Archive for Saturday, August 5, 2017

Opinion: ‘Voter fraud’ crusade terribly flawed

August 5, 2017

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I know all about common names. I have heard all the jokes, as had my father, a unique and remarkable man named Bob Smith. Unfortunately, common names like ours are just one of many problems that will face Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in his new role as co-chair of President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission.

Recall that in 2010, candidate Kobach publicly declared that he planned to remove Mr. Alfred K. Brewer from the Wichita voting rolls because he had died. Brewer was surprised to hear this when journalists found him alive, raking leaves. The deceased was actually his father, Alfred K. Brewer Sr., who would have been 110 years old at the time.

Screening lists for suffixes like “Junior,” “Senior” and “III” is not a foolproof procedure. For example, former President George W. Bush is not a “Junior” because he lacks one of his father’s two middle names. How about birthdays? A few years ago, two political scientists studied Georgia’s voter rolls, only to discover numerous instances of two people (and in a few cases, more than two) with the same matching first, middle and last names and birthdays—including the year. Seem unlikely? Georgia has nearly 5 million registered voters, so even a one-in-a-million chance means there will be a few such cases — and with common names, the chances of a name and birthday match are considerably higher. If Kobach proceeds with his plans to amalgamate all states’ voting lists, it will add up to over 150 million voters. A data set this large will generate many duplicates, and many more near-duplicates, even with no fraud at all.

The commission’s project seems to be an extension of CrossCheck, a system Kobach developed in which several states compare election data to search for duplicates. Now he wants to take it national. Yet critics contend that Kobach’s projects are really about voter caging, which refers to sending response-requested postcards to certain voters, then cancelling registrations if they do not reply. For most people, these mailers are easily confused with junk mail and are discarded, never delivered by the Post Office, or put at the bottom of the to-do pile. Non-response does not mean a voter had moved or died or that a registration is fraudulent. Also, caging is rarely done statewide; instead, it usually targets urban precincts with large minority populations. The National Voter Registration Act “motor voter” law of 1993 included a section that was supposed to sharply restrict caging, but it still happens.

Even when duplicates are truly duplicates, it probably is not voter fraud. Journalists recently discovered that President Trump’s daughter Tiffany, not to mention several members of his administration, are all registered to vote in multiple states. Once again, this is not fraud. States and counties are supposed to notify each other when a new voter registers, so that person can be removed from the rolls at the old residence. In practice, this rarely happens. State and county election offices are overwhelmed, understaffed and underfunded. Meanwhile, voters are always moving, turning 18 and becoming eligible, or dying. What this proves is not fraud but rather the states’ and counties’ desperate need to update decrepit and underfunded voting offices with new staffing, procedures and equipment. Never fully funded, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2003 is now 14 years old, and new evidence keeps surfacing about the vulnerability of electronic voting machines to hackers. No wonder most voters prefer paper ballots.

If Trump, Kobach, and Congress are serious about protecting our elections, a fully funded new HAVA, universal access to paper ballots, new security protocols and better training and staffing will go a lot further than will this Quixotic quest for voter fraud.

Comments

Ken Lassman 3 months, 2 weeks ago

And, as I have stated before: the goal of our Secretary of State office should have as its top priority getting full participation of its eligible citizens to be registered to vote, and once registered, to get out and actually cast a ballot. An increase in participation by eligible citizens is perhaps the most effective way of preventing outcomes of elections being skewed by "voter fraud" of any flavor.

As such, neither our current Secretary of State nor the Election Integrity Commission represent the rights of Kansas/American citizens and encourage citizens to exercise those responsibilities.

Bob Summers 3 months, 2 weeks ago

What do the Liberal people have against identification?

Paul Beyer 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Not a thing. What do you and the other "BS" & alt-right fanatics have against people who can think for themselves?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Okay, Bob. Read the article. This is nothing about identification. I'll bet there are a lot of Bob Summers in the country. Better make sure you don't get dropped from the registration. Now go back, read the article, and you'll see what I mean by that comment.

David Reynolds 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Michael interesting article. The whole objective of trying to determine if there was voter fraud is to clean up the voter rolls. After all, regardless of any other right granted by the constitution, voting is on the top of the list. it is the only place where ones voice is heard.

