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Oct 24 2012

VA Election Board Refuses to Investigate Registration Fraud

The Virginia Board of Elections, which is controlled by Republicans, is refusing to request a formal investigation by the state attorney general into allegations that the state GOP has been dumping valid voter registration forms rather than turning them in.

The State Board Of Elections says it will not ask Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to investigate the case of a Republican Party contract worker, accused of throwing voter registration forms in the trash…

“There’s no way to tell by party when people fill out these forms, what party they’re affiliated with, so I don’t think there’s any political motivation,” Virginia Registrar Brandi Lilly said Friday.

But that is both false and irrelevant. As we’ve seen in video from other states, it’s trivially easy for a canvasser to ask the person they’re talking to which party or candidate they’re going to vote for. Once you know their answer, you can either not take their voter registration form (which is illegal) or you can take it and then dump it later (which is also illegal, but more difficult to catch; in this case, we just got lucky that someone saw the guy dump the forms in the trash). But dumping voter registration forms is illegal whether it was politically motivated or not.

Cuccinelli, who is about as far right and as rabidly partisan as you can get, says he can’t open an investigation without a referral from the board of elections or other relevant officials:

“My office does not have the authority to investigate election matters unless explicitly requested to do so by the State Board of Elections, a local commonwealth’s attorney, or a local electoral board member, ” Cuccinelli wrote. “No such request has been made to date; and therefore, by law, I do not have the authority to undertake the investigation you have suggested.”

But this investigation should not be done by Cuccinelli at all. It should be done by the DOJ voting rights division, where you have professional, career attorneys to do the work.

29 comments

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  1. 1
    Marcus Ranum

    They’re certainly tough on vote fraud!

  2. 2
    baal

    Fundamentally lawless. (used in a sentence)
    “The Virginia Board of Elections is fundamentally lawless for ignoring a clear case of voter registration fraud.”

    I want jail time for these folks. So called political accountability isn’t working.

  3. 3
    Trebuchet

    I’m sure Faux News is all over this story….

  4. 4
    iknklast

    Should it matter if they’re doing it from political motivation? Isn’t it illegal to dump voter registrations, even if they’re voting for the same person and same party you are?

  5. 5
    greg1466

    First, it’s illegal and should be investigated even if there is no political motivation. And B, I take his very refusal to open an investigation as confirmation that there actually is a political motivation.

  6. 6
    ashleybell

    Why not the FBI? This concerns a federal election…

  7. 7
    David C Brayton

    Jimmy Carter did a lot of work to ensure that elections in developing nations are fair. He said that America’s election system wouldn’t pass muster because the folks running the elections are political appointees. This is a perfect example of that criticism–our elections should be operated by neutral parties.

  8. 8
    Aaron

    I mean, they cant just look into any old instance of voter fraud, what with the huge numbers of documented cases that take up so much time across the nation.

    They really need to focus on plausible democrat initiated voter fraud. We all know that is where all the real fraud is occurring.

  9. 9
    jamesfrank

    How much election manipulation until the Republican party is considered to be as illegitimate as Putin’s Russia or Iran? Because the further they go down Nixon road the less I trust in our supposed democracy. I’m sure others feel the same, and it’s only contributing to the potential eruption of America.

  10. 10
    John Pieret

    Foxes and hen houses.

  11. 11
    eric

    Agree with @4 and @5; once you find registrations in the dumpster, you start an investigation, period.

    Questions about motive can be addressed as part of the investigation; they are not a criteria for starting an investigation.

    Not starting an investigation when you find filled-out registration forms in a dumpster is blatant corruption.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Modusoperandi

    The question the Liberal Media doesn’t want to ask is “How did ACORN steal those registration forms?”
    Don’t worry, once Limbaugh can figure out a race angle, he’ll be all over it.

  14. 14
    d.c.wilson

    What exactly would be a non-political motivation for going through all the effort to collect a bunch of registration forms and then throw them away?

  15. 15
  16. 16
    demonhauntedworld

    So Cuccinelli is willing to launch a witch-hunt against climate scientists, but not investigate voter fraud. Makes total sense if you live on Bullshit Mountain.

  17. 17
    Tsu Dho Nimh

    It’s trivially easy to make polite chit-chat and as you stack the incoming registration forms, put the ones from “undesirables” in the stack in a way that makes them easy to sort out later.

