(photo: National Review)
A political correspondent is making waves with his stern warning that Democrats are scheming to manipulate the electoral process this election year by implementing a federal mandate to involuntarily register millions of people to vote – making the system ripe for unprecedented fraud and abuse.
“Democrats were very rattled by the Nov. 3 election results,” Wall Street Journal reporter and political commentator John Fund told a crowd in November 2009, at a David Horowitz Freedom Center forum. “What do liberals do when they lose elections? They change the rules.”
‘Definitely introducing a bill’
Fund is warning that Sen. Charles Schumer, D.-N.Y., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., plan to propose universal voter-registration legislation – possibly within weeks.
“Schumer is definitely introducing a bill,” Fund told WND. “It’s not public yet, but he’s definitely going to do so.”
A congressional staffer confirmed Schumer’s involvement.
“What we know from statements from advocacy groups that support universal voter registration is that they have been working with Sen. Schumer’s office since approximately last spring to create a bill,” the staffer told WND. “We don’t know exactly when he will introduce it, but it has been predicted to be introduced in the near future for several months now. Schumer definitely has been, and seems to be, the point person on this.”
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
Neither Schumer’s office nor Conyers’ office has returned WND’s numerous calls and e-mails requesting comment.
While Schumer has yet to publicly share the plans, the staffer said advocacy groups have published materials calling for the use of a wide range of government lists and databases to add people to voter registration rolls.
Fund said the health-care reform negotiations are lasting longer than expected, so he anticipates the universal voter registration legislation may be introduced in February or later. The congressional staffer said he believes a bill passed this year would probably take effect in time for the 2012 election.
Fund discusses the topic in his November 2009 book, “How the Obama Administration Threatens to Undermine Our Elections.”
“The idea, embraced by Barack Obama when he was a presidential candidate, is to shift responsibility for registering to vote from the individual to the federal government,” Fund writes in his book. “All eligible citizens would automatically be registered to vote, which existing lists such as DMV records, income-tax returns, welfare rolls and unemployment lists being used to enroll everyone. Once registered, individuals would stay on the federal rolls, even if they move to another state or district.”
Illegal immigrant registration
Fund warns that the government databases contain names of non-citizens, mentally incompetent individuals and felons – factors that would usually disqualify a person from voting in most states.
“One main concern that has been raised is that most of these databases don’t indicate citizenship status,” the staffer said. “It’s not clear that there is any available way to determine whether the people being added to the rolls are or are not citizens.”
Fund notes that many people own property in more than one location and pay taxes to numerous government entities.
“[U]niversal voter registration would automatically register them in more than one location, allowing them to vote more than once – either in person or by mail,” Fund explains.
He said the plan would destroy the integrity of the registration process, much as widespread registration drives by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, were reportedly rife with criminal actions, including people registered multiple times under fraudulent names and addresses. The “community organizing” group deployed thousands of get-out-the-vote workers in 2008 and purportedly provided them with registration quotas. Larry Lomax, registrar of voters in Las Vegas, Nev., told the Wall Street Journal he believed 48 percent of ACORN’s forms had been “clearly fraudulent.” In the 2008 election, ACORN’s practices led to investigation in more than a dozen states.
“Now they will sell this very cleverly,” Fund explained at the forum. “They will say, well, OK, ACORN did have some problems with voter registration. We shouldn’t have these third-party rogue groups out there. So, let’s put ACORN out of business, and let’s register everybody.”
Left calls for universal registration
Left-leaning magazine The Nation called for universal voter registration in May 2009, claiming between 2 and 4 million people were denied the right to vote in the last election due to issues with the registration process.
Writer Katrina Heuvel touted 90 percent registration rates in Canada, France, Venezuela and Russia.
“Now reformers are seizing the moment to use existing law to expand registration, as well as considering new laws that could finally put the United States on an equal footing with many of the world’s other democracies,” she wrote.
She blasted reforms that “still leave the burden of registration on the voter.”
Likewise, Michael Waldman, executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, said universal registration is “potentially the most significant improvement since the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
A November 2008 article in the Los Angeles Times stated, “[E]lection reformers are calling for a move toward a ‘universal voter registration’ system, in which the government takes the lead in ensuring that all eligible citizens are registered to vote.”
“This means the registration process would no longer serve as a barrier to the right to vote,” Wendy R. Weiser, a lawyer for the Brennan Center for Justice, told the Times. “It would also eliminate the ACORN issue and all the gaming of the system.”
The left-leaning website AlterNet ran a commentary titled “Consensus builds for universal voter registration” just after the 2008 election. It featured a byline for Project Vote! – the same ACORN subsidiary President Obama headed in Chicago while he was a community organizer in 1992.
Hans A. von Spakovsky, a legal scholar in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation and a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, wrote that the universal registration idea is “gathering momentum.”
“This concept is being pushed based on the fallacy that large numbers of individuals were unable to vote in the 2008 election because of voter registration problems,” von Spakovsky wrote. “This claim is supported by almost no evidence other than an academic survey that used very questionable methodologies, and did not determine whether individuals who reported not voting due to ‘registration’ problems ever attempted to register or were even eligible to register or vote.”
He continued, “The contrary evidence is much more powerful: The Census Bureau just reported that there was an increase of 4 million registered voters in 2008 from the 2004 election and voter turnout increased by 5 million voters.”
Convicted felons voting
Hans A. von Spakovsky also warned the government lists may contain the names of convicted felons who might be registered against state laws. In his November speech, Fund also stated, “By the way, there will be felon re-enfranchisement, too.”
Just weeks after Fund’s statement, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way for inmates to vote from prison. The court overturned a Washington state law prohibiting felons from voting until they are released and off parole. The lawsuit argued the state restrictions unfairly penalized minorities since they have a higher incarceration rate.
As Fund explains in his book, felony disenfranchisement laws currently prevent an estimated 5.3 million convicted felons from voting, including 2.1 million who no longer behind bars. Presently, 48 states prohibit felons from voting while they are incarcerated. Only Vermont and Maine allow inmates to cast a ballot while they are behind bars. But the recent 2-1 ruling by the three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals may allow inmates in Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona and California to vote from prison. Washington plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the ruling.
‘Get ready for it. You can’t stop it.’
Voters currently enjoy a variety of convenient registration methods. People may register by mail, at driver’s license registration centers, at schools and libraries or sometimes even on the Internet. Arizona, Washington, Kansas and Indiana allow voters to register online with a click of a button.
Michigan’s Democrat state lawmakers have sponsored a similar state law that would require registrants to submit a driver’s license number, an electronic signature and a valid e-mail address to register online to vote. People would be allowed to electronically register through 4 p.m. the day before the election.
Oregon is also establishing online registration, scheduled to begin March 1, in time for the May 2010 primary election. Likewise, a newly introduced bill in the Nebraska state legislature would require development of an online voter registration system in that state.
If an individual fails to register in advance, nine states currently allow them to register on Election Day: New Hampshire, Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Iowa and North Carolina. The District of Columbia adopted same-day registration in November. Now Massachusetts is seeking to join that list.
Nonetheless, proponents of universal voter registration believe the process should be an automatic process overseen by the federal government. However, Fund said the Democrats’ plan for universal registration is sure to open the system up to widespread error and rampant abuse.
“They don’t care,” he said during the Horowitz Freedom Center forum. “The path between the day this bill is introduced and the day this hits the House floor will probably be less than two weeks. Get ready for it. You can’t stop it; don’t get me wrong. But this is their stealth bill that is even sneakier than the health-care bill.”
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