Florida Pilot

A compendium of random thoughts from a former Washington Beltway insider who is now having a lot more fun flying small airplanes in Central Florida.

Friday, June 03, 2005

making the punishment encourage the crime

In Washington state, the Democratic candidate was "elected" governor only after a second recount managed to result in finding enough additional votes to change the result of the initial tally and first recount. And "finding" votes was literally one of the things done in King County, as democratic a stronghold in Washington state as Cook County is in Illinois.

But Republicans have taken the election to court and activists have been doing the kind of review of the voting that the election officials apparently have not bothered with. The reviews have identified items such as illegal voting by felons, votes cast by deceased individuals, etc. Illegally voting in Washington state can result in jail time so one might hope that the increased scrutiny and availability of serious sanctions might discourage that kind of activity in the future. But the penalties imposted in the two cases that have been brought so far for multiple voting are so minor that they will most probably serve to increase the incidence of this kind of infraction.

"Doris McFarland, 83, and Robert Holmgren, 59, each admitted in King County District Court that they forged the signatures of and cast ballots for their recently deceased spouses.

Each will have to pay $490 in fines and court fees but they won't spend any time in jail. Multiple voting is a gross misdemeanor that can carry up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine."

So, in Washington state, you might get a more serious consequence from speeding that from voting fraudulently in an election.


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