“The recently concluded federal trial over North Carolina’s election rules proved one thing beyond a reasonable doubt: The Obama administration and its partisan, big-money, racial-interest-group allies will stop at nothing to win elections. And using the courts to change election rules is a key part of their strategy.”

My latest with Hans von Spakovsky at National Review.

True the Vote Calls Out 136 Counties with Over 100% of Population Registered to Vote

This week True the Vote announced the latest findings in one of its signature research efforts – calling attention to bloated voter rolls across the nation. Did you know that 136 counties in 21 states have more registered voters than adult residents? From New York to California and many points in between, outdated voter records continue to plague the nation. New findings indicate an alarming shift in the type of county often found to exceed the mark of 100% plus voter registrations. Mid-sized and suburban counties are starting to turn up in our studies – where rural counties used to dominate. In a press release circulated this week, TTV founder Catherine Engelbrecht said, “Bloated voter rolls hurt everyone. Deceased voters aren't removed, duplicate registrations aren't revoked and the records of voters who've relocated aren't corrected. Low verification standards, like absence of voter ID, add to the confusion. Bloated rolls create the ideal environment for identity theft and voter fraud.” Want to know if your state was included? Check out the full release, “True the Vote Calls Out 136 Counties with Over 100% of Population Registered to Vote” here.

Related story: Bloated US voter rolls could lead to lawsuits (The Washington Times)

 

Federal Decision Allows Uncle Sam Funds to Be Used to Fight Voter Fraud

Yes, you read that right – a Washington commission is actually OK with state election officials using federal dollars to fund criminal investigations into voter fraud. The story began in Iowa back in 2012. Former IA Secretary of State Matt Schultz transferred federal grant dollars typically used to purchase new voting equipment and other items to the state Division of Criminal Investigation to probe instances of noncitizen and felon voting ahead of the 2012 General Election. The effort subsequently led to charges against 10 noncitizens and 16 felon voters. Right on cue, progressive interests complained to the federal grantor, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. This week the EAC ruled that the action was admissible – potentially paving the way for other states to follow suit. Read more here.

 

Indiana ‘Ballot Selfie’ Rule Challenged in Court

Prepare for jaw drop: we’re about to say something nice about the ACLU.

You may recall that True the Vote applauded a recent court ruling in New Hampshire ending a state ban on “ballot selfies” – a general term used to describe photography for the purpose of memorializing one’s voting experience. After the ACLU convinced a Granite State federal judge that such actions were deserving of First Amendment protection, they took their show to Indiana this week. While it’s true that nine times out of ten TTV will find itself opposing the ACLU, they deserve credit here. Bans on personal ballot photography can hamstring those that may have an irregular voting experience, leaving them with few options to document the matter. Every election we see smuggled images of balloting touch screen glitches or voting machines showing the wrong candidate(s) entirely. Knocking these bans down allows voters to utilize technologies like True the Vote’s smartphone app, VoteStand, to share their experience with those that can help address their challenges. If you would like to learn more about VoteStand for iOS or Android, click here.

 

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True the Vote Threatens Legal Action Against 136 Counties Across the US with Bloated Voter Rolls

State lawsuit over North Carolina voter ID on hold

August 2015 National Webinar: DIY Election Integrity

States are free to use federal grant money intended to improve how elections are run in order to pay for criminal investigations of potential voter fraud, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission has ruled…

The commission started operating again in January… the members agreed in an Aug. 13 advisory that Iowa’s use of the money was “allowable, allocable and reasonable.” The Help America Vote Act requires states to ensure that voter registration records are accurate and leaves to them “the specific choices on the methods of complying,” the advisory said.

136 Counties in 21 States Have More Registered Voters than Adult Residents

HOUSTON, TX. -- August 27, 2015: True the Vote (TTV), the nation's leading voters’ rights and election integrity organization, today announced its latest findings in an ongoing effort to reduce outdated records in America’s voter rolls.

136 counties in 21 states were given notices of potential violation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, requiring election officials to make reasonable efforts to maintain voter rolls. Counties in receipt are demonstrated to have more than 100 percent voter registration at the time of the 2014 Election and have not indicated any significant effort to address the problem in the months following.

It’s important that engaged voters keep the pressure on election officials to ensure that outdated or ineligible records are quickly addressed,” True the Vote Founder Catherine Engelbrecht said. “Bloated voter rolls hurt everyone. Deceased voters aren't removed, duplicate registrations aren't revoked and the records of voters who've relocated aren't corrected. Low verification standards, like absence of voter ID, add to the confusion. Bloated rolls create the ideal environment for identity theft and voter fraud.

“With the U.S. Justice Department still refusing to set a national standard and enforce federal maintenance requirements, we’re now starting to see entire states come close to showing over 100 percent registration,” Engelbrecht added.

Key Highlights

  • Who’s the Worst: Kentucky, Michigan and Indiana lead the nation in counties with 100% plus voter registration rates with more than 10 each (total voter registration rate per state)
    • Kentucky 94%
    • Michigan – 95%
    • Indiana – 92%
  • Becoming an Urban Problem: Larger, suburban counties in Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan without a history of 100% plus rates are now over the line
  • 2016: The states represented in this most recent finding account for 305 Electoral College votes –a landslide total

Counties in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia received pre-litigation notices. True the Vote has requested that the counties outline efforts to remove dead, felon, moved or otherwise ineligible voters ahead of the 2016 election season to avoid litigation.

