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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vote fraud at issue in YR race

Here's an interesting entry in the long-running, partisan battle over (usually, Republican) allegations of widespread (Democratic) voter fraud:

A leading candidate to head the Young Republican National Federation is also one of the few people actually charged and convicted for voting shenanigans in recent years.

The candidate, Rachel Hoff, pled guilty to the misdemeanor of notarizing absentee ballot signatures without actually witnessing them during the 2004 South Dakota Senate race, when she was working for the state Republican Party on behalf of John Thune, who went on to beat Tom Daschle.

Local authorities charged six Republicans with violating the rules, and the State Attorney General, Larry Long, explained the rare decision to prosecute notary violations on the grounds that they had invalidated the ballots of students who intended to vote.

Long said at the time that "there's no indication that any unqualified voter tried to cast an absentee ballot," the Argus Leader reported.

The lack of indication of actual fraudulent voting didn't get in the way of a large-scale GOP effort to claim voting fraud in the run-up to last year's election, but Hoff said in an interview that she didn't see a connection.

"It's certainly an issue and it's got to be taken seriously," she said of voting fraud, saying that her goal as chair would be to help "young people make sure they're not cogs in the wheel of an unethical process" as she had been.

She called the misdemeanor, made when she was just 22 and in the process of "cutting corners," a mistake, and said it had taught her a "harsh lesson."

By Ben Smith

Original here

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