California in frenzy over voter fraud : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Tuesday, November 7, 2000


ELECTION 2000 California in frenzy over voter fraud Many outraged about Democrat mailer signed by Bill Clinton

by Julie Foster

In California, where it is illegal in most cases to ask voters for identification at the polls, there is a growing uproar over a Clinton-signed mailer urging Latinos to bring an unofficial paper "voter identification card" to the polls, potentially allowing non-citizens to vote.

First reported by WorldNetDaily yesterday in a column by Editor Joseph Farah, the ID card is attached to the mailer, which was paid for by the California Democratic Party.

"While every election is important, the November 7th election will determine our future for the next decade, and beyond," the letter reads. "The stakes are high for America's Latino families. And California is the critical battleground." It goes on to explain the purpose of the "voter identification card" attached to the letter. "Here is your personal Voter Identification Card. Sign your name, then detach your card. Bring your card with you to your polling place on Election Day. It will help your voting go more smoothly."

Bob Mulholland, campaign adviser for the California Democratic Party, at first denied the party sent mail targeted at certain racial groups. After he was read the letter, however, he acknowledged that a computer program is used to sort information obtained from voter files by category. In this case, newly registered Latinos were targeted for the mailer received in many households over the weekend. Voter files are accessible to campaigns, political parties and recognized research groups that request the information from county registrars.

But at least one recipient of the letter in Los Angeles County is not a U.S. citizen and so is not eligible to vote, despite the president's letter and ID card. The 20-year-old recipient and her mother, both from Guatemala, have spent several years haggling with the Immigration and Naturalization Service over obtaining their citizenship, but have not yet been successful. And she insists she has never registered to vote.

"It is absolutely illegal for a non-U.S. citizen to register to vote or vote in an election," said Shad Balch, spokesman for California Secretary of State Bill Jones. "The voter file is accessible for political purposes, so it is possible the Democratic Party was able to obtain the voter file."

However, if a recipient of the president's letter is not a citizen, questions arise as to the source of the California Democratic Party's information, since, as Balch indicated, the California Secretary of State's office would not have any information on the woman.

The Guatemalan woman does have a driver's license, but Department of Motor Vehicles records are sealed, thus preventing the California Democratic Party from obtaining personal information from that agency. It is possible the woman inadvertently registered to vote when she obtained her driver license, as voter registration information is included in that paperwork. But she claims she obtained her license from Sacramento -- not Los Angeles -- using special forms due to her status with the INS, thus decreasing the likelihood of an accidental registration.

WorldNetDaily is in the process of verifying the 20-year-old's registration status with the Los Angeles County registrar's office. Should the woman turn out not to be registered, Balch said he does not know how the Democrat Party obtained its information.

The spokesman, who indicated the secretary of state's office is aware of the Clinton mailer, confirmed that should any non-citizen take the paper ID card to a polling place, he or she would not be able to cast a vote since there would be no record of the person on the voter registration lists maintained by poll officials.

Nevertheless, there is a scenario in which votes may be cast with the aid of the Clinton card. According to Charles Bell, general counsel for the California Republican Party, if a voter has recently moved to a new precinct and attempts to vote at the polling place for his new location, he is required to show identification, as his name will not appear on the new location's voter registration rolls.

Such is the case with Clinton's paper ID cards. Were the young Guatemalan woman to appear at her polling place with the card, she may indeed be allowed to vote -- regardless of whether her name appears on the list of registered voters for that precinct.

Generally speaking, it is illegal in California to require voter identification and proof of nationality at polling places. In fact, no one can bring evidence of any kind to a polling place challenging any voters' eligibility. Such challenges can be made only to the registrar of voters and only after registration has taken place, Bell said.

In other words, there is no mechanism in California to prevent non-citizens from registering.

That system has led to rampant abuse, resulting in blatantly fraudulent registrations uncovered by the Institute for Fair Elections, a non-profit, non-partisan citizen group dedicated to exposing voter fraud. Karen Saranita, president of the corporation, decried the failures of California's voter registration requirements.

"There are no verification requirements. The only thing election officials are required to verify is that it is an actual address," she said.

Saranita's institute investigates elections nationwide and reports its findings to government officials and the media. The group has found registered "voters" named "Absolutely Nobody," "Lot O. Money," "Boy Toy" and "Punk Rock Freddie," to name just a few. Specific to the Golden State, "God" is registered in North Hollywood, and "Jesus Christ" is a voter in Santa Monica.

Unfortunately, according to Saranita, "Nobody cares." She appeared on "60 Minutes" the Sunday before the 1996 election, but the story generated little response from the public.

"I think until there is a big race -- a high profile race where the results have actually been changed by fraud -- nothing will change," she predicted. "The government is not good at taking preventative measures."

The activist said she gives credit to California Rep. Steve Horn, who attempted to pass legislation in Congress several years ago that would have required the use of Social Security numbers for voting. The measure failed.

Saranita described the farcical treatment of elections by the government compared to other regulated activities.

An election, she said, is "the only government-conducted activity where the citizen is not only not required to provide ID, but it is against the law to ask them for ID when they register to vote. You can't pay your taxes, you can't apply for a farm subsidy, you can't apply for a federal student loan -- in LA County, you can't get a license for your dog -- unless you show ID. Yet, the government does nothing about it, the people seemingly don't care and nothing changes, except it gets worse."

Saranita said her group is watching today's election closely.

-- K. (, November 12, 2000

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