Shenandoah County GOP


A Special Message from Speaker Howell
November 3, 2008, 4:37 pm
Filed under: Election 2008, State Government and Politics, The Important Things


william_j_howell_header.jpgAmerica is a great country and we are at a crossroads that will determine our future.  Like you, I know the spirit that built our country was bold, not timid.  It was a spirit of pride, confidence and courage that we could do anything.  I’m proud of America – all that it is and all that it can be.  

Ronald Reagan often spoke of the “shining city on a hill” as the ideal embodied by America.  When we think of that city and our friends and neighbors across Virginia, what often comes to mind are the values that we cherish – family, hope, opportunity, patriotism and, most of all, freedom.  

Of course, freedom comes at a price.  

Even now, Americans from every walk of life are in harm’s way defending the very freedoms people sometimes take for granted.  Indeed, many generations of Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice so you and I might enjoy the blessings of liberty – including the right to vote. 

My purpose in writing is to urge you to vote in this coming Tuesday’s election.  

Please do so not because I asked, but because a son or a daughter of an American generation died to ensure that all of us continued to have our freedoms, including your right to vote.  

If you’ve already voted, thank you for exercising this civic obligation.  If you haven’t, I hope you’ll think about the sacrifices made so all of us have the right to choose our elected leaders.
 
Yes, voting is a constitutional right.  But it is also a patriotic duty – one thing we can do to give back to our wonderful country in which we are so blessed to live. 
 
If you haven’t already, please vote on November 4.

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College students and voter fraud

I’ve written multiple times about the great potential for fraud in the voting process and several times about the unique challenges college students and campus organizers face in registering to vote. From the Third Congressional District we recieve word that thousands of out-of-state college students have registered to vote in both Virginia and their home state. From Third Congressional District Republican Committee Chair Mike Wade:

An ongoing analysis of data matching voter registration lists in
other states with the list of newly registered voters in Virginia has
confirmed that there are thousands of students who attend college in
Virginia who are registered here as well as in their home state. Even
more alarming, some of these students have applied for absentee
ballots in their home state after having just registered to vote here.

In just eight localities in Pennsylvania, over 350 individuals were
registered to vote both in Virginia and Pennsylvania, and 40 of these
individuals have applied for and/or received absentee ballots. The
analysis is continuing.

 “Every Virginian should be concerned about the potential for fraud
 on a scale we have not witnessed before in Virginia, said Mike Wade,
Third District GOP Chairman. “I am pleased that Secretary Rodrigues
and the State Board of Elections is taking this seriously and has
turned the names of those applying for ballots in other states over to
the State Police.”

Wade continued, “It is vital this year that every Virginian be
vigilant and aware and report suspected fraud to the proper
authorities.”

This situation is a direct result of the intervention by Governor
Kaine’s office in the policymaking process, supported by pressure
from the Obama campaign directed toward both the State Board of
Elections and local Registrars. In early September, election policy
was changed to shift responsibility from the local Registrar to the
student him/herself for determining whether or not they are a resident
of Virginia. Registrars were further instructed to not inform an
applicant for voter registration about such things as the requirement
under state law for an individual to contact the DMV and obtain a
Virginia Driver’s License within 60 days of becoming a resident of
Virginia.

“The unprecedented involvement of the Governor’s Chief of Staff,
in directing policy and personally editing communications to
Registrars for the sole purpose of benefitting one candidate in one
race, has cast doubts on the entire policymaking process,” Wade
added. “The result is the alarming situation we now find ourselves
 in.”

Senator Obenshain, who represents Harrisonburg and therefore James Madison University in the State Senate, has been hammering the Democrats on this for weeks. It’s only now that we find out the full extent of this issue.

I believe that it should be easy to vote, and it is all things considered. Absentee voting puts no additional burden on the voter other than remembering which date to have everything done by, which is really no different than remembering when the polls close. If students insist on voting in person, I have my own issues with that, but some of that stems from my views on home and permanence. If you’re ready to face the consequences of fully pulling the rope away and saying you no longer with your parents, fine.

It’s hard for me to believe, though, that thousands of college students have “spaced” on where they are registered and “accidentally” registered twice. I’m not saying that this is a deliberate ploy by the Obama campaign (although I do agree with the analysis that Kaine intentionally lowered the threshold to use Virginia’s substantial non-resident college population to put the state in play). What I am saying is that this policy has the potential to be misused by individuals, and that appears to be the case here.

Every vote counts.

But only once.



Gilmore: The Only Candidate with National Security Experience
October 30, 2008, 1:58 pm
Filed under: Congress, Election 2008, Foreign Affairs, State Government and Politics

Bob McDonnell on Jim Gilmore:

FOR OUR NATION’S SECURITY…VOTE JIM GILMORE FOR SENATE

Dear Virginia Voter:

Although America’s national security isn’t the number one issue in the headlines right now, it is a topic paramount to the future of our children and grandchildren. Who we elect to the United States Senate from Virginia is going to help determine which direction our nation takes to defend America’s national interests around the world and at home.

Because of his experience and his principles, I strongly recommend Jim Gilmore for the United States Senate.

