Mayor's race is hanging by a chad

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You all remember the amazing mess that followed the 2000 general election in Florida? Questions about allowing military absentee ballots, the allegedly confusing Votomatic ballots, and the improperly punched votes -- hanging chads, pregnant chads, dimpled chads. The battle over the recount reached the U. S. Supreme Court.

The final official margin was 537 votes out of 6 million votes cast. That was the difference between a Bush presidency and a Gore presidency. It was a vivid object lesson of the principle that every vote matters.

That's why people get so exercised about vote fraud. I want to do all we can to ensure that only eligible people vote, that an eligible voter votes only once, and only in his place of primary residence, and that his vote counts exactly once. Whatever it takes within reason to make that happen -- showing ID at the polls, better optical scanning machines (but never, never, NEVER, an all-electronic system -- there has to be a voter-marked paper ballot), even purple dye on the thumb.

A fraudulent vote isn't a victimless crime. Like counterfeit currency, a fraudulent vote dilutes the value of every other vote.

Matters of life and death, war and peace, thrift and profligacy can hang on one vote per precinct. If only eligible voters had voted in Florida in 2000, what would have been the outcome? Would Bush have one by a bigger margin? Would Gore have won?

One form of vote fraud to which Florida is especially susceptible is dual-state registration. Florida has plenty of snowbirds who winter there and summer in New York, the Midwest, whereever home used to be. Dual-state residents are anxious to establish Florida residency because of the tax benefits, particularly the lack of a state income tax.

Registering to vote would help establish you as a resident of Florida, but you might not think to delete your registration in your old home state. In August 2004, the New York Daily News did a computer analysis, matching New York City voter registration records against the entire state of Florida and found 45,882 apparent matches.

Dual registration is fine, as long as you only vote in one state.

Officials in both states acknowledge that voting in multiple states is something of a perfect crime, one officials don't have the means to catch.

If you are caught, it's "a federal offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine."

When the story broke on Friday about Kathy Taylor's dual homestead exemptions, I wondered about dual registration, too, so I called the Broward County Supervisor of Elections. I was told that Lobeck was still on the rolls, but not Taylor. An anonymous e-mail said I got the wrong answer, and I thought that it was possible the woman on the phone didn't understand me or I her.

Over the weekend I remembered: I have Florida voter registration and history data on my computer from a project I helped with a few years ago. I don't have data directly from the county election board, but the Republican National Committee collects voter registration records from every jurisdiction in the country, standardizes addresses, matches names with phone numbers, and takes 50 different data formats and rearranges all the records into one standard format. The Democrats do the same thing. It's all to help candidates figure out how to get their message directly to the most frequent voters.

The data I have was processed by the RNC in the summer or fall of 2002, long before running for mayor was even a gleam in Kathy Taylor's eye. It shows that she and William Earl Lobeck, Jr., were registered to vote at 704 Royal Plaza Drive, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33301. Taylor registered to vote in Broward County, Florida, as a Democrat on February 5, 2000. That info is copied by the RNC directly from the original registration record. Her registration number is listed as 10391553.

The local election board also tracks each election in which a voter casts a ballot -- school board, city elections, runoffs, etc. The RNC doesn't preserve all the voter history information, just the records for major elections, like presidential preference primaries, state primaries, and general elections. Taylor's record shows that she voted in person in the 2000 Florida presidential preference primary, and by absentee ballot in the 2000 general election.

I also have voter registration records from the Oklahoma State Election Board, going back to May 1998. Taylor's voter number is 720088835, she registered to vote on October 2, 1988, and the records from the election board's December 2001 data show that she voted in person at what was then Tulsa County precinct 70 in the 2000 general election. (Precinct boundaries were redrawn in spring 2002; precinct 70 was teleported to east Tulsa, and old 70 was split between two neighboring precincts. Taylor and Lobeck are now in precinct 73.)

If these records are accurate, Kathryn L. Taylor committed federal voter fraud by voting twice in the same election, in an election and a state where every vote mattered.

I suspect I'm not the only one who has been able to dig up this information. Others with more time on their hands may be able to verify all this directly with the Tulsa County and Broward County election boards.

UPDATE: 12 pm, 2/28: Don McCorkell is holding a 1:30 pm press conference, Kathy Taylor is holding a 2:30 pm press conference. At a Democrat candidate forum today, she deflected a question about the issue, and then stormed out of the room as soon as the event was over.

