A two-vote margin of victory. At least two fraudulent ballots:

After a three-month investigation, state police have arrested a 21-year-old man on suspicion of voter fraud in the Española city election that saw an incumbent councilor lose his seat by two votes.

The defendant is Dyon Herrera, who was a campaign volunteer for now-Councilor Robert Seeds. Seeds defeated former Councilor Cory Lewis 238 to 236 in the March election. What stood out was that Seeds received 94 votes by absentee ballot — two times more than the combined total of seven other candidates for City Council seats. Lewis received 10 votes by absentee ballot.

Herrera is charged with two counts of falsifying signatures on two absentee ballots and one count of falsifying a signature on an application for an absentee ballot. All are fourth-degree felonies.

The state police investigation found that “there were absentee ballots which had discrepancies in the signatures,” though investigators did not say how many or whether all the fraudsters could be identified.

Lewis also investigated for a civil suit he filed challenging the election results. After reviewing the absentee ballot envelopes, which voters must sign, Lewis’ lawyer identified 23 voters who may not have signed the envelopes for absentee ballots submitted in their name. “Somebody other than the actual voter signed those,” Lewis said. “I think it’s safe to say one person did several of them.”

Just to recap: Voter fraud does exist, it can and does change the outcome of elections, and people are willing to risk felony charges to commit voter fraud.

We deserve a Legislature and governor willing to defend the integrity of our elections.

Under threat of veto by Democrat Governor Maggie Hassan, who’s rejected all previous efforts to address “drive-by voting” in New Hampshire, state senators killed a compromise bill that would have established a minimal 10-day residency requirement for new voters.  Via the Union Leader:

You only have a right to vote where you actually live. And lawmakers have a responsibility to legislate how such a “domicile” is defined, and many states require new voters to establish roots for 10 to 30 days before an election…

In February, a pair of Bernie Sanders staffers registered to vote using the campaign’s address. Allowing out-of-state voters to cast ballots in New Hampshire, based solely on their state of mind, steals votes from Granite Staters.

Via The Federalist Society Review:

In a democracy where some may vote and others may not—with various perfectly legitimate restrictions regarding age, citizenship, and domicile, let alone more controversial rules—what does it mean to achieve “equality” in the voting process? That is the profound question that the Supreme Court took up in Evenwel v. Abbott.[1] Alas, the Court did not resolve it.

In Evenwel, the Court decided that it is acceptable for a state to ignore the distinction between voters and nonvoters when drawing legislative district lines. According to the Court, a state may declare that equality is simply providing representatives to equal groups of people, without distinction as to how many of those people will actually choose the representative…

But ignoring the distinction between voters and nonvoters achieves a false picture of equality at the expense of producing far more serious inequalities. Rather than placing nonvoters and voters on anything approaching an equal political footing, it instead gives greater power to those voters who happen to live near more nonvoters, and less power to those who do not.

The least the city can do is to ensure that we have fair, honest and accountable elections.”

A group called Voters Organized for the Integrity of City Elections on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit against the Baltimore City Board of Elections and the Maryland State Board of Elections.  The group includes voters and candidates in Baltimore City. They allege people who voted in Baltimore City “suffered injury” because of “process-based irregularities.”

The state board decertified the election results and then recertified them following a review that found, among other irregularities listed in the complaint, 1,000 more votes counted than the number of verified and qualified voters, 1,188 provisional ballots counted “without verifying whether the voters were in fact authorized to vote,” and 465 uncounted provisional ballots.

Charlie Metz lost his City Council primary by 130 votes… Congressional Republican candidate William Newton lost his primary race by 46 votes.

Plaintiffs want a new election ordered and federal oversight of future city elections.

New Mexico: phony signatures help man lose election by TWO votes

The story of Cory Lewis, Española City Councilman, proves our point again: you don’t need a lot of fraud to tilt an election – just enough fraud in the right places. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that his race was called in March with 238 to 236 votes. Ouch. But here’s where it gets interesting … 104 votes were mail ballots, with 94 of those going to the challenger. Lewis has since filed a lawsuit alleging that 23 mail ballots had bogus signatures, an amount that could easily flip the result. But it gets better. The wife of the challenging candidate was twice documented by local election officials as she tried to drop off absentee ballots for others. Upon initial drop-off of the ballots, officials noted that voter signatures were missing. Moments later, the woman returned with them signed. The court has granted Lewis’ legal team the opportunity to review the signatures and related documents directly. No further rulings have been made in the case as of now.

 

Schedule a TTV speaker today!

Just in time for the height of the 2016 Election, True the Vote has fanned out staff and speakers around the southern and southeastern United States -- with more to come. Do you have a meeting or conference coming up and would like to book a speaker on the subject of election integrity? We’ve streamlined the request process with a form now available on the website, here. We can’t wait to attend your next event!

 

Ohio: Woman charged with 35 counts of voter fraud

Talk about getting out the vote. Rebecca Hammonds of Columbiana County stands accused of faking 32 voter registration forms, with three additional charges of signature forgery. Lax verification and validation standards in registering new voters have long left our systems vulnerable to such actions. Thankfully, local election officials were on top of the matter. In larger jurisdictions, however, this work becomes much more difficult. Please consider writing to your state representatives and asking what proposals they support that would improve the system. You can read more about the story, here.

 

Did you know? PEW Research highlighted a study that detailed the total amount it would cost to collect ALL voter files in the country. True the Vote’s national voter roll research databank costs $126,482 -- just for the raw data! If you haven’t yet, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help underwrite our research efforts.

