62 thoughts on “Finally, They’re Cracking Down on Voter Registration Fraud

  1. Once again it seems the GOP is projecting its sins onto their opponents. Any time they start accusing Democrats of doing something we should take it as a cue to start looking at what they themselves are doing…

  2. Well, in both cases it wasn’t the party itself, but other folks. But since we’re playing the association game with this stuff, this one accrues to the right side of the ballot.

  3. One further thing to amuse about the article. It claims that the ‘Ontario Police Department’ arrested him.

    There is no such thing. It is the ‘Ontario Provincial Police’, or ‘Oh-Pee-Pee’ in the vernacular.

  4. One further thing to amuse about the article. It claims that the ‘Ontario Police Department’ arrested him. There is no such thing.

    In Ontario, California?????

  5. California, Canada, they’re easy to confuse. They’re about the same size in terms of population, and one is .ca and the other is .ca.us, so…

    Besides, I’ve heard mumblings that LA is the fourth largest Canadian city by population. And Ontario is roughly in the LA area. It all fits.

    -kat

  6. That story leaves a little bit of a taste in my mouth.

    It tastes like…

    …pie.

    (though I would argue that changing someone’s registration without their consent is a heck of a lot worse than filling out a card for Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse won’t have to suffer the inconvenience of setting the record straight himself).

  7. Scalzi: Well, in both cases it wasn’t the party itself, but other folks.

    This particular article doesn’t make it clear, but YPM has done this in other states in previous election years and the GOP keeps hiring them. So at this point you have to assume they know what YPM is doing and that they are okay with it…

  8. #
    # Adam Lipkinon 20 Oct 2008 at 10:33 am

    To put it another way, JReynolds, the police described here are not down with Oh-pee-pee.

    Oof… I think Adam needs a time out for that one.

  9. I love the quote about by this guys lawyer about how these charges are so rarely pressed. Does that mean the Accused is a rare breed of idiot to try this?

  10. I checked out the link to the City of Ontario PD and now I’m sad — they have a wanted poster for a guy who kidnapped and sexually assaulted a six-year-old girl.

  11. John,

    This is good. They should go after everyone who does stuff like this. I don’t care what party they are in. It makes me mad. If we lose the ballot box then we are through as a republic.

    What I don’t understand is why you are so sure that the democrats aren’t doing anything like this, and even more disturbing that it isn’t an issue if they are.

    The worst part of the Florida recount fiasco was that large parts of the country lost faith in our collective ability to count votes honestly.

    Why not cross check registrations for accuracy or ask for ID at the poll? Heck how ’bout purple dye? How does that supress votes?

    Obama and the Unions are proudly running on a “card Check” issue that will deny workers a secret ballot in union organizing.

    That’s okay with you?

  12. Drew:

    “What I don’t understand is why you are so sure that the democrats aren’t doing anything like this”

    As far as I’m aware, there hasn’t been any credible allegation that the Democrats or their hired hands have tricked people into registering as Democrats, which is what happened here (except on the Republican side). Are you aware of such credible allegations?

  13. drew @17:

    “Card check” does not deny workers a secret ballot. In fact, as the law currently stands, the employer, not the employees, can demand a secret ballot before recognizing a union.

    Under the EFCA, a secret ballot would be held if the employees wish it, or if more than 30%, but less than a majority of the employees sign union cards.

    The current bill (which I believe is stalled in the Senate) can be found here.

  14. I’m glas this guy is being prosecuted. Now they should prosecute some people in Ohio, Nevada, etc… doing the exact same thing on the other side of the idealogical fence.

    To be clear, voter registration fraud is not voter fraud. However, it is still a felony, is a logical predicate to voter fraud, and undermines trust in the voting system. It needs to be cleaned up.

  15. What is this voter registration with a party anyway? I mean, I understand that you need to register in order to be able to vote, but why do you have to already as you register say what you are going to vote? What good does that do to either party? Will they arrest you if you vote differently from your registration? Do you still have to show up even if you have already registered for one or the other party?
    Why would the GOP go through such lengths, paying external companies, to get people to register as a republican? Is that just for show?

