Since he took office three years ago, Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz has focused more energy on revoking peoples’ right to vote than on getting eligible voters to turn out for elections. It seems to us Schultz has had it backward, and now it’s apparent a healthy majority of Iowans agree. According to The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll published March 10, a substantial majority of Iowans surveyed put a higher priority on making sure that “every eligible, registered voter has the opportunity to vote” than on making sure that “no person ineligible to vote slips through the cracks” to cast a vote. Seven in 10 poll participants said assuring the right to vote is more important than eliminating ineligible voters. Only a quarter saw it the other way around. The top priority favored by most Iowans ought to be the top priority of the state’s election officials, from the secretary of state to the 99 county auditors who run elections. That has been the priority of past secretaries of state, including most recently Mike Mauro and, before him, Chet Culver when he was in the job before being elected governor. Schultz, however, launched a relentless campaign to root out ineligible voters.
The headline from Fox News is chilling, especially at this moment when most Americans regret putting Barack Obama back in the Oval Office. “Non-citizens caught voting in 2012 presidential election in key swing state,” reports Eric Shawn. What are the gruesome details? Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Wednesday that his office found 17 non-citizens illegally cast ballots in the 2012 presidential election — and has referred the case for possible prosecution… Husted also found that 274 non-citizens remain on the voting rolls. President Obama beat Mitt Romney in Ohio by just 2 percentage points in November 2012. Did you catch that, how Shawn pivoted from the number of total votes to the percentage of votes? Why would he do that? Without reading his mind, I’d guess it’s because the actual Ohio margin between Obama and Romney last year was 166,272 votes, and Shawn wants to keep his readers as ignorant as posssible. Seventeen votes represents 0.0003 percent of the total of ballots cast for either Obama or Romney in the state, and 0.01 percent of the margin.
At least 50,000 Malaysian opposition supporters rallied at a stadium Wednesday to protest what they say are fraud-marred election results that enabled the long-ruling coalition to cling to power. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s three-party alliance believes the National Front coalition used illegal voters, bogus ballots and other irregularities in May 5 national polls to extend its 56 years of rule. Prime Minister Najib Razak has rejected the accusations and maintained that the elections were free and fair.
The Supreme Court will struggle this week with the validity of an Arizona law that tries to keep illegal immigrants from voting by demanding all state residents show documents proving their U.S. citizenship before registering to vote in national elections. The high court will hear arguments Monday over the legality of Arizona’s voter-approved requirement that prospective voters document their U.S. citizenship in order to use a registration form produced under the federal “Motor Voter” voter registration law that doesn’t require such documentation. This case focuses on voter registration in Arizona, which has tangled frequently with the federal government over immigration issues involving the Mexican border. But it has broader implications because four other states — Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee — have similar requirements, and 12 other states are contemplating similar legislation, officials say. The Obama administration is supporting challengers to the law.
A young Associated Press reporter has won accolades for staying on the story of the search for noncitizen voters in Colorado—a search spearheaded by Secretary of State Scott Gessler whose 2011 estimate of 11,805 potential noncitizens on state voter rolls recently shrank to 141 and then shrank some more. Earlier this month, AP awarded Ivan Moreno its weekly $300 “Best of State” prize for his work showing how Gessler, a Republican elected in 2010, based his controversial campaign to weed out illegal voters this election year on gross overestimates of the problem. In an October 4th memo to AP staff, Kristin Gazlay—the AP’s managing editor for state news, financial news, and global training—cited Moreno’s “diligent, determined and deft accountability reporting on a key political issue.”
Findings from state officials suggest that Colorado has potential illegal voters across some of the state’s largest counties, including Mesa County. Secretary of State Scott Gessler cross-referenced Colorado’s immigration detainer list with the voter registration database and found 85 potential matches of non-citizens who are reportedly registered to vote. Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner called the findings inaccurate and misleading to the public. “We did the same type of data match against the Mesa County voter rolls and we get zero,” said Reiner. Gessler’s office couldn’t give us the number of people they say are illegally registered in Mesa County because the research is ongoing. However, since the lists only check names and dates of birth, someone with the same name and birthday could mistakenly be included. “If you take a population that has 30,000 names that are the same names, birthdays would match up,” said Karl Castleton, the chair of the Mesa County Democratic Party.
Our elections are overwhelmed with voter fraud, or so say Steve Pappas and Nancy Crawford-Hall, the publisher of the Santa Ynez Valley Journal. In her columns over recent months, Crawford-Hall has laid out what she claims is the evidence of this massive fraud. Does voter fraud threaten our system of democracy? Should we be worried? No. Pappas and Crawford-Hall have confused registration fraud, which is a petty crime that threatens nothing of much importance, with voting fraud, which actually is a serious crime. Out of this confusion, they have spun a fantastic story about democracy under attack. It isn’t true. The only threat to democracy came from Steve Pappas, who sought to strip 18,000 American citizens of their voting rights, a threat which the courts dismissed for a complete lack of evidence. Let me explain. Voting fraud is casting ballots illegally. Registering under a thousand different names and voting on behalf of these thousand fictitious people in an attempt to change the outcome of an election is an attempt to subvert democracy. Even a single case of casting a fraudulent vote is a serious crime. In contrast, registration fraud is typically petty theft. Many campaigns pay people to register voters for their side. If a dishonest deputy registrar fills out a few fake registration forms and registers his dog Fido, he gets paid for it. He is stealing from the campaign. But if it is theft, it ends there. A few family pets may end up on the voter rolls, but if they don’t vote, democracy suffers no harm.
In an attempt to clear the voter rolls of noncitizens, a move that had set off criticism and a threatened lawsuit, Florida election officials decided on Thursday to use information from a federal database to check a list of 182,000 voters who they suspect are not citizens, officials said. Since last year, the Florida Division of Elections had sought access to the immigration database, which is maintained by the Department of Homeland Security, but the department said there were legal and technical difficulties in sharing the information. On Thursday, the elections division asked the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which oversees driver’s licenses and originally compiled the list of 182,000 names, to use its access to the federal database to update its records and cross-check the names. … The state’s attempt to scrub registration rolls of illegal voters had come under fire because of the timing — less than seven months before a presidential election — and because the state itself could not guarantee the accuracy of its rolls.
If nothing else, Secretary of State Dianna Duran deserves credit for getting to the bottom of that age-old, oft-repeated New Mexico folk tale about dead people voting. Not so much, it turns out.
And Duran can prove it, too. Once in office, she and her staff have taken the state’s voter list, torn it apart, put it back together and in the end, found almost no voter fraud in New Mexico. From the 64,000 voter registration records she once referred to state police as possible cases of voter fraud, we are down to 100-plus voters apparently registered illegally. Of those “illegally” registered, 19 possible non-citizens might have cast a ballot they should not have. Another 641 people, now believed to be deceased, remain on the rolls, although there is scant evidence they are voting. That’s out of 1.1 million registered voters, by the way.