    EXAMPLE: put them in the stack upside down, and under the guise of tidying the stack, separate them into desirable and undesirable stacks. Put in separate envelopes … dump the ones you don’t want.

  18. 18
    raven

    What is the chance that the Virginia Board of Elections will actually investigate the voter registration fraud?

    About zero.

    They will just go through the motions until the election is over and find nothing much. Or kick it to Cuccinelli or will put it on the bottom of a stack of papers and forget about it.

    The US Department of Justice should toss their oar in. That would make it interesting.

  19. 19
    tacitus

    This is a perfect example of that criticism–our elections should be operated by neutral parties.

    I agree wholeheartedly, but when I brought this simple point up recently when discussing the US electoral system with my friends (left and right) they just laughed at me. To say that I was shocked by the depth of their cynicism would be an understatement.

    These are not fiercely partisan people, yet they consider the very idea that you could find a non-partisan way to run elections today in America to be totally preposterous.

    It was a thoroughly depressing experience.

  20. 20
    Who Knows?

    Ignore the election fraud you see happening before your very eyes! I am the Great and Powerful, GOP!!!

  21. 21
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Dear tacitus,

    Yep.

  22. 22
    Steve the Drunk Unicyclist

    Ed -

    I checked with my sister, who’s been in the election biz for 25 years. I only asked her about CA election law, but I suspect the other states are similar.

    1. In CA, if you’re canvassing for voter registration and someone asks you for a registration form, you_have_ to provide them one. If the canvasser asks the potential voter their party affiliation, and then refuses to provide a blank form, that’s _illegal_.

    2. After they’ve filled it out, you do _not_ have to accept it back. The form can be mailed in. Having the canvasser do it is a courtesy to the voter. Glancing at a filled in form and handing it back to the voter if it is the “wrong” party is _legal_.

    3. If you do accept the form back, there is a tear-off receipt that you sign and the voter keeps. You are required to turn in all forms you’ve accepted. Tossing them in a dumpster is _illegal_.

    In the VA case, I wonder if their registration forms are also numbered, or also have receipt stubs. If so, it seems to me one way to do it would be for the individual voters involved to sue the AG for sitting on his thumbs.

  23. 23
    tommykey

    I just read a few minutes ago that Democratic Congressman Jim Moran’s son was videotaped by James O’Keefe group talking about committing voter fraud and he had to resign from his father’s reelection campaign. While disturbing if it turns out to be true (it remains to be seen if the video was deceptively edited or if Moran’s son was humorously pretending to go along with it) you just know that the dumpster case is going to be quickly forgotten as the media focuses on this instead.

  24. 24
    shripathikamath

    The sooner the Dems realize that they need more generals and fewer diplomats, the longer they can postpone their extinction.

    YES, this is what they do. YES, it is horrible.

    OK, now what?

  25. 25
    birgerjohansson

    James O’Keefe group? If this is Republican group, you can assume the tape was edited. If this group is neutral, it might be a kosher video.

  26. 26
    jamesfrank

    http://www.salon.com/2012/10/25/james_okeefe_does_something_right/

    Is all you need to learn about James O’Keefe and this incident with Moran. He was caught doing something stupid and the GOP noise machine is going to use this to drown out their actually illegal activities.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    eric

    d.c. wilson:

    What exactly would be a non-political motivation for going through all the effort to collect a bunch of registration forms and then throw them away?

    Some teenager got lazy and wanted to skip out on his volunteer job in the middle of it.

    I’m sure there are other possible innocent reasons for this. But as I said above, you do the investigation and then determine whether there was fraud or not. You don’t decide not to investigate because there are possible non-fraud explanations. The board’s initial decision is sort of like the police deciding “hmmm…this corpse could have beat themselves to death with that bloody hammer over there, so why bother with a murder investigation?”

  29. 29
    Marcus Ranum

    To say that I was shocked by the depth of their cynicism would be an understatement.

    The US isn’t even close to a democracy; the elections are just a stage-managed distraction and a committee picks the winner/loser from between two candidates that present slightly different viewpoints offered by what amounts to a single controlling organization. Local politics is entirely about gerrymandering districting to prevent new entrants into even the lowest levels of the political system. Uh, yeah, cynicism is the right thing to feel when you approach the US electoral system: it’s more sophisticated than Robert Mugabe’s operation but look at how cost-effective Mugabe’s approach is.

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