  16. Yes, as the law now stands, the employer can demand a secret ballot, even though more than 50% of the workers have signed up for the union. Why the union wouldn’t ask for one is hard to understand; could someone who has signed up want to vote “no”?

    Having signed up, and the employer requesting a vote, the workers can now vote in secret. Those who signed up who wanted the election can now vote “no” if they want to. Those who signed up because they wanted to go along, but didn’t want the union, can vote “no” if they want to. Those who were confused and decide that they now don’t want the union can now vote “no” if they want to.

    Under the proposed scheme, they can’t do that if more than 50% sign up; the public sign up is a substitute for the secret election because the employer can no longer ask for the secret election.

  17. Philbert — I think it’s about money. Most states now have financial assistance to political parties, depending on their popularity. Here in Minnesota, that’s done by voter turnout, but in some states it’s done by registration counts. I suppose there’s also a benefit in states that do not allow cross-over voting in primaries and use separate ballots, as you’d have a heads-up as to the proportion of different party ballots to deliver to each precinct. (In Minnesota, you get a ballot with all of the parties, but are only allowed to mark in one, but it doesn’t matter which party you belong to, and registration is not by party; the opti-scan will reject the ballot if you do, if it’s hand counted it’s a spoiled ballot.)

  18. #9: The problem with the “go after them all in both parties” formulation is that it implies that both parties are doing it. Despite a lot of bluster, that has simply turned out not to be the case so far.

    What’s wrong with just “go after them all”?

    BTW, the Guardian, on the 13th, had an article that broke down the whole “voter fraud” thing as a hoax intended to scare people away from the polls and lay the ground work for post-election legal challenges.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2008/oct/13/election-acorn-voter-fraud

    It’s the false allegations of nefarious doings that undermines trust in the voting system. Those false allegations absolutely need to be cleaned up.

    I’m much more worried about baseless election day registration challenges, voter roll purges, faulty voting machines. We’ve seen these things happen over and over again. Unlikely what has been alleged so far, these things do have a quantifiable effect on election results.

  19. I am not sure how this affects voting. I am independent. I get tricked into being registered as Republican. I go to vote and I still vote for whoever I want to. Whether I am Republican/Democrat/Independent.

    To be honest, this more appears to me to be someone milking the Republican party for their cash. Unless the state gives the party money based on how many people are registered by party which I think is idiotic.

    In the end, it doesn’t matter if you are registered for a party, its who you vote for next month that counts.

    And in this case, it just hurts the Republican party. So to me its more anti-republican than anything. Because everyone duped into this will really not like the party after this.

    Ditto if it happens to the democrats too.

    Of course if this “company” has been known to do this in other states and the Republicans still picked this company then it just gets more sinister.

  20. htom @ 22

    Yes, someone who was pressured or intimidated into signing a card by his co-workers or union organizers could easily want to vote no on a secret ballot.

    That’s why the union organizers don’t want the ballot to be secret.

    Of course the original purpose of holding a secret ballot was so that the *company* couldn’t know and then retaliate against the workers who voted *for* the union.

    Now it’s so that the *union organizers* can’t know who voted *against* them.

  21. In some states the party affiliation determines your ability to vote in the primaries, and in others it is used by the party to keep members informed.

  22. Philbert @21

    I mean, I understand that you need to register in order to be able to vote, but why do you have to already as you register say what you are going to vote? What good does that do to either party?

    Well, I believe it affects polling. Raw polling data is “weighted” by party affiliation in an attempt to normalize the data and make it relevant to the real world. If you are just calling a bunch of people in a random sample, you can not control for how many Democrats or Republicans you get on the line. Now you could just take the same number of Republicans who answered as you do Democrats, but in an area that is heavily Democratic or Republican, it gives you a false view of how the district or state will come out in the end.

