A Walker County, Georgia, man was handed a very hefty sentence for submitting another resident’s absentee ballot that had erroneously wound up in his post office box.
Following his conviction for voter fraud, William Chase, 62, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for forging a ballot in Georgia’s January 2021 runoff election, according to WTVC.
District Attorney Chris Arnt told WTVC that a couple who had requested absentee ballots grew concerned when they received just one ballot and contacted the Walker County Elections Office. Records showed the missing ballot had “already been accepted, but not yet counted.”
After viewing the signature at the Elections Office, the woman knew it had been forged.
Arnt said an investigation conducted by the Secretary of State Office determined the woman’s ballot had been sent to Chase by mistake and that he had already sent in his own ballot. Chase was arrested after his fingerprints matched those on the forged ballot.
According to the DA, Chase was convicted of “forgery in the first degree, illegal acts regarding election documents, unlawful acts regarding elector’s vote, and repeat voting in same election.”
Chase’s criminal history includes convictions for “bankruptcy fraud, theft by shoplifting, forgery in the first degree, stealing public documents, and financial identity fraud.”
“Chase is sentenced to 25 years, with the first 15 years to be served in the Georgia Department of Corrections without the possibility of parole,” the report said.
While that may seem to be an overly harsh punishment for the act of forging an absentee ballot, voting is one of the most sacred rights of an American citizen. Chase knowingly tried to disenfranchise this woman by forging her signature.
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Chase’s conviction is unusual in that typically, voter fraud is difficult to prove. But, particularly in states who send ballots out to every resident included on their voter rolls, it’s clear how easy it would be to collect and submit those ballots. And, in a close election, the fraudulent votes could be sufficient to sway the result.
In the months leading up to the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump repeatedly warned of the danger posed by the explosion of mail-in voting. He pointed out the obvious: it opens the door to voter fraud. He was fiercely attacked by the left for his remarks.
The Democratic Party has been lobbying for years to expand the use of absentee and mail-in voting and in some states, it had already gained wide acceptance long before the coronavirus reached our shores. But it was the pandemic that handed Democrats a golden opportunity to expand this new way of voting.
In 2005, former President Jimmy Carter and former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker, III, co-chaired the Commission on Federal Election Reform. The most memorable takeaway from the commission’s final report was that “[a]bsentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”
The Wall Street Journal looked at the Carter-Baker Commission report ahead of the 2020 election and noted that intimidation and vote buying were among their chief concerns. The report read, “Citizens who vote at home, at nursing homes, at the workplace, or in church are more susceptible to pressure, overt and subtle, or to intimidation. Vote buying schemes are far more difficult to detect when citizens vote by mail.”
The report, according to the Journal, cites examples of such schemes, including “the 1997 Miami mayoral election that resulted in 36 arrests for absentee-ballot fraud. The election had to be rerun, and the result was reversed.”
Trump’s warnings about the dangers of mail-in voting in 2020 were prescient. To this day, many Americans remain skeptical over the accuracy of the results in several battleground states.
Days before the midterms, parody site The Babylon Bee published an article that began: “As Republicans continue to expand their leads in polling across the country, Democrats are worried that the leads may soon grow beyond the normal margin of Democrat cheating.”
Despite the fact that this is satire, the reason why this is amusing is that there’s a certain amount of truth to it. This is precisely the type of scenario that conservatives worry about.