|'Massachusetts Vote Fraudster of the Year 2012'|
Former Massachusetts State Representative Stephen “Stat” Smith pled guilty to vote fraud. But he of all people should know what vote fraud is. He served on the legislature’s Joint Committee on Election Law.
Smith intercepted absentee ballots and illegally cast them without the voters’ knowledge or permission. He also obtained absentee ballots for ineligible voters and got them to cast them or cast them himself. Smith and his entire family voted by absentee ballot, and he sent 60 ballots to various buildings Smith owns. This fraudulent scheme secured victories in state and local elections in 2009 and 2010.
Both Democrats and Republicans in the Massachusetts state legislature are upset. Democrat House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo found the charges disappointing and said, “Massachusetts voters have the expectation and right to vote in fair, free and open elections.” Republican House Leader Bradley Jones said that Smith “disgraced his city and the institution he served in, and the whole institution of democracy.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation got involved in uncovering this vote fraud scandal. FBI’s Richard DesLauriers said, “Over the last two years, the FBI methodically uncovered a voter fraud scheme designed to strip Massachusetts voters of their right to a fair election. Rep. Smith, who was a member of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Election Laws, embarked on a scheme that he knew violated the ideals of our nation.”
In exchange for Smith’s plea that he is guilty of two misdemeanor counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, prosecutors recommended that Smith spend six months instead of the maximum two years. Smith also resigned from elected office as Massachusetts state representative and agreed not to seek public office for five years.
But Smith’s guilt is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s more.
Fred Foresteire, the local school superintendent declared, “Stat didn’t do this alone.” Smith’s charges and the plea agreement both indicate that at least five others – which include government officials – cooperated in this absentee ballot fraud scheme.