Judicial Watch, working with the Election Integrity Project, recently uncovered an interesting situation in California, wherein 11 counties had more voters registered to vote than citizens of voting age. The study alleges that the state may be out of compliance with Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Please see the web site below & I have included the percentages for the readers convenience.

http://www.breitbart.com/california/2017/08/05/judicial-watch-warns-california-11-counties-voters-voting-age-citizens/

"Judicial Watch lays out the specifics: “[T]here were more total registered voters than there were adults over the age of 18 living in each of the following eleven (11) counties: Imperial (102%), Lassen (102%), Los Angeles (112%), Monterey (104%), San Diego (138%), San Francisco (114%), San Mateo (111%), Santa Cruz (109%), Solano (111%), Stanislaus (102%), and Yolo (110%).” The letter notes that the percentage in L.A. Country may be as high as 144%."

Given the large population centers involved, there is significant possibility of voter fraud, which can have a major impact on election results.

Now, I am not saying all of those extra folks voted. I am just saying the potential is ripe for fraudulent voting. This should be a major concern for all of us seeking honesty and integrity in our voting process.

Folks can continue to excoriate Kobach & the election review process, but the facts are, there are real problems with with our state voter registration roles. In my humble opinion, if there are folks with an agenda & willing to "bend the rules", then we have a voter fraud problem.

Kobach is trying to fix this problem.

Now the question is what is the real complaint about with Kobach & the committee looking at voter fraud?

Maybe the real problem is Kobach & the committee might uncover the seriousness of the voter registration problem & then the election process will be honest again, with no EXTRA ADVANTAGE going to either party, and some folks can't stand that.

David Reynolds 3 months, 2 weeks ago

More food for thought: The following article shows how public some communities publicly announce their voter fraud and want to expand it. This makes 2 states, California & Maryland with documented voting issues.

The title of the article is: "Leftist Declares ‘Apartheid’ If Noncitizens Not Allowed to Vote".

http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2017/08/07/leftist-declares-apartheid-noncitizens-not-allowed-vote/

Key paragraphs read: "As municipalities in deep-blue Maryland continue to grant legal and illegal aliens access to the ballot box, one leftist is pushing for a larger movement to combat the “mass disenfranchisement” of non-U.S. citizens in the Trump era.

College Park, Maryland, home to the main campus for the University of Maryland and roughly 20,000 residents overall, is currently reviewing a policy that would open regular ballot access to illegal aliens for municipal elections. While the town would be the largest to do so in the Mid-Atlantic, it would not be the first. The Baltimore Sun reports that College Park would be the eleventh city between Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties; both sharing boundaries with Washington, D.C."

We now have 2 heavy democratic states with documented voting irregularities.

Does this open any eyes to the reality of the situation?

Also can someone please explain how "non-US Citizens" can be disenfranchised at the ballot box?

Steve Hicks 3 months, 2 weeks ago

David, I appreciate very much that you put the case for verifying voter-rolls in a rational way. And you rightly point out that it is not really a partisan issue: all America voters have an equal interest in preventing fraudulent voting.

But surely you realize that your non-partisan argument is undercut by basing it on Breibart stories. Are you not aware that Breibart is a well-known fabricator of partisan "news:" i.e., lies ? How truthful is an argument based on lies ?

Surely you realize too that an honest inquiry into fraudulent voter registration would have to be directed by an honest person, who brought no partisan agenda to the task. Does it seem to you that president Trump probably had that criteria in mind when he created the the "Presidential Commission on Election Integrity" ? Does Kris Kobach seem the right kind of person to direct that commission in an honest inquiry ?

David Reynolds 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Steve, I am disappointed in your critique of the news source. Surely you don't want to get into a battle of credibility given the poor credibility of some in the "Legacy Media". I will not go there because it distracts from the main point of the editorial.

Given that you did not attack the message you must realize the truth of the subject of the story. The legacy media doesn’t cover the story because it violates their paradigm.

Below is an editorial from Tom Tancredo, past member of congress from Colorado. The editorial is titled: "Why Are Democrats Intent on Sabotaging the President’s Election Integrity Commission?"

