We are entering into an extremely heated 2016 presidential election this week. The democratic and republican parties are both firing claims of “voter fraud.” While this term is being thrown around a lot lately, the crime is not a myth and is very serious. Due to the significant impact of this type of fraud, the government works hard to find and convict such a crime.
What is Voter Fraud?
Voter fraud is illegally interfering with the process of an election. There are a number of ways that this type of fraud can be committed:
- Double voting – This is when an individual attempt to cast more than one ballot in the same election.
- Dead voters – Using the name of a deceased person that is still on the official list of those registered to vote.
- Felon voter fraud – According the the Michigan Secretary of State, Michigan residents that are confined in jail or prison awaiting arraignment or trial are eligible to vote. However, “residents who are serving a sentence in jail or prison after conviction cannot vote during the period of confinement.” Thus, anyone attempting to cast a ballot for an incarcerated person serving time is considered voter fraud.
It is important to note that Michigan residents who are released from jail or prison after serving a sentence are “free to participate in elections without restriction.”
- Registration Fraud – Filling out and submitting a registration card for a person that doesn’t exist.
- Voter Buying – This happens when an agreement between voters and others to buy or sell votes. This could happen from a candidate or from another voter attempting to bribe votes.
Examples of Voter Fraud
Voter fraud has many different faces. Our country has a history of voter-fraud that can date back to the very beginning where candidates would promise land to voters. There are many examples of voter fraud that happens today.
One example comes from Idaho. Walter Coiner was a business owner that tried to vote twice in the general 2008 election. He voted in person and also cast an absentee ballot in another nearby town. Eventually, he was caught and pleaded guilty. His charges fell under a misdemeanor voter fraud charge. He was given one year of probation, 40 hours of community service, and fined.
Another example of voter fraud comes from a man from Mississippi. His name is William Greg Eason. He bribed voters with beer and money to cast fraudulent absentee ballots for a candidate that was running in a 2003 election. He was caught and found guilty. His punishment was to serve two years in prison.
What are Michigan Laws Regarding Voter Fraud?
Michigan law requests that voters have a picture identification. However, a voter that does not have a picture ID can still vote. The voter instead is required to fill out an affidavit claiming that they are who they say they are.
What is the Punishment for Voter Fraud?
Under the Michigan Penal code, committing voter fraud in Michigan is considered a misdemeanor. However, each crime is looked at individually. The details of the case, will impact the punishment of the crime.
What Kind of Defense is There for Those Charged?
There are a number of reasons that might cause a person to commit voter fraud. Some might commit without realizing what they have done, while others might feel so passionate in their cause they might be driven to commit the act. When a defendant is remorseful is a lot that can be done to help avoid prison time and large fines.
Seek Advice from a Professional Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one is being charged with voter fraud, seek professional help today. There are many directions a defense attorney can take to help make sure you do not face any unjust punishment. These are serious charges that you do not want to take lightly. Contact us today.
Let’s start fighting for your freedom.