VA Governor Doesn’t Want Voter Applicants to Directly Declare US Citizenship

TTV says it all the time – progressive political interests have a knack for preserving, if not outright exacerbating, weaknesses in our electoral systems. This week, Virginia offers the latest example. According to The Washington Post, Governor Terry McAuliffe offered his support for a significant overhaul of the state’s voter registration form, removing the requirement that applicants directly affirm they are U.S. citizens and have not had their voting rights removed due to felony convictions. Proponents of the change say it does not allow noncitizens to register – it just does not punish applicants if they fail to directly answer questions. By signing the application, they agree with the fine print that requires citizenship.  At the State Board of Elections meeting this week, the proposal was largely panned by concerned citizens and local election officials alike. The general criticism was that no one reads the fine print at the bottom of the form, yet everyone focuses on the first two questions on the top, when required to answer. Changing this procedure could lead to more ineligible registrations – even if by accident. VIRGINIA RESIDENTS: an open comment period has been initiated regarding this matter. Share your thoughts here.


Research Tip: Finding Noncitizens on Your Local Voter Roll

Almost weekly, True the Vote receives requests for help in researching potential noncitizens in local voter rolls. A popular method utilizes jury declination lists, where individuals claimed noncitizenship for comparison against the voter registry. But just because it makes perfect common sense, that does not mean it's an option in every state. TTV research has seen firsthand the mixed bag of jury data access across the nation -- ranging from wide open to shut tight. If you want to get involved locally, there are a few questions that must be answered.

  • Are citizens allowed to review such files as a matter of public record?
  • If not, does your local election office get copies of said files?
  • How often does the election office get the files?
  • Do they use the jury data information for voter roll maintenance purposes?
  • Why not (if applicable)?

You may reside in a state that does not consider jury duty declination files to be public record. However, you still have the power to see proof of process. If data is to be transferred to election offices, periodically request proof that documents were received and acted upon. Citizen oversight keeps local officials on their toes.


More IRS Targeting News That Will Not Shock You

Remember when Lois Lerner swore that the DC brass of the Internal Revenue Service was unaware the targeting of nonprofits was occurring and threw the Cincinnati office under the bus, labeling them rogue actors? New (technically old and once thought lost) emails belonging to Lerner surfaced this week again proving her claims to be a lie. This week, The Washington Times reported on a November 2011 email exchange between Lerner and the Cincinnati office. It describes plans to delay a tax-exempt applicant’s likely complaint to Congress by burdening them with more questions. “Just today, I instructed one of my managers to get an additional information letter out to one of these organizations — if nothing else to buy time so he didn’t contact his Congressional Office,” a Cincinnati official told Lerner. This revelation shows us a few things. First, we can continue to build the timeline even further with respect to Lerner's direct knowledge of targeting from the top down. But more important, we see the ease in which the notorious harassment letters were used to keep applicants hamstrung on all fronts. Additional information requests typically required hundreds of pages of documents to be submitted under penalty of perjury and tight deadlines merely to back up previous responses.  Applicants simply do not have the time to call their Congressman or sound any other alarms when they have to answer questions like: 

List each past or present board member, officer, key employee and members of their families who:

  1. Has served on the board of another organization.
  2. Was, is or plans to be a candidate for public office. Indicate the nature of each candidacy.
  3. Has previously conducted similar activities in another entity.
  4. Has previously submitted an application for tax exempt status.

With revelations like this, it's no surprise the IRS continues to drag its collective feet in honoring court orders for document email disclosures.


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State attorneys rest in federal trial over North Carolina election law

Arrested: Voting Under False Names in Wyoming

Texas Democratic Party boss stalls election voided due to voter fraud

Second expert testifies that voter turnout increased after passage of North Carolina election law

“Unusually High” Absentee Ballot Rates in Mississippi Election

Plaintiffs rest, state rebuts in federal trial over North Carolina election law

Voter ID laws don’t suppress minority voting, studies confirm

Attorneys representing North Carolina and Gov. Pat McCrory rested their case this morning after calling six witnesses in a federal trial over the state’s controversial election law.

The last witness for the state was Brian Neesby, business systems analysis for the State Board of Election. Neesby testified about data analysis he conducted, including an analysis that showed higher mail verification failure rates for same-day voter registration than the traditional registration that occurs 25 days before an election.

