GOP election official tries to prove voter fraud vulnerabilities, violates voters’ privacy in the process

Elections officials in Prince William County, Virginia have asked the state to investigate an election official in Prince William County, Virginia.

You see, one election official was so sure that someone had committed voter fraud through the absentee ballot process by exploiting the state’s online application process that they went and violated over 150 voters’ privacy rights in order to prove himself right. From the Washington Post:

Vote via Shutterstock

Vote via Shutterstock

Election officials in Prince William County this week asked the Commonwealth’s attorney to investigate one of their own.

They say Guy Anthony Guiffré, a member of the county electoral board, might have broken state and federal laws in his quest to determine whether someone improperly used technology to impersonate voters in last month’s election.

At issue is a state rule that says a voter can apply for an absentee ballot online using an electronic signature instead of the old-fashioned way — with paper and pen.

Guiffré, a Republican, says the system opens the door to fraud. To prove it, he recruited four friends — while the county’s registrar was away — to inspect 151 absentee ballot documents and registration records laden with Social Security numbers and other personal information. In doing so, Democrats say, he compromised the meticulous process used to handle ballots, usurped his authority and violated voter privacy.

Guiffré says he has a responsibility to do whatever it takes to figure out if the law was broken. Everyone else in his office appears to disagree with him, saying that you don’t get to break the law to prove the law was broken.

It’s also generally a bad idea to wait until your boss is out of town to break the rules. It’s a pretty clear sign you know you’re breaking them.

Apparently, the episode started when both candidates in a state senate race set up websites that made it easier for voters to request absentee ballots online. While the Republican candidate set up their site first, the Democratic candidate had far more success with theirs, reportedly using a canvassing campaign to help over 900 people apply for absentee ballots. After he won the election, local Republicans pointed to the Democratic campaign’s absentee push as likely evidence of either intimidation or outright fraud.

But the only way to prove fraud was to find forged signatures. That meant comparing the electronic signatures on the online absentee ballot applications with the signatures on voter registration forms. Guiffré recruited four friends and went to work. As the Post continues:

The group — who had no training in handwriting analysis — compared the envelopes with registration records and made photocopies. Then, Guiffré said, he told staff that an inch-and-a-half-thick stack of copies could be destroyed.

This isn’t the first time Guiffré, an accountant, has launched his own study. Earlier this year, he said he applied for absentee ballots online no less than four times as a test.

The result? “I found out it works pretty crappy and it needs to be changed,” he said.

It’s perhaps worth noting that the people working the hardest to find holes in our election system are Republican officials who seem absolutely sure that Democrats have already found them. Earlier this year, conservative activist James O’Keefe, whose Project Veritas makes it its mission to “expose” Democrats committing fraud, has been arrested for conspiracy to commit voter fraud himself. He also faces allegations of campaign finance violations and entrapment this cycle for trying to prove that the Clinton campaign was raising money from foreign nationals.

Turns out, Clinton’s campaign workers didn’t take the bait and followed the law.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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5 Responses to “GOP election official tries to prove voter fraud vulnerabilities, violates voters’ privacy in the process”

  1. ComradeRutherford says:

    When Democrats win elections is can only be through voter fraud. The Republican’s policies certainly can’t have anything to do with it:
    Women are property
    Not Whites aren’t people
    All money should go to the already rich
    Normal people should never be allowed to retire and work until they die on the job
    No one except the CEO should be paid for their work

  2. Steven Jaeger says:

    The guy needs to lose his job at the least for going behind his supervisors back and completely doing things not by the book. If he broke laws he needs to be in prison.

  3. r.l.newsom says:

    The weird lady with the foreign accent on the NC video O’Keefe made slurred the words “I’m; a legal voter” or “I’m a-illegal voter” deliberately. Plus O’Keefe doctored the audio and the video. Him and his doctored videos. Sigh.

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  5. Doug105 says:

    A republican criminal trying to usurp voters rights and change outcomes?

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