A trial is underway in South Bend, IN, regarding charges filed against 2 Democrat operatives from St. Joseph County alleging that these 2 were involved in forging dozens of signatures on the ballot petitions supporting Barak Obama in the 2008 Presidential primaries. The petitions were required to allow Obama to be included on the ballots.
The two face charges of orchestrating an illegal scheme to fake the petitions that enabled then-candidates Obama, and Hillary Clinton, to qualify for the race in Indiana.
Former longtime St. Joseph County Democratic Party Chairman Butch Morgan Jr. faces multiple felony conspiracy counts to commit petition fraud, and former county Board of Elections worker Dustin Blythe is charged with nine felony forgery counts and one felony count of falsely making a petition of nomination. The proceedings began Monday in South Bend.
Morgan is accused of being the mastermind behind the plot, by allegedly ordering Democratic officials and workers to fake the names and signatures that Obama and Clinton needed to qualify for the presidential race. Blythe, then a Board of Elections employee and Democratic Party volunteer, has been accused of carrying out those orders by forging signatures on Obama’s petitions.
Morgan and Blythe are 2 of 4 such operatives that were investigated and charged. The other 2 have already plead guilty. Remember that the next time someone claims there’s no evidence that voter fraud is actualy occurring. Yes, it most certainly is.
What makes this case more interesting on a national level – and should also be a launching point for a serious overall discussion on the matter of holding office – is that Indiana law specifies a certain minimum number of signatures being require from a minimum number of separate localities. In this case, you need 500 signatures from 9 counties, minimum, to get on the ballot. The issue, here is that in one of the counties in question, Obama managed to only file 534 signatures. According to the investigation, roughly 9 pages containing up to 90 signatures appear to have been forged. If you take those 90 away from the total, that’s significantly less than 500 signatures, which means that Obama would not have qualified to be on the ballot. So, if he wasn’t on the primary ballot, was he eligible to be on the general ballot? I think not which then makes his victory in that state… what? Invalid?
Now, before anyone jumps on the “fictitious President” bandwagon let’s get the numbers out of the way. In 2008, Obama/Biden got 365 electoral votes, 11 of which came from Indiana. Even if you subtract IN from the picture, that’s still way more than the 270-vote threshold, so I’m not suggesting that the outcome of this trial would render the Obama presidency invalid, at least electorally. It should raise the concern that more of this happened elsewhere that we just haven’t detected, yet, and that our election system is vulnerable to this kind of fraud. If we can stay focused on fixing the process without continuing the “stolen election” feud begun in the 2000 elections then we can discuss how to secure our voting system while still getting every eligible citizen the vote they deserve.
To a larger question, what happens should a circumstance arise where an individual who is currently seated in office is suddenly discovered to have been ineligible to be elected in the first place? I’m unaware of any mechanism in our current system that would address that. Let’s just say that for the sake of this argument that Indiana turned out to be critical to Obama’s election – that without it he wouldn’t have been elected. Now, his being eligible to be on the ballot is discovered to have been based on fraudulent filings, so his presence on the ballot was invalid. If he shouldn’t have been on the ballot, then wouldn’t the election be also invalid? And if his overall victory was only made possible by this state’s victory, then his overall victory would also be invalid. Now what? We… have a do-over? And what about all of the decisions and laws he’s made since his election? I know that if a judge is suddenly discovered to have been ineligible to hear a given trial, the decision made in that trial is rendered invalid and the consequences applied are reversed until a new trial is completed. Would the same apply to a President? Do we even have laws that speak to this?
Interesting thought and I’ll see if I can find anything about it.