Absentee ballots and campaign shakedowns in Miami

So, I confess, I had to look up who Luther Campbell was, aside from a guy who came in fourth in a race for county mayor in Miami-Dade County. He was a somewhat high-profile music promoter, fronting for groups like 2 Live Crew. But it is his electoral experience, as described in his column in the Miami New Times, that draws our attention today. He describes some of the more ugly experiences that someone like him has when trying to put together a campaign in Miami and the strange offers he gets:

The only way to get that many absentee ballots is by hiring brokers who charge candidates thousands of dollars to deliver bundles to the county elections department. The brokers are the ones responsible for dead people voting in the ’80s and ’90s. Now they go around strong-arming the elderly residents at assisted living facilities or fooling them with free breakfast at the local IHOP. The brokers also pay off preachers so they can set up shop inside houses of worship to sign up absentee voters.

I saw it firsthand when I ran in the recent county mayoral race. One guy, who I won’t name, guaranteed he could deliver thousands of absentee ballots in North Miami and North Miami Beach for $3,000. I took a pass. It showed on Election Day. I had more early and Election Day ballots than absentee votes.

Sure would be neat if he said more about this. We know that this problem isn’t necessarily unique to south Florida, as there were a bunch of arrests in more rural north Florida earlier this month. One wonders if these are the sorts of “manufacturing ballots” stories that former Rep. Artur Davis was talking about in neighboring Alabama.

Twitter Updates for 2011-11-23

  • Obama realtor + donor sentenced to 10+ years …. http://t.co/s86UYeMX #
  • This CNN intro is absurd. #
  • Calvin Coolidge? Really? #
  • This is the most DC insider audience ever. Probably the only one that Ron Paul will get a solid boo in #
  • Couldn't they get a … daughter of teh American revolution for this? #
  • Ron Paul did not say that the wars were unconstitutional… He used to do that in HIRC hearings. That's interesting. #
  • So awesome. Total fail RT @johntabin: Did Willard Mitt Romney just claim that Mitt is his first name? #
  • When SNL is too weird to be fiction … #
  • It is nice that the first question comes from a Republican and a conservative. Actually asking questions that we care about #
  • Ron Paul gets an applause from the DC audience on the patriot act. It does show the division on this #
  • Newt has a distinction between what we do outside our borders whereas Ron Paul is talking about inside our borders. Important difference #
  • @JonHuntsman points out that values do matter in how people perceive us. New world. But what about the patriot act? #
  • @MittRomney does bring this back to Newt's distinction for international war versus domestic action. That's the concept. #
  • wow. split screen. jokes. this is incredibly. #
  • @JonHuntsman uses an opportunity to get his domestic hits in. Interestingly important for his appeal. #
  • Pakistan question. The question is, what if bribing people is the best way to get some leverage there? Then you do it #
  • Too nuclear to fail is interesting…. What's the analogy to "too big to fail" which is a bad thing that we are supposed to walk away from #
  • This Michelle Bachmann is on her game…. #
  • In 2008. McCain and Ron Paul were in competition for votes. Huntsman clearly understands that #
  • does anyone really believe that Afghanistan will be secure and safe? Really? #
  • 40 minutes into the debate and nothing about the European crisis #
  • Doing it for real is important. We have still not modified our civilian agencies for dealing with these problems #
  • #cnndebate what role should the US and the Fed have in dealing with the European financial crisis? Should the Fed tell the American people? #
  • Israel and Iran. Mildly amazing that we are first discussing those at 50 minutes #
  • how does a country of 6m have a success plan attacking 30m without just blowing up lots of things? #
  • @thehermancain the problem isn't going to be the terrain. #
  • What about sanctions on the importation of gasoline? They don't have refineries… #
  • Newt just said that a war with Iran is preferable to a nuclear weapon. That should be what the follow up should be about #
  • And people learn that Paul Wolfowitz isn't who they think he is… #
  • Few wins on this stage… RT @TheFix: Romney virtually nonexistent. Which is just fine by him. #cnndebate #
  • Calling budget gimmicks gimmicks is an applause line. #
  • Of course we need to cut defense. The question is how and what and what reforms #
  • Huntsman is getting a lot of time. And he is using it well #
  • part time legislature NOT an applause line with DC audience #
  • @jmgehrke yeah, but he lost by like 20 points in reply to jmgehrke #
  • @jmgehrke And Pawlenty survived the wave… in reply to jmgehrke #
  • Europe. Eurozone. Latin America. Mexico. #
  • Romney happy he's not focus. Huntsman glad to get the camera time. Bachmann actually knows her stuff #
  • I think that Perry mentioned it during the Syria no fly zone RT @guypbenson: Has the word "Iraq" been uttered once yet? #cnndebate #
  • Mexico may well be the most important issue for the next President #
  • Mexico as a failed state is a more important issue than the border security issues. How do we make sure that Mexico is a viable state #
  • how did we talk about energy and not talk about the Keystone XL pipeline, a deal with our biggest ally #
  • I agree with Newt, but I doubt expanding H1 would get applause like that anywhere else in teh country #
  • @mindyfinn Or the Eurocrisis in reply to mindyfinn #
  • RT @timkmak: To explain: Romney said he'd make his 1st state visit to Israel. That's traditionally reserved for Canada. #
  • Newt takes a stand on principle. I predict that this won't hurt him. #
  • Waiting to articulate it better … RT @samsteinhp: where was gingrich when perry was getting pummeled by Romney on immigration? #
  • 20 minutes left. Iraq. Arab Spring. Europe #
  • @jdpeterson huntsman mentioned china … in reply to jdpeterson #
  • if we are are going to talk about Mexico and immigration, why not what the Mexicans complain about: guns and fast and furious? #
  • Good question about values in the middle east and allies. need more concept questions #
  • Good question on current issues in Egypt #
  • great question. 10 minutes left and no europe or china #
  • or Europe RT @2chambers: Surprisingly little mention of China at this debate. nothing on Senate's China currency bill? #cnndebate #
  • Romney does well on the Asian Century/American Century line #
  • @PatrickRuffini If Heritage got to ask Obama questions and CAP the GOP nominee, that would be fun in reply to PatrickRuffini #
  • Last question #
  • Last question. No China. No Europe. #
  • Good for Perry for bringing up China. #
  • @NewYorker @RyanLizza you mean like Lizza did with Francis Schaffer? http://t.co/y4Uu1MX2 in reply to NewYorker #

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