In the wake of Donald Trump's defeat last fall, Republicans launched a desperate search for illegally cast ballots to help justify the GOP's conspiracy theories. But as regular readers know, despite all the hysterical rhetoric, only a handful of legitimate allegations have been raised -- and some of the most notable examples involve Republicans casting illegal ballots on behalf of dead relatives.
Take Pennsylvania's Robert Richard Lynn, for example. The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre reported yesterday:A man from Forty Fort said he used "poor judgement" and regrets using his deceased mother's name on an application for an absentee ballot for the 2020 presidential election. Robert Richard Lynn, 68, of Center Street, pleaded guilty to a third-degree misdemeanor charge of violations relating to absentee or mail-in ballots during a court proceeding before Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough on Monday.
The recent pattern is pretty amazing. Revisiting our earlier coverage, we learned in May, for example, about Pennsylvania's Bruce Bartman, who cast an absentee ballot in support of Trump for his mother -- who died in 2008. Bartman pleaded guilty to unlawful voting, conceded he "listened to too much propaganda," and was sentenced to five years' probation.
About a month later, Edward Snodgrass, a local Republican official in Ohio, admitted to forging his dead father's signature on an absentee ballot and then voting again as himself. NBC News noted at the time that Snodgrass struck a deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to three days in jail and a $500 fine.
This new example is notable in part because of the amount of effort the Republican voter in Pennsylvania invested in his scheme. This guy used a typewriter to complete an absentee ballot application -- pretending to be his deceased mother, Lynn claimed to be "visiting great grand kids" around the time of the election -- before signing the dead woman's name.
It wasn't long before election officials flagged the ballot, when a database showed that the voter in question died six years ago.
The defendant faced up to two years behind bars. He instead received a sentence of six months' probation.
As we've discussed, there are a handful of ways to look at incidents like these. My first thought is of Crystal Mason, who cast a provisional ballot in the 2016 while on supervised release for a federal conviction. She didn't know she was ineligible to vote, and her ballot was never counted, but Mason -- a Black woman -- was convicted of illegal voting and sentenced to five years in prison.
It's hard not to notice that White men like Robert Richard Lynn, Edward Snodgrass, and Bruce Bartman received vastly more lenient sentences, despite the fact that they knowingly hatched schemes to cast illegal ballots on behalf of dead relatives.
But of course, we know why. A Black former felon who served her time and voted because she didn't know that as a felon she had lost the vote (even though she was no longer a felon) was thrown back in prison, while white men who deliberately and fraudulently voted on purpose, with intent?
Slap on the wrist.