so says South Dakota's Republican Attorney General.
"These affidavits are either perjury or forgery, or call them what you will. They are just flat false," Barnett said.
Unleash the Hogs of Peace.
P.J. O'Rourke Parliament of Whores
In other words, Marshall reaches a conclusion (in that case, he's antigun) and then looks for answers to support his claim. I haven't read the NR article yet (it sitting on my coffee table), but I'm betting Marshall reached the conclusion that vote fraud "didn't happen" and went from there...just like in the "Arming America" debacle.
KSFY News Headlines
Red Earth Court Date
One of the most controversial figures in this year's election has turned herself into authorities. Becky Red Earth was been formally charged with 19 counts of forgery and is waiting for her day in court. But that won't come for another three weeks. Court papers tell us she will make her initial court appearance January 2nd at 9am.
The counties that border many South Dakota Indian reservations are large and sparsely populated. But according to an affidavit by an investigator for the DCI, Becky Red Earth was able to cover a lot of ground when registering voters for absentee ballots. The affidavit says Red Earth was in 25 counties and was able to gather 1,765 applications for absentee ballots.
DCI agents were assigned to the counties and interviewed 381 voters; of the 381...277 allegedly identified their signatures as having been forged. KSFY investigated in Dewey and Ziebach counties and found many others who say their signatures were forged. To date only 19 charges have been filed.
All 19 of Red Earth's charges are class five felonies. With each charge she could face 5 years behind bars and/or a five thousand dollar fine.
Guess I'll await the Rat operative's trial to see how many of the ballots she "collected" contained forgery vs. how many of the hundreds of signed affidavits DOJ collected were signed with the intent to commit perjury.
I have a hunch forgery will be the "winner."
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