Much talk about voter fraud. It sure does happen.
I witnessed large scale voter impersonation when living in Milwaukee in 2008. Two hours before the polls closed on Election Day, a string of cars roared into our quiet neighborhood one vehicle stopping at the end of each block. I was in our front yard so I saw a car stop at the end of our block, and I could see a similar pattern for a few blocks each way.
A woman ran from the car to a house on the end of the block, banging on the door. Another person was doing the same thing on the other side of the street, a scene repeated as far up and down the street that I could see.
When the occupant of the house opened the door, the stranger calmly interacted, jotting notes on a tablet. Shortly, the stranger disengaged and ran to the next house to bang on their door.
Soon I received the woman in our home. She introduced herself as a college student researching voting patterns. She asked how many registered voters lived in our home. (Two.) How many voted today. (Two.) She was out the door quickly.
Busy with meal preparations, I forgot the string of cars and unusual behavior of their occupants.
After the polls closed a friend and I took a walk. She said a woman had stopped at her home. Their home also had two registered voters and both had voted. The woman was quickly out the door.
Not so with her neighbor. After several minutes, when the woman left that home, she ran to the car, not the next house, and interacted with the driver in an excited way, handing him her sheet of paper. The driver held the paper to make a phone call as she ran to the next house.
Intrigued, my friend chatted with her neighbor to see what had taken place that the student researcher had taken so long at their home. She learned the neighbor had three registered voters and none had voted. The woman had requested their names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers, and the neighbors had complied. At the time, Milwaukee did not have a voter identification requirement. The phone call with the vital data enabled others to impersonate three valid voters.
Nothing about this scam appeared in any news source in the following days. It never occurred to us to report this to anyone.
We are not powerless. This year let’s be alert to possibilities of fraud in voting and be ready to use our phone to record images and audio of irregular uncomfortable events. Let’s call police and community leaders. We can reduce the amount of fraud.
Lynn P Hansen, LCSW Ret.