For years, a hardy band of mostly conservative lawyers has been warning that American voter rolls are so poorly maintained as to be absolutely ripe for, and perhaps already rife with, abuse. At Real Clear Investigations on July 11, reporter Mark Hemingway amply confirmed that those attorneys were correct.
Hemingway reports that Los Angeles County has an astonishing 1.6 million more people listed on its voter rolls than there are actual, voting-age residents of the county. Statewide, California’s official voter registration stands at 101% of its population, which is astounding considering that many Californians are not even citizens. Obviously, when there are more names are on the lists than voters, there is plenty of room for error, mischief, or outright fraud.
California is hardly alone. Eight whole states, plus the District of Columbia, have “voter registration tallies exceeding 100%,” as do 15% of all American counties.
“In sum, America’s voter rolls are a mess – and everyone knows it,” Hemingway writes. “While voter registration rates over 100% are not proof of fraud, they certainly create opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist, such as voting twice in different precincts or the potential for requesting and filling out invalid absentee ballots.”
As noted repeatedly in this space, voter fraud is very real, despite howls to the contrary by ideological leftists and their media echo chamber. As Hemingway reminds us, the willful blindness to voter registration problems conducive to fraud was a deliberate strategy of the Obama administration.
After complaints from Justice Department whistleblowers nearly a decade ago, the Department of Justice’s inspector general found 13 witnesses, more than enough to be definitive, who reported that Obama DOJ appointee Julie Fernandes announced at a staff “brown bag lunch” that it was her (and thus Obama’s) policy not to enforce Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act. That is the section of the NVRA that requires states to regularly remove from the rolls people who have moved away, died, or have been found otherwise ineligible. Fernandes reportedly told staff attorneys that she made the call because Section 8 does not help [Democratic] voter turnout.
It was an abominable and deliberate refusal to enforce the law. And it was an important part of the law based in clear congressional intent. When Congress in 1993 passed the NVRA, which made voter registration far easier, Section 8 resulted from a crucial compromise to reassure critics that easier registration would not lead to fraud. Republicans such as Louisiana’s U.S. Rep. Robert Livingston fought tooth and nail to ensure that Section 8 was included. Without it, Livingston said then, the NVRA, which was nicknamed the “motor-voter” bill, would be nothing more than an “auto-fraud-o” law.
But if the Obama Justice Department, or equally politicized state elections officials, refuse to enforce the clear dictates of Section 8, trouble surely will ensue, and Americans will have more and more reasons to distrust the accuracy of election counts.
As Hemingway suggests, it is time for the Justice Department to make enforcement of Section 8 a top priority. Robert Popper, a former deputy chief of the Voting Section in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, said that this should be a key responsibility of “the 30 lawyers at the United States Department of Justice voting section where I used to work.”
Anything conducive to voter fraud is thus conducive to the destruction of the civil rights of real, live, honest voters whose ballots can be effectively canceled out by fraudsters. Hemingway is right: Clean up the voter rolls, and do it now.