Skip to comments.Fraud Charges Cloud Senate Election in Daschle's Home State
Posted on 10/17/2002 10:17:03 AM PDT by kattracks
(CNSNews.com) - Reports of voter registration fraud involving Democrats and Indian reservations are pouring out of South Dakota, the home state of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
Less than three weeks before the mid-term election, the allegations complicate one of the closest Senate races in the country, one Republicans hope to win in order to regain control of the chamber.
A Zogby International poll of 500 likely voters conducted Oct. 9-11 found that 45 percent of voters favor GOP Rep. John Thune, with 43 percent favoring incumbent Democrat, Sen. Tim Johnson. Ten percent remain undecided.
The FBI and the state attorney general have launched investigations into incidents in which employees of the state Democratic Party allegedly tried to register dead or nonexistent people to vote absentee in the November election.
Voters are allowed to vote absentee between Sept. 24 and Oct. 21. The state works largely on an honor system in which voters who go to the polls on Election Day aren't asked for identification.
At least six counties near Indian reservations are reportedly implicated: Dewey, Pennington, Fall River, Charles Mix, Shannon and Ziebach.
In Ziebach County, someone allegedly sent in an absentee ballot application for Denise Red Horse, a woman who died in a Sept. 3 car accident. Her application was signed Sept. 21, more than two weeks after her death, and mailed with a bundle of other applications by the Democratic headquarters.
The Wall Street Journal reports a Shannon County election clerk received a high number of new voter registrations, many "clearly signed by the same person" and some hailing from Nebraska.
Bret Healy, the executive director of the South Dakota Democratic Party, has said he notified the U.S. attorney about the fraud and subsequently fired contractor Becky Red Earth-Villeda after she allegedly submitted invalid voter registrations.
Two former Daschle staffers, Rich Gordon and Brian Drapeaux, head the Democrats' Indian voter project. And the Johnson campaign has made outreach to potential Indian voters a priority in this year's election.
FBI special agent Paul McCabe said he could not comment on specifics of the agency's on-going investigation, which is being conducted by the FBI's Minneapolis office. The FBI became involved because Indian reservations come under federal jurisdiction.
Christopher Maynard, a Dakota State University political scientist, doubts that incidents of voter fraud are part of a comprehensive, intentional effort on the part of state Democrats.
"Much of the fraud that's been found so far has to do with money more so than trying to influence the election," said Maynard. "The problem comes in when many of these groups, such as the Democratic Party, give money based on how many people you can canvas, how many absentee ballots you can bring in."
He believes the Senate race will remain focused on issues like Iraq, Medicare, prescription drugs, and Social Security.
But the election could remain tainted by the accusations of fraud, says Maynard, if the attorney general is unable to unearth any evidence of the wrongdoing between now and the election, if the national media publicizes the matter, or if Johnson wins by a slim margin.
If Johnson wins by a few hundred votes, "then you might have a situation where the Republicans contest it in the court system," he predicted.
And it's Johnson who has an edge, Maynard believes, thanks to pork barrel politics.
"The reason this race is in a dead heat right now [is] because Daschle is in charge of the Senate, and that gives South Dakota a huge advantage as far as appropriations," he said.
But on Election Day, Maynard says, it's voter turnout that will determine the outcome, especially the senior vote.
"If it snows that day and it's cold and miserable and that brings down the elderly vote," he said, that could spell trouble for Johnson.
E-mail a news tip to Christine Hall.
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Haven't they learned that the honor system only works with honorable people and that the Rats have no honor?
Partially right. Incidents of voter fraud are part of a comprehensive, intentional effort on the part of national Democrats.
Ping list: You'll love this graphic.
"Oh, by the way, in case you were thinking this was an organized effort, I want to assure you it is not. Move along, nothing to see here."
HA! I wonder what will turn up next.
I doubt that these incidents are part of a state democrats also.
How STOOOOPID is the Vast, LeftWing Medyuh Whore'd...and how EVIL are they?!!
The Democrap spin on this is incredible. One item they are trying to use is that the fraud was committed by a "contractor" who has since been fired.
Well, South Dakotans are not buying it. They understand that you are responsible for your employees actions...and that includes contractors.
This election is coming down to whose voter base turns out more completely.