Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Early Voting Should be the Exception, Not the Rule

Early voting and absentee ballots have become more commonplace nowadays, and that might not be a good thing. As John Fund writes in the National Review, a Sun-Sentinel article in Florida – where there is an intense battle for governor – entitled “People Who Vote Before Election Could Decide Outcome of Governor’s Race” ran over the weekend.

As John Fund explains,

In Florida, a third of the electorate will vote by mail, a third will vote early by going to a voting center, and a third will cast their ballots on Election Day. Nationwide, some 2 million people have already voted, even though scheduled debates haven’t even finished in many states. We are seeing an early-voting craze: In 35 states, people can vote early without having to give an excuse for missing Election Day. That’s up from 20 states just over a decade ago. Half the states also allow no-excuse absentee-ballot voting by mail. Oregon, Washington, and Colorado have abolished the traditional polling place; in those states almost everyone votes by mail.

Fund continues to explain that this expansion isn’t just bad election practices, but it might even violate the Constitution,

The notion of Election Day isn’t just a tradition; it’s in the Constitution. Article II, Section 1 states that “Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.” Congress codified this requirement in 1872 by setting a uniform presidential election date.

J. Christian Adams also weighed in on the transition to early voting, and opined that while the government’s butchered response to Ebola has become an important issue in this election, many voices – and votes – will not have a chance to speak to this because they have already spoken.

Adams states,

This is the one of the serious problems with early voting — voters making dumb or uninformed decisions about fast-moving events.  If you voted weeks ago, you voted before the administration’s bungling of the Ebola problem became conventional wisdom. The list of congressional leaders calling for a travel ban continues to grow.  Yet the Obama administration continues to oppose it for some frighteningly outlandish reasons.

While Ebola is a recent epidemic and issue, Adams saw this as an issue way back in February and even then, realized early voting has the potential for problems.  He wrote an article in the Washington Times about eight reasons to stop early voting. Those eight reasons were:

First, early voting produces less-informed voters. After they cast an early ballot, they check out of the national debate. They won’t care about the televised debates, won’t consider options, and won’t fully participate in the political process. […] Second, early voting is extremely expensive. When election officials drag out an election for weeks, that means more poll workers, more broken machines, more salaries, more costs, more everything. […] Third, early voting is a solution in search of a problem. Those who claim America is plagued by long lines on Election Day aren’t being honest. MIT conducted a study of the 2012 presidential election and found that the average wait in line to vote was 14 minutes. […] Fourth, early voting puts more money into politics. Campaigns will be more expensive and complicated. [...] Fifth, fewer election observers means more voter fraud. Election observers in open polls are an essential tool to ensure that the democratic process functions cleanly. […] Sixth, the most toxic part of early voting is that it increases American political polarization. It rewards those who are the most extreme. Early voting is a subsidy to those most stubbornly committed to one party. […] Seventh, early voting doesn’t increase turnout. Studies have shown that states that adopt early voting have no empirical turnout increase. Finally, early voting destroys one of America’s last surviving common cultural experiences — turning out as a single nation on a single day to elect our leaders.

After an examination of the facts, it is clear the early voting should go back to being the exception in voting, not the rule it has become in recent years.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Will the Ebola Czar Abuse the Military Again?

Ron Klain is being criticized in some quarters for his lack of health care background for his being named Obama’s Ebola Czar.  For those with memories of the 2000 election cycle, there may be concerns about how he will treat the military. 

You see, Ron Klain was the General Counsel of the 2000 Gore Campaign Recount Committee where he led an unprecedented effort to disenfranchise military voters.  The position was so extreme even the Democrat Vice Presidential Nominee Joe Liebermann refused to back the position.  As chronicled in the 2001 book “At Any Cost” on the efforts of lawyers led by Klain:

And yet, incredibly, they continued to file hypertechnical objections to hundreds of ballots, refusing to withdraw them even in the face of overwhelming public opposition.  Gore officials vainly tried to distance themselves from these continued objections, but it was now clear that the Vice President’s own lawyers were explicitly directing the anti-military effort.

Klain was trying to win the presidency for Gore by disenfranchising our military!  Klain’s disdain for the military is relevant in his current role since our troops are literally in the front line in the fight against Ebola in Liberia. 


Whether Klain will properly respect and treat the military in his role as Ebola Czar is a legitimate question.  If his history in disenfranchising our troops is any indicator, we have reason to be worried.   

Friday, October 17, 2014

Obomanation: A Political Demagogue Should Not be a Voting Commissioner


Generally when one is nominated for a commission, judgeship or other government position for a job that can stir controversy but serves the entire public, the nominee stays out of the limelight in that field.  At the very least, the nominee stays out of areas of blatant partisanship and does not use inflammatory rhetoric when one is nominated to work on a bipartisan commission. 

