Lynch demurred to a written question from North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis about an expert the Voting Section put up who had some rather controversial opinions about minority voters.  From the written questions:

5. In July of 2014, during a preliminary injunction hearing in the case of Holder v. North
Carolina, 997 F. Supp. 2d 322 (M.D.N.C. 2014), an expert testifying on behalf of the
United States Department of Justice opined:

Also, understanding within political science, that people who register to
vote the closer and closer one gets to Election Day tend to be less
sophisticated voters, tend to be less educated voters, tend to be voters who
are less attuned to public affairs. . . . People who correspond to those
factors tend to be African Americans, and, therefore, that’s another vehicle
through which African Americans would be disproportionately affected by
this law.

Are you willing to condemn the reasoning of this expert witness insofar as his testimony
effectively asserted that African American voters tend to be “less sophisticated” than
non-minority voters? If not, please explain why not. Would you agree that the
Department of Justice should not use taxpayer dollars to retain such experts who hold
such opinions?

RESPONSE: Because this question relates to pending litigation in which the Department is
participating, I cannot comment.

6. Without regard to the context of the statement referenced in Question 5, above, do you
agree that any assertion that minority voters are somehow “less sophisticated” than nonminority
voters should be rejected as repugnant and offensive? If not, please explain why
not.

RESPONSE: Because this question relates to pending litigation in which the Department is
participating, I cannot comment.

Senator Cruz in his written questions probes into reports that the Voting Section fails to enforce the laws in a race neutral fashion.  Cruz cites “U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Letter from Commissioner Peter Kirsanow to Chairman Charles Grassley, 1-4 (Feb. 3, 2015) (detailing Department conduct, including that of former Deputy Attorney General Julie Fernandes, with respect to the Civil Rights Division’s removal of cases involving white voters from Civil Rights
Division consideration and citing specific Commission reports that explore this subject in depth).”

A portion of the written questions:

III. Selective Voting Rights Enforcement
There is concern that the Department of Justice under Attorney General Holder has
embraced the view that federal voting rights laws should not be enforced in a race-neutral
manner but should only be enforced to protect the rights of minority voters. Reports
produced by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, in addition to feedback from the
Commission’s membership, indicate that the Department has incorporated this view into
its policy and strategy.

1. Do you agree or disagree that federal voting rights laws are intended to
protect—and that the Department of Justice should protect—the rights of all
voters regardless of race? If you disagree with this view, please provide a
detailed explanation as to why.

RESPONSE: I am not personally familiar with the specifics of each one of the civil and
criminal provisions of the federal laws regarding voting rights, nor am I familiar with the
specifics of their interpretation by the Department or the federal courts. My general
understanding is that in some provisions of the federal civil and criminal laws regarding voting,
Congress has sought to protect all voters in all elections, while other provisions are more
specific; for example, in some provisions Congress has sought to protect voters in particular
types of elections (e.g., voters in elections for federal office), while in other provisions Congress
has sought to protect voters it has identified as having particular challenges with regard to voting
(e.g., voters away from their place of residence due to service in the uniformed services and
American citizens living overseas, or voters who suffer from blindness, disabilities or an
inability to read or write). If I am confirmed as Attorney General, I am committed to enforcing
all the federal laws within the Department’s jurisdiction, including the federal voting rights laws,
according to their specific terms, in a fair and even-handed manner. As a general matter, I agree
that the right of every eligible American citizen to vote and have that vote counted in our
elections is fundamental to our democracy and should be protected.

Senator Vitter pressed Loretta Lynch in written questions if she believes voter ID laws are racist.  The written questions by Senator David Vitter:

“12. Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III
Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, former member of the Federal Election
Commission, and former Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at
the U.S. Department of Justice, and J. Christian Adams, former counsel for the Voting
Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice and blogger for PJ Media, wrote a
January 27, 2015 article in the National Review entitled “The Questions Loretta Lynch
Needs to Answer”. Please answer the following questions from their article:
a. Do you “believe, as Eric Holder does, that voter-ID laws are racist?”

RESPONSE: I cannot speak to Attorney General Holder’s views, nor do I have any categorical
views on these issues in the abstract. My general understanding is that the Department considers questions of the validity of voting practices, such as state voter identification laws, based on the particular requirements of the federal law being enforced, based on the particular facts of the practice being investigated, and based on the particular law and facts in the jurisdiction.

As the Supreme Court held in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, voter identification
laws are not per se unconstitutional. Nor do they necessarily violate the Voting Rights Act. I
understand that before the Shelby County decision, the Department did preclear some voter
identification laws, such as in Virginia and New Hampshire. The analysis of a voter ID law is very specific to the particular law, the particular jurisdiction, and a wide range of factors that Congress has identified as relevant to determining whether a particular voting practice comports with the Voting Rights Act. As such, it is difficult for me to comment on the merits of any law (or in the abstract) without a full understanding of how the law actually operates in a particular jurisdiction.”

