The PJ Tatler

Virginia Newspaper Editorial Calls for Investigation of Voter Participation Center

The Charlottesville Daily Progress published an editorial Friday regarding the Voter Participation Center. The group, which claims to be non-partisan but is funded by, run by and allied with Democratic groups and operatives, is registering voters, along with the dead, dogs, cats, felons and non-citizens, to vote. It is working in 28 states, causing confusion with its forms that appear to be official documents from the state in which recipients get them in the mail. The VPC’s forms are so confusing, in fact, that they even tripped up a member of the Virginia State Board of Elections when she received one in the mail this year.

The Daily Progress’ editorial notes many of the problems associated with the VPC’s mass mailings en route to calling for an investigation:

The list of unqualified voters to whom VPC has sent registration forms has been exposed as far larger than just a couple of mistakes involving a couple of pets.

For instance, a felon living in Louisa County who was ineligible to vote not only received a registration form from the group, she completed it, submitted it and then voted in the 2008 presidential election, reports the paper. In addition to felons and pets, others who have received voter registration forms from VPC include children and people who are deceased.

The VPC continues to maintain the same position it took a month ago: The errors are simply due to imperfections in the mailing lists it purchased. These errors, “while regrettable and unfortunate, should not be the reason or the excuse to call an entire process that is working into question,” a new statement says.

The VPC sent its registration forms mostly to demographic groups known to favor Democratic candidates. Its June effort resulted in 15,026 new registered voters as of July 18, the Times-Dispatch reports.

That’s a significant number. Virginia has seen several close races in recent years that have turned on just a handful of votes. It is possible, therefore, that a handful of illegally registered voters could change the course of an election in a closely contested district.

And the issue goes deeper. Now it is not only about the votes themselves, but also about trust in the election process. Enough doubt has been raised about the reliability of the process and the validity of votes that Virginia must do something to restore confidence.

However, we agree with political blogger Paul Goldman that although an investigation is warranted, Ken Cuccinelli is the wrong person to undertake it.

It is not the controversial Republican attorney general who should probe the possible violation of these laws — it is the Virginia Board of Elections.

“Controversial” depends on the eye of the beholder. The Daily Progress’ stated problem with AG Cuccinelli is that he is a candidate for governor. But he is also the current attorney general. The way I understand the process, the Virginia State Board of Elections must vote unanimously to trigger an investigation, but the SBE does not conduct the investigation itself. Its vote triggers the state attorney general’s office to investigate.