Saturday, April 19, 2014

"Page after page of signatures are all in the same handwriting...”

First a couple of caveats: Our main source for this post goes to The Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think-tank which I do not like. Also, the name of the author -- Hans A. von Spakovsky -- rings a bell with an unpleasant sound. As the day goes on, I'll probably recall just which piece of this man's previous ouvre ticked me off.

I can tell you this much: He refers to the "the Democrat Party." That's the sure sign of the propagandist. Hans: If you have the facts on your side, why resort to such silly tactics?

On the other hand, Hans is just the messenger; the citations in his article go to other, better sources. Let's look at the message. Yes, it's a "2008" story -- a primary election fraud story. But it is not a story that enough people know.

We go back to the Indiana primary, which was a real primary, not a caucus. (Most of the cheating in 2008 occurred in caucuses.) Obama's delegate lead was small and shrinking.
The allegations of electoral fraud first emerged in 2011 when a Yale University undergraduate student looked through the signatures of the petitions that were filed with Indiana election officials to get Barack Obama qualified for the Indiana Democratic primary ballot.[17] Ryan Nees, a former Obama White House intern, pored through the “byzantine and complicated” petition signatures.[18] Page after page of the voter names and signatures in St. Joseph County turned out to be complete forgeries.[19]

Nees said the fraud was easy to detect “because page after page of signatures are all in the same handwriting.” A close inspection also revealed their similarity to signatures from a petition for a previous gubernatorial election. Even worse, some of the names appeared on the list several times.[20]

Erich Speckin, a forensic document specialist, confirmed the forgeries, concluding that 19 of the ballot petition pages for Obama filed with election officials were illegitimate.[21] Nees uncovered the fraud while working as an intern for Howey Politics Indiana, a nonpartisan political news website, and later published his findings through the South Bend Tribune.[22]

In the wake of these revelations, the state chairman of the Indiana Republican Party wrote to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, David Capp.[ 23] Mr. Capp was nominated to serve as the U.S. Attorney by President Obama in 2009.[24] The letter requested that federal officials investigate the allegations of election fraud.

Although Mr. Capp refused to act, state officials ultimately charged four people with conspiracy and forgery.[25] In an ironic twist, the state trial court had to appoint a special prosecutor, Stanley Levco, because St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak could not press charges since his signature was one of the ones forged, making him a victim of the crime.[26] Dvorak was not the only Indiana official with that problem: Former Governor Joe Kernan’s name was forged on a petition as well.[27]

The ringleader of the election fraud was Butch Morgan, chairman of the St. Joseph County Democratic Party.[28] Morgan conspired with three other local officials to duplicate signatures from a previous petition for a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Jim Schellinger.[29] In Indiana, the authenticity of the ballot petitions must be reviewed by the Republican and Democratic members of the county Board of Voter Registration, with the signatures of the board members executed on the ballot petitions to evidence their review.[30] In this case, Morgan and his coconspirators illegally used a rubber stamp of the signature of a Republican member of the St. Joseph County Board of Voter Registration, Linda Silcott, to forge her approval of the ballot petitions when she was out of the office due to the loss of her husband.[31]

Former Board of Voter Registration worker and Democratic Party volunteer Lucas Burkett revealed the details of the fraud.[32] Burkett confessed that “there were meetings at which several people explicitly agreed to forge these petitions” and that his job was to “forge petitions for candidate Barack Obama.”[33] Furthermore, Board of Voter Registration worker Beverly Shelton “was assigned to forge petitions for candidate Hillary Clinton,” while former County Board of Voter Registration worker Dustin Blythe “was assigned to forge petitions for candidate John Edwards.”[34] John Edwards dropped out of the race at the end of January 2008, and at that time, Burkett had a change of conscience and refused to participate further in the scheme. Consequently, Morgan instructed Blythe to forge signatures on the remaining Obama petitions.[35]

In June 2013, the fraud trials concluded,[36] and the group’s ringleader, Butch Morgan, was convicted of conspiracy to commit petition fraud and felony forgery.[37] Morgan was sentenced to one year behind bars, the only defendant to receive prison time.[38] Former St. Joseph County Board of Voter Registration worker and Democratic volunteer Dustin Blythe was also convicted of conspiracy to commit petition fraud and felony forgery, receiving one year of probation.[39] Former St. Joseph County Board of Voter Registration Democratic board member Pam Brunette and board worker Beverly Shelton pleaded guilty and testified against Morgan. They received two years of probation.[40]

Following the convictions, St. Joseph Superior Court Judge John Marnocha stated: “The defendants who were saying, ‘I was just following orders,’ or ‘I was just doing my duty,’ that’s no excuse. Through history a lot of evil has been done by those saying they were just following orders.”[41]

In this case, the very people meant to be ensuring the fairness of the election were engaged in a scheme to subvert it.
If Obama had been stripped of his Indiana delegates -- as would have happened, had this scandal been uncovered in time -- he would not be president today.

And no,I don't think we should elide the allegation that there was also a scheme to forge petitions on behalf of Hillary.
It was up to Team Hillary to check on that. But then maybe somebody would check on her and they would have found her fake signatures, so says FOX News.
But are these guys really guilty of anything beyond a conspiracy to be lazy dumbasses? I mean, it's highly unlikely any of those three candidates would have been at risk of not making the ballot; it just means some Democratic campaign worker would have had to spend a few frigid hours in mid-winter Indiana to collect the name. (Or, perhaps more likely, it means these particular Democratic campaign workers would have had to pay minimum wage to some kid 'taking a break' after his or her first year of college to collect the names, instead of simply claiming that's what they did, and pocketing the funds.)

That there were orders to cheat issued on behalf of the Big 3 also makes m think such an order came from as low down a high up as possible -- somebody like, say, county Democratic chairman Butch Morgan. All three were experienced candidates; each would have instinctively known there was virtually *no* upside possible upside and almost limitless downside; and none of the three would have the others to know about it.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I just don't see any 'there,' there.
The interesting thing about Indiana was how the city of Gary would not delivertheir votes. They had to see how many Hillary had so they could have more for Mr. O ...this went on for so many hours it became embarrassing( yes politicos could still be embarrassed back then ) because it involved hitting a few buttons to get the numbers. No one was counting paper other country would not deliver its votes either. It was a standoff.

Gary was more in the spotlight and I believe they gave in first...

I have problem with the use of "The Democrat Party" versus The Democratic Party".

Illinois moved up their primary from the end of March to the beginning of February, that is what actually swung the momentum to Barack Obama.

North Carolina was giving 14 or 28 bonus delegates for not moving up their election.

Florida and Michigan got skunked because they favored Hillary Clinton.
von Spakovsky is the go-to guy for the Republicans when they want to justify their voter ID schemes.

Check him out on
Thanks, stickler. I KNEW that ol' Hansie had done something to piss me off. But as one ages, one forgets a few names...
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