    So pollsters look at the party affiliation numbers and weight the data accordingly. So now if 60% of the registered voters are Democrats, then that informs the voting model so it can give more insight into the poll results.

    Now if the registrations are inflated for one party or another, this will skew the polls. And the polls get reported, and the belief is that polling can sway voters: There is a herd mentality aspect that some would like to plug in to.

    Is it a big effect? I don’t know. And that knife can cut both ways: If it seems that one or another candidate will easily win, many may not bother to vote. Sympatetic voters might say “They don’t need my vote” and non-sympathetic might say “My vote won’t matter.”

    But I do say this, I am very suspicious of the polling this year as a result of the above. I’m pretty sure we don’t know how things really stand, especially in the battleground states.

    At the same time, I’m glad people are keeping an eye on this. I think the actual results will be more reliable because of all the publicity and attention.

  23. Re Ontario, California: D’oh! Should have read the attached article instead of skimming it.

    John, if you decide to visit Toronto soon, will it be Toronto, Ontario or Toronto, Ohio? I understand that they’re easily confused….

    (hides in corner, confused & embarrassed

  24. “I am not sure how this affects voting. I am independent. I get tricked into being registered as Republican. I go to vote and I still vote for whoever I want to.”

    The victims thought they were signing a petition, not a registration.

    What if the perps use your registration to claim that you tried to register multiple times, and use that to challenge your ability to vote?

    I could also imagine people signing a petition and giving a bogus address in order to avoid identity theft problems or junkmail. If those end up on voter registration forms, then that’s a problem.

  25. http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-me-fraud18-2008oct18,0,3505611.story

    A little more data here, this firm has been hired by the GOP to do this in many states and has been used for this in years past as well. They have already been fined in Florida for ‘slamming’ voters at M.U. and Univ. of Miami in the past.

    I will add a small correction, John. This firm has been repeatedly hired by the GOP. Acorn, for example, is an independant group with no financial ties to the Dems. This is not a ‘both sides do it’ story.

    I will also point out the shenanigans pulled in the past, and for all I know now, by the GOP funded polling firm Sproul and Associates.

  26. Yet another delicious irony in the 2008 campaign. My favorite is still that the Republicans can’t play the race card to attack Obama because they already played the elitist card. Can’t call him a shiftless coke-head n*r if you’ve already called him an over-educated, ivory-tower elitist lib’rul. Well, I suppose Palin would be capable of trying it, but she’d never pull it off.

    On another note, you know you’re in for a treat when you hit a commentator that leads her article:
    When a man of so little verifiable background and experience presents himself as a candidate for what is unarguably the most powerful political position in the entire world, every scrap of detail regarding his life, beliefs, associations, and accomplishments is of extreme importance. They are all we have, especially in light of Barack Obama’s refusal to release and make public the following:

    * A certified, authenticated birth certificate
    * College transcripts from Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard
    * Senior thesis written at Columbia
    * Writings from Harvard
    * Full medical records

    In light of these gaping holes in his resume — holes that could be easily filled in by Barack Obama, but have not been — it becomes the duty of every voter to examine the peripheral areas of Obama’s life with utmost care, giving special attention to patterns of association that point to matters of judgment, character, and true intent.

  27. Steve Mosson: I’m glas this guy is being prosecuted. Now they should prosecute some people in Ohio, Nevada, etc… doing the exact same thing on the other side of the idealogical fence.

    Except, of course, this is entirely false; it is neither the exact same thing nor ‘on the other side of the ideological fence’.

    ACORN is an independent group that works to register people. They hire people to go out and do this — and they pay them by the hour, not by the signature, despite claims. Periodically someone decides that it’s a lot easier to sit at their kitchen table and fill out names from the phone book or Sports Illustrated, rather than sit at the grocery store in the sun or the rain. ACORN verifies each form, and turns in problematic ones separately; they are legally required in most states to pass through all registrations even if they believe them to be fraudulent.