 

Voter ID Updates
 

LOUISIANA
In a few years, Louisiana college students would be able to use their university ID cards to vote in state elections, if the governor agrees to a proposal passed by lawmakers.
Lawmakers agree to allow college student ID cards for voting
 
MINNESOTA
Secretary of State Steve Simon announced Tuesday that Veteran Identification Cards are now acceptable photo identification documents for same-day voter registration.
Veteran ID Cards Now Accepted For Same-Day Voter Registration
 
NEW MEXICO
During Thursday’s regular meeting the Clovis City Commission passed a voter ID requirement for municipal elections by a vote of 7-1, with the lone dissenting vote cast by Commissioner Robert Sandoval.
The voter ID ordinance was introduced during the May 5 meeting, following the March municipal election in which 72.7 percent of Clovis voters favored creation of the ordinance.
City commissioners pass voter ID requirement
 
NORTH DAKOTA
Suits in North Dakota, Utah, South Dakota and Arizona claim new voting rules passed in majority Republican states are discriminatory and could reduce voting by tribal members, who tend to back Democrats. A suit in Alaska, for example, claimed the state violated federal rules by failing to translate voting materials for tribal voters.
The tribes say changes to voting rules in those states disproportionately affect Native Americans, an allegation the states and counties deny.
Native Americans move to frontlines in battle over voting rights
 
WISCONSIN
A nine-day court trial of the Wisconsin legal challenge concluded last week in federal court in Madison, and a forthcoming ruling in that case could decide how voter ID affects the state’s 2016 general election. The outcome of that and another lawsuit also could influence the national back-and-forth on voter ID.
Wisconsin at vanguard of national legal fight on voter ID
 
The liberal groups challenging the law say it, and more than a dozen other election-related laws enacted since 2011, target voters who tend to support Democratic candidates. The state's lawyers said no such targeting exists, and pointed to high turnout in this spring's presidential primary as proof the law doesn't create barriers to voting. 
Wisconsin Voter ID Trial Wraps Up With Verdict Expected In July
 
Starting this week, people working to get the documents they need for a state-issued ID --- which is now required to vote in the Wisconsin --- can get a receipt from the Division of Motor Vehicles that can serve as a substitute for an ID at the polls. The changes is the result of an emergency rule approved Wednesday by Gov. Scott Walker, that he says will make it easier to vote in Wisconsin – but opponents to the state's voter ID law say the new rule doesn't do enough.
Walker Tweaks Voter ID Rules

 

Mandatory Voter Registration Updates

CONNECTICUT
An agreement between Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Department of Motor Vehicle Commissioner Michael Byzdra to develop an automatic voter registration system is an unnecessary and expensive proposition. That was the message from four Republican lawmakers who held a press conference Wednesday at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to criticize the decision.
4 Connecticut GOP legislators oppose automatic voter registration via DMV
 
ILLINIOS
If the bill is approved, Illinois would become the fifth state to enact automatic voter registration, joining California, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia. In addition the Secretary of State's office, four other state agencies would be able to add eligible people to voter rolls. These include the Department on Aging and the departments of Human Services, Healthcare and Family Services, and Employment Security. State officials and local elections boards would have until Jan. 1, 2018, to fully implement the plan.
Illinois could become the fifth state with automatic voter registration
 
The measure approved 86-30 by the House on Tuesday would provide automatic registration for would-be voters visiting certain state agencies. Each person would have a chance to opt out at some point.
Automatic voter registration goes to Rauner; he likes idea
 
The state simply cannot afford to enact an expensive system of mandatory voter registration that will do very little to help voter turnout while threatening the integrity of Illinois’ voter registration rolls.
LDF's Illinois Mandatory Voter Registration Talking Points

NEW JERSEY
That bill would automatically register people to vote when they apply for a new driver’s license or a renewal and update their voter record if they change their address with the Motor Vehicle Commission. Right now registration if offered at the MVC but isn’t automatic.
Should voter registration be automatic in New Jersey?
 
OREGON
More than a million Oregonians cast ballots in last week’s primary, barely meeting expectations set by election officials. However, turnout was lower than in the presidential primary eight years ago and it was unclear what impact the state’s new automatic voter registration system had on the election results. Oregon has several hundred thousand more registered voters than eight years ago.
Voter turnout is big, not a state record, stats show
 
According to the most recent analysis by the state Elections Division, 8,135 votes were cast by Oregonians who were registered through the Oregon Motor Voter program. With 43,571 eligible OMV voters, this means 18.7 percent of the OMV-registered voters who were eligible to vote on May 17th (registered by April 26th) participated in the primary election.
Oregon elections official details 'motor voter' impact
 
VERMONT
The problems raise immediate concerns for the coming two elections, she said, including this summer's gubernatorial primary election. There are also long-term questions about how well Vermont's new automatic voter registration will work. Starting in 2017, Vermonters will automatically be placed on the voter rolls when they apply for or renew a driver's license or nondriver identification card.
Vermont motor voter registration raises concerns

 

Legislative updates are provided by the Lawyers Democracy Fund.

Southern California appears to have a real life problem with “zombie” voters:

An investigation by CBSLA2 and KCAL9 found that hundreds of deceased persons are still on voter registration rolls in the area, and that many of these names have been voting for years in Los Angeles.

For example, John Cenkner died in 2003, according to Social Security Administration records, yet he voted in the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2010 elections… Another voter, Julita Abutin, died in 2006 but voted in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014.

Last week’s report on votes being cast from the grave in Los Angeles County isn’t the first of its kind out of California.

In 2014 the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on dead people registered and voting in San Diego County, including a woman in whose name 15 fraudulent ballots have been cast since her death in 1998. In both cases, journalists discovered the voter fraud by looking for it – something election officials in San Diego and Los Angeles have apparently been unwilling to do.

Meanwhile, California remains the only state that still doesn’t comply with the Help America Vote Act of 2002 that requires states to maintain updated statewide voter rolls and regularly remove ineligible voters.

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