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November 08, 2004

What Went Right?

So, why didn't Colorado run into vote fraud? I was certainly worried about it. The Secretary of State was worried about it. Eventually, the papers even worried about it.

So why didn't it happen?

Well, in the first place, the ID requirement tended to discourage a lot of people. We only had 9 provisional ballots, in a precinct with 524 registered voters. Also, Colorado has a history of clean elections at the administrative level, and assurances, unlike Detroit, of bipartisan poll-watching for the provisional and absentee ballots.

Also, Colorado has a law that voting can't begin unless two election judges, one from each of the major parties, are present. So there was no real way to gin up the machines ahead of time.

Combined, this means that any vote fraud would need to entail moving voters around, getting them to different precincts, and having them know addresses to use ahead of time. (I can say that in a precinct with 80% turnout, there wasn't a single case of somebody showing up and the register showing they'd already voted.)

When you do that, you need really good secrecy. I'm not saying it's impossible, especially in some of the rural areas. But it means a lot more work, and a lot greater risk of being detected. And the returns diminish, too.

We were also saved by the fact that the only really close race in the state was a state House race in District 23. With control of the House already settled, the only things riding on it are the political careers of a couple of local politicos with, um, limited legal budgets.

The facts remain, though, that the system still has holes. There are people who showed up to vote whose drivers' licenses didn't match their registration. They could have gone to vote in multiple precincts, in different counties, and it would have been almost impossible to catch them.

It also remains true that vote fraud is almost impossible to catch after the fact, since the nature of the crime precludes identifying the perpetrator.

Finally, the number of provisional ballots cast is disturbing. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of these in the future, and with early and absentee voting becoming more popular, the risk of errors will continue to grow.

Posted by joshuasharf at November 8, 2004 11:03 PM | TrackBack


Posted by: cosmetics at June 27, 2005 06:02 AM
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