Twitter claims 'no evidence' of mail-in voter fraud despite numerous convictions since 2016

Around three dozen criminal convictions for absentee ballot fraud over past four years tallied in Heritage Foundation database.

Published: May 27, 2020 11:39am

Updated: May 28, 2020 8:53am

Twitter this week slapped a warning label on some of Donald Trump's tweets for the first time, cautioning users that the president's "series of claims about potential voter fraud" were "unsubstantiated," citing "CNN, Washington Post and others" for authority. "Experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to voter fraud," Twitter declared.

In an accompanying "What you need to know" list, the social media giant added that "fact checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud."

In fact, there have been numerous cases of mail-in voter fraud scattered widely across the country over the past four years, evidence that the absentee ballot system is open to at least some voter manipulation, even as many experts and pundits continue to insist otherwise. 

According to data compiled by the Heritage Foundation, there have been around three dozen criminal convictions for absentee ballot fraud over the past four years, and those cases are but a small subset of over 200 convictions for various types of voter fraud the conservative organization says have occurred since 2016. 

In one case from 2016, Indiana police officer Lowell Colen was convicted of absentee ballot fraud in an attempt to help his father win a city council election. Colen eventually pled guilty to four felony counts of voter fraud, with prosecutors claiming he filled out false registrations and forged numerous signatures. 

In 2018, authorities arrested Florida man Bret Warren after they determined he had stolen five absentee ballots and fraudulently voted with them. Warren eventually pled no contest to two charges of false swearing in connection with voting.

Last year, former Gordon, Alabama mayor Elbert Melton was convicted of absentee ballot fraud in a mayoral race he won by just 16 votes. 

In 2018, New Mexico authorities indicted Laura Seeds on 13 counts of voter fraud related to her husband's 2016 mayoral race. Seeds was eventually convicted in part for illegally possessing two absentee voter ballots; her husband Robert won the race by two votes. 

Thousands of deceased registrants, double registrations

Absentee ballot fraud is just one method of exploiting flaws in the system to perpetrate voting fraud. In some cases, for instance, dead voters have been found to have cast votes in numerous elections, as a local CBS report found in Colorado several years ago. The same phenomenon was discovered in Chicago as well.

The potential for posthumous voter fraud may be more acute in some states than others. The Public Interest Legal Foundation, a voting watchdog group, sent a notification letter to New Jersey's Division of Elections this week informing the state that it had found a total of nearly 12,000 "deceased individuals with an active registration in the State of New Jersey." Roughly half of those, the foundation said, had died eight or more years ago. 

Media reports have revealed that numerous deceased residents of New Jersey have in the past received vote-by-mail notices.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation also told New Jersey it found "830 potentially duplicated registrations across state lines with apparent voting credits assigned by election officials in each state for the 2018 General Election." The foundation recently sent similar letters to Virginia and New Mexico. 

Cash-for-ballot fraud, 'joke' tampering

Recently, some voter fraud cases have made headlines. Last week, a Democratic party official in Philadelphia pled guilty to a voter-fraud-for-cash scheme there.

Domenick DeMuro, a Democratic ward chairman in that city, admitted that he had "fraudulently stuffed the ballot box by literally standing in a voting booth and voting over and over, as fast as he could, while he thought the coast was clear," the Philadelphia U.S. Attorney's Office said. 

DeMuro allegedly had a network of clients who paid him significant sums of money to rig elections. 

A mail carrier in Pendleton County, West Virginia, meanwhile, recently admitted to investigators that he altered mail-in voting ballot documents. The U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of West Virginia said in a press release yesterday that it was charging Thomas Cooper, a worker with the U.S. Postal Service, with "attempted election fraud." 

An affidavit supplied by that office to Just the News states that last month the Pendleton County Clerk received several absentee mail-in ballot requests "in which the voter’s party-ballot request appeared to have been altered by use of a black-ink pen." On five of the requests, "it appeared that the voters ballot choice was changed from Democrat to Republican

West Virginia Attorney General Investigator Bennie Cogar was assigned to investigate the case, he said in the affidavit, leading both Cogar and U.S. Postal Inspector Todd Phillips to Tommy Cooper, a mail carrier for Pendleton County. "During the interview, Cooper said that 'yes,' he changed the requests that had been placed in the mail," the affidavit states.

When asked by Phillips if he was "just being silly" in altering the ballots, Cooper responded: "“Yeah ... [I did it] as a joke ... [I] don't even know them."

"Had Cooper's conduct not been detected, it would have caused the Clerk to give Republican ballots to 5 Democrat voters — skewing the primary election by 5 votes and thereby defrauding all West Virginian’s [sic] of a fair election," the affidavit states. 

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