While not an exhaustive or comprehensive list, the database presents a sampling of cases from across the country that demonstrate the reality that fraud does occur and that lawmakers need to implement the types of safeguards outlined in Heritage’s Election Integrity Scorecard that can help secure both access to, and the integrity of, the election process. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
Here are the latest highlights, which occurred in several states ranging from New York and Michigan to Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, and which also demonstrate that election fraud is a bipartisan activity.
- In New York, Jason Schofield, a Republican elections commissioner for the Rensselaer County Board of Elections in Troy, was charged by federal authorities with 12 felony counts of unlawfully possessing and using the identifications of other people to fraudulently request, complete, and submit absentee ballots on behalf of voters.
Schofield, and other election board employees under his direction, requested absentee ballots on behalf of eight voters without their knowledge or permission using the New York State Board of Elections website. Schofield personally handled four of these ballots; for another four voters, Schofield filled out the ballots but then told the voters to sign the ballots they did not complete.
Schofield pleaded guilty on all 12 felony counts and resigned from his position as commissioner. He will be required to pay an assessment of $1,200 at sentencing, and he faces a maximum of five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced.
- In another case of governmental misconduct, the Democratic township clerk in Flint, Michigan, Kathy Funk, was convicted of felony ballot tampering and felony misconduct in office. Funk was convicted due to her actions in the 2020 primary election, where she was a candidate on the ballot. She broke into the Flint Township Hall and opened a sealed ballot canister, thus invalidating the votes inside.
Funk then filed a false police report claiming that a third party committed the break-in. As a result of this malfeasance, Funk won her election by 79 votes, but the police noted irregularities immediately and began investigating her. Her employment with the state of Michigan was terminated in December, and she is currently awaiting sentencing.
- James Bartlett and Troy Kemper, of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, were convicted of felony perjury and fraudulent subscription of another person’s name in connection with a ballot-trafficking scheme.
Bartlett, a former employee of the city of Lawrenceburg who was terminated for his involvement in the scheme, and Kemper submitted as many as 20 fraudulent absentee ballots. Officials discovered the fraud when they noticed that the signatures on the ballots did not match those on the original voter-registration forms.
The Dearborn County Board of Elections contacted the individuals and learned that none of the 20 people had applied for an absentee ballot or permitted Kemper to return absentee ballots on their behalf.
Kemper was sentenced to one year in jail and a $210 fine, with 363 days of the sentence suspended, in exchange for his cooperation and testimony against Bartlett. Bartlett was sentenced to 910 days in prison, 40 hours of community service, and assessed court costs of $1,285.
There were also three instances of felons voting in the new batch.
- In Moore County, North Carolina, two individuals were convicted of voter registration fraud after registering to vote despite being felons who had not completed their sentences.
Bruce Edward Johnson, a convicted murderer who should have been in prison, registered to vote during the 2014 general election. Due to a series of errors, he was never taken back into custody after his appeal was denied in 1984.
Bronwyn Louisa Johnson also registered to vote despite being ineligible, since she was still on probation for her felony conviction.
Bruce Johnson’s sentence was added to the life sentence he is now serving for the previous murder conviction, and Bronwyn Johnson was sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation and assessed court costs and fees of $1,254.50.
- In Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, Lisa Campion was convicted of illegal voting despite being ineligible, since she was a convicted felon on probation. Campion also voted in a different town than where she actually lives.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission discovered this through an audit of suspected felons voting. She pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor falsifying voter registration and was ordered to pay $1,083.
We also had a few instances of duplicate voting in our latest entries. Keep in mind that every duplicate vote that was fraudulently cast canceled the legitimate vote of an eligible voter.
- Steve Curtis Thompson II was convicted in Moore County, North Carolina, of voter registration fraud after voting twice in the 2012 general election. Thompson voted in person in North Carolina and through an absentee ballot in Florida. He pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay $225 in court costs.
- In Florida, John Rider of the Village of Virginia Trace was charged with casting more than one ballot in an election, a felony. Rider voted twice in the 2020 general election, once in person in Florida and again in New York using an absentee ballot. He was sentenced to a pretrial diversion program, ordered to complete 50 hours of community service, and assessed fines and court costs of $400. Presumably, the charges will be reduced or dropped if he successfully completes the program.
- Finally, Roland Bauer, of Winter Springs, Florida, was charged with one count of fraud in connection with casting a vote and one count of mail-in ballot fraud. In the 2020 general election, Bauer requested, filled out, and submitted a ballot in Florida on behalf of his son, who lives in New Mexico.
The son contacted Florida law enforcement to report that someone had submitted a ballot on his behalf in Florida, even though he hadn’t lived in the state for more than seven years and was now registered to vote in New Mexico.
Bauer was ordered to take part in a 24-month pretrial diversion program. (The charges will be dropped if he successfully completes the program.) Additionally, he was ordered to pay $50 per month during the diversion program and was assessed $5,519.36 in court fees.
These cases illustrate that fraud continues to occur in our elections. Sometimes, it’s an isolated case and the theft of a single vote, such as those of Rider and Bauer in Florida. Other times, it’s an organized effort to steal multiple votes, such as those of Schofield in New York and Bartlett and Kemper in Indiana.
Regardless of who is doing it or their political party affiliation, it’s important that all Americans understand the reality of election fraud in the United States and that legislators and prosecutors take it seriously.
Original here. Reproduced with permission. By Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, and former counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. He is a member of the board of the Public Interest Legal Foundation and Katie Samalis-Aldrich is a program coordinator in the Meese Center for Judicial and Legal Studies at The Heritage Foundation.