What’s a Little Voter Fraud Among Friends

Recently, Indiana’s Republican Secretary of State, Charlie White, was found guilty of voter fraud. Seems he was still voting in his former district where his ex-wife lived even after he had moved into another district.

Upon being convicted, he immediately accused Republican Governor Daniels of voter fraud for voting in the district containing the governor’s mansion even though he never moved into the mansion and continues to live in his own home (possibly because it is a nicer manison? I have no idea) which is in another district. Whether there is anything to this, I do not know.

With the Indiana primary coming up in May, the battle for Senator Lugar to get through to the general election is heating up.  It is a bit of a “scandal” that Lugar sold his Indiana home back in 1977 and has lived in Washington ever since but he has continued to vote in his old district! He has been reelected five times. This has, to my knowledge, never been an issue before.

Lugar’s spokesperson said

It’s just like the United States military. If you’re military personnel and in defense of this country, in service to this country and you’re overseas you keep your last place of residence.

TPM states that is “an accurate legal comparison based on the Indiana Constitution. ”  But they had to ask

is it fair to compare a politician’s time in Washington area to that of active-duty military personnel?

which strikes me as a dumb question.  Although it did give the spokesman an opportunity to explain that no one was claiming Lugar’s time in Washington compared with the time a serviceman or woman spends all over the globe.

Two years ago Dan Coats ran for the other Indiana senate seat. When the petition to get his name on the ballot was being circulated, Coats was not eligible to sign it, not being a resident of the state.  He had previously been one of Indiana’s senators from 1990 to 1998 (and in the house of representatives prior to that). When Coats retired from the senate in 1998, he never moved back to Indiana.  When he announced he was going to run in 2010 he was living in Maryland. Voters did not seem to care.

So the Indiana Secretary of State is convicted of voter fraud.  The governor of Indiana may or may not be guilty of voter fraud (and my bet is he is never charged). Senator Lugar is not guilty of voter fraud and has, at least so far, successfully made Hoosiers feel like he is representing them.

To my mind, Senator Coats is guilty of the biggest scandal here.  Sure, much of the time between his times on the Senate he was still serving the government as ambassador to Germany. But then

In 2007, Coats served as co-chairman of a team of lobbyists for Cooper Industries, a Texas corporation that moved its principal place of business to Bermuda, where it would not be liable for U.S. taxes. He successfully blocked Senate legislation that would have prevented a tax loophole, worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Cooper Industries.[16]

The NYT also reported that Coats was co-chairman of the Washington government relations office of King & Spalding, with a salary of $603,609

I believe he was still lobbying when he decided to run for the senate again. Hence the Maryland address. Coats has managed to be a carpet bagger in his home state.

Since Coats had no residence in Indiana to move away from, I wonder if he is eligible to vote in Indiana.  And if so, how is it decided which district he votes in?


Where Do I Live?

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones has a blog post up about the “voter fraud” that South Carolina is trying to fight with I.D. requirements.  It turns out that there is no evidence of the claimed fraud. Discrepancies are invariably the result of simple clerical error (although one dead person did manage to vote by casting his or her ballot early and then sneakily dying before election day.)

This leads Kevin to:

Despite Newt Gingrich’s infatuation with having MasterCard run our country’s immigration program, anyone who’s ever worked in the private sector knows that keeping customer and prospect mailing lists clean is a huge pain in the ass. If you manage to stay even 95% accurate, you’re a genius. That’s doubly true for voter registration rolls, which are a nightmare of people moving, dying, getting married, registering twice by mistake, providing incorrect addresses, and so forth. After any election, you can always find thousands of discrepancies if you look hard enough.

Twenty years ago I met my wife and moved in with her. Not surprisingly, we never stopped getting mail for her ex. But it was weird when my ex started getting mail there! Two years ago we moved to another city an hour away. I do not believe that we have received any mail from my ex here, but we have received mail for my wife’s ex.

The White Pages Neighbors site (a cool or frightening site depending on one’s perspective) lists as residents in our home my wife, her son and her ex. I’m not listed.  This is despite the fact that the phone number is in my name.