    If a canvasser turns in fraudulent applications, however, they can and do fire them, and report them to the appropriate authorities. Every single one of the canvassers they were supposedly raiding the ACORN offices about? Were from reports that ACORN had turned in. In fact, they had met with elections officials in July asking them to act on the reports they had been turning in.

    Instead of just repeating Republican spin, you might read what ACORN has to say about the raid, or read their verification procedures.

  28. Frank: I’m pretty sure that pollsters use self-reported party affiliation (and surveys based on the same for determining what percentage of people are Democrats, Republicans, etc), not registration affiliation. Not every state even has party affiliation when you register to vote.

  29. John Chu @ 24

    I’ll gladly amend my request from “both” to “all” but I’m unaware of any other party’s activities in voter registration fraud.

  30. #38: by that standard, you shouldn’t have even said “both” since the only partisan voter registration fraud activity appears to be Republican.

  31. Lisa

    I’m pretty sure that pollsters use self-reported party affiliation (and surveys based on the same for determining what percentage of people are Democrats, Republicans, etc), not registration affiliation. Not every state even has party affiliation when you register to vote.

    They do when taking the poll. But to normalize the results, the must weight them against something objective. Again, you do not have control over the number you randomly call for each party.

    In some random sample, for instance, you may get 60% of the respondents claiming to be Republicans and 40% claiming to be Democrats in a district where it is known there are more Democrats than Republicans.

    So how do you correct for this sample error?

    They go and check the voter registration lists and weight the raw data based on percentage of party affiliation.

    At least I’m pretty sure that’s how it works. I don’t see how else they could do it.

  32. Damn, I have to redo that last post to make it clear who’s saying what! Sorry

    Lisa

    I’m pretty sure that pollsters use self-reported party affiliation (and surveys based on the same for determining what percentage of people are Democrats, Republicans, etc), not registration affiliation. Not every state even has party affiliation when you register to vote.

    They do when taking the poll. But to normalize the results, the must weight them against something objective. Again, you do not have control over the number you randomly call for each party.

    In some random sample, for instance, you may get 60% of the respondents claiming to be Republicans and 40% claiming to be Democrats in a district where it is known there are more Democrats than Republicans.

    So how do you correct for this sample error?

    They go and check the voter registration lists and weight the raw data based on percentage of party affiliation.

    At least I’m pretty sure that’s how it works. I don’t see how else they could do it.

  33. Oh, they are partisan; they are partisan on behalf of poor people. Which means the Republican party views them as a mortal enemy.

  34. Of course the original purpose of holding a secret ballot was so that the *company* couldn’t know and then retaliate against the workers who voted *for* the union.

    Oh, that’s old school. The way to do it now is to simply fire anyone who you think might have said the word “union” within a hundred feet of the jobsite. A few years down the line, the NLRB might make you go stand in the corner for a time-out, but the rest of your employees get the message.

    The real issue with a union election is not the secrecy of the ballot; it’s the fact that the employer has advance notice that there’s going to be an election, instead of “Surprise! Your employees have decided to have a union.” That leaves plenty of time for anti-union campaigning and illegal measures which, of course, will get you in really big trouble with the NLRB. Sometimes they not only make you stand in the corner, they don’t give you juice and cookies at snack time!

  35. Frank: Not every state has that data on the voter rolls, though. I know when I registered to vote in VA , they didn’t ask me what party I belonged to.

    It could be that pollsters use voter data in states that do ask, and self-reporting in states that don’t – but at least for nationwide polls, that seems unnecessarily messy.

  36. When I registered to vote in Ohio, they didn’t even ask me which party I wanted join.

    This was Vote for Change running this drive… so at least one political organization got it right!

  37. Lisa

    Not every state has that data on the voter rolls, though. I know when I registered to vote in VA , they didn’t ask me what party I belonged to.

    It could be that pollsters use voter data in states that do ask, and self-reporting in states that don’t – but at least for nationwide polls, that seems unnecessarily messy.

