US/president/election/2012/Jim Turner

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< US‎ | president‎ | election‎ | 2012
"I have voted once in Beaufort, once in Henderson, twice in Emerald Isle and will vote in my precinct in PKS, I will do whatever it takes to save our country from the world envisioned by Mitt and his fear mongering followers. I do not want my granddaughter to have to re-fight the battles won by women 40 years ago or to make less than my grandson for performing the same work he does. This election is not about taxing the wealthy. It is about the American spirit and caring for our fellow man. Let's continue to move forward, not slip in the dark past."

About

On or about 2012-11-02, it was widely alleged that a Chapel Hill voter named Jim Turner had posted on Facebook that he had voted five times (which would have constituted voter fraud) for Barack Obama. The only evidence presented for this act, however, was a closely-cropped screenshot of his alleged post on Facebook and another composite shot of the post along with parts of Turner's Facebook profile page. There are at this time no known images showing the message in its original context.

Conclusions

Prediction, 2012-11-04 21:40

It seems very unlikely that this incident is as initially presented. However, there is one clear piece of evidence which should easily be uncovered by the investigation: was Jim Turner registered to vote in all of the locations he named, and do the voter records show that he voted there in this election?

It also seems very likely that the incident has to some extent been magnified, distorted, or perhaps wholly fabricated as a way of supporting popular belief in the need to combat voter fraud -- a popular US Republican cause -- and to make Democrats and Obama supporters look dishonest and stupid.

Update, 2012-11-06

It turns out that Turner did not in fact vote illegally. He thought he was making a joke (or perhaps a sympathetic fib) in a private section of Facebook, where the humorous intent of the comment would be understood, but unknowingly was commenting in a very public area. (This is, if nothing else, an indictment of Facebook's sloppy user interface.)

History

A preliminary reconstruction of the sequence of events:

The Barracuda Brigade seems to have first posted about this story on 11/2. It was then picked up by examiner.com on 11/3 and subsequently spread to a number of other blogs ([1])

Examiner.com later (no timestamp) issued an update saying that "In a telephone call with Alicia Fix Luke of Barracuda Brigade, Turner's wife confirmed that he posted the message but claimed that he really didn't vote multiple times. According to Luke, she was "really rude" and hung up on her."

On 11/4, examiner.com stated that Turner was under investigation for voter fraud.

Turner was later cleared; he had posted the claim in what he believed was a private space on Facebook, where he believed its hyperbolic intent would have been correctly understood.

Some further research into the incident is collected in this Google Document.

Links