This latest research finding builds upon a body of work that has led to lawsuits against the States of Indiana and Ohio to update voter rolls in 2012.

 

True the Vote (TTV) is an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) voters’ rights organization, founded to inspire and equip voters for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.

VoteStand is now available for both iOS (Apple) and Android devices free of charge. For more detailed technical information, visit the official VoteStand website at www.votestand.com.

###

Alabama

Lowndes

Macon

Perry

Greene

Wilcox

Marengo

Washington

Hale

Choctaw

Conecuh

 

Arizona

Apache

 

California

Modoc

Siskiyou

San Diego

Stanislaus

Alameda

San Bernardino

Kings

 

Colorado

Mineral

San Juan

Ouray

Jackson

Summit

Dolores

Gilpin

Douglas

 

Florida

St. Johns*

Santa Rosa*

 

Illinois

Jersey

Scott

Pulaski

 

Indiana

Crawford

Franklin

Scott

Brown

Union

Tipton

Orange

Newton

Clark

Dearborn

Warrick

Boone

Vanderburgh

Martin

 

Kansas

Gove

Cherokee*

Bourbon

Meade

Smith

 

Kentucky

Breathitt

Menifee

Trimble

Fulton

Anderson

Mercer

Boone

Monroe

Magoffin

Powell

Oldham

Carlisle

Cumberland

Wolfe

Bath

Hancock

Floyd

Trigg

Greenup

Spencer

McCracken

Caldwell

Woodford

 

Louisiana

Tensas

 

Michigan

Leelanau

Otsego

Antrim

Keweenaw

Kalkaska

Roscommon

Emmet

Charlevoix

Dickinson

Ontonagon

Benzie

Berrien

Mackinac

Genesee

Gogebic

Gladwin

Alcona

Montmorency

 

Mississippi

Tunica

Issaquena

Bolivar

Noxubee

Madison

Choctaw

Lauderdale

Leake

Lincoln

Amite

Franklin

Grenada

 

Montana

Petroleum

 

Nebraska

Loup

Wheeler

Kimball

Thurston

Keya Paha

 

New Mexico

Harding

Mora

Los Alamos

Catron

 

New York

Hamilton

 

Ohio

Lawrence

 

South Dakota

Hanson

Campbell

Union

Lake

 

Tennessee

Pickett

Van Buren

 

Texas

Loving

Brooks

McMullen

Kenedy

Roberts

Irion

Jim Hogg

Zavala**

Culberson
Polk

Edwards

 

West Virginia

Lincoln

Mingo

McDowell

 

*Denotes a county receiving a pre-notice voter registration records inspection request

**Denotes pending litigation on the matter

A state lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s voter identification law is on hold while a judge decides whether the suit is now moot. Earlier this year, the legislature amended the law to allow voters without qualifying photo ID to cast ballots by signing a declaration of reasonable impediment.

“There is no question that the General Assembly in what they enacted answered the questions of unconstitutionality that the plaintiffs have raised,” Special Deputy Attorney General Alec Peters told Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan in a Raleigh courtroom. Peters said the lawsuit is moot and should be dismissed.

Morgan didn’t rule immediately on the state’s request, nor on motions by the voting rights groups and voters challenging the law. They want to delay the voter ID implementation until after the presidential primary election, likely in March. Otherwise, the photo ID requirement begins in early 2016. Morgan said he would issue his rulings in about three weeks.

Another case challenging the state’s voter ID law is pending in federal court.

New TTV Research Finds Thousands of Potential Duplicate Voter Registrations in NC Counties

This week TTV turned over thousands of potential duplicate voter registrations in some of North Carolina’s largest counties in a new strategy to share findings and oversee the eventual removal of bogus files in bulk. As you may know, as an organization TTV cannot directly challenge the veracity of a voter registration– only local voters have that power in most cases. True the Vote can, however, share findings and negotiate to view how counties in receipt process TTV research and improve voter rolls at large. We’ll share these findings in greater detail as the various jurisdictions contacted offer feedback on TTV research. Reactions to TTV’s findings have been overwhelmingly appreciated thus far.

 

Voter ID Fight in North Carolina May Head to Settlement Talks

One of the most highly publicized fights over a voter ID law and other election integrity reforms may end with a handshake instead of a judge’s order in North Carolina. New court documents filed this week indicate the NAACP and other plaintiffs are opening the door to settlement talks after Tar Heel legislators amended the law to allow voters to sign a “reasonable impediment declaration” if they could not comply with the law when enforcement begins in 2016. You can read more about the status of the lawsuit here.

A key component of the case brought by NAACP, et al., is the assertion that the State has not done a good enough job educating the public about the law as 2016 draws near. The North Carolina State Board of Elections has built an easy-to-use website that tells voters all they need to know about complying with the new requirement. If you live in the state or know someone that does, share this website now (voterid.nc.gov). The link is short enough to tweet it – #justsaying.

