Here’s what I learned and didn’t learn from reading R.G. Dunlop’s Aug. 21 commentary, “Money rules in Kentucky’s legacy industry: Election fraud.”
From 2005 through 2014, Eastern Kentucky had 201 public corruption convictions. What percentage of convictions were for election fraud? Dunlop and another reporter saw a lot of vote-buying going on during a Magoffin County primary election in 1987. Was anyone indicted? Five other Eastern Kentucky vote-buying cases are cited, occurring between 2005 and 2014 — hardly a pandemic.
Here’s what I conclude: Eastern Kentucky may have more than its share of corruption, but election fraud is not a major concern in Kentucky or anywhere else. I’m assuming that every public official convicted of vote-buying in Eastern Kentucky is white. And since Magoffin County’s African-American population is 0.3, the vote sellers are undoubtedly white. Therefore, the draconian measures taken in Republican states to disenfranchise African-American voters (requiring picture IDs) would not work in Eastern Kentucky.
Finally, Dunlop’s mention of ex-Gov. Steve Beshear as a possible beneficiary of vote buying in one precinct in 1987— with no facts connecting Beshear to election fraud — is shoddy journalism and innuendo.