By Rebekah Rast -
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”—Samuel Adams
Elections are one of the building blocks of the nation’s democracy, and their integrity in the United States is critical to the government functioning legitimately by the consent of the governed.
Unfortunately, the unresolved cases of the New Black Panther Party intimidating voters at the polls and ACORN engaged in election fraud are breaching the trust American citizens have in their voting system. Unless action is taken, that trust will continue to wither.
“Voting in this country is one of our most valuable honors and rights as U.S. citizens,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “If people lose trust in the voting system then our entire democracy and the framework of our government is lost.”
That sentiment was shared by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), a member on the Committee on House Administration and Subcommittee on Elections. “United States citizens have long participated in America’s electoral process because they know their vote counts,” he said. “But when this process is abused through voter fraud, the general public is cheated and they lose faith in one of our most fundamental rights as Americans.”
Proof and allegations of voter fraud can be found throughout our nation’s election history. When investigated, however, many task forces have been stonewalled or given such a run-around that the cases are eventually dropped. With the contentious talk between candidates involved in the upcoming elections, voter fraud and election stealing should not be dismissed as a hoax.
One such controversial election was in 1984 in Indiana’s 8th district. The election battle was so tight between Rep. Frank McCloskey (D-IN) and Republican-challenger Rick McIntyre that the results were decided upon in Congress.
After a recount of votes by Indiana’s Secretary of State that ruled McIntyre the winner, the Democratic-controlled House refused to seat either candidate until it conducted its own investigation. With a task force leading the investigation composed of two Democrats and one Republican, McCloskey took his seat in the House where he was claimed the winner by only four votes.
Republicans temporarily left the House Chamber in protest.
In another instance, during the 1996 Congressional elections, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) came under fire of Republicans as she took her place in the House replacing former incumbent Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-CA) in California’s 46th district.
House sources to this day say former Rep. Dornan’s seat was stolen from him.
The House Oversight Committee, then led by Republicans, launched an investigation into the race and found that non-U.S. citizens voted in the election, possibly attributing to Rep. Sanchez’s lead over Dornan.
Speculation still ensues over recent elections such as now Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) winning over former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) in the 2008 Senate election in Minnesota State. Also, the Washington State governor’s race of 2004 was decided by 133 votes out of 2.8 million cast. Recounting the votes a third time was the ticket for Democrat Christine Gregoire who was declared a winner by a state judge even after losing in two separate recounts against Republican Dino Rossi.
It is not too far out to think that in 2010, many of these same patterns could be repeated.
As the current law stands, Congress has the final say in elections. No appeals are allowed. For an election to be investigated, the majority has to agree to it. Why would a majority agree to investigate a candidate in an election that was possibly fixed for that particular candidate to win? Of course, they wouldn’t. In this situation, the minority has no say whether an election is investigated or not.
This doesn’t seem to fit into the overall theme of checks and balances within our government.
“Look at contested elections over the years and it is almost always Republicans who want Congress to conduct an investigation to make sure the right candidate is elected through a fair and honest vote — sadly, in my experience Democrats aren’t as interested in the truth unless it’s in their favor,” says a source with expertise of the investigations conducted by the Committee on House Administration who preferred to remain unnamed.
The source goes on to say that a rule should be established that either the majority or the minority could call for an investigation into possible election or voter fraud.
Neither party has worked to reform this rule while in the majority. It seems that neither party wants to empower the other when they are on top.
“If we change the system then the truth will ultimately come out,” says ALG’s Wilson. “Both parties need to decide whether they are more interested in scoring partisan points or ending election fraud.”
The system is in obvious need of repair and needs to be fixed before voters completely lose faith in America’s democracy.
What happens when citizens lose trust in a nation’s government? In America, they will become subjects instead of citizens.
The words of Joseph Stalin should never be the words of the American people: “The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
That is not how America works.
Rebekah Rast is the National Correspondent for ALG News Bureau.