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/08/07/tancredo-why-are-democrats-intent-on-sabotaging-the-presidents-election-integrity-commission/

Key paragraphs & points summary:

"President Trump’s vote fraud commission launched on May 11 by executive order has generated an avalanche of hysterical outrage from the left and lawsuits by the ACLU and several leftist groups seeking to declare its very existence illegitimate. Listening to the allegations hurled against the commission and its vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, you would think it is plotting to repeal the Voting Rights Act or the 15th Amendment.

However, there are plenty of reliable data to justify a closer look at the problem. For instance, Just Facts, using election data and computer modeling, concluded that as many as 5.7 million non-citizens may have voted in 2008.

A 2014 study of non-citizen voting in 2012 by three professors at Old Dominion University in Virginia found lower estimates of non-citizen voters than claimed by President Trump but nonetheless concluded our elections are highly vulnerable to fraud. The summary of the report states:

We find that some non-citizens participate in U.S. elections, and that this participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congressional elections. Non-citizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress.

Continuing with main editorial: A Pew Center report in 2012 found several million dead people on voter rolls, millions more registered in more than one state, and 24 million voter records with serious deficiencies.

And only this past week, it was revealed that eleven California counties have more voters on their rolls than residents over the age of eighteen. In San Diego, that figure was 138 percent.

The bottom line is that the extreme misrepresentations and the overheated “voter suppression” scaremongering that characterizes most media coverage of President Trump’s  election integrity commission offers ironic reassurance that the commission is on the right road."

So Steve, do you want integrity in our voting?

Steve Hicks 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Dave, you obviously choose to believe what Breitbart says, since you again cite Breitbart. But it's not a source trusted for objective, fact-based, reporting. Citing Breitbart will warn off, not convince, people who are looking for fact-based objective journalism.

If you want people to consider you're making an honest argument that should be taken seriously, you'd be ahead to base your argument on a more trustworthy source like the Pew Center's report.

And again, if you would, please tell me too why you believe a Trump-ordered commission under Kris Kobach' direction would do an honest job of ferreting out voter-fraud ?

David Reynolds 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Steve, your incessant one note argument about a publication shows you have nothing to say about the facts of the subject. Trying to discredit the messenger while ignoring the facts, tells me you can't argue/refute the facts because you know they are true, and you don't like the truth regarding this subject.

If I am to believe your argument then I would have to believe you are telling me that, Just Facts, Judicial Watch, Tom Tancredo, Old Dominion University, The Pew Center are all lying. Really? I believe you owe them all a public written apology!

To answer your question, Yes I believe Kris Kobach can dan do as good a job as anyone else, because I believe he is focused on the facts, and believes the voting process in America should be honest and fair with no illegal vote cast that invalidates a legal vote.

Now, how about you giving me your arguments regarding the facts of voting integrity in America & why the Election Integrity Commission should be disbanded. Also how about you responding to my questions!

Steve Hicks 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Well, Dave, you've got your world where Breitbart tells you the "truth" you want to hear, and Kris Kobach is an honest man.

What could I possibly add to that ? LOLOLOL.

Take care.

David Reynolds 3 months, 2 weeks ago

What could you add? A lot!

How about educating yourself then have a discussion of the facts? How about something constructive to support your point of view?

Denigration is the tool of a person that is unable to say something constructive. It also diminishes the person doing the denigrating.

Paul Beyer 3 months, 1 week ago

It;s hard to not denigrate anyone who lists the sourcves you do. Try watching, reading and listening to reputable non-biased sources. Stay away from Fox, AM radio and the other alt-right liars, especially trump, the twitter mutcase.

David Reynolds 3 months, 1 week ago

Paul it would be helpful if you payed attention. Steve was denigrating a news site versus a person.

Paul you also make too many assumptions, possibly you need to ask some questions before you speak.

I do read many different sources. The problem, for this particular subject is, the legacy media will not discuss the specifics mentioned above. The facts discussed above are against their agenda to continue with fraudulent voting practices.

Paul, you might be able to speak more objectively if you followed your own advice and listened/read other sources besides the legacy media. If you did you might be able to discuss the facts, versus just have a copycat argument piggybacking on Steve's arguments.

