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Rep. Keith Ellison
A Minnesota congressman has proposed federal legislation that would impose his state’s type of voter registration – which leads the nation in voter fraud cases – on the other 49 states, according to critics who have launched online campaigns to make people aware of the dangers of Rep. Keith Ellison’s H.R. 3316 and its companion H.R. 3317.
“Our votes control trillions of public dollars, yet Ellison would have us believe nobody would ever steal them. We can trust everybody, right?” said a commentary posted on the Election Integrity Watch site.
“Would you keep your money in a bank that allowed people to make withdrawals without checking their identity and verifying that they are entitled to the money?” the site wondered.
In a commentary promoting his H.R. 3316, which would banish all photo identification requirements, and H.R. 3317, which would allow people to walk into a polling location, register and vote immediately, Ellison said his intent is to curb “voter suppression.”
“The Same Day Registration Act would require states to provide for same day voter registration for a federal election. The Voter Access Protection Act would make sure election officials cannot require photo identification in order to cast a vote or register to vote,” he said.
He said there are 34 state legislatures that have considered bills requiring photo ID to vote.
“These are solutions in search of a problem,” he said. “Statistics show an infinitesimal number of proven voting fraud cases occurring in the United States. And these few cases have been successfully prosecuted like any other criminal offense.”
However, an organization that monitors elections in Minnesota and roots out fraudulent votes is warning ballot fraud is on the rise across the nation, and if unchecked, the ultimate consequences would be an electorate that simply doesn’t believe the system works and refuses to participate – “a total breakdown in the cohesion of American society.”
That’s from Executive Director Dan McGrath of the Minnesota Majority, which advocates for traditional values in state and federal public policy through grassroots activism. The group also contributes to the work of ElectionIntegrityWatch.com to focus specifically on elections and voter fraud.
Minnesota Majority reported that its investigations of fraud allegations arising from the 2008 general election in the state so far have resulted in 113 convictions. Another 200 or so cases are being processed or are pending but might not be completed because the statute of limitations expires this month, three years after the election.
And a stunning 2,800 or more cases cannot be prosecuted because of the wording in the Minnesota state law that essentially requires voter fraud participants to admit they knew what they were doing was illegal in order for a conviction to be obtained, the organization said.
The organization’s report on voter fraud said the convictions appear to be the highest number since a scheme in Jackson County, Mo., in 1936 resulted in 259 individuals convicted of voter fraud.
A more recent effort by the U.S. Department of Justice that encompassed five years resulted in just 53 convictions, the group said.
“It’s mind-boggling to me that as a tiny non-profit corporation, we netted more than double the number of convictions in one year than the U.S. Department of Justice was able to find in five,” said Minnesota Majority president Jeff Davis in a statement on the results.
The group identified a wide range of illegal votes, including incapacitated patients at a mental health home who have guardians and are not eligible to vote to “upwards of 2,800 ineligible felons believed to have unlawfully voted in Minnesota’s 2008 general election.”
“These convictions are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Davis. “The actual number of illegal votes cast was in the thousands. Most unlawful voters were never charged with a crime because they simply pled ignorance. We have evidence of these people casting illegal ballots, but in Minnesota, ignorance of election law is considered to be an acceptable defense.”
It’s not just in Minnesota.
The organization lists reports from dozens of locations around the nation where voter fraud cases have been brought, and convictions won, by prosecutors. Among them are a 10-year prison term for an NAACP leader for vote fraud, several cases in Houston, more in Wisconsin and some in Florida.
Ellison, whose schemes are being cosponsored by Reps. Yvette Clarke of New York, Marcia Fudge of Ohio, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Alcee Hastings of Florida, Barbara Lee of California, Gwen Moore of Wisconsin and Jose Serrano of New York, noted that such “fraud” “seems to be occurring only within historically Democratic voting blocs like minorities and students.”
He said organizations critical of looser voting procedures “have no problem squashing these groups’ voting rights – or the rights of elderly voters.”
He continued, “Imagine an 80-year-old grandmother, who has never driven and uses a wheelchair, going through the process of getting non-drivers ID. If her Social Security card is accepted identification for her benefits, why isn’t it good enough to identify her for voting?”
McGrath told WND that Ellison’s proposals for the nation are very similar to the procedures now used in his home state of Minnesota, which “right now is leading the nation in convictions for voter fraud.”
“He wants to take a system producing more fraud than anywhere else in the country and impose it on all states,” he said.
“Voting is a right, but it’s a qualified right. You have to be at least 18 years old, a citizen of our country, resident of the state and precinct, and not be a convicted felon still serving your term or mentally incompetent.”
He said the system is set up with all of these qualifications, yet under Ellison’s plan, “we’re supposed to take people’s word for it.”
The 2nd Amendment also gives people the right to own a gun, but there are verifications and qualifications there, too, he said.
He said “some would argue” those with ill motives can do more damage with an illegal vote than an illegal gun, because the vote can affect “everybody in the country.”
McGrath said the move is more than just an effort by Ellison, as the issue has been “brewing for awhile.”
He said when voter registration and identification laws have been tightened in specific states, voter participation actually has gone up.
“It goes to that confidence that participation will make a difference,” he said.
