A controversial proposal to offer cash prizes to Los Angeles voters is dead — at least for next year’s city elections.  Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson said this week that he wanted more time to consider the idea of using money or other gifts to lure voters to the polls. For now, he is looking to persuade voters on March 3 to move city elections from odd- to even-numbered years — when state and federal contests are held — beginning in 2020.  Link.

This tweet is one example why the Brennan Center has lost all credibility.  Yes, a decade after President Carter and Secretary of State Baker endorsed the reform, photo ID in Indiana, Georgia, and other states have shaken the foundation of the Republic.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Cheri Beasley won her re-election campaign against Forsyth County lawyer Mike Robinson despite vote tabulation errors discovered in several counties throughout the state.  Beasley won by more than 5,000 votes in a race where more than 2.4 million votes were cast. Recount results, which the State Board of Elections certified during a teleconference Link to story.

LinkVoters in a booming oil New Mexico city are set to decide on an ordinance that would require a photo ID in local elections in what is the latest battleground over requiring strict identification to cast ballots.  A special election has been scheduled in Hobbs for Dec. 9 on a proposed voter ID law.  The election comes after a number of cities and states across the country have enacted similar measures.

Link to citizen opinion on potential new voter ID law in Oklahoma.

With an important article entitled “Why Voter ID Laws Don’t Swing Many Elections,” superstar statistician Nate Cohn writes that the Brennan Center and their cadre of experts are offering faulty statistics and misleading conclusions on the impact of voter ID laws.  The article asserts this is due to inaccurate matching processes and not accounting for other forms of ID.  Must read:

But the so-called margin of disenfranchisement — the number of registered voters who do not appear to have photo identification — grossly overstates the potential electoral consequences of these laws.  These figures overstate the number of voters who truly lack identification. Those without ID are particularly unlikely to vote. And many who do vote will vote Republican. In the end, the seemingly vast registration gaps dwindle, leaving enough voters to decide only elections determined by fractions of a point.

To begin with, the true number of registered voters without photo identification is usually much lower than the statistics on registered voters without identification suggest. The number of voters without photo identification is calculated by matching voter registration files with state ID databases. But perfect matching is impossible, and the effect is to overestimate the number of voters without identification. 

Take Texas, a state with a particularly onerous voter ID law. If I register to vote as “Nate” but my ID says “Nathan,” I might be counted among the hundreds of thousands of registered voters without a photo ID. But I’ll be fine at the polling station on Election Day with a name that’s “substantially similar” to the one on file.  The matching issues run well beyond substantive ones like nicknames. If you’ve ever worked with voter files, you know that they’re rife with minor errors — like a first name in the middle name column — that prevent exact matching. The scale of the matching problem was highlighted in a North Carolina Board of Elections study last year. The state used a long list of matching criteria, ranging from names and Social Security numbers and date of birth to a “soundex” comparison to test for names that were entered slightly off but sound the same. After additional matching criteria, the number of unmatched registered voters plummeted from 1.24 million to 318,643.

Even that figure likely overstates the number of registered voters without a valid identification, since many voters have valid identifications that aren’t issued by the states. Passports, student IDs and military IDs are often allowed.

A reminder that election integrity laws and procedures are only as effective as the people implementing them, and why observers are a key part of the election process:

Poll workers at two Jefferson County locations on election day did not require voters to provide acceptable forms of photo identification, one of many documented mishaps identified in a state report.

True the Vote Sounds Off on Executive Amnesty Action

Following President Obama’s announcement to unilaterally shield 5 million noncitizens from federal immigration laws requiring deportation, conversations involving unintentional (and even intentional) consequences are beginning around the country. Of particular concern for True the Vote is the challenge this federal action presents for states as they administer public assistance and resource programs – and the effect of the legitimacy of our voter rolls.

True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht did not hold anything back in her condemnation of the action Thursday:

“The President’s unilateral order for amnesty will force five million illegal aliens into programs and processes that heretofore were reserved for American citizens. This is a clear violation of the United States Constitution and should carry with it no protection of supremacy.  The States -- our governors and legislators -- must now act swiftly to protect and defend American citizens from the lawlessness of a dangerously deluded federal government," True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht said. "The first act of state sovereignty should be to preserve at all costs the integrity of our elections by securing citizen-only voter rolls.

