How Incompetence and Malfeasance Infect the Voting Process
Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department, a recent book by J. Christian Adams, provides shocking evidence of DOJ racial bias toward minorities and the failure to apply federal law in a race-neutral fashion. A five-year DOJ Voting Rights Section veteran, Adams cites his firsthand experience with officials who sought to promote a radical racialist agenda and who knowingly violated the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA). Adams sounds an alarm, arguing that the values and actions pursued by the DOJ jeopardize our constitutional republic and endanger America's core principles of government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Violations of the voting process depicted in Adams' book are manifold and include incompetence, fraud, partisanship, and intimidation or thuggery. These rampant and pervasive problems warrant serious interventions to curb abuses of a right Americans hold sacrosanct. Fortunately, citizens' groups are becoming more involved in elections and have recognized the need to do more to protect the rights of the electorate under the law.
Problems with elections begin with poorly trained poll workers. The quality of training varies from district to district, which can significantly impact election integrity. Myriad government regulations and complicated logistical procedures create confusion among well-meaning poll workers as these people attempt to manage election operations. Incompetence can include poll workers improperly turning away legitimate voters or inadvertently admitting illegitimate voters. In states where voter IDs are not required or permitted, determining who is a legitimate voter can be a daunting if not impossible task.
Other problems include failure to properly administer provisional ballots, which are used when questions arise about a voter's eligibility, and failure to provide adequate instruction to voters requiring assistance. Handling of spoiled ballots is also a source of errors, with remedies left to individual districts, counties, and states.
Further, no methodology exists in Maryland, and perhaps other states, to update voter rolls when residents sell their homes, move, or change residences, according to Cathy Kelleher, president of Election Integrity Maryland, a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to cleaning up voting rolls and training volunteers to be poll watchers. Although voters may submit a form, it may or may not be used to make the necessary changes, says Kelleher. She cites examples of multiple families listed as residing and voting at one address. She has found cases in which registered voters' addresses were actually an open field or a parking lot, in which property demolitions were not taken into account, and in which voter lists contained the names of deceased persons who formerly resided at a local nursing home.
Voter fraud is widespread and has played a critical role in many close races. Abuses include registering more than once and voting multiple times; forced "assistance" of voters; suppression of the military vote; voting by felons, non-citizens, and the underaged; and voting using names of deceased voters or fictional people -- including cartoon characters and dogs.
In the case of the voter registration group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) -- renamed AHCOA (Affordable Housing Centers of America) -- and its affiliate, Project Vote, federal investigators found misappropriated funds from a federal grant; registration of nearly 12,000 non-citizens in Colorado alone; a report from Philadelphia officials of over 8,000 improper voter registrations; and several thousand fraudulent registrations in Indiana, with names and addresses pulled from telephone books and forged signatures.
Although FBI investigative reports delineate serious allegations of corruption and voter registration fraud by ACORN, the Obama administration in 2009 shut down a criminal investigation of the group without filing criminal charges. The Obama administration claimed that ACORN broke no laws and had merely engaged in "questionable hiring and training practices." In the 1990s, Obama worked for ACORN, procuring funding, training its leaders, and representing the organization in court.
In 2011, Judicial Watch traced additional federal money from the Obama administration to ACORN spinoffs, despite laws prohibiting funding to ACORN. Judicial Watch also reported that "70 ACORN employees in 12 states have been convicted of voter registration fraud" and that "of the 1.3 million registrations Project Vote/ACORN submitted in the 2008 election cycle, more than one third were invalid." ACORN/Project Vote activists have been caught or accused of destroying Republican registrations and filing duplicate registrations or registrations for deceased or fictional people.
Presently, Project Vote is actively registering recipients of public assistance programs such as food stamps, welfare, and unemployment and is threatening lawsuits under the NVRA. This is occurring at the same time as the Obama administration has doubled taxpayer spending on food stamps and is offering $75,000 grants to organizations to increase program participation. The historic levels of food stamp usage -- one out of every seven Americans -- the effort by the Obama administration to increase usage, and the drive to register aid recipients provide perfect conditions for voter registration fraud, especially since Project Vote opposes fraud protections in voter registration and elections in several states. According to Judicial Watch, the percentage of invalid voter registrations from Colorado public assistance agencies alone was four times the national average.
The League of Women Voters (LWV), with 140,000 members nationwide and chapters in every state, describes itself as a nonpartisan group that encourages citizen participation in the political process. However, the LWV takes a stand on many political issues and attempts to influence policy through advocacy and lobbying. The LWV, funded in part by George Soros, supports many leftist causes such as expansion of the welfare state; disarmament; radical environmentalism; unrestricted taxpayer access to abortion on demand; motor-voter registration, which legitimizes voting by illegal aliens; elimination of the electoral college; an increased role for the United Nations; gun control; socialized health care; and increased taxes, among other issues.