In Minnesota, he said, prosecutions are rising at least partly because of a new team of county attorneys elected in 2010 who are taking the violations of voting laws seriously.
Also posting comments on the issue was the We Want Voter ID site, which carried an image of Ellison “holding” a sign stating “Voter Fraud For All!”
“The net effect of Ellison’s two bills is to allow anyone and everyone to cast a ballot on Election Day without any mechanism to verify their identity, citizenship, eligibility, or that they live in the state and precinct they are voting in,” it said.
With estimates that range into the tens of millions for the number of illegal aliens inside the United States, races easily could be decided on those counts, officials noted.
Minnesota Majority notes that in 2008, the Minnesota U.S. Senate race was decided by just 312 votes.
“Never in our state’s history did the words ‘every vote counts’ ring so true. However, a cloud of doubt still hangs over the results. Post-election analysis showed that hundreds of ineligible felons voted in the election. Over 17,000 more ballots were counted than voters accounted for as having voted in our Statewide Voter Registration System. Over 23,000 addresses provided by Election Day registrants could not be verified. Voter rolls contained the names of non-citizens and deceased individuals,” the organization reported.
What that means is that Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., may not have won, although he has been casting votes from his U.S. Senate seat ever since, the group said.
“Political analysts estimate that voter fraud may account for 3 percent of the vote in any given election. Applying this statistic to Minnesota’s 2006 gubernatorial election, that would mean that we would have had over 66,000 fraudulent votes. Remember that Gov. Pawlenty won this election by just 21,000 votes,” the organization reported.
Sens. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota endorsed Ellison’s plan, explaining, in Feingold’s words, “We should constantly be looking for ways to make it easier for Americans to exercise that right [to vote].”
ElectionIntegrityWatch notes that photo ID laws in more than a dozen states have been challenged “and plaintiffs have not yet produced a single voter who would be disenfranchised by those laws.”
McGrath said the potential ramifications are very serious for the nation, and “that’s why we’ve been so dogged about this.”
“The foundation of the country rests on the confidence of the people that they’re being represented,” he said. “That they have a voice in the process. If they feel they have become disenfranchised, they’ll ask, ‘What reason do I have to participate?’
“That’s why it’s so very alarming.”
It was just last month that former Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan said a signature on a petition to put Barack Obama on the state’s primary ballot in 2008 isn’t his.
The Democrat, who had campaigned for Hillary Clinton, told the Associated Press the printing next to the signature doesn’t even look like his.
He was among dozens of people contacted by the South Bend Tribune who declined to verify that their names on the petition were in their handwriting.
Officials called for a federal investigation.
WND also previously reported that a number of names among ACORN’s “shock troops” have been linked to or convicted of perjury, forgery, identity theft and election fraud in recent years.
Mathew Vadum, a senior editor for the Capital Research Center, released before Obama took office a report titled “ACORN: Who Funds the Weather Underground’s Little Brother?” documenting the troubled past and problems facing the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
The organization for which Obama at one point trained activists and to which he directed grants while aboard the management of the Woods Fund established a reputation for doing pretty much as it pleases, the report said.
While the election 2008 controversies over electoral fraud efforts “have been indelibly imprinted in the public consciousness,” Vadum said, that work is only a “smidgen of what ACORN actually does.”
While ACORN officially went out of business earlier this year, Vadum has documented how most of the people involved simply reported many times to the same offices and same work desks, just under the name of a new organization.
The issue of misbehavior at the polls caught the attention of the public in 2008 when voter intimidation by members of the New Black Panther Party was caught on video:
The Justice Department originally brought a case against the organization and several individuals who witnesses say derided voters with catcalls of “white devil” and “cracker” and told them they should prepare to be “ruled by the black man.”
One poll watcher called police after he reportedly saw one of the men brandishing a nightstick to threaten voters.
“As I walked up, they closed ranks, next to each other,” the witness told Fox News at the time. “So I walked directly in between them, went inside and found the poll watchers. They said they’d been here for about an hour. And they told us not to come outside because a black man is going to win this election no matter what.”
He said the man with a nightstick told him, “‘We’re tired of white supremacy,’ and he starts tapping the nightstick in his hand. At which point I said, ‘OK, we’re not going to get in a fistfight right here,’ and I called the police.”
Subsequently, former DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams testified before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission that the Voting Section of Attorney General Eric Holder’s organization is dominated by a “culture of hostility” toward bringing cases against blacks and other minorities who violate voting-rights laws.
Further, two other former U.S. Department of Justice attorneys later corroborated key elements of the explosive allegations by Adams.
One of Adams’ DOJ colleagues, former Voting Section trial attorney Hans A. von Spakovsky, told WND he saw Adams was being attacked in the media for lack of corroboration. He said he knew Adams was telling the truth, so he decided on his own to step forward.
Adams had been ordered by his superiors to drop a case prosecutors already had won against the New Black Panthers. When they were ordered to stop prosecution, Adams and the team of DOJ lawyers had already won the case by default because the New Black Panthers declined to defend themselves in court. At that point in the proceedings, the DOJ team was simply waiting for the judge to assign penalties against the New Black Panthers.
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