Voter Participation Center Form Confuses Virginia State Board of Elections Vice Chairman
July 26, 2012 - 8:09 am
Following Wednesday’s quickly arranged conference call, the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Wes Hester reported that the Voter Participation Center had mailed one of its registration forms to the vice chairman of the Virgina State Board of Elections. Like thousands of Virginians who received a form from the VPC, SBE vice chairman Kimberly Bowers, who is registered to vote, found the form confusing and had no idea what to make of it.
SBE chairman, Charles Judd, also noted that the VPC has been saying that its registration forms are the same as those approved by the board, which is false. The board has asked the group to stop pre-populating its forms, which it said Wednesday it will do, and to change the appearance of its mailings so that they do not appear to be official forms from the state. The VPC did not respond to that request during Wednesday’s conference call. Complying with that request would require that the VPC temporarily halt its mailings, redesign and print millions of new forms, which would be expensive.
The Virginia State Elections Board is a three-member board, and it takes a unanimous vote to request that the state attorney general launch an investigation. Its voting members are Charles Judd, chairman, Kimberly Bowers, vice chairman, and Don Palmer, secretary. All three were appointed to the board by Gov. Bob McDonnell. The board’s deputy secretary, Justin Riemer, said Wednesday that the SBE is looking into the Romney campaign’s request for an investigation. Reimer also noted that the VPC has sent voter registration forms to non-citizens.
The zip code confusion that we looked into Wednesday turns out to be a non-issue; the SBE confirmed today that the returned VPC forms in Virginia go directly to the board. But the confusion does not end there. The VPC’s forms, as you can see in this post, appear to be official when they are not. The name of the group, Voter Participation Center, sounds like it could be a government body, when it is a private group. The Election Law Center picked up a report that the VPC has caused concerns in New Mexico, to go along with the confusion it has caused in Virginia, Florida, Wisconsin and elsewhere. The VPC sent a voter registration form to a dead dog in Georgia. The VPC is working with the NAACP in Texas, and complaints about its activities in Galveston County have reportedly triggered attention from the county’s tax assessor’s office. As noted above, the Virginia State Board of Elections wants the group to redesign its forms so they no longer appear to be official documents form the state. The group claims to be non-partisan, when its personnel and funding sources are clearly partisan and it declares itself “progressive” on its own web site. In December 2009, VPC founder and president Page Gardner defended ACORN in the wake of the scandal sparked by undercover videos that showed ACORN personnel advising a pimp how to operate brothels using underage illegal alien prostitutes. The fact that its forms even confused a member of the Virginia Board of Elections suggests that at best, the Voter Participation Center is an incompetent voter registration organization, or at worst, it is intentionally fostering widespread deception.