October 17, 2002
I Was (Almost) A Fraudulent Voter

Megan McArdle (Live . . . from the WTC) has an interesting post on the DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) campaign to bring college students to Minnesota for a same-day registration campaign. I tend to agree with her that this is a clear attempt to encourage voter fraud while preserving deniability. This is partly my general cynicism, partly because it reminded me of a personal experience I'd almost forgotten:

Twenty years ago last month (or perhaps the month before), I was walking down a sidewalk in the St. Louis suburbs -- University City or thereabouts -- when a campaign worker stopped me and urged me to vote for the Democratic candidate in the upcoming midterm election. I told him I was moving to Maryland before the election, and wouldn't be eligible to vote in Missouri. I said it partly because it was true, partly because I thought it would cut the discussion short more effectively than if I told him I was planning to vote a straight Republican ticket. (I figured leaving town was unarguable, while political opinions were not.) His reply flabbergasted me: "No problem! Just ask for an absentee ballot before you leave town. If you register to vote as soon as you get to Maryland, you can vote twice!" I told him firmly "No thanks, I'm really not interested in committing voter fraud", and he seemed quite offended, though probably not half so offended as I was. At least it got him to go away without further argument. I thought of calling the police or his boss at Democratic headquarters, but was too busy packing, or too lazy, or just thought it wouldn't do much good, since it would have been my word against his -- most likely a combination of the three.

By the way, I could see voting absentee in Missouri if I had been moving too late to register in time to vote in Maryland, e.g. if I had been moving on Halloween. It still wouldn't have been legal, but I could have consoled myself with the thought that I was at least going to be able to vote once instead of not at all, even if I wouldn't have been voting in the right state. But that was not what he was suggesting.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at October 17, 2002 07:57 PM