In November of 2009, Catherine Engelbrecht and about 50 of her friends decided to get involved by working at the polls in elections. What they saw regarding lackadaisical attention to procedures at the polls greatly disturbed them. But even they weren't ready for what they discovered after they decided to dig deeper into the problem by looking at the voter registration rolls.
Engelbrecht and her friends initially used computers to analyze voter registration lists. They became curious when they noticed that a large number of voter registrations were from addresses that had more than six registered voters. Their analysis showed about 2,800 such voter registrations per district in Republican areas and 7,500 in Democrat voting districts. Such a large discrepancy between Republican and Democratic households seemed a little suspicious considering Democrats are typically far more likely to be in favor of abortion and small families than Republicans. But the real shock occurred when they came across one voting district with approximately 20,000 such voter registrations. It was in a predominantly minority area in Houston. Of course, once the results were publicized, allegations arose that Engelbrecht's group was guilty of targeting minorities, but Engelbrecht stuck to her guns and said, "It had nothing to do with politics. It was just the numbers."
The deeper they dug, the more they found. They found vacant lots with registered voters. They even found an eight-bed halfway house with 38 registered voters. Then they looked at who registered these voters, and one organization's name came to the forefront. Vickie Pullen, a spokeswoman for True The Vote, informed The New American that of approximately 25,000 voter registrations submitted by Houston Votes, an organization headed by Sean Caddle, formerly with the Service Employees International Union, only 7,193 were valid.
More Dirt to Dig
Though the information that True The Vote has dug up is already a damning indictment of the amount of fraud in the electoral system, the data analyses they've already done could lead to much more. There's a gold mine of additional information just within the data they've already collected, such as possible evidence of criminal misconduct.
With the way voter registration works in Texas, each registered voter receives a voter registration certificate when he first registers to vote and then another every two years. These certificates, typically mailed to voters, are small cards that can be carried in a wallet. They are to be used like ID cards by voters when voting. They also serve a purpose in combating voter registration fraud and out-dated voter registrations. When mailed to non-existent people, especially at non-existent addresses, they should be returned to the county elections office.
In the case of places where invalid voter registrations were found by True The Vote, we need to find out what happened to the voter registration certificates that were mailed to these voters. Were they intercepted prior to delivery? Were they discarded when delivered? Were they sent back as undeliverable mail? The answers to these questions will be invaluable in learning the extent to which illegal activity is involved.
The voter registration certificates might be getting into disreputable hands as a matter of carelessness in some cases, but there may also be people who have been given political patronage jobs with the U.S. Postal Service, the county elections department, or any other government agency where they have opportunity to intercept these cards as they're being sent out to the voters or coming back as returned mail in return for taking part in election fraud schemes. Too, the fraudsters might not be government employees. They might work for subcontractors who do the printing, mailing, or transporting if such services are subcontracted and if there's an under-the-table agreement in exchange for the lucrative government contract.
Then again, the cards may not be intercepted at all. Undoubtedly, there are some addresses where the voter registrations are valid. But it's a crime if the people who live at the residences are aware of the phantom voter registrations using their home addresses and are knowingly cooperating with fraudsters who are part of illegal voting using repeaters. "Repeater" is the electoral fraud nickname for the people who vote multiple times in an election.
The cards, in such a case, could be given to the fraudsters after the cards are received at a legitimate address. People handing over their cards to fraudsters to be illicitly used could be political party hacks or people who are paid with political street money, typically cash in small bills, for turning the voter registration cards over to political organizers when the cards arrive in the mail. Perhaps they are government employees who have under-the-table job requirements to maintain phantom voters in order to keep their government jobs: In the investigation of the 1905 municipal election in Louisville, Kentucky, it was revealed that a significant number of the municipal government employees had under-the-table job requirements to have between three and seven phantom voters registered in their homes.
While the statistics cited above regarding the addresses with more than six registered voters might convince some that this is a Democrat versus Republican problem. That isn't necessarily so. If we drill down on the specific cases, especially in the political primaries, we might discover plenty of blame in all the political parties. If we find a significant number of phantoms voting in Republican primaries, that might answer the question of why so many Republicans accuse Democrats of voter registration fraud, but once in office, they don't take steps to clean up the voter registration problem.
Assessing the Damage
Using the information supplied by True The Vote, it is possible to determine what effect the vote fraud is having on elections. For instance, if the numerous voter registrations end up representing people who have died and haven't voted since the date of death, there's no problem.
But if these phantoms voters do have voting records, they could be using them in several ways to control the vote. If they have turnout records that are significantly higher than the voter turnout records in the elections in which they have voted, they could easily sway the vote, especially in municipal elections, school board elections, primary elections, and runoff elections because these elections have notoriously lower voter turnouts. A little fraud goes a long way when the voter turnout is low. Primary elections, especially primary runoff elections, have very low voter turnouts. This might help answer the question of why some candidates, who are so obviously out of step with their constituents within the party, are successful in winning their parties' nominations.
We might even discover evidence that one political party's primaries are being influenced by another party with the goal of nominating unattractive candidates who'll supply feeble opposition, or perhaps even to nominate corrupt candidates who have sold out to the opposition.
And we can find out if they are voting via absentee ballot, early voting, or in person on election day to find more flaws in the system.
Political Maneuvers to Keep Corruption
True The Vote is attempting to organize nationally as fast as they can. At last count, they had established contacts with people in 44 states. Their goal is to recruit and train as many people as they can in time for the elections this November. Also, they don't plan to curtail their activities after the elections in November. That is a mistake many other electoral reformers have made. True The Vote will continue detailed analysis starting the day after the elections.
