Monday, October 01, 2012

Republican voter registration fraud in California

I have not covered, as I ought, the GOP voter fraud scandal in Florida. But now it seems to have happened in Riverside, California -- a place of which I grew rather fond.
Statewide, Republican voter registration in California is in decline. Thirty percent of voters are now listed as Republican as opposed to 32% in 2008. It was awfully suspicious, then, when GOP registrations in Riverside County jumped by 35,000 this year, seemingly giving them an advantage of 51,000 voters over Democrats. It turns out that thousands of Democrats have been re-registered as Republicans without their permission.

A Republican voter outreach program named ‘The Golden State Voter Participation Project’ stationed workers outside of stores and welfare offices to sign people up. Democratic activists are alleging fraud and have given the county registrar of voters 133 affidavits from Democrats, many of whom are Latino or African American, who state that they were wrongly re-registered as Republicans. Many were presented with documents that were misrepresented. One thought he was signing a petition to lower the price of gasoline, another that he was supporting the legalization of marijuana. Some were promised free cigarettes in exchange for signing.
Riverside is a fairly conservative place to begin with -- I saw lots of signs favoring Prop 8, the ban on gay marriage. But it's a mix. There are a lot of Latinos who live there, and they certainly trend Democratic.
How would such fraud help Republicans? First of all, inflating their numbers gives them a fundraising boost by making their chances of success look greater than they are. Secondly, Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts would be thwarted since the party wouldn’t reach out to people listed as Republican to make sure they made it to the polls.
If you're looking for devious motives, here's another: Artificially pumping up the Republican registration numbers makes it possible to "Diebold" the voting results in favor of Republican candidates on election day. The only checks we have on electronic tabulation fraud are the polls and the registration numbers.
If when the voter registration was changed the person changes the address, even slightly, the person won't be able to vote due to a faulty registration in lots of jurisdictions.

It can be worse than you think.
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