This rule is not being just broken but shattered by Myrna Perez, a nominee to be a Commissioner for the Election Assistance Commission.  As we detailed in our opposition letter, Ms. Perez has a long history of partisanship and playing fast and loose with the facts.  Recently she has taken this to new levels on the subject of Voter ID.

Instead of trying to work with groups to help publicize the multiple free ID options to voters, Ms. Perez has been fear mongering with ridiculous and groundless claims like saying people have to choose between eating and voting because of ID requirements. 

(The irony of the last statement is that Ms. Perez is in effect denying people some social services, such as those of the courts, over the counter medicines, and much more that often require some form of identification.  It seems she is in favor of oppressing the poor to make a rhetorical political point over helping them obtain a free ID.)

Wait there is more, according to Ms. Perez:
  • at least 1.2 million” in Texas don’t have IDs, a number so incredible that not ever her own side’s biased statisticians think the number is anywhere near that high.
  • ’Here was an issue when a state enacted this kind of restriction on right to vote for the purpose of discriminating against racial minorities,’ said Myrna PĂ©rez, a Brennan Center for Justice attorney.”  (Ms. Perez, other than you and a few on the far left, no one has ever said that or believes that.  Actually voter ID will help many minorities who are often the victims of vote fraud and effectively disenfranchised by fraudulent votes.  For just a few Texas examples check http://rnla.org/votefraud.asp and search for Texas.)

Ms. Perez is not alone in making these spurious allegations.  But she is the only one who has been nominated to a commission to assist with voting that is making these sort of comments. 

President Obama should immediately withdraw Ms. Perez’s nomination, his failure to do so is another Obomanation.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Former Police Chief Pleads Guilty to Vote Fraud

Richard Toney, the former police chief of a small township in western Pennsylvania, Harmar Township, has pled guilty to violating federal election laws and soliciting absentee ballots in an effort to benefit his wife and her running mate.

While Toney has officially retired from his police chief position since this event, he was still officer-in-charge of police in 2009, when he committed the violations.  Federal prosecutors assert that in 2009, Toney sought absentee ballots for his wife Kim and her running mate in the Democratic primary for Harmar Township supervisor.  

Richard Toney allegedly applied for absentee ballots and then had them filled out by people who should not have filled them out, because they were not going to be absent for the primary.   

The soliciting of the ballots had a profound impact on the primary – prior to absentee ballots being counted, no one had a clear majority.  Kim Toney and one opponent won the top two slots, but after 50 absentee ballots were counted, Kim and her running mate prevailed and won the general election, including two seats on the five-member board that runs Harmar Township.

Neither Kim Toney nor her running mate, Jerry Chalmers, have been accused of any wrongdoing.  


Toney entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors that landed him three years of probation. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Philadelphia where Intimidation is Rewarded, Fraud Dismissed and now Election Officials Don’t Vote

Philadelphia has long been famous for problems with vote fraud and voting but it is the extremes they take it to that is noteworthy.  It is not just that they illegally bus people to vote multiple times from poll to poll.  It is not that even liberal Obama defenders such as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews admit it and dismiss it.  It is not just that voter intimidation occurs as seen in the infamous New Black Panthers Party case.  It is not that one of the intimidators gets his charges dropped for no explained reason and gets elected a local Democrat official.

Now, the newest ridiculous case is not fraud or intimidation but it is still noteworthy. 

Anthony Clark, who heads the three-person panel in charge of Philadelphia elections and voter registration, apparently isn't really into, ya know . . . voting.

The Committee of Seventy wants Clark to leave at the end of his term if he can't disprove a report in yesterday's Philadelphia City Paper that he missed the last five elections.

"It's astonishing that the head of the board that oversees Philadelphia's elections doesn't vote," Ellen Kaplan, the watchdog group's interim president and CEO, said in a statement. "Clark should be the first to set an example for city voters about the importance of voting. He can't credibly deliver this message when he doesn't vote himself."

Clark, a Democrat who is up for re-election next year, hasn't voted - in person or by absentee ballot - since the 2011 general election, City Paper reported. He did not return an email or phone call to his city office requesting comment yesterday.


One reason Clark may not be voting is he already knows the result.  Or I guess Ohio Election Official and recipient of a standing ovation Melowese Richardson six votes per election were to make up for Clark.  Jokes aside, Clark’s failure to vote is not criminal or even unethical but it does call into question his commitment to the process in a place that needs a dedicated election official.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Praise for the Heritage Foundation's New Booklet: "Does Your Vote Count?"