"Under the President’s edict, states will be forced to extend covered transactions, like issuance of driver’s licenses, to millions of new noncitizen residents.  State systems are simply not designed or intended to handle this intentional overwhelm without compromising integrity. Earlier this year we saw how North Carolina's voter rolls had been compromised due to the lax issuance of driver’s licenses which resulted in thousands of noncitizens being registered to vote - imagine that scenario playing out all over the nation.” 

Federal law requires that states screen individuals for voter registration status when they go to get a driver’s license or other services. This executive amnesty order greatly complicates an otherwise mundane process. Now, states must be on guard to ensure that they are not screening noncitizens for voter registration status. Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 was written during a time when bureaucratic employees could typically assume that individuals seeking public services were citizens. By increasingly wider margins, that is no longer a safe assumption.

Make no mistake - you are not powerless here. True the Vote is ready to stand with you to safeguard that state and federal laws are properly followed. It is still illegal for noncitizens to register and vote. It is imperative that we keep it that way.

What you can do:

  • Designate members of your research team(s) to highlight all of the public services and resources available to noncitizens in your state;
  • Review procedures that public employees must follow when issuing items such as driver’s licenses, public assistance resources etc.;
  • Expose gaps in procedure and training that do not require citizenship verification, and develop solutions to resolve the problem.

Remember, state bureaucrats are not necessarily the problem in this new era. These individuals are simply working under imperfect laws on the front lines of this challenge we’re facing. Encouraging bureaucratic rule changes and/or legislation is the way forward as we maintain a proactive posture. It is our job to demand better laws and procedures.

We’ve just defined the next level of citizen engagement for voters’ rights. Are you in?

 

Help True the Vote Continue Working to Stop Election Fraud

 

Get Informed, Get Involved

There is no rest for the weary with respect to election integrity, especially after votes are cast. Now is the time that we must assess the lessons of the 2014 election and prepare for an improved experience in 2016.  

True the Vote is a nonprofit group; and in order for us to continue our mission, we need donations from those who support our work. No amount is too small to make a real difference. Please consider donating here.

HOUSTON, TX. -- November 20, 2014: True the Vote (TTV), the nation's leading voters’ rights and election integrity organization, today released the following statement in reaction to President Obama’s executive order granting amnesty status to resident aliens:

“The President’s unilateral order for amnesty will force five million illegal aliens into programs and processes that heretofore were reserved for American citizens. This is a clear violation of the United States Constitution and should carry with it no protection of supremacy.  The States -- our Governors and legislators -- must now act swiftly to protect and defend American citizens from the lawlessness of a dangerously deluded federal government." True the Vote Founder Catherine Engelbrecht said. "The first act of state sovereignty should be to preserve at all costs the integrity of our elections by securing citizen-only voter rolls.

"Under the President’s edict, states will be forced to extend covered transactions, like issuance of driver’s licenses, to millions of new non-citizen residents.  State systems are simply not designed or intended to handle this intentional overwhelm without compromising integrity. Earlier this year we saw how North Carolina's voter rolls had been compromised due to the lax issuance of driver’s licenses which resulted in thousands of non-citizens being registered to vote - imagine that scenario playing out all over the nation. 

“Voters must demand that their state leaders uphold the duties of office entrusted to them, including the responsibility to protect the sanctity of our vote by maintaining accurate voter rolls, enacting voter ID policies, and ensuring transparency and accountability in matters of process,” Engelbrecht continued. “True the Vote will redouble its efforts to inform and empower citizens nationwide - and we will work together to hold state agencies accountable.”

In October 2014, the North Carolina State Board of Elections confirmed that more than 1,400 aliens made their way onto the statewide voter roll due largely careless to driver’s license issuance procedure and other covered transactions performed by the State. The largest concentrations of noncitizen voter registrations were in Guilford, Mecklenburg and Wake Counties.

Old Dominion University professors and the Cooperative Congressional Election Study found that 6.4 percent of noncitizens voted in the 2008 General Election, while 2.2 percent voted in the 2010 cycle. 

Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also known as “Motor Voter,” requires state public assistance agencies and services to screen individuals engaging in certain “covered transactions” for their voter registration status. Those unregistered and wishing to convert can seamlessly do so within the same transaction already occurring. The recent executive action creates new need to ensure that bureaucratic processes are careful to not screen newly recognized individuals for voter registration.

 

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.

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