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|(MA) 10/12 - VOTER FRAUD BY POLITICIA...
Post Number: 11731
Best of Black Box?
Votes: 3 (A keeper?)
|Posted on Saturday, October 6, 2012 - 12:46 pm: ||
What happens when a politician personally engages in election fraud? Not much.
Former Marlborough (MA) city councilor Mark Evangelous has been sentenced to community service, with platitudes from the judge assuring us that it was "not malicious." The professional politician supposedly didn't know he wasn't supposed to forge the signature of his dead relative on an absentee ballot application.
"Voter fraud" does happen, but not by busloads of alcoholic Mexican noncitizens impersonating legit voters at the polling place, as the urban election legend goes. It's the pros, like political professionals and elections workers that do it. The impersonation takes place with absentee ballots, not polling place votes, and this is a problem that the whole voter ID controversy fails to address. "Identity theft" and "forgery" better describe the real problem.
In the Mark Evangelous case, it was onesie-twosie style fraud, just a few ballots. But with no-fault and especially automatic absentee ballot mailouts, this kind of fraud can easily become wholesale, big-ticket fraud conducted by insiders who either exploit the voter IDs of people who have not voted to insert ballots into the pool (as happened in a Louisiana association election, http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2012/02/another_former_official_from_h.html ), or ditch ballots they don't want (as happened in Cudahy, California elections: http://www.bbvforums.org/forums/messages/132/82162.html ).
Insiders rarely get investigated, and hardly ever get prosecuted, but when they do they get off lightly.
Here are the details on the Evangelous case:
The MetroWest Daily News - Oct. 5, 2012, by Kendall Hatch
Former Marlborough councilor gets community service in voter fraud case.
A Middlesex Superior Court judge on Thursday continued without a finding for a year the case of a former Marlborough City Council candidate accused of forging the signature of a dead woman on a voting form.
Mark Evangelous, who lost his bid for a city councilor at large seat in the 2011 municipal election, will be on probation for a year and will have to complete 200 hours of community service. If he does not get into any trouble, the forgery and uttering charges against him will be dismissed.
Evangelous, 52, admitted to sufficient facts in Middlesex Superior Court on Thursday.
Superior Court Judge S. Jane Haggerty allowed defense attorney Anthony Cardinale’s request for the finding.
Evangelous was originally indicted in January on charges of forgery, uttering a false document and violating absentee voting laws. Haggerty in July dismissed the violation of absentee voting laws charge, as she ruled that the actions Evangelous took did not necessarily rise to an actual attempt to violate the voting laws.
Evangelous was accused of submitting an absentee ballot application to the city clerk's office on Oct. 28, 2011, days before the election. The ballot, police said, was filled out and signed in the name of Anita Kasaras.
A city clerk employee checked the name against the city voter rolls and found out that not only was Kasaras not on the list, but that she had died in February 2011. The employee notified police, who conducted a preliminary investigation before passing the matter along to the Middlesex District Attorney’s office.
According to police, officers confronted Evangelous the same day he dropped off the application and he said that Kasaras was still alive. He later told police that he had made a "name mistake" and meant to sign it as her sister-in-law, Alice Kasaras. Alice Kasaras was still alive, but was living at a rehabilitation center in West Boylston. Police said Alice Kasaras had never been a registered voter in Marlborough.
Evangelous told police he had gotten permission to sign the application from Alice Kasaras' son, Jay Kasaras - a distant relative of Evangelous - who told him he had power of attorney over his mother.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Tarrant requested yesterday that Haggerty find Evangelous guilty and impose a sentence of five years probation along with the 200 hours of community service. The request for the longer probation period was not granted. Tarrant said the punishment was warranted because of the "fraudulent nature of the case and the perceived breach of public trust by somebody running for public office."
Cardinale said Evangelous made a mistake and genuinely believed that Jay Kasaras' assertion that he had power of attorney over his mother meant he could legally sign the application.
"He believed mistakenly that he had authority from his friend and distant cousin," Cardinale said. Cardinale said that while that wasn't an excuse, Evangelous' actions were not malicious.
The public must be able to see and authenticate these four essential steps for an election to be public, democratic, and valid: (1) Who can vote (voter list); (2) Who did vote (3) The original count; (4) Chain of custody.
Frequent Voting Rights Forum Participant
Post Number: 640
Best of Black Box?
Votes: 1 (A keeper?)
|Posted on Sunday, October 7, 2012 - 8:56 am: ||
How can a journalist write a story saying that "Evangelous told police he had gotten permission to sign the application from Alice Kasaras' son, Jay Kasaras", without any attempt to contact Jay Kasaras to see if there really was a power of attorney arrangement? In any event the absentee ballot application was being filed either for a dead person or an unregistered voter. I can't see how someone could be lightly sentenced in a case where there really is no reasonable explanation for a mistake.
A sidenote: Massachusetts has a second absentee ballot application form that is to be used by relatives applying on behalf of the voter. I think it is mostly used by parents of remote students, and I don't like it because no voter signature is needed and therefore nothing to compare the ballot envelope signature against. Only the relative signs it.
Frequent Voting Rights Forum Participant
Post Number: 189
Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)
|Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 7:33 am: ||
We specifically decided not to even have such a thing in PA. The voter must at least make a witnessed mark or no ballot is sent out. I could see such an application as that being abused in one of our cities (the one with the football team in metallic midnight green) in a nanosecond.