According to Neesby, “2012 voters who used same day registration were up to 35 more times likely to fail the process for certifying their registration by mail.”

The previous witness, state Board of Elections Director Kim Strach, described the mail verification process that county elections officials use to verify that voters live at the address they list on their registration application.  Strach also testified that the Board’s recently-expanded investigation team had turned up new allegations of voter fraud and identified “31 possible cases for referral to district attorneys.”

Also today in North Carolina, the citizen volunteer group Voter Integrity Project reported that a second person the group had identified as a possible interstate double-voter in North Carolina and Florida, and triple-voter in those two states plus Tennessee, was arrested June 25 in Tennessee on voter fraud-related charges.

An arrest for voting under phony names in Wyoming.


“Wells faces three felonies: 2 counts of False Voting and one count of Voter Registration Offense. Each charge is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines.”

“Stolen elections are the gateway to stealing all the rest of it.”

Via Texas After beating state Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa in court, an election law attorney says South Texas’ tide of corruption is turning. But slowly. Dealing a double defeat to Hinojosa, a district court and appellate court voided the election of Weslaco City Commissioner Lupe Rivera. The courts found that Rivera was aided by a string of forgeries, false addresses and “flexible residencies.”

Hinojosa, who represented Rivera, argued the shady activities were business as usual in the Rio Grande Valley…

Jerad Najvar, who represented Rivera challenger Letty Lopez, said, “The kind of violations we proved in this case — false registrations and manipulation of mail-in ballots — are commonplace in South Texas elections. The majority of folks are sick of it.”

Najvar said his client’s court victories proved that election fraud exists, and can be beaten back… “we got an opinion from the Corpus Christi court of appeals reaffirming that the voting residency definition is a meaningful standard, and enforcing the ballot by mail chain of custody provisions. That’s a precedential opinion…”

As Hinojosa considers appealing to the State Supreme Court, further delaying the ordered new election and keeping his client Rivera in office, the state Attorney General’s Office is considering a criminal investigation.

Mary Helen Flores, president of the non-partisan group Citizens Against Voter Abuse that helped expose illegal vote harvesting in the Rio Grande Valley by politiqueras – over a dozen have already been prosecuted for federal crimes – says:

“Each and every individual who participates in the degradation of our electoral process should face mandatory jail time. Gilberto Hinojosa is openly condoning this activity. Through his words and actions, he is telling the people who’ll listen to him that cheating is OK.  Cameron County is paying dearly for this philosophy. We are the poorest, and among the least educated populations in the country, due in large part to chronic public corruption. Stolen elections are the gateway to stealing all the rest of it.”

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann takes note via Y’All Politics:

A statewide comparison of absentee ballots cast thus far in the Primary Election shows several counties have a high number of absentee ballots requested.

“High absentee ballots are always cause for concern with our Agency,” says Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “Now that Mississippi has passed Voter ID, absentee balloting has the highest potential for fraud in our State.”

Percentages are based on the total number of eligible voters to the total number of requested absentee ballots. On average, the percentage of absentee ballots cast in an election is 5-6%.

Counties whose requested absentee ballots are higher than 5%:

• Noxubee 13.66%
• Quitman 10.77%
• Claiborne 7.73%
• Tallahatchie 7.20%
• Benton 5.8%

Overall turnout and turnout among black voters was higher in 2014 than 2010

Evidence shows that HB 589, the North Carolina election law enacted in 2013, had no negative impact on voter turnout in 2014, and in fact turnout increased compared to 2010, the state’s second expert witness in the federal trial challenging the law testified.

Trey Hood, a professor of political science at the University of Georgia, said in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem that he could find no evidence that North Carolina’s shortened early voting period discouraged a significant number of people to vote…

Hood compared turnout rates for the 2010 and 2014 mid-term elections and Democratic primaries, and found that with an early voting period of ten days in 2014, compared to 17 days in 2010, more total voters voted and more black voters voted.

Hood argued that the Democratic primary in 2010 was more competitive than the one in 2014. He said he would have expected higher voter turnout in 2010, but his analysis of the data revealed the opposite – the overall turnout was higher in 2014 than 2010. The turnout among black voters was also higher in 2014 than it was in 2010.

The turnout was high both during the early voting period and on Election Day, Hood said.  Hood said black voters cast ballots during the shortened period of early voting at higher rates than whites in 2014.