But now that there is a nationwide movement that is looking at voter registrations and has the capability to analyze the data down to the voters who turn out for elections, the fraudsters may take steps to frustrate attempts to obtain voter registration lists or perhaps make only incomplete voter registration lists available.
Public access to voter registration information, once a sacrosanct right of all Americans, has already been eroded a significant amount over time. People who request voter registration lists can expect to encounter bureaucratic obstacles in some places. They might be required to sign a sworn statement of intended usage, face significant delays in obtaining voter registration lists, and then get incorrectly formatted data, or a host of other obstacles.
There's also a new way to conceal voter registrations from the public. It's a little-known program called confidential voter registration. Originally sold as being intended for people in witness protection programs, people who fear ex-spouses, etc., the criteria for confidential voter registration is growing lax.
Clicking on the link the "Confidential Voter Registration" at the Los Angeles County Voting website takes one to their "Safe at Home web page" where the allowances for confidential voting include domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, cross ethnic, racial, age, gender, religious, national origin, and sexual orientation.
The New American inquired of the California Secretary of State's Office what would happen if someone were to register to vote using California's confidential voter registration. That office assured us that that person's name would not appear on any publicly available voter registrations lists. This opens the floodgates for voter registration fraud.
Confidential voter registration is an open invitation to fraud. Knowing such capability exists in these voter registration databases, someone who knows what safeguards are in place in the system to prevent vote fraud could access the database, either authorized or unauthorized, and protect as many fraudulent voter registrations as he can by simply setting the confidential indicator on them, making the voter registration lists that are made available to the public all but useless in finding fraudulent voter registrations.
I Saw Poland Betrayed Revisited
Though the safety of an individual in his or her home could be considered a laudable goal of government, hiding voter registration information is not the way to provide that safety. (Interestingly, while putting such "safeguards" in place, politicians often take away an individuals only real means to defend himself through issuing gun-control laws.) And the danger posed by vote fraud is not a minor problem that should necessarily take a second chair behind concerns for individual safety.
The book I Saw Poland Betrayed by United States Ambassador Arthur Bliss Lane explained in detail how the Polish people were robbed of their freedoms after WWII by the communists. The final act of that tragedy was a sham election. Ambassador Lane wrote in the foreword:
Immediately following the elections of January 19, 1947 in Poland, I determined to resign my position as American Ambassador. My mission — to ensure that "free and unfettered elections" should be held — had been a failure. To remain in Warsaw would be interpreted as tacit acquiescence in the fraudulent methods employed in the elections.
Ambassador Lane in Chapter 20, "Betrayal Legalized," indicates that though a significant portion of the Polish population was well informed regarding the dangers Poland faced from communism, and though the Polish Peasant Party candidates campaigned successfully for the offices they sought and, in all probability, won hands-down — the large demonstrations of Polish people protesting the sham elections after the vote results were announced attest to that — the communists took control of the government. Josef Stalin's unchecked authority over Poland's elections — granted him by Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill at Yalta — sealed the country's downfall.
Can We Clean It Up?
We in America are much more fortunate than Poland was in 1947. Our Constitution, along with effective election laws, has traditionally given us some of the most honest elections in history. But that was in the past. Now, in many parts of our country, we see the integrity of our elections being chipped away by same-day voter registration, instead of a 30-day verification period; Internet voter registration; confidential voter registration; restrictions on using voter registration lists to verify voters; counting absentee ballots after election day; allowing absentee ballots that arrive after election day if they have postmarks before election day; early voting, instead of adequately staffing the polls on election day to avoid long lines; "Motor Voter" registration; HAVA (Help America Vote Act of 2002); too much of the electoral process being accomplished behind closed doors; requiring application in advance to observe an election; outlawing cameras from polling places; Internet voting; a lack of a paper trail in electronic voting equipment; paper trails that exist, but aren't useable; etc. It's time to wake-up America before it's too late. Election integrity will not be restored by the Republican or Democrat political parties. It will take education and action.
True The Vote has started a movement whose time is long overdue. True The Vote is doing something today that has been done successfully before in American history: It is attacking traditional-style election fraud by attacking its foundation, fraudulent voter registrations — a good example being the shut down of Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall infamy. Boss William Tweed and his cronies at Tammany Hall established a corrupt regime in New York City. Backed up by his election fraud machine, Boss Tweed seemed invincible. Fortunately for us, several things caused him to be unseated, including Boss Tweed's arrogance, a congressional investigation of the 1868 presidential election in New York, and a principled New York Governor named Samuel Tilden. Tweed was being convicted and sent to prison. But the reformers of that day knew that putting Tweed in prison wasn't enough. They understood the necessity of breaking up Tammany Hall's electoral fraud machine by destroying its foundation, the fraudulent voter registrations. The post-Tweed era in New York City saw strict enforcement of the 30-day period between the last day one could register to vote and election day. During that 30-day period, there was a 100 percent voter census conducted by the New York City Police Department to purge all fraudulent or otherwise invalid voter registrations from the rolls. In addition, all the election activities in New York City, save for the marking of the secret ballots by the voters, were in the open for any member of the public to witness with no prior permission required to be an observer.
But True The Vote is attempting something that has never before been accomplished at the national level. Thank goodness for the Internet and the Tea Party movement because the liberal news media, which so eagerly reports even the hint of a scandal if it involves conservatives, has given only limited coverage to this huge voter registration problem that's been uncovered in the Houston, Texas area. Get on board because those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Let's not let what happened in Poland happen here.