Jim and I are both Army Veterans, and as you can imagine, I have a deep appreciation for the service of the men and women of our armed forces. Jim Gilmore volunteered for the U.S. Army and played an important role in counter-intelligence for the U.S. Army, safeguarding the security of American bases in Europe.

As you may know, Congress chose Virginia’s Jim Gilmore to chair a national commission charged with making recommendations on methods to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks on the United States. The Gilmore Commission warned in 1999 and in 2000 that America was facing a possible terrorist attack. After 9/11 Congress adopted 146 of the Gilmore Commission’s 164 recommendations.

Jim Gilmore has the experience in homeland security I know must be possessed by Virginia’s next United States Senator. Virginia and our nation must elect Jim Gilmore to the U.S. Senate.



A Win for Our Warriors

As reported on Monday, Attorney General Bob McDonnell has been working on making sure that every military absentee ballot is counted. He delivered on his promise yesterday with his ruling on the matter. From the Virginian Pilot:

The state should count the absentee votes of military members and other Virginians overseas even if they do not provide the address of the person who witnessed their vote, state Attorney General Bob McDonnell said Monday.

In an opinion to the State Board of Elections, McDonnell said a federal law designed to lower barriers to overseas voting effectively overrules a state law that requires the listing of a witness address on some absentee ballots.

“The conduct of federal elections is a federal function and states have no inherent or reserved powers over federal elections,” McDonnell wrote.

The State Board of Elections agrees. From the Virginian Pilot:

The three-member state board unanimously agreed to allow those votes to be counted; they amount to about 130 ballots across the state, said Secretary Nancy Rodrigues.

Noting that the flap has generated considerable attention, Rodrigues defended local registrars, who had been criticized for “carrying out the law.”

I think it should be pointed out that the Obama campaign issued a press release Monday stating that they felt these ballots should be counted. Kudos to them for also believing that our soldiers sacrifice far too much to not have their vote for commander in chief counted.



Fraud watch: Military absentees being tossed

Earlier this month I wrote that Fairfax County General Registrar was engaging in some questionable behavior by targeting jails over other locations for on-site absentee ballot registration. Now, some even more disturbing news is emerging from Fairfax, this time in the form of absenstee ballots from our men and women in uniform being thrown out en masse. From Human Events:

Fairfax County Registrar Rokey Suleman is disqualifying an overwhelming majority of the military federal write-in absentee ballots received in his county on the basis that no address had been given for those witnessing the voter signatures on the ballots. According to Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity and four former members of the military who held a press conference on Thursday, over 98 percent of these military absentee ballots in Fairfax County are being rejected.

“The federal write-in absentee ballot is a federally mandated ballot that allows military service members and their dependents to cast an absentee ballot when they haven’t received a [state] ballot before the election,” Herrity said. “For them it’s a safety net. It allows them to vote if the mail truck hasn’t reached his or her remote base in Iran or Afghanistan in time to cast a regular absentee ballot.”

When asked how many ballots had been rejected, Herrity responded, “Out of the 260 military federal write-in ballots received to date, only five included an address for the witness. The other 255 have been set aside for rejection.”

Fortunately, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, a veteran himself, is doing his best to make sure that every vote cast by our country’s finest is counted. From the Virginian Pilot (based out of Hampton Roads, where even more people will be on the lookout for this sort of behavior due to the region’s large military population):

State elections officials and Attorney General Bob McDonnell are taking a new look at a thicket of state and federal voting laws that threaten to invalidate some of the thousands of absentee votes being cast by military members and other Virginians overseas.

“Every eligible vote will be counted,” David Clementson, a McDonnell spokesman, said Friday.

The review by the State Board of Elections and McDonnell’s office comes amid calls from some of the attorney general’s fellow Republicans for the state to count all votes submitted using a federal write-in absentee ballot.

In a conference call arranged by the McCain for President campaign, former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore said Friday that federal law should “trump” a state statute that the elections board has said would require it to set aside some votes submitted on the federal ballot.

At issue is a state requirement that the completed federal ballot provide both the name and address of a witness to the absentee vote – unless the voter has also requested a separate, state-furnished ballot. The federal form, used for voting in all 50 states, does not provide a space for the address and does not specify which states, such as Virginia, require it.

The federal ballot is intended as a backup, for use when voters have applied for, but not yet received, a Virginia ballot. The state form requires the witness’s signature but not an address.

More from the Waynesboro News Virginian:

State Board of Elections Spokeswoman Susan Pollard said the 100 ballots in the Northern Virginia area are under investigation by Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell.

Under state law, Pollard said, the ballots must be witnessed and also include a signature of the witness and the witness’ printed name and address.

She said the 100 ballots in question lack all the witness requirements of the state law.

She said McDonnell’s office is working to review both federal and state law and said the status of the 100 ballots is uncertain.

“We are also looking to see if this is occurring elsewhere in Virginia,” Pollard said of the witness information problem.



All Sides Gearing up for Election Watch

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.



Goodlatte Debate Thursday

WSVA 550AM 6th Congressional District Forum

Thursday October 9th 2008 at 10am

Holiday Inn -Tropical Room

1400 East Market Street

Harrisonburg, Virginia

Come watch Congressman Goodlatte explain to the people (and Sam Rasoul) just what it means to be a member of the United States House of Representatives and why we need his steady hand in this time of incredible change and crisis.