Chairman Grassley’s written questions for Loretta Lynch contained this sequence:

28. In 2008, the Justice Department brought suit against the New Black Panther Party and
two of its members for voter intimidation. The defendants did not contest the claims. But
when the Obama Administration took over, they would not allow career litigators to
move for a default judgment. The career litigators have stated that political appointees
would not allow a case to be brought against Black citizens for intimidation of White
voters. Internal investigations of misconduct have led nowhere after all these years. The
Civil Rights Commission has criticized the Department for not cooperating with its
investigation into the matter.

a. If confirmed, will you conduct a thorough and fair investigation of this matter and
apply any appropriate disciplinary action? [ELC note: Steve Rosenbaum would be on the clock.]

RESPONSE: I am not personally familiar with the details of this case. My general
understanding is that there have been extensive internal Department reviews of this case, but I
am not personally familiar with those reviews or their outcome. If I am confirmed as Attorney
General, I will ensure there has been a fair and impartial consideration of the results of those
internal reviews, and will take any appropriate action based on that consideration.

b. Is it your position that the Voting Rights Act applies in a race neutral way to voter
intimidation?

RESPONSE: If I am confirmed as Attorney General, I am committed to enforcing all the
federal laws within the Department’s jurisdiction, including the Voting Rights Act Act, according to
their specific terms and applicable case law, in an even-handed manner.

From Chairman Grassley’s written questions. b. Stephanie Celandine Gyamfi, an attorney with the Department’s Voting Rights section, was found to have engaged in perjury during a 2013 DOJ IG investigation. In addition, Ms. Gyamfi posted comments regarding an ongoing matter at the Voting Rights section suggesting that the State of Mississippi should change its motto […]

Under Senate Bill 169, sponsored by Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, and eight other Republican lawmakers, proof of identity would include a document or identity card issued by the state, federal government or recognized Indian tribe that contains a “recognizable photograph.”  It also would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a voter identification card free of charge to anyone who lacks other proof.

Settelmeyer said requiring voter ID is “something my constituencies have been clamoring about for a long time.”

In the rural counties he represents, where everyone seems to know almost everyone else, Settelmeyer said his constituents “get upset” when a poll worker won’t look at their ID.  “They want to show their ID,” he said. “The concept is to help strengthen the integrity of elections.”

The Vietnamese candidate won by 43 votes in part due to low turnout and general apathy in the Latino community.  However, there is no celebration that different ethnic groups can actually win rather than the same pre-determined choice over and over.  Instead, there is consternation and threats of lawsuits.  The solution:  More dividing up the races.

Activists in Orange County are considering a voting rights lawsuit after a Latino supervisorial candidate lost a special election last month. Some activist say county district lines split Latino residents and dilute their voting power.

…Vietnamese American voters are a large block in this district at 24 percent, according to Political Data, Inc. They made up 46 percent of the early mail-in ballots pushing Do to the top in last month’s special election.  Not everyone wants to sue the county for voter discrimination. Democrat political consultant Claudio Gallegos said Latinos still make up the majority in the First District. “If more Latinos in Santa Ana and east Garden Grove had turned out to vote, the numbers could have swung (Correa’s) way,” he said.  Gallegos said although, a simple majority Latino voter district can easily be drawn in Orange County, it may not solve the problem of voter apathy among Latinos. 

Link to story.

The Indiana State Police are being asked to investigate allegations of voting irregularities brought against the wife and two daughters of Anderson City Councilman Ollie H. Dixon.

The three were accused by the Madison County Election Board of committing voter fraud by “violating Indiana Election residency requirements.”

Dixon said his family can register and vote anywhere in the United States as long as they only vote in one place.

No, they can’t. Indiana Code 3-5-2-42.5 defines “residence” for the purpose of registering and voting as “the place where a person has the person’s true, fixed, and permanent home and principal establishment” and “to which the person has, whenever absent, the intention of returning.”

People can vote where they legally reside and are eligible to vote, not “anywhere in the United States” they feel like voting.  As an elected official, Dixon (D-District 4) should know better.

How You Can Help

Roll Up Your Sleeves and Get Involved.

Join the movement and sign up for our Knowledge Network to get educated on the issues and opportunities to serve and connect with other citizen activists in your community.

 

Support True the Vote’s efforts to keep our elections free and fair.

Stay in touch

You can support True the Vote and get current information, insights and updates on various social media platforms.