A couple of days after Joe Biden was declared the president-elect last fall, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) announced that he'd be willing to pay up to $1 million as a reward to those who could produce evidence of voter fraud.
Well, Mr. Patrick, if you happen to see this, have I got a story for you.
MaddowBlog reader C.G. alerted me to this extraordinary story out of Colorado, where a Donald Trump supporter is accused of casting an illegal ballot for his dead wife -- whom he's also accused of murdering. The NBC affiliate in Denver reported:
Barry Morphew, who is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of his wife who remains missing, is now accused of submitting a ballot for her in the November presidential election. Suzanne Morphew was last seen in May 2020, and while she has not been found, the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) announced earlier this month the arrest of her husband Barry and said they believe Suzanne is no longer alive.
Let's take a moment to unpack this one.
Suzanne Morphew hasn't been seen in a year, and last week, her husband, Barry Morphew, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. That's obviously tragic enough on its own, but what followed were additional charges for casting an illegal vote.
According to the local reporting, last October, Barry Morphew also allegedly submitted a ballot on behalf of the wife he allegedly killed. Her ballot was submitted without a signature -- a requirement in Colorado's vote-by-mail system -- but it did include his name as a witness.
According to the arrest affidavit, asked why he submitted the ballot for his missing-and-presumed-dead wife, Barry Morphew said, "Just because I wanted Trump to win.... I just thought give him [Trump] another vote."
He added, according to the affidavit, that he believed "all these other guys are cheating."
Following up on an item from last week, whenever I see these isolated incidents of voters casting ballots for dead people, I expect Republicans and other opponents of voting rights to say, "See? Voter fraud is real after all, which means sweeping new voter-suppression laws are fully justified."
But that's backwards. What stories like these actually help show is that fraud is extremely rare, and when would-be criminals try to cheat, the existing system is strong enough to catch them and charge them.
This doesn't prove the need for new voter-suppression laws; it helps prove the opposite.
As for Texas' Dan Patrick, we've now seen two examples in two weeks of Trump voters allegedly casting ballots on behalf of dead relatives. If the Republican lieutenant governor wants to send me a check, I promise to apply the money to a good cause.