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XonOFF said:

Wow, Michael.
Public access to civil records would seem proving to be beneficial. We need more of this.

And, Kathy Taylor would need a good explaination.

Dan Paden said:

I have steam comin' out me ears, an' I ain't e'en true wit' me mornin' coffee...

Mike said:

I wonder what the McCorkell camp will do with this revelation. Perhaps they should politely ask Ms. Taylor to bow out of the primary, in the interest of "party unity".

sbtulsa said:

kathy taylor must not pay attention to details. sound familiar.

susan said:

Outstanding news reporting Michael! Especially since Kathy Taylor graduated from OU law school at the top of her class (is that right?) so she is well aware of what she did.

Tulsa World should have Marlette do a cartoon on that one! It would be so easy to draw since he already works at OU in Norman.

I am going to pass this on to my son to discuss in his college political science class. I wish Michael Bates could come to his political science class and be a guest speaker! How interesting to talk of current events and my son and others in this class are registered to vote! It meets M-W-F if you can try any of those
days or perhaps C.Medlock could speak to the class a few minutes on this issue. We need to make it clear why voter i.d.
is important. We have two democratic candidates spending outrageous amounts of money for
the title of Mayor of Tulsa.

It's important to educate the need for Voter I.D.
when he helps at the Capitol and there are other
seniors there to understand the importance of IDENTIFICATION. If some of the people at the Capitol don't see the point, some of those elected come from very small towns and districts where many already know others. They don't see the point and the time factor to whip out your driver's license when it could be posted on the door for people to have ready before you vote is not a reason to not pass that law.

Jan Thomas said:

I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the information that I can get from your blogsite and all of the other Tulsa Bloggers. Though I cannot vote, everyone of these races affects our area (the 23 square miles of N.Tulsa County). We are really pulling for Medlock for Mayor as well as regaining a majority on the Council. Thank you again for all you do!

susan said:

Did anyone notice in the Tulsa World today campaign contributions included David Boren (OU) gave to the Kathy Taylor campaign. The other contributors to McCorkell and Taylor campaign contributions are interesting to note. McCorkell gave to his own campaign the most of all the candidates.

Maybe they did not cover the laws of voting at the OU law
school:) Any OU law school grads want to comment?

Dan Paden said:

According to the Whirled's site, Taylor is claiming that no one can give her documentation that she voted in Tulsa. Above, you cited "records from the election board's December 2001 data." Are those records something that you could fax over to her, or do they just exist in electronic form, or what? Is she going to claim that somebody hacked the system?

Not that I expect you to be psychic or anything.

Dan Paden said:

Never mind; I saw the pictures on OTW. You have to wonder what poor Miss Kathy is thinking.

XonOFF said:

OK, Michael, the world went upside down today.

Now, then, I've a couple of unanswered questions. I've read all the posts everywhere, especially those at TulsaNow, and there's a break in the chain I haven't been able to connect yet. So, I'll ask directly.

First off, I do not agree with any of the attacks on you personally made by obvious hacks. As far as I know, you've always held the highest regard for the truth, chosen your words carefully and admitted when you may have jumped the gun a little (LaFortune's job offer is the only time I can actually recall, minor deal, which probably had some substance anyway).

A lot of accusations by Taylor's camp insinuating McCorkell held this four-year old information until just now to release (which, from your own prior writing would not appear to be true).

However, in one case it appears McCorkell did his own research to confirm this information, and in another, he indicated the original source for the information was you, before they went to the effort of obtaining confirmation documents themselves.

Here's the discrepency. The documents which McCorkells' campaign released were dated 2/23.

Your posting above first appeared last night 2/27. I was assuming you just compiled the data over the last couple of days. But, if McCorkells' campagin first received the initial disclosure from you, it would have had to occur before 2/23, meaning you've known this for over a week before going public.

Your posting, "Home is where the exemption is" appeared on 2/24, ostensibly after you already knew of the double voting issue.

But, it all doesn't add up. I'm guessing McCorkells' campaign first discovered the issue and you picked up on it somehow and then did your own research (using the data you had previously).

Which means McCorkell's claim that you were the source of the info is inaccurate.

Would you care to confirm any of this?

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 27, 2006 8:30 PM.

Primary election ethics filings was the previous entry in this blog.

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