Belmont Club

Dead can dance

One of the Boston Herald’s headlines reads Scott Brown backers fear zombies. Zombies? The explanation is in the article.

A fast-circulating e-mail yesterday by the conservative Washington News Alert stoked fraud fears, suggesting liberal groups such as ACORN and Coakley supporters could pose as one of more than 100,000 dead people supposedly on voter rolls to cast ballots for the attorney general.

“The ability to vote as dead people is a realistic concern,” said Bill Wilson, president of the conservative Americans for Limited Government in Fairfax, Va.

But Secretary of State William F. Galvin, whose office oversees elections, said there is no problem with dead voters: They’re removed from the voting lists sent to cities and towns, he insisted.

However that may be, the science of electoral fraud has a long and illustrious history. Techniques include Gerrymandering, disenfranchisement, intimidation, vote buying, ballot stuffing, illegal proxy voting, invalidating inconvenient ballots and much, much more.

Though electoral fraud has been practiced by politicians from all parties some political organizations rely on it more than others. In some countries the incumbents simply make up the results. For example, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal was accused of conjuring up election returns to order. Operatives were employed one who was described as a “man…not in the business of counting votes; he produces them”. The late Saddam Hussein went a step further. The BBC reported that Hussein won the 2002 elections without a single dissenting vote.

Iraqi officials say President Saddam Hussein has won 100% backing in a referendum on whether he should rule for another seven years.

There were 11,445,638 eligible voters – and every one of them voted for the president, according to Izzat Ibrahim, Vice-Chairman of Iraq’s Revolutionary Command Council.

The government insists the count was fair and accurate. Saddam Hussein – who has ruled Iraq since 1979 – was the only candidate.

All’s fair in love and war, and probably in politics as well. One advantage dead voters enjoy over living ones is that they never feel regrets. Pollster Frank Luntz says he had difficulty finding Coakley supporters to appear in focus groups. “They don’t want to be on television defending Martha Coakley. It’s passé. It’s socially unacceptable. I never dreamed I’d see Democrats in Massachusetts embarrassed to admit they’re Democrats.”

Yeah? Well tomorrow is another day.

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