More than 30 states have provided their residents’ personal information to Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission, which is charged with digging up proof that millions of Americans voted illegally in last year’s presidential election and robbed the billionaire real-estate developer of the popular vote.
In true Trump fashion, the president has called out states that have defied the commission’s requests. “If any state does not want to share this information," he tweeted, "one has to wonder what they’re worried about... There’s something. There always is.”
The commission's chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, has promised to compare the data collected from states against one another as well as federal databases for felons, undiscovered noncitizens, and people who vote in more than one state.
Trump is absolutely right that voter fraud takes place, but he's barking up the wrong tree. Instead of trying to suppress minorities from voting, the commission should take a hard look at the type of absentee ballot fraud that is practiced regularly in Miami during local, state, and federal elections. After all, the city set the standard for voter fraud when dead people cast ballots in the 1997 mayoral election.
Illustration by Alex Izaguirre
From Little Havana to Hialeah to Sweetwater to Florida City, the absentee ballot fraud machines are still in effect. In the months leading up to the 2012 general election, public corruption detectives uncovered a ring of Hialeah boleteros, slang for absentee ballot collectors, who were sneaking around old-folks homes and assisted-living facilities to ostensibly help senile seniors and handicapped welfare recipients fill out their ballots. Some low-level operatives went to jail, but law enforcement never caught the ringleaders.
A year later, police raided the business of then-North Miami Mayor Luci Tondreau’s office as part of an absentee ballot fraud investigation that eventually fizzled out. Meanwhile, an absentee ballot fraud case involving a Leon County public school board race unraveled when prosecutors were forced to drop charges against seven of nine defendants because of lack of evidence.
In March, a Palm Beach Post investigative report showed that Florida law still allows candidates and campaigns to manipulate voters who mail in their ballots, and that legislators have ignored warnings to reform the absentee ballot system, which represents nearly one of every three votes cast in the Sunshine State.
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Just this week in Miami, an elderly woman pleaded guilty to voter fraud after she was caught casting votes in favor of Raquel Regalado on mailed-in absentee ballots in last November's county mayoral election.
If Trump is serious about eliminating voter fraud, he would champion a federal law that allows only people serving in the military overseas or citizens living abroad to mail in their votes. Everybody else should have to go to the polls. By cracking down on absentee ballots, the candidates who raise the most campaign cash won’t get a guaranteed win. That’s because they use most of the money to pay off absentee ballot bagmen.
Follow Luther Campbell on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.