It should come as no surprise that a circuit attorney in St. Louis this week charged three people with 17 counts of vote fraud in connection with the March 2001 mayoral primary there. The investigation was prompted by the last-minute shenanigans during the November 2000 general election when polls were allowed open beyond the posted time and when countless questionable voters were allowed to vote.
The only surprise should be that only three were charged this week. It's likely that more charges will follow.
The three charged were working for a get-out-the-vote campaign aimed at minorities. With such an emphasis on turning out voters, some of the workers used phony registration cards including names of dead voters and even including the voter registration of a dog.
The presidential election night of 2000, which came down to a razor's-edge contest in the senate race and the presidential race, was an election nightmare. A last-minute voter registration push for minority voters swamped election sites with thousands of unregistered or first-time voters. The flap caused a near-riot and ended up in the courts. The court ordered the polls to remain open but then quickly reversed itself and ordered them closed. That brought charges from both sides of election violations.
Sen. Kit Bond launched an investigation into that election day fiasco and St. Louis officials followed-up with a similar probe of last year's mayoral primary. The charges stem from that election.
If the stakes are high enough and the reward great enough, some will try to manipulate the voting process. With shoddy tactics such as used in St. Louis, voters may want to question the results of a number of elections. It reminds us of election night sleight-of-hand tactics from Chicago. And that's not good.
We hope these charges bring the truth to the courts. And we believe the truth with point a finger in a specific direction among some inner-city leaders in St. Louis. Just wait and watch.