Talk about denial! A group of liberal activists is making the media rounds, assuring reporters and editors that election fraud is a fairy tale. Nothing serious, they assert, nothing to see here. Too bad for them that citizens in Houston, energized by the Tea Party movement, have formed a group called True the Vote. Their hard work has demonstrated that, in some parts of the country at least, our election system is still infested with problems.
True the Vote is composed entirely of volunteers — hundreds of them. They have pored over election records in Harris County, Texas, looking for signs of fraud. And they have found plenty. Indeed, their initial research into only a very small portion of the voter registration records has led them to ask the U.S. Justice Department’s Voting Section to conduct a federal investigation.
In a letter asking for an official inquiry, True the Vote discusses potential widespread forgery in voter application forms. For instance, it seems from the applications that someone suspiciously signs the letter “J” with a quirky “3” inside the loop. The “3” shows up in multiple signatures for different voters with the names Jenard, Jamark, Jamarcus, and Jones.
True the Vote reports that at least four noncitizens have been registered to vote in Harris County. The group provided Justice with the actual voter registration forms where applicants marked “NO” to the question: “Are you a U.S. Citizen?” The group also provided the voter registration numbers of these confessed noncitizens. Yes, astonishingly, Harris County registered them to vote anyway. They are now on the rolls and able to participate in the upcoming midterm elections.
The Help America Vote Act of 2002 was supposed to stop this from happening. But this federal legislation is only as good as the Justice Department’s willingness to enforce it. If Harris County is registering noncitizens, then it is violating numerous provisions of federal law, including those that prohibit the registration of foreigners to vote in federal elections.
True the Vote uncovered other types of fraud as well. The group forwarded to DOJ seven voter registration forms with applicant names different from the signature name. For example: Ta’mackayn Harrison’s application was signed by “Bra Kelly.” Jason King’s was signed by “Jemma Noel.” Yet Harris County inexplicably approved all of these applications. Jason King, aka Jemma Noel, is now on the voter rolls in Houston.
The citizens group also found multiple registrations for individual voters. For example, True the Vote provided the Justice Department government documents showing that at least four persons, including Jose Gomez and Victor Nickerson, had registered to vote multiple times successfully.
These problems were found by True the Vote in just a small sampling of the county’s voter registration list. How many other, similar problems would turn up in a comprehensive review? Don’t forget: every vote counts. Which also means that every legitimate vote cancelled out by a fraudulent vote should be a concern to anyone interested in fair elections and protecting the right to vote.
This sort of thing can happen only when election officials flout Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act, which requires them to clean up their voter registration lists. But this Department of Justice seems to have no interest in enforcing these laws. In testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, DOJ whistleblowers Christopher Coates and J. Christian Adams revealed that Obama Justice Department political appointee Julie Fernandes instructed the Voting Section that no such cases were to be brought. That directive gives free rein to voter registration fraud. Bogus registrants can now cast a fraudulent vote with confidence that the election police are asleep.
For years, the far left has insisted that voter fraud really doesn’t exist, or at least that claims about it are overblown. In so doing, the left has willfully blinded itself to the truth. But the arrival of True the Vote is helping expose the lies of these election fraud deniers.
Its “Army of Davids” approach brings to bear hundreds of volunteers to spend hundreds of hours examining documents and searching for patterns, like the mysterious “3” that afflicts so many letter “J’s” in Houston, or finding vacant lots at the registered addresses of multiple voters. Moreover, it means hundreds will serve as election judges and poll watchers on election day. True the Vote is the election fraud denier’s worst nightmare, because the group is helping prove definitively that fraud is real and too often overlooked by election officials.
Houston has an ACORN-like group, Houston Votes, that harvests thousands of suspect voter registration forms. If some of the fraud uncovered by True the Vote was done by deputy registers working for Houston Votes, they should be prosecuted. And it won’t be too hard to figure out — every deputy registrar that roams the community must be approved by the clerk in Harris County and is issued an identification number. Bogus applications can, and will, be traced back to the particular registrars.
Of course, this may explain why True the Vote has been hit with a lawsuit by the Texas Democratic Party, an ethics complaint by Texans for Public Justice, and another lawsuit (for defamation) by Houston Votes and the Houston lawyer behind the voter registration drive that turned in multiple problematic registration forms (Harris County estimated over 7,000). That same organization has also sued Harris County — claiming the county is barred from correcting the voter registration problems!
So has the Eric Holder-run Justice Department acted on the evidence of electoral fraud gift-wrapped, tied in a bow, and delivered to them? No. He and his partisan retinue in the Civil Rights Division have instead reportedly opened up an investigation of True the Vote!
When early voting started in Texas, liberal blogs ran scandalous headlines that True the Vote had been targeted by the Department of Justice, and related that Justice officials have started interviewing voters about the behavior of poll watchers — something confirmed by a Justice spokesman. This is curious because it seems, through leaks, to inject the DOJ into the election directly. It is all the more curious given internal DOJ limits on election-eve actions. The DOJ’s own election crimes manual, Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses, states:
Another limitation [on election investigations] affects voter interviews. Election fraud cases often depend on the testimony of individual voters whose votes were co-opted in one way or another. But in most cases voters should not be interviewed or other voter-related investigation done, until after the election is over. Such overt investigative steps may chill legitimate voting activities. They are also likely to be perceived by voters and candidates as an intrusion into the election.
The leaking of the information about DOJ’s investigation to a friendly liberal blog was even stranger, and more ethically suspect. And what a contrast between how quickly Justice announced it was investigating complaints made by the Texas Democratic Party about poll watchers, and DOJ’s complete silence about True the Vote’s request for an investigation of the voter registration fraud discovered in Harris County.
Hopefully, True the Vote will not be deterred from its investigation of registration fraud by the seemingly coordinated attempts to intimidate it by the Justice Department, the Texas Democratic Party, and Houston Votes. Fortunately, the Liberty Institute has agreed to defend True the Vote from the specious claims being made against it.
Voter fraud practitioners should have something to worry about. True the Vote may be coming to a town near you soon. Though it is focused on Harris County for 2010, it plans to go national in 2011. The model it has developed is robust, effective — and to the chagrin of the wrongdoers — completely legal. After the congressional midterms, it will hold a nationwide summit of other citizens ready to start election integrity operations in the rest of the nation.
The country could use such dedication in 2012. The Obama Justice Department has demonstrated a shocking willingness to ignore laws protecting the security and integrity of elections. That should comes as no surprise given both the increasingly partisan approach to law enforcement undertaken by this Department under Eric Holder’s leadership, and the dogged determination of Holder’s ideological comrades who deny that voter fraud occurs, or that common sense measures like voter ID are needed.
In the great American tradition of self-reliance, citizen watchdogs across the country may stand watch in 2012. If the government proves incapable of protecting electoral integrity, the people can.