Tuesday, September 11, 2012

VOTER PURGE Stories in the News

Election Official In Harris County, Texas Refuses To Purge ‘Dead’ Voters

By Aviva Shen on Sep 11, 2012 at 10:10 am

Nine thousand citizens in Harris County, Texas recently received letters warning them their voter registrations may be cancelled because they might be dead. If they were in fact still alive, these voters had 30 days to respond or be purged from the rolls.

But on Monday, Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector and voter registrar Don Sumners announced he would not purge any of the contested names from the voter roll, at least until after the election. After receiving about 300 complaints from the allegedly deceased voters, Sumner decided the list of names compiled by the Texas Secretary of State was too unreliable.

“We’re not even going to process any of the cancellations until after the election. Because we’ve gotten such a response from people that say that they are still alive,” he said.

Harris County is the birthplace of the Tea Party group True the Vote, which champions voter purges and voter ID laws.

While the state regularly purges dead voters from the rolls using data from the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Texas passed a bill requiring the Secretary of State to use data from the Social Security Administration to widen the net. The Houston Chronicle reports:

“The process is nothing new,” [Secretary of State spokesman Rich Parsons] said. “What’s new is the use of the Social Security Administration’s death master file. The Social Security Administration, as I understand it, had made clear to our office that they don’t guarantee or provide any assurance of the accuracy of their list.” [...]

In some cases, the voter’s birth date, name, or other identifying data is considered a strong enough match to death records to remove the voter from the roll automatically; when the match is weaker, the voter is sent a letter giving him an opportunity to prove he is alive. Last week’s batch mailing was unusually large, local and state officials said.

The dead voter is a popular phantom in voter fraud lore. South Carolina launched an investigation in the winter but could find no evidence of dead people voting.

Unintended Results From Florida's Voter Purge: One Illegal Canadian

by David Frum

The state of Florida launched a huge crackdown on illegally registered voters. After months of search, Florida authorities have to date caught ... one person. An Austrian-born Canadian citizen, Josef Sever, age 52.

Under pressure from the governor, the state’s electoral officials had initially flagged more than 180,000 names (many of them Hispanic-sounding) for checking. All but 2,600 of those initially flagged – some of whom turned out to be not only citizens, but military veterans with service in Afghanistan and Iraq – were quickly determined to be bonafide citizens and restored to the voter rolls.

After further investigation, only one name – Mr. Sever’s – was sent to law-enforcement authorities last spring. Six other “suspect” cases, in a state with more than 10 million names on the voters’ list, are still being investigated.

Sever has admitted not only to voting illegally in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, but also to having made vigorous use of America's Second Amendment rights.

When first tracked down and interviewed by Department of Homeland Security investigators last spring, Mr. Sever admitted to lying about being a U.S. citizen both to vote and – four times – to buy firearms and obtain a “concealed carry” permit which allows him to carry a hidden weapon.

We don't know who Sever voted for. He showed no party affiliation in his voting documents. But with his Austrian accent and fondness for guns, he's missing only a few documents, a bank account, and a movie career to qualify him as Gov. Scott's possible successor.

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David Frum is a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Daily Beast and a CNN contributor.

Scott Gessler Decides Not To Proceed With Voter Purge After All

Posted: 09/10/2012 3:44 pm Updated: 09/10/2012 3:45 pm


After Colorado's Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler sent out letters questioning the citizenship of nearly 4,000 people, the majority of whom had registered as Democrats and independents, the secretary's office has backed down from a controversial plan to challenge 141 of those he says are non-citizens in hearings.

Instead, Gessler said he's passing along their names to county clerks to conduct any voter status challenges because his office said there would not be enough time to hold hearings before the election in November.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the united voice of many widely different groups helped convince Secretary Gessler to drop his ill-conceived plan," said Ethics Watch Director Luis Toro in a statement.

Of the 3,903 people in Colorado who received letters challenging their voter status, 1,794 went to unaffiliated voters, 1,566 went to Democrats, and 486 to registered Republicans. Hundreds turned out to be U.S. citizens and 141 were not verified.

According to the Coloradoan, only one registered non-citizen has called a Larimer County clerk to voluntarily withdraw his voter registration.

From the Coloradoan:

“It was a guy with a work visa. He didn’t even know he was registered to vote,” Doyle said. “Somehow we think it was a clerical mistake at the Department of Motor Vehicles when he got his driver’s license.”

According to a report by the Associated Press, Gessler blamed the federal government for having "dragged it's feet" to get Colorado access to Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE), a database that has information about immigrants who are in the country legally and are eligible to receive government benefits. The National Voter Registration Act prohibits states from conducting voter purge actions within 90 days of an election.

"It is unfortunate the federal government dragged its feet for a year, putting us in a difficult position for the coming November election," Gessler said to the Associated Press.

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