Greg Cooper 3 months, 1 week ago

David, I've got an idea: why don't you find a Breitbart article, about anything you like, and then go to a different source that actually confirms the veracity of the Breitbart article. Would you do that, please? it might be quite instructive for all of us. Try starting with the one you cited earlier. That will be quite interesting.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 months, 1 week ago

And so, are we too assume that since, Breitbart wrote that Obama was born in Kenya, you think it's true?

Richard Heckler 3 months, 1 week ago

ALEC is directly tied to the emerging trend among state legislatures to consider voter ID laws.

Using false allegations of “voter fraud,” right-wing politicians are pursuing policies that disenfranchise students and other at-risk voters — including the elderly and the poor — who are unlikely to have drivers’ licenses or other forms of photo ID.

By suppressing the vote of such groups, ALEC’s model “Voter ID Act” grants an electoral advantage to Republicans while undermining the right to vote. In addition, ALEC wants to make it easier for corporations to participate in the political process.

Their Public Safety and Elections taskforce is co-chaired by Sean Parnell of the Center for Competitive Politics, one of the most vociferous pro-corporate election groups, and promotes model legislation that would devastate campaign finance reform and allow for greater corporate influence in elections.

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/report/alec-the-voice-of-corporate-special-interests-in-state-legislatures/#Voter

Richard Heckler 3 months, 1 week ago

This commission is really all about pushing voter suppression which means voters must check their registration status frequently.

Have you been purged from the voting rolls or not? This can be fixed however it takes time. Check your status frequently.

Voters ORGANIZING A VOTING DAY PACKET might be a preventive measure which could include:

--- a birth certificate

--- a drivers license or state ID card

--- proof of voter registration etc etc etc.

--- Military Discharge Papers

--- Keep this packet close to protect your right to vote

Do it today in case it is discovered one or more of the above cannot be found. None of these are difficult to replace. But will take time.

Some believe voter suppression is effective :

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2016/02/02/3745296/major-voter-id-study/

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/4/30/1521945/-Republican-Voter-Suppression-Tactics-Are-Working

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/35539-the-gop-is-now-bragging-about-voter-suppression

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/republican-voter-suppression/

Steve Hicks 3 months, 1 week ago

Give yourself some credit, David. The first link you cite is KMGF-TV in Denver, an ABC affiliate owned by Scripps Media. ABC and Scripps are both what you seem to be calling "legacy" news organizations. So you did find "legacy" media that covered Judicial Watch' claim. Why you didn't recognize they are "legacy" media is hard to understand.

WMAR-TV in Baltimore, another ABC affiliate, also covered the story: http://www.abc2news.com/newsy/11-california-counties-might-have-more-registered-voters-than-eligible

Here's another, a fact-check by the San Diego Union-Tribune (which traces its origins to 1868, so definitely "legacy"):: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/the-conversation/sd-california-more-voters-than-eligible-adults-claim-20170809-htmlstory.html.

The LA Times covered the story: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-judicial-watch-voter-registration-records-20170808-story.html

McClatchy, (also originating from a mid-19th Century California newspaper), the second-largest American news organization, also covered it: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/mcclatchys-america/article166213202.html.

You may have missed the "legacy" media that covered the story because the usual right-wing outlets (Breitbart, The Blaze, WND, and all their imitators of even less-credibility...if such a thing is possible) flooded the search-results pages with their stories.

Interestingly, all the "legacy" media called Judicial Watch' claims "dubious," "unsubstantiated," etc.: and the right-wing "media" all unquestioningly trumpeted those claims.

Also interesting, Putin's media organ, RT, treated the story exactly the same way the right-wing "media" did. And it's worth noting that RT's home-page makes the same argument for believing Russian "spin" that you make for believing right-wing "spin:" you won't hear the real story from "legacy" media. Which is demonstrably a lie.

David Reynolds 3 months ago

Thank you Steve for finding those sites. You did a fine job.

Now that we are all on board, do you still believe the Trump campaign & President Trump specifically colluded with Russia to sway the campaign?

Steve Hicks 3 months ago

I believe...as Congress and the F.B.I. did...that there are sufficient verified contacts of questionable Russians with Trump campaign-people and Trump family members to justify further investigation.

And I'll wait to see what those investigations find, to decide if there seemed to be collusion.

That'd be the right thing to do, don't you agree ?

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