WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
October 18th, 2012 By German Lopez | News | Posted In: News, Democrats, Republicans, Tea Party, Voting

Senate Democrats Demand Investigation Into Voter Fraud Group

Claim True the Vote is unnecessarily intimidating voters

timburkeTim Burke
Ohio Senate Democrats sent a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Wednesday asking them to investigate True the Vote (TTV), a Tea Party group established to combat alleged voter fraud. The Democrats claim TTV is unnecessarily intimidating voters.

In the letter, the Democrats say they would find voter fraud to be a serious problem if it was happening, but they also note recent studies have found no evidence of widespread voter impersonation fraud. An Oct. 4 Government Accountability Office study could not document a single case of voter impersonation fraud. A similar study by News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found a total of 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. That’s less than one case a year.

Tim Burke, chairman of both the Hamilton County Board of Elections and the Hamilton County Democratic Party, says the faulty voter registration forms, which groups like TTV typically cite as examples of in-person voter fraud, never amount to real voter fraud.

“Those nonexistent voters never show up to vote,” he says. “(The forms) were put together by people working on voter registration drives. Frankly, the intent wasn’t to defraud the board of elections; the intent was to defraud their employer into making them think they’re doing more work.”

In other words, people aren't submitting faulty voter registration forms to skew elections; registration drive employees are submitting the forms to try to keep their jobs.

To combat the seemingly nonexistent problem of voter impersonation fraud, TTV is planning on recruiting one million poll watchers — people that will stand by polling places to ensure the voting process is legitimate.

The Democrats insist some of the tactics promoted by the group are illegal. The letter claims it’s illegal for anyone but election officials to inhibit the voting process in any way. Most notably, Ohio law prohibits “loiter[ing] in or about a registration or polling place during registration or the casting and counting of ballots so as to hinder, delay, or interfere with the conduct of the registration or election,” according to the letter.

Burke says state law allows both Democrats and Republicans to hire observers at polling booths. However, the observers can only watch, and they can’t challenge voters. Even if the appointed observers see suspicious activity, they have to leave the voting area and report the activity through other means.

The tactics adopted by TTV have an ugly history in the U.S. Utilizing poll watchers was one way Southern officials pushed away minority voters during the segregation era. By asking questions and being as obstructive as possible, the poll watchers of the segregation era intimidated black voters into not voting. In the post-segregation era, the tactics have continued targeting minority and low-income voters.

The Senate Democrats make note of the ugly history in their letter: “It has traditionally focused on the voter registration lists in minority and low-income precincts, utilizing ‘caging’ techniques to question registrations. It has included encouraging poll watchers to ‘raise a challenge’ when certain voters tried to vote by brandishing cameras at polling sites, asking humiliating questions of voters, and slowing down precinct lines with unnecessary challenges and intimidating tactics. These acts of intimidation undermine protection of the right to vote of all citizens.”

TTV has already faced some failures in Hamilton County. Earlier this year, the group teamed up with the Ohio Voter Integrity Project (VIP), another Tea Party group, to file 380 challenges to the Hamilton County Board of Elections. Of the 380 challenges, only 35 remain. The vast majority were thrown out.

“For the most part, they tried to get a bunch of UC students challenged because they didn’t have their dormitory rooms on their voter registration rolls,” Burke says. “All of those were rejected. We did nothing with those.”

But he said the group did bring up one legitimate challenge. Some voters were still registered in a now-defunct trailer park in Harrison, Ohio. Since the trailer park no longer exists, Burke says no one should be voting from there. The board didn’t purge those voters from the roll, but the board unanimously agreed to ensure those voters are challenged and sent to the correct polling place if they show up to vote.

Still, TTV insists on hunting down all the phantom impersonators and fraudulent voters. In partnership with VIP, TTV is continuing its mission to stop all the voter impersonation that isn't actually happening.

VIP is brandishing the effort with a program of its own. That organization is now hosting special training programs for poll workers. The organization insists its programs are nonpartisan, but Democrats aren’t buying it.

Burke says it’s normal for Democrats and Republicans to hire poll workers, but if the Voter Integrity Project program puts the organization’s anti-fraud politics into the training, it could go too far.

“The job of the poll worker is to assist voters in getting their ballots cast correctly,” Burke says. “It’s to be helpful. It’s not to be belligerent. It’s not to be making voters feel like they’re doing something evil.”

He added, “If poll workers are coming in and deciding that they’re going to be aggressive police officers making everybody feel like they’re engaged in voter fraud and therefore trying to intimidate voters, that’s absolutely wrong.”

 
 
10.18.2012 at 12:54 Reply

Imagine the Pres. election comes down to one (1) vote in (1) voting place in one (1) city in (1) county in one (1) State - like Ohio. Every vote matters, and I did not see where any poll observer was going to be rude, confrontattional,aggressive, or intimidating. The Dems. are imagining how they would do it. We've seen how upset Eric Holder was by person(s) in fake military uniforms carrying wooden clubs in Philadelphia. The NARRATIVE is everything, since twisted political genius advisor David Axelrod has proved how successful controlling it for Candidate Obama has been.

 

10.18.2012 at 10:02 Reply

This is what Tea Party voter suppression looks like on the ground in North Carolina - http://irehr.org/issue-areas/tea-party-nationalism/tea-party-news-and-analysis/item/436-abridging-the-vote

 

 

10.19.2012 at 01:00 Reply

So the Democrat Party Chair who heads the County Election Board agrees with the Democrat Senators who claim there is no voter impersonation fraud - because there are few prosecutions? How exactly would an impersonator ever be caught, much less prosecuted, without safeguards like Voter ID to identify the fraudsters at the polls?  And by that standard, where are the cases of "intimidation"?

Burke also conflates poll WORKERS who are hired to operate the polls, with volunteer poll WATCHERS, who aren't "loitering" but duly appointed to observe the election process in accordance with law. 

The law also allows for citizen challenges of ineligible voters, and Burke even acknowledges their legitimate findings, though he fails to point out that many of the challenges "thrown out" were also legitimate but already being addressed by counties.

The only "intimidation" I see is government officials trying to bully private citizens to give up their lawful watchdog activities.  What do they have to hide?

 

10.20.2012 at 09:47

Rev. Barber is a well-known racist. Why would you believe anyone like that?

 

11.06.2012 at 03:29 Reply

How dare these racist people go to polling places to try to intimidate those whom they believe are there to cast their vote for Obama!!  Tea Party folks, let me tell you that Obama has the support of many Caucasian people, including many seniors!  He is a a very intelligent man and has integrity.  His challenger is a man who has said he enjoys firing people!  What kind of morals does a man who would say such a thing have? Obama deserves to be re-elected.

 

 
 
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