Filed under: Election 2008, Election Fraud, Election law and process, State Government and Politics
More on the battles over the process, which have started before the first vote has even been fed through the machines. From the Washington Post:
On Thursday, the McCain campaign accused Kaine (D), a co-chairman of Obama’s campaign, of restoring voting rights for almost 1,500 felons in an effort to help Obama win Virginia’s 13 electoral votes.
“This is a question of judgment,” said Trey Walker, McCain’s mid-Atlantic regional campaign manager. “Senator Obama and Governor Kaine have assembled a felonious coalition of attempted murderers, kidnappers, rapists, armed robbers and wife beaters in order to win Virginia. This dangerous lack of judgment has no place in the White House.”
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from a GOP legislator, Kaine released the names this week of 1,484 felons whose voting rights were restored this year.
Under Virginia’s constitution, people convicted of a felony automatically lose their right to vote, serve on a jury or own a gun. But a governor can restore those rights if he or she believes the felons have redeemed themselves.
Almost all of the people who had their rights restored by Kaine this year are nonviolent offenders who have not committed a new offense within the past three years. Kaine’s predecessor, Mark R. Warner (D), restored the rights of about 3,500 nonviolent offenders.
Earlier in the month, GOP operatives pored through the names of the 729 Virginia felons whose rights were restored by Kaine in 2006. Of those, about three dozen have since committed new crimes, almost all of them misdemeanors, according to the GOP.
“The governor, in a wholesale manner, put these people back onto the voting rolls,” said Del. William R. Janis (R-Goochland), who filed the FOIA request. “It is clear the Obama campaign, or their agents and representatives, is engaged in a systematic effort to put as many people as possible on the voting rolls who they think will vote for Barack Obama.”
Meanwhile, recognizing that both parties will be looking for every uncrossed t and undotted i, the United States District Attorney for the Western District of Virginia has unveiled its fraud response. From WSLS:
Acting United States Attorney Julia C. Dudley announced today that Sharon K. Burnham, an Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of Virginia, will lead the efforts of her Office in the connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 4, 2008 general elections. AUSA Burnham has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer for the Western District of Virginia, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters.
“Election fraud and voting rights abuses dilute the worth of votes honestly cast. They also corrupt the essence of our representative form of government,” Acting United States Attorney Julia C. Dudley said today. “As crimes against both the individual and the government, they will be dealt with promptly and aggressively. Anyone who has information suggesting electoral corruption or voting rights abuses should make that information available immediately to my Office, the FBI, or the Civil Rights Division.”
On October 8, 2002, Attorney General Ashcroft established a Department-wide Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative. The goals of this Initiative are to increase the Department’s ability to deter voter intimidation, suppression, discrimination and election fraud and to prosecute these offenses whenever and wherever they occur – to make voting easier and cheating harder. Both goals are equally important. It is imperative that in pursuing voter integrity, ballot access is not in any way diminished or harmed.
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