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Our Opinion: Finding voter fraud

October 03, 2001

Voter fraud is a serious issue and one that, in the form of allegations, rumors and investigations but no convictions, has become a matter of concern in the Imperial Valley in recent months.

We hope the issue has not tainted any recent elections, but regardless, it has become a topic of discussion for the county Board of Supervisors and others.

The board has even gone as far as to create an exploratory committee toward forming a county voter fraud committee. The board is trying to determine the duties and functions of a committee that would target voter fraud to try to assure it does not occur in the Valley.

We support the board in its effort. We are quite convinced there has been voter fraud in Imperial County, even in recent years, and the fact that it generally goes unpunished should concern us all. If bad guys know they can get away with something, they will continue until they are punished.

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Still, we urge caution. Such a committee should not be formed to start a witch hunt in the Imperial Valley so people are scared off from voting. We can envision abuses of authority if the supervisors are not careful in how they establish the guideposts for such a committee.

It should be possible to form a voter fraud committee that guards against election fraud and creates a positive environment in which people can seek election and cast ballots for their chosen candidate.

The board cannot form a special interest group but must select people for the committee who can fairly represent the interests of all voters in the Valley.

It is unfortunate that voter fraud has become an issue of discussion and debate in Imperial County. Whether voter fraud has occurred or not, it has become an issue concerning local people.

The board has an opportunity here and it needs to make use of that opportunity. There is much at stake — specifically the sanctity of our local elections. That is a major issue in every democratic place.

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