    That’s probably right. My state (Vermont) doesn’t have voter affiliation either.

    Of course, Vermont doesn’t matter. If Obama loses Vermont, he’ll be in serious, serious trouble.

  38. I’m pretty sure in many states, party affiliation determines which candidates you can vote for in the primaries.

    In fact, I’m pretty sure I switched my affiliation from Independent to Democrat specifically so I could vote for a particular Dem in a primary. (I think California changed the rules after that point, hence my ongoing confusion.)

    If I were a Democrat and had been re-registered without my knowledge as a Republican, and was thereby prevented from voting for my preferred candidates in a primary, I would be pretty upset.

  39. California has what is known as a “modified closed primary”. Voters can only vote in the primary of the party for which they are registered, except that if you are registered as “Decline to State”, you can vote in the primary of any party which has indicated to the Secretary of State that it will accept such voters.
    In the last primary, those were the Democratic, Republican, and American Independent parties. Thus, a voter registered as Republican could not vote in a Democratic primary, but an unaffiliated (Decline to State) voter could. They could not, however, vote in the Green party primary.
    This was a source of considerable confusion in this year’s presidential primary, as you might imagine. Some people had also mistakenly registered for the American Independent Party, thinking they were indicating no party affiliation, when they were actually registering for a party which first supported George Wallace in 1968 and currently supports Alan Keyes.
    More information at http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_decline.htm

  40. Throw them in jail, hopefully with ACORN.

    I’m thinking that paying the workers by the registration is not a good idea….

  41. Maybe ACORN and this California firm should get together and go bowling. I love political corruption, if only the poor American population understood that both sides of the aisle were in bed together. If anybody doubts me just go digging yourself and you will find that both Obama and McCain are corrupt embiciles, who do nothing but spout platitudes to the American public.

  42. ACORN will still outnumber him in jail. Between ACORN and the dead democrats that still vote (see Chicago), Democrats will always have a leg up on voter fraud.

  43. I can help but noticing there’s no actual substance to the last three posts, other than “Nuh-UH, ACORN is, like, totally worse, so there, PHHHHFT.”

  44. And I can’t help noticing the chronic false equivalencies and specious rhetoric of those who conflate bad registrations into vote fraud.

    It would have been good if Freepers had paid more attention in school. They’d probably spell better, too.

    Dan@56, if you think both major parties are lying to you, what are you doing about it? Have you done anything to strengthen a new party? Or are you simply a troll kicking up mud and astroturf?

  45. In New York, currently, and in Illinois when I lived and voted there, your party affiliation determined which primary you can/could vote in.

  46. Bozo @36:

    stuff like that commentator’s comments are especially hilarious:

    1) Obama’s birth certificate can be viewed on line – see Factcheck.org

    2) McCaine won’t release his medical records in any meaningful way

    3) school transcipts, from when he was an undergrad? are they kidding? what are they going to say? Obama can’t be that smart he only got a “c” in calculus or something? His class rank is public information, as is McCain’s graduating rank in the Academy (2nd to last? – glass house, stones, etc.)

    a whole net full of red herrings!

  47. Hmmm…I think I have it now…

    Democrats: Like everyone to be able to vote. Try to register as many people as possible (and errs on this side). Any problems which arise will certainly be caught up the line. There’s no, earthly way “Mickey Mouse” will actually show up, or be able, to vote on Nov. 4.

    Republicans: Don’t like “the wrong sort” of people to vote, and try as hard as they can to disenfranchise them. Esp. the poor and minorities – they’re teh suxorz since they aren’t reliably Republican.

    Well now, glad I cleared that up for myself. ;)

  48. #61….

    I think that’s a fair way to state the Democratic side.
    Dunno about the Republican side…but what’s striking is that we’re all talking without any hard figures for either side (would be interesting to see how many people were stricken off the rolls who were actually legitimate and compare with questionable voters. If one side has way more than the other, perhaps that answers the question of what we should be focussing on).

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