Yet the LWV prints voter guides, holds registration drives, conducts debates, and administers voter opinion polls, all supposedly objective and nonpartisan. In certain districts across the country, they contract with local boards of elections to perform troubleshooting at the polls, survey voting locations, evaluate the training of poll workers, and conduct post-election debriefings. Far from being impartial, the LWV's opinion polls are generally skewed in favor of the organization's point of view and often agitate for a preferred response. As for their allegedly nonpartisan voter guides, the LWV has been accused of inferring bias there as well.
During the 2008 election, the New Black Panthers intimidated white voters with racial epithets and threats of violence. YouTube videos showed two uniformed Panthers, one brandishing a billy club and shouting, "You're about to be ruled by the black man, Cracker" to approaching white voters. Following the incident, the Bush administration filed criminal charges against three Panthers for violating the NVRA. All charges were later dismissed by Obama's DOJ. Adams, the DOJ Voting Section attorney who had brought the case, resigned shortly thereafter for the "corrupt nature of the dismissal of the case" and testified before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission that the Obama DOJ had instructed attorneys in the civil rights division to ignore cases involving black defendants and white victims.
In November of 2010, at multiple polling places in Houston, Panthers in paramilitary attire entered voting locations for discussions with election officials. It was reported that white poll watchers were either denied admittance or ejected from the facilities.
Meanwhile, the Occupy movement has plans to create an Occupy the Election faction to build momentum for the idea that electronic voting machines cannot be trusted. They will make vociferous demands that all votes be hand-counted. Concern has arisen that the group will wreak havoc in precincts, block the voting process, and negatively effect voter turnout.
Secretaries of State
In all but three states, the Secretary of State (SOS) serves as the chief election officer, who certifies candidates and election results. In 35 states, this is an elected position; in 12 states, the governor appoints the SOS. SOS responsibilities include conducting the election, enforcing election rules, determining precinct locations, establishing Election Day procedures, and allocating and ensuring the security of voting machines. Additionally, secretaries of state purge voter rolls and register new voters. In other words, they decide who can vote, how they will vote, and which ballots are counted. The SOS serves a vital role in ensuring the legitimacy of each election, weeding out fraud and prohibiting voter intimidation or coercion.
In 2006, George Soros, multi-billionaire funder of left-wing causes and one of the most powerful political forces in the world, founded a tax-exempt Section 527 political group with other leftists known as the Secretary of State Project (SOSP). The sole objective was to elect progressive Democrats as secretaries of state in battleground states. The SOSP succeeded in 11 out of 18 races, including the key states of Ohio, Nevada, Iowa, New Mexico, and Minnesota, thus placing partisan officials in charge of elections.
Conveniently, Section 527 organizations are not subject to the scrutiny of the Federal Election Commission. Therefore, no upper limit exists on contributions, nor do any restrictions exist on who can contribute.
In subsequent elections, the SOSP's impact was evident. In the Norm Coleman/Al Franken congressional race in Minnesota, a handpicked Soros acolyte decided the close race. Ballots were mysteriously found in an election judge's car, close to 400 convicted felons cast votes, and suspicious voting machine irregularities occurred. In Ohio, the secretary of state elected through the SOSP efforts invalidated one million absentee-ballot applications issued by John McCain's presidential campaign.
What is Being Done?
Grassroots groups have entered the fray to address this serious threat to our constitutional republic and this undermining of the power of the people to determine representative leadership. The most extensive and prominent organization of this type is the Houston-based True the Vote (TTV). TTV was founded in 2009 by Catherine Engelbrecht, who says that "True the Vote was founded to provide a coordinated program through which American citizens can participate in the support of free and fair elections."
Engelbrecht recognized the need to remedy problems in the voting process. With TTV leadership, she has identified opportunities for intervention: monitoring voter registration and validating its legitimacy, verifying voter-roll accuracy, ensuring that citizens know their rights, and improving competence through proper training of poll workers. TTV began to track and chronicle their observations and chart pervasive problems in order to improve the process and spearhead election law changes. The organization has uncovered gross incompetence, massive fraud, blatant lack of checks and balances on absentee ballots, and other serious impediments to a free and fair election process.
True the Vote has succeeded in expanding its reach to include citizen-led voter integrity projects in 32 states and has spawned other organizations such as Election Integrity Maryland.
Electoral malfeasance, whether due to incompetent poll workers, fraud, veiled partisanship, thuggery, or anything else that undermines the legitimacy of elections, ultimately undermines the legitimacy of our government and the faith citizens have in their ability to achieve true collective representation. If dedicated grassroots groups like True the Vote and Election Integrity Maryland can achieve success in spurring the re-evaluation and revamping of the electoral process, we can regain confidence that our elections are free and fair.