The state’s witnesses have begun rebutting plaintiffs’ claims that several election law changes enacted in 2013 are discriminatory:

In court documents and through cross-examination, state attorneys have argued that North Carolina is under no obligation to provide things such as early voting and same-day voter registration, that the law is racially neutral and that it applies equally to everyone, regardless of race. One of the major points that state attorneys have pushed is that black voter turnout increased in 2014, when many of the law’s provisions were in place, as compared to 2010.

Thornton testified that her analysis of data indicated that black voter turnout increased at a higher rate in 2014 than it did in 2010, both in early voting and on Election Day. Thornton also testified that people registered to vote at higher rates between 2012 and 2014 than they did between 2008 and 2010.

Even people who don’t think that voter ID laws are needed to prevent voter fraud acknowledge that voter ID laws don’t suppress minority voting and in fact “don’t seem to have much of an impact on minority turnout at all,” as multiple studies confirm:

  • “In short, more stringent ID requirements for voting have no deterring effect on individual turnout across different racial and ethnic groups.” (Also, “universal mail voting, no-excuse absentee voting, and early in-person voting, have no systematic effect on turnout when racial and ethnic groups are analyzed separately.”)
  • “We find no evidence that [stricter voter ID requirements] have a net demobilizing effect.”
  • “[T]here is little evidence that racial minorities are less likely than whites to vote when states institute voter identification requirements.”

Three studies, one conclusion.

Back to Court with the IRS

True the Vote attorneys were back at it this week, filing a new motion before the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. Thanks to a recent decision by the court allowing for another IRS target’s case to proceed to evidence discovery, TTV requested that it get similar treatment in a brief filed on Monday. Put plainly, the arguments for the case to return to the district court level are: recent precedent requires that the court accept that the IRS was engaging in viewpoint discrimination against TTV; and the district court selectively relied on facts not present in the case to justify dismissing TTV. You can read the full brief online here.


U.S. Government Accountability Office Deals a Blow to IRS

In a new report publicly circulated this week, the Government Accountability Office in Washington took the IRS to task on its assertions that the agency had turned over a new leaf, making politically charged targeting a thing of the past. The GAO has essentially found that existing mechanisms governing the selection process for auditing tax-exempt groups risk a new targeting scheme. Shocker. Simply put, TTV was put through the ringer during our 501(c) application phase – now we’re on notice that there is little protecting us from discriminatory audits. According to the report summary, “There are several areas where [IRS] controls were not well designed or implemented. The control deficiencies GAO found increase the risk that [the IRS] could select organizations for examination in an unfair manner—for example, based on an organization's religious, educational, political, or other views.” Two key examples of “deficiencies” are that IRS personnel could deviate from established procedures in selecting organizations for heightened scrutiny; and that management does not closely monitor proper documentation procedures when reviewing entities [*cough* missing emails]. You can read the summary and download the entire report here.


A Peek at New TTV Research

Remember when TTV sued Indiana and Ohio for harboring counties with more registered voters than residents over the age of 18? It’s that time in the electoral cycle again, and new counties are in our crosshairs. This year, TTV researchers have seen a shift in trends among counties crossing the 100% plus line for voter registration. Past surveys would typically find counties with low to middle population densities having problems. In 2015 there are record numbers of urban and suburban counties with bloated voter files. In California, seven counties have more registered voters than adult residents. San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco-area counties can expect to hear from True the Vote soon. Stay tuned…


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L.A. “Voteria” doesn’t pay out in increased turnout

North Carolina voting law has not prevented voting; it is curbing voter fraud

Texas election overturned due to voter fraud faces continuing delays to re-do

New Hampshire governor vetoes 30-day wait to vote

What Democracy Doesn’t Look Like: A $25,000 voting lottery.

Though this event was not sponsored by any level of Los Angeles’s city government, including the School Board itself, it nonetheless marks a sad state of affairs for participatory democracy in America. The contest was initiated largely to spur voter turnout, which in Los Angeles sometimes drops to below 10 percent… the cash prize hardly lured out any more voters than usual, with the election seeing a turnout of only around 10 percent.

But the success or failure of the raffle is besides the point. If this is the only way LA can get voter turnout, that’s a serious indictment of the city’s political culture.

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