For better or worse, there’s a great deal of debate on the ethics of running campaigns. Unfortunately, there are some people out there who are willing to tell outright lies to help their candidate win. Other things are more debatable: some people find robo-calls a bit dishonest and a little bit of a cheat, while others see a great deal of efficacy in using the technique.
However, the clearest line comes in voter registration programs. Most campaign strategies of the last decade have relied heavily on registering new voters. However, registering voters is heavily regulated by law, laws which vary state by state. In Virginia, once a Voter Registration form is handed to you, you have an obligation to turn in that form to the Registrar, even if the individual clearly tells you they are a Democrat. Voting is a sacred right in this country, and if you’re going to help individuals do it in a setting such as a fair or festival, you have to follow your obligation to the law. As someone who helped run registration and absentee ballot operations for the College Republicans at UVA in 2004, I can tell you that the smallest discrepancy will yield a call from the local registrar.
With all of the excitement surrounding the election, groups are paying individuals to canvass. However, there’s a great deal of pressure with this approach, and it can often lead to trouble, particularly when the law is not clearly explained to canvassers. Youthful exuberance can lead to mistakes, which cannot be afforded when doing something as sensitive as voter registration. If I could do it over again, I’m not sure I would have taken on the task of registering voters in 2004 in an environment such as UVA, where students are from all over the country.
More troubling, however, is when someone who is already registered again. Either someone was trying to meet their quota and foolishly took names out of the phone book, or this was a serious attempt at identity fraud. Fortunately, the RPV is paying close attention to events all across the state.
Virginia GOP Chairman calls for criminal investigation into mounting evidence of coordinated voter fraud activities
Richmond, Virginia (July 28, 2008) – Delegate Jeff Frederick, Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, this morning called on Governor Kaine and Attorney General McDonnell to open a thorough and rigorous investigation into what appears to be coordinated and widespread voter fraud activities occurring throughout Virginia.Frederick’s request is in response to a report last week of three individuals in Hampton, Virginia being arrested and charged with voter registration fraud, a Class 5 Felony, as well as reports of fraudulent voter registration forms in Richmond. According to a signed affidavit, a Richmond voter had a fraudulent new registration card submitted to the local registrar. When the victim was notified on Thursday afternoon, the registrar informed her that there were other similar applications submitted in Richmond. (see affidavit)
The individuals in Hampton worked for Community Voters Project – a 3rd party group with ties to Fund for Public Interest and the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). PIRG, which seems to be a front group for a number of left wing causes, has a documented history of attempting to add fraudulent, phony or duplicative names to the voter registries across the nation.
“It seems nearly every day, I read or hear of some news report about how many new people are being registered to vote in Virginia in anticipation of the Presidential race this year. Getting more citizens involved in the process is great – that’s what democracy is all about. Yet, nothing undermines democracy more than poisoning the process and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections,” said Frederick.
“This is a very serious and troubling trend that we are seeing in Virginia,” he added. “Laws are being broken and Virginians have to wonder if there is a deliberate effort underway to corrupt and affect the outcome of November’s elections. I urge the Governor and Attorney General to take immediate action to investigate these matters.”
Even more troubling, Frederick said, was the opportunity for identity theft when citizens register to vote with these groups, as people must give a correct social security number on the voter registration form.
“People must exercise extreme caution when putting their private information into the hands of a stranger, for obvious reasons. I encourage voters to contact their local registrars and the major credit bureaus to verify that their voter and financial information has not been tampered with.”
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