Operation Big Vote was a nightmare. The urban voter registration drive in St. Louis during the 2001 election drive was ripe for abuse and fraud. And now a St. Louis grand jury has confirmed the worst fears - thousands of bogus voter registration cards were submitted by the Operation Big Vote campaign. And that's just one reason why many voters are suspicious of the St. Louis voting machine.
In December, six volunteers with the voter registration drive entered guilty pleas for dozens of election law violations. The volunteers filled out cards with names of the dead and other bogus information. And now a top official of the campaign has also been indicted.
But what's really concerning is that top Democratic strategists in St. Louis apparently knew of the bogus cards and turned their heads. When confronted with the bogus information, the top officials sought to hide the information. Here's the bottom line. Unfortunately some politicians and some involved in the political process do not play fair. They seek any advantage to help them manipulate the outcome of an election and obviously, that sometimes includes fraud and abuse. These are not empty charges. This time however, they got caught.
It's examples such as these that make me concerned over early voting or any other process that will make the voting experience "easier" for voters. The truth is that the process is pretty darned easy right now if you abide by the rules and obey the law.
Political parties in office hold jobs, power and money in their hands. To the winner goes the spoils. So greed is at the heart of voter abuse and fraud. There's not other way to look at it.
A Republican political operative on the East Coast was indicted last week for his role in jamming phone lines of Democratic party get-out-the-vote campaigns. In Detroit, four Democratic political hacks were charged with vandalizing vehicles designed to take Republican voters to the polls. The examples are virtually endless.
Fraud and voter abuse is not limited to one party, one city or one state. But to assure the American voting public that our electoral process is honest, we must identify those committing fraud and punish them accordingly. Only through this process will we have the elections that we expect, that we demand and that we deserve.