It was back in 2008 when comedian Al Franken trailed incumbent Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in a U.S. Senate race when the counting stopped.
But after a recount and an eight-month court challenge, officials declared Franken the winner by 312 votes, with nearly 3 million votes cast.
A Minnesota organization revealed that at least 341 convicted felons voted illegally in the state’s Hennepin County, where Minneapolis is located, and another 52 voted illegally in adjacent Ramsey County, home to St. Paul.
It means Franken may be sitting in the U.S. Senate now, nitpicking at Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s record, because felons illegally voted for him.
“I don’t presume to know how those [ineligible voters] cast their ballots. I can’t say,” Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority told WND at the time. “What I do know is that because of the fraud that was in the system, we don’t know if we elected the person the people really wanted to elect.
“The number of felons voting in those two counties alone exceeds … Franken’s victory margin,” according to the analysis.
It’s just one of the issues facing America and its election system following years of resistance from President Obama’s Department of Justice to common-sense procedures that would allow officials to ensure their voters are U.S. citizens who are legally registered to vote.
But it’s being taken more seriously now.
As the Raleigh News & Observer reported just this week, a former temporary elections worker was accused of multiple felonies for allegedly illegally accessing voter registration records and “restoring voting privileges to 250 ineligible felons.”
The counts were filed against Joy Yvette Wilkerson, 41, of Henderson, North Carolina.
The Granville County Sheriff’s Department said the fraud had been discovered by the county board of elections, which contacted law enforcement.
“The report says Wilkerson accessed the county’s voter registration database and restored – or tried to restore – active voting status to 250 convicted felons who had been removed from voter rolls while they served their sentence,” the newspaper said.
Officials said the changes were corrected before the general election, so the move should not have had an impact on the results, but it prompted a call from the state Republican Party for more protections against voter fraud.
Chairman Robin Hayes said, “Incidents like these prove that attempts to encourage illegal voting, violate the law, and manipulate our voting process do exist and must be countered.”
On the issue of felons voting, the Public Interest Legal Foundation is taking an active role.
The organization has filed a complaint in Philadelphia for not providing a way to remove felons from voting rolls while they are imprisoned.
There, the American Civil Rights Union organization is suing the city commissioners for failing to comply with Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act.
“Federal law requires election officials to conduct a reasonable effort to maintain voter registration lists free of dead voters, ineligible voters and voters who have moved away,” the complaint explains.
The complaint contends: “Your county has nearly more registrants than eligible citizens living in the county and may not be conducting reasonable list maintenance to ensure noncitizens are not improperly registering to vote.”
Opposing the action is a long list of leftist groups, many of which are tied to progressive activist George Soros.
“Convicted felons who are confined in a penal institution are not qualified to vote in Pennsylvania,” the complaint notes, citing state law.
Logan Churchwell, a spokesman for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, explained the problem “speaks to the need for greater investment in our election systems from the ground up.”
He told WND, “Some lawmakers working toward election integrity have a tendency to believe if they’ve passed a voter ID law, they can check that box and be done with the issue. Wrong. Election integrity is a comprehensive, year-round effort where more work is done in the many months prior to voting time.”
In the Philadelphia case, he said it’s become evident that there are only two safeguards against a felon illegally voting: the felon deciding he should not break the law or a mail room clerk in a prison deciding a felon shouldn’t get an absentee ballot.
“They [are] doing absolutely nothing to remove felons from a voter roll,” he explained.
The purpose of the lawsuit is to change that.
“This is not occurring in a vacuum, it’s not random,” he said, “coming off eight years where the Obama Department of Justice refused to enforce federal voter roll maintenance standards.”
WND also has reported on an audit of the U.S. election system being developed by Catherine Engelbrecht’s True the Vote.
The group was launched in 2009 “after a small group of volunteers worked at our local polls and witnessed firsthand both the need for well-trained election workers and blatant, undeniable acts of election fraud.
It now has a five-step plan for reform.
First, it has to be understood there is vote fraud in the United States, and True the Vote is compiling a database of known cases.
And second, there is something that can be done to curb it.
President Trump has called attention to the problem.
“We are making steady progress with the forensic audit,” Engelbrecht told WND recently. “Right now, hundreds of millions of files from over 100 different data sources are being aggregated, structured and sifted.
“It’s incredibly tedious and time-consuming work. But it must be done – and done right – however long it takes. You can’t properly correct problems until you can fully identify them.”
Englebrecht’s effort deploys technologists, statisticians, researchers, auditors, scholars, futurists, election-law experts and process specialists. It will end up with a top-to-bottom evaluation of America’s election system.
True the Vote’s five-point plan:
- A forensic audit of the election processes
- Developing an American voter ID program
- Evaluating election technologies
- Identifying dynamic voter registration verification processes
- Developing model legislation
Former Federal Elections Commission member Hans von Spakovsky now manages the Election Law Reform Initiative at the Heritage Foundation. He believes a thorough federal investigation into voting laws is clearly warranted.
“I think it’s long overdue,” he said. “There’s never been any systematic, organized effort by the federal government to try to improve and check on the election integrity of the United States. I think this is a great idea.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Hans von Spakovsky:
After the 2012 election, WND compiled a Big List of vote fraud reports, accessible at this link.
It noted there were 59 different Philadelphia voting districts in which Mitt Romney received zero votes compared to Obama’s 19,605. And in a Cleveland precinct, Obama beat Romney 542 to 0. Romney received zero votes in nine Cleveland precincts.
WND previously reported on another voting issue in Philadelphia, which was documented on video:
‘Ruled by the black man’
As WND reported, the Justice Department originally brought the case against four armed men who witnesses say derided voters with catcalls of “white devil” and “cracker” and told voters 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 under then-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.
It was Adams who had been ordered by his superiors to drop the case prosecutors already had won. 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.