While Republicans and the Tea Party movement are poised to win a sweeping victory on November 2, a large and growing cloud hangs over the entire election process. While it has always been with us to some extent, new technologies, new forms of voting and a Justice Department that plays favorites with Americans’ voting rights now threaten our electoral system and our expectations of free and fair elections.
In an exclusive in-depth interview, Accuracy in Media talked to Hans von Spakovsky about the various forms of voter fraud that are happening today, with specific examples, and the potential for massive fraud. The Obama Justice Department doesn’t seem too concerned about keeping the elections honest as much as they do about winning. And the media seem indifferent to it all.
Hans von Spakovsky is the senior legal fellow and manager of the Civil Justice Reform Initiative at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, and a former member of the Federal Election Commission.
When asked about how concerned he is about the integrity of the upcoming elections, he replied that “any place where it comes down to the wire, any place around the country where we have a really close election, well, that’s when we have to be worried, because anytime you have a really close election where a small number of votes is going to make the difference—like what happened in Minnesota—that’s when people who can put out bogus votes, that’s when the temptation is greatest, and that’s where it can really make a difference. Any time we have a close election, that’s when we’ve got to be vigilant the most.”
The following are excerpts from my interview with Hans von Spakovsky. You can listen to the entire interview or read the transcript here.
The biggest thing is having election officials who actually pay attention to the law, and make sure that they have clean voter lists and good officials in their precincts. The other part of that is, frankly, poll-watchers. You have people, unfortunately, on the Left, and in the Democratic Party, trying to make it tough for poll workers to be there, trying to say that they’ll “intimidate voters”—but having poll-watchers, frankly, from both parties—in the polling places on election day, watching each other like a hawk, watching election officials make sure that everything is done the way it should—that is the best guarantee of secure and safe elections.
Because I believe in clean voter registration rolls, I’ve been labeled as a “vote suppressor” by a Left-wing blog site, because I think people ought to have to show a photo ID when they go in to vote. That’s called “wanting to intimidate voters from voting.” Those kinds of claims are ridiculous, but that’s the kind of thing that is said when people, when regular citizens get concerned over, and want to make sure we have, a secure election.
What the Obama administration did try and do is, they tried to stop Georgia from verifying the citizenship status of newly registered voters, and Georgia actually had to sue in federal court, and once they actually sued, and the Obama administration was faced with the prospect of having to show a federal judge evidence to back up their claim that this was somehow “discriminatory,” the Obama administration quickly backed down, agreed to settle the case, and agreed to allow Georgia election officials to check to make sure that people who are registering to vote are really U.S. citizens.
It is different in each state, and, unfortunately, absentee ballots—that’s really the tool of choice, of people who want to steal ballots. A city commissioner in Daytona Beach was just arrested yesterday for absentee ballot fraud. We have a trial that is just starting up in Atlantic City because thirteen people there, including city councilmen, were indicted for absentee ballot fraud, and, I think, just this past week something happened that I’ve never seen before, which is, in Troy, New York, the local DA there has asked for DNA swabs of various officials who he’s investigating for having engaged in absentee ballot fraud in one of the last elections. He wants to compare their DNA with the DNA on the fraudulent absentee ballots.
Unfortunately, these days, it’s overwhelmingly Democrats who are involved in this. The one exception to that, in the past, has been the state of Kentucky, where, unfortunately, the Justice Department has prosecuted a number of local Republican officials for vote buying. It’s very unfortunate, but Kentucky has a long tradition of paying for votes. But other than that, really, the overwhelming majority of these cases are against Democrats
I can tell you, because I know from people I talk to within the Obama administration, that they have absolutely no interest whatsoever in prosecuting voter fraud cases. It’s just not something that interests them. That was also demonstrated this year in their reluctance to get into enforcing the federal law that guarantees the right of military people to vote overseas, and, also, the fact that they have completely failed to go after states who haven’t cleaned up their voter registration lists by taking people who are dead, or people who have moved, off of their lists. That’s actually a real scandal, but they haven’t done anything about that. There’s a number of states—for example, Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Tennessee—who, when they filed a federal report last year that they’re required to file, showed that they hadn’t removed a single person who had died from their voter registration rolls for two years.
I think the problem, really, is not so much the ballots themselves as not having clean voter registration rolls so that people who shouldn’t be voting—because they don’t really exist, or they’re registered more than once, or aren’t U.S. citizens—can go in and vote, whether it’s on electronic machine or whether it’s using paper ballots that are then scanned and counted.
There were reports than an election official in Illinois, a couple of weeks ago, said that he just didn’t really care about overseas military voters, and he didn’t care about whether the Justice Department came after him for that. Can you imagine if he had said the same thing about African-American voters? That would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the country, and that guy would be out of office by now. And yet, he gets away with doing things like that for military voters
The voting rights laws are there to protect all Americans from discrimination, for example, and to protect them against problems in the voting area, no matter what their race. But that is not the attitude of the Obama administration. If there are any problems that arise again, or if there are problems that are claimed by white voters—I mean, I can tell you, this administration just isn’t interested in investigating that kind of thing.
…the Justice Department never went after ACORN for the kind of actions they were engaging in. It took state officials in some states—like, in fact, Nevada—Nevada actually went after ACORN for this, but the Justice Department never did, and we don’t hear or see any indication that they’re going to investigate these kind of problems by ACORN-like organizations, or the kind of things that the SEIU is now, apparently, doing to cover what ACORN used to do.
…during the big Senate contest between Norm Coleman and Al Franken—which, as you know, was only decided by about 300 votes—they had not taken people who were felons, and who shouldn’t be voting, off of the voter rolls there, and there have actually been prosecutions going on of felons for voting. But the problem is, the Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie—someone who was, in fact, supported by ACORN and by people like George Soros—hasn’t been really doing his job the way he should in cleaning up the voter rolls and getting those folks who shouldn’t be voting off of the rolls.
[The DISCLOSE Act] was a law that, if it had been passed, would have really restricted the ability of a lot of non-profit organizations to participate—and it wouldn’t have prevented unions from doing things that they shouldn’t be doing in elections. I just don’t think that the President got that right. I think he was trying to scare people in the election and, and I don’t think it was a good thing to do.
The New Black Panther voter intimidation case is one that the mainstream media has ignored for a year and a half—particularly the fact that this Justice Department threw that case out even though they won the case—and yet mainstream media has done almost no coverage of that.
I just think that there needs to be more even coverage. That is something that hasn’t happened. I’m not quite sure. You’ve covered that much better than other folks have. I’m not sure what we can do about it. You know, the Internet—the one good thing about it is that it’s given ordinary people the ability to go around sources like The New York Times, which doesn’t like to cover things that they don’t want other folks to see.