In addition to the booklet highlighting convictions of voter fraud in a majority of states, The Heritage Foundation created a booklet entitled, “Does Your Vote Count?” This booklet has the goal of “ensuring election integrity and making sure every vote counts.”  It is important to remember that every fraudulent vote cancels a valid legal vote,effectively disenfranchising a voter.

The booklet educates readers on the importance of fair elections, how long voter fraud has been occurring, different types of voter fraud, examples of voter fraud, recommended ways to protect your vote, and also debunks myths.

Some excerpts from the booklet include:

On the importance of fair elections,

Preserving the great experiment that is the American Republic is dependent upon free and fair elections. Whether you are selecting a city councilor or the President, every American must be able to trust the process and the result, or the democratic system breaks down. Election integrity is an essential part of free and fair elections. As an eligible citizen, you must be guaranteed the right to vote—and it must be guaranteed that your vote is not stolen or diluted by thieves and fraudsters.

On how long voter fraud has been an issue,

The U.S. Supreme Court has said that “flagrant examples” of voter fraud “have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists.” The instances of such fraud uncovered over the years “demonstrate that not only is the risk of voter fraud real but that it could affect the outcome of a close election.”

Thank you to The Heritage Foundation for continuing to work towards fair, open, and honest elections.

Friday, October 10, 2014

When “F” Stood for Freedom at the FEC



In a series of crucial votes yesterday, the Federal Election Commission defied Washington’s hyper-partisan zeitgeist and its own recent history to garner votes necessary to update its regulations and strengthen the political parties. In rulemakings concerning Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC, the Commission broke longstanding deadlocks and looked to the future with an advance notice of proposed rulemaking. The Commission also approved an Advisory Opinion Request, which will allow the political parties to set up separate accounts to fund their conventions within FECA’s hard money limits.

The rulemaking votes were the result of months-long negotiations involving Chairman Lee E. Goodman, Vice Chair Ann M. Ravel, and Commissioner Caroline C. Hunter. With each vote, the Commission fulfilled its statutory duties in a manner consistent with the First Amendment. The votes added clarity to the Commission’s prolix regulations and institutionalized political freedoms mandated by the Supreme Court.

The most controversial and long overdue vote involved Citizens United. Vice Chair Ravel, recognizing the Commission’s duty to provide clarity to the public, joined the three Republicans in a show of conciliation that could bode well for future rulemakings.

This vote was significant for several reasons. First, the four-year gap between the Supreme Court holding and the finalized regulations fomented both confusion and derision by the regulated community.

Second, the regulations append a note to 11 CFR 114.2 to acknowledge the further regulatory changes brought on by two lower court cases subsequent to Citizens United, SpeechNow.org v. FEC and Carey v. FEC, which judicially sanctioned Super PACs and hybrid PACs respectively.

Finally, the approved regulations go beyond speech to core political activity. Corporations and unions now have clearer guidance and fewer restrictions in areas such as voter registration, get-out-the-vote activity, voter guides, voting records, and endorsements.

In contrast to the wrangling over Citizens United, the Commissioners voted unanimously to approve both McCutcheon-related measures: an interim rulemaking eliminating aggregate contribution limits and an advance notice of proposed rulemaking covering earmarking, affiliation, joint fundraising committees, and disclosure.

As the RNLA stated previously, Justice Roberts raised all the issues in the proposed rulemaking in McCutcheon. Furthermore, it is the Commission’s duty to seek public input on the clarity and viability of the current regulations as anti-corruption and anti-circumvention measures. All Commissioners expressed the desire to hear a wide range of voices on these issues. And the 90-day window should allow staunch First Amendment advocates time to counter the sure deluge of reformer commentary promoting speech-suffocating rules.  

As important as the rulemakings, the Commissioners approved an Advisory Opinion submitted by the RNC and DNC. The Opinion allows the parties to establish convention committees to raise funds under a separate contribution limit because convention committees are “national committees” under the Federal Election Campaign Act.

A majority of Commissioners were not swayed by dire warnings from the reformer community of ‘slippery slopes.’ Instead, they based their decision on regulatory discretion and the benefits to political parties who are currently at a comparative disadvantage to other political groups. “Parties are critical to the health of democracy,” stated Chairman Goodman, “where we can exercise our regulatory authority to empower the parties, we can strengthen the political system. That’s what we did.”

For all the opprobrium the Commission has suffered in the past few years, it now seems poised to demonstrate principled leadership on contentious issues despite continued intransigence from some quarters.