It’s been an off-year for elections, but voter fraud scandals were on in 2023, affecting local races in New England, Iowa, New Jersey, and Texas.
At least three of these scandals—in New England states—affected races that were on the ballot this year. Others involved formal charges brought for alleged fraud in past elections.
In the past week alone, one election was overturned in Texas, a federal voter fraud trial began in Iowa, and politicians in Connecticut grappled over when to have a do-over election after a judge tossed the results.
On top of that, multiple alleged cases of election fraud were caught on video.
As explained in my 2022 book “The Myth of Voter Suppression,” voter fraud is a demonstrably real problem proven by numerous convictions and overturned elections. The most common form of fraud is through absentee voting and ballot harvesting.
Here’s a look at six election fraud cases being prosecuted or investigated in the aftermath of the 2023 elections.
1. Caught on Camera in Connecticut Drop Box
A week before the general election in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the state’s largest city, state Judge William Clark tossed out the results of Democrats’ September primary pitting incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim against challenger John Gomes.
Gomes was ahead on election night in the primary, but after absentee ballots came in the next day, Ganim was declared the winner.
The judge called the evidence of fraud “shocking.” That evidence was on video, which shows the vice chair of the Bridgeport Democratic Committee apparently stuffing ballots into a drop box outside Bridgeport City Hall.
The judge didn’t have the authority to postpone the general election, which went forward Tuesday. Although Ganim defeated Gomes in the general election, it appears unlikely to count. The court gave the candidates until Wednesday to agree on a primary date, or the court would set one.
Ganim is known as one of the state’s biggest comeback stories.
The Bridgeport mayor’s political career seemed to have come to an end in 2003 after he was convicted on racketeering, extortion, and other public corruption charges and sentenced to nine years in prison. But Ganim was elected again as mayor in 2015 and has been reelected in each subsequent election.
2. Alleged Vote Buying in Springfield, Massachusetts
Just days before the general election in Springfield, Massachusetts, city election officials accused mayoral candidate Justin Hurst of buying votes during in-person early voting.
Hurst, a member of the Springfield City Council, was challenging incumbent Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. Both are Democrats.
Video footage caught people being dropped off in black SUVs and entering City Hall to vote. After they come out with “I Voted” stickers, a man “takes out what appears to be a large bundle of cash” and hands bills to each individual, according to an affidavit from Springfield Elections Commissioner Gladys Oyola-Lopez, as reported by Western Mass News and other news outlets.
Hurst denied the allegations and said he was the target of a “smear campaign.”
If the allegations were true, it was a bad investment. Surno won a sixth term as mayor on election night.
3. Stealing Ballots?
Massachusetts received disproportionate attention this year on the voter fraud front. Like the aforementioned two cases, election fraud alleged in Lawrence, Massachusetts, also was caught on video.
NBC 10 Boston first reported Wednesday on video footage that seems to show a woman removing a ballot from a mailbox.
Another woman made a similar complaint to police, the news outlet reported, and officials said there may be others. Some voters in Lawrence said they showed up to vote in person and were told they had already sent in a mail-in ballot.
The Essex County District Attorney’s Office and Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin are investigating the allegations.
“We’re going to get all the ballots out of Lawrence, we’re going to get all the mail-in ballots, and we’re going to review everything and all the provisionals and reconcile the list,” Galvin told the news station. “And if further investigation contacting some of the people who allegedly voted by mail needs to be done, we will do it.”
4. That 2020 Election
On Wednesday, the federal voter fraud trial of Kim Phuong Taylor began in Iowa, the Sioux City Journal reported.
Kim Taylor is the wife of Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor, who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2020 Republican primary for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. Her husband was named as an unindicted coconspirator.
Federal prosecutors allege that Kim Taylor engaged in a fraudulent scheme in both her husband’s failed House race and his successful reelection for the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors.
Taylor allegedly submitted or caused others to submit dozens of voter registrations, absentee ballot request forms, and absentee ballots containing false information, according to the Justice Department.
These documents required the signer to affirm that he or she was the person named in them, but prosecutors allege Taylor signed the documents for voters without their permission and told others that they could sign on behalf of relatives who weren’t present.
Federal prosecutors indicted Kim Taylor on 26 counts of providing false information in registering and voting, three counts of fraudulent registration, and 23 counts of fraudulent voting. She faces up to five years for each count.
5. Overturning Election in Texas
On Tuesday, just a little over a year after the 2022 election for the Laredo City Council, a Texas state appeals court made what might be the final ruling in an alleged scam involving city police officers.
The appeals court ruled that Ricardo Rangel Jr. was the rightful winner of the District 2 council seat over Daisy Campos Rodriguez, who won the 2022 race by six votes, the Laredo Morning Times reported.
A lower court ruled in February that 11 votes were cast illegally in favor of Campos Rodriguez the previous November.
Officers with the Laredo Police Department reportedly cast some illegal votes. Three of them were suspended and another retired.
6. That Other 2020 Election, Jersey-Style
In late October, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office charged Paterson Council Speaker Alex Mendez with stealing mail-in ballots.
State prosecutors also alleged that Mendez, his wife, and two campaign supporters attempted to rig the 2020 election, NBC 4 New York reported. Investigators said hundreds of ballots were stolen, falsified, or improperly delivered.
New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin, a Democrat, said the Mendez campaign attempted “to rig an election in their favor and to deprive the voters of Paterson of having their voices heard.”
Paterson is the third-largest city in New Jersey.
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