 

The U.S. Postal Service Wants YOU to Vote by Mail…Maybe

When you hear the words ‘Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Postal Service’, your first instinct may be to find some paint to observe the drying process as a pick-me-up. Stick with us, though, because this office in the USPS is now openly advocating for all “election jurisdictions to transition to all-mail voting” for the noble purpose of “grow[ing] mail volume and revenue.” That’s right, the Inspector General sees a potential $2 million annual increase in income by promoting the method of voting universally understood to be the most susceptible to fraud. Thankfully, USPS management is not sold on the idea. Opposition to the idea is no doubt bolstered by election blunders like most recently seen in Orem, Utah, where roughly 1,300 ballots were delivered after an election -- by no fault of the voters in question -- due to internal inefficiencies with the postal service.

 

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Legal challenge to North Carolina voter ID law could be settled or dismissed

North Carolina ‘serial double-voter’ charged with voter fraud

The federal legal challenge to North Carolina’s Voter ID law could be settled, according to court documents filed Monday…

U.S. Judge Thomas Schroeder had ruled that the legal challenge on the photo ID requirement would be continued. Schroeder’s decision came after state Republicans made changes softening the photo ID requirement less than a month before the trial started.

The law now allows voters in 2016 who don’t have a photo ID to sign a “reasonable impediment declaration” and also enables voters to present certain photo ID that may have expired as long as it’s not more than four years. Attorneys representing the state and Gov. Pat McCrory argue that the changes make the legal challenge to the photo ID requirement moot.

The state is seeking dismissal. Plaintiffs, meanwhile, are angling for “negotiations” to address “continuing concerns,” though it’s hard to see why the state would enter into a consent decree at this point, as the photo ID requirement reasonably accommodates all eligible voters.

The interstate cross-check program has uncovered more potential voter fraud, helping investigators nab another alleged North Carolina “serial double-voter.”

Jason Wilton Wetzel has been charged with double-voting multiple times in both North Carolina and Georgia, in the 2012 primary and general elections and in 2014.

So far, the State Board of Elections has referred ten cases of potential “serial double-voters” to North Carolina prosecutors, with additional criminal referrals expected.

New Hampshire Court Ruling Opens Door to Improved Voting Transparency

Users of True the Vote’s election integrity smartphone app, VoteStand (download for iOS or Android), can rejoice in New Hampshire. This week a federal judge in the Granite State ruled that the NH law banning “ballot selfies” and other personal photography within the polling place was an unconstitutional burden on free speech. You may know that rules tend to vary across state lines with respect to cell phone use and personal photography. Without fail, in-person voting season is always ushered in with spoken reports and hastily captured images of touch screens displaying a variety of ballot glitches. If rulings like this continue to spread in the face of similar bans, voters will be further empowered to document and share irregular experiences. To read more about this landmark ruling, click here

 

Virginia is For Lovers…of Citizenship Requirements in Voter Registration

Two weeks ago, TTV raised awareness of a proposal in the Commonwealth of Virginia that would remove the requirement on voter applicants to directly attest to being United States citizens as a prerequisite for successful registration. The Governor McAuliffe-backed proposal was opened to a period of public comment on the matter ahead of a vote by the State Board of Elections in September. After only a few weeks with more than a thousand officially registered citizen comments, the Democratic Party operative turned Governor pulled the proposal, according to a report this week in The Washington Post. As comments poured in opposing the change, one statement stuck out to TTV from a ‘Proud Naturalized Citizen of the US’: “If [you’re] concerned that eligible voters will get rejected 'simply because they forgot to check off a box or two' (about their citizenship and criminal history) MAKE THOSE QUESTIONS MORE PROMINENT, because they are important!” It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Well played, Virginians.

 

Check Out the August 2015 Webinar Replay: D.I.Y. Election Integrity

Do you want to learn how the pros succeed at dislodging critical election information from government offices large and small? This month, True the Vote presented a crash course in developing an effective open records request strategy in your community. Click here to watch the entire presentation on demand. Don’t bother taking notes directly from the video because we’ve made available all education materials here. Happy hunting!

 

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“Leave the Voting Rights Act Alone”

Guide to Do-It-Yourself Research Projects

The editors at NRO advise Congress to leave the Voting Rights Act as is – as solid as ever:

The bedrock of the Voting Rights Act — that no American may be prevented from voting because of his race — remains as solid as ever… The difference is that without Section 5 operational, discrimination or disparate impact must be proved in a court of law, just like complaints under any other civil-rights statute, whereas before the suspect jurisdictions would have been obliged to prove that their changes were acceptable before the fact. The previously encumbered states are no longer considered guilty until proven innocent, and Democrats want to reverse that…

The Democrats’ drive to “restore” the unconstitutional provisions of the Voting Rights Act would require a number of mainly Republican jurisdictions to go begging to the Justice Department every time they want to update their election practices…

The end of the preclearance regime is in harmony with the progress we have made. With the current majorities in Congress, Republicans are empowered to do nothing in this matter, and to see to it that nothing is done. The Voting Rights Act is fine as it is.    

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