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Author Topic: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, etc.  (Read 84085 times)
DougMacG
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« Reply #50 on: November 24, 2008, 10:25:21 AM »

Speaking of pirates, Horn of Africa, Sharia Law, Islam in America and which thread to put things in, I think I'll put this one straight into voter fraud...  Somalis form the largest bloc of African immigrants to the United States and the Twin Cities is home to the largest population of Somali immigrants in the United States. Links in the original to this story report widespread false family tie immigration in the Somali community.  Rather than call in the feds, our congressman Kieth Ellison calls in the real Somali leaders(aka al qaida?) to campaign for Al Franken and get out the vote for the filibuster proof majority for an Obama and Pelosi friendly senate.  One in 5 who voted in Minneapolis registered same day and it is illegal to ask for ID???

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2008/11/022145.php

 From Mogadishu to Minneapolis
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November 24, 2008 Posted by Scott at 5:57 AM

The Twin Cities is home to the largest population of Somali immigrants in the United States. In her latest Washington Times column, Diana West reports the discovery of immigration fraud involving the P-3 family designation in the current United States Refugee Admissions Program:

    Within the last week...the State Department confirmed that massive immigration fraud has been perpetrated overwhelmingly by Africans claimed as close kin (parent, spouse, minor child) by legal residents in the United States. (According to a report in the City Pages in Minneapolis, this scam has been netting some unknowns along the food chain up to $10,000 per head.) Given that Somalis form the largest bloc of African immigrants to the United States, this becomes another story with Somalis playing a starring role.

West's column cites this City Pages article and this State Department fact sheet on the fraud. West concludes her column with a look at the ramifications on Minnesota politics:

    Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, who famously swore his 2007 oath of office on the Koran as the first Muslim elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, routinely declares that his 7,000-vote margin of victory came from Somali Muslims. Last month, Mr. Ellison was campaigning for that same Somali Muslim vote on behalf of Mr. Franken.

    And what's newsworthy about that? In this case, the point is not that Mr. Ellison was campaigning for the Somali vote, but rather with whom he was campaigning. According to AsianTribune.com, after Mr. Ellison made a standard, if Somalii-oriented campaign pitch on behalf of Mr. Franken before a gathering of Minnesota Somalis, another speaker appeared before the crowd.

    Described in the report as a "highly regarded prominent Somali traditional leader" -- i.e., a Somali leader from Somalia, not Minnesota -- Abdullahi Ugas Farah spoke on behalf of the Ellison-Franken cause. "In order for Keith to be helpful to the situation in Somalia, you must also elect Al Franken to the Senate," he said.

    Now, there's something new on the American hustings: a "Somali traditional" leader. Curious, I Googled Mr. Farah and came up with one news story, a 2003 brief from the Asia Africa Intelligence Wire headlined, "New Islamic court opens in Mogadishu." The story reported that Mr. Farah was one of two speakers who presided over the opening ceremony for a new Sharia court in Mogadishu's Shirkole area. From Sharia courts in Mogadishu to an Al Franken rally in Minnesota.

    Only in ... America?

West notes that the State Department is punting the question of what to do with fradulently admitted Somalis over to the Department of Homeland Security. And what is DHS doing with it? My guess is that the fraudulently admitted Somalis have about as much to fear from DHS as does President-elect Obama's deportable auntie Zeutuni. Help is on the way!
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DougMacG
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« Reply #51 on: December 09, 2008, 12:24:24 AM »

Still not knowing where to post this other than under vote fraud, vote discrepancies and ACORN which rules the disputed districts in liberal, urban Minneapolis...

Ahead of the Drudge Report, the StarTribune the MN Sec. of State, I am declaring the recount over and Norm Coleman the winner.  Coleman won the original vote count with 100% of precincts reporting.  He won the recount with 100% of the precincts reporting.  Friends of Franken have found ballots in places that would make Sandy Berger blush, but not enough to close the gap. Now they want counted the votes they canNOT find.  Since these ballots don't exist anywhere for the recount, most likely they were just run twice by the helpful and honest ACORN workers running the polling place on election day.

The 'campaigns' have raised at least another $4 million combined since the campaign ended, just an interesting side note.

Another sidenote is that Obama received almost 30% more votes in Minnesota than the Democrat endorsed senate candidate Al Franken.

What remains now is the challenge of the individual scoring of ballots in the recount.  There is a sample of challenged ballots at the CBS affiliate television station website if you want to try your luck at ruling on them: http://wcco.com/slideshows/senate.race.recount.20.877400.html

Powerline has had good coverage all along on this ongoing story with an update tonight: http://www.powerlineblog.com/

Minneapolis Gives Up On "Missing" Ballots

December 8, 2008 by John Hinderacker at 10:59 PM

The City of Minneapolis announced tonight that it is giving up its search for the 133 "missing" ballots from a Dinkytown precinct near the University of Minnesota. Reactions to the announcement were counter-intuitive; the Al Franken campaign took it calmly, while Norm Coleman's campaign "questioned suspending the search."

The Coleman camp apparently thinks that calling off the search is a prelude to Franken's effort to have the results of the hand recount rejected in favor of the tally shown on the precinct's tape at the end of the day on November 4. I'm sure they're right about that; Franken will argue that the ballots are gone, but the best evidence of how they were cast is the contemporaneous record of the tape from the voting machine.

That position is not without logic, but it raises an obvious question: if we trust the tapes on the voting machines more than the results of a hand recount of paper ballots, why are we doing the recount at all? There is no obvious good answer to that question, although the precinct's record of the number of voters tallies with the higher number.

The 133 ballots at issue apparently netted Franken 46 votes; whether they were legitimately-cast ballots or, perhaps, the result of someone running ballots through the machine twice or some similar shenanigans is the question at issue. The bottom line is that Norm Coleman will emerge from the recount (pending resolution of challenged ballots) by either 192 votes or, if the 133 "missing" ballots are not counted, 238 votes.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #52 on: December 10, 2008, 08:06:25 PM »

Ann Coulter IMHO has become highly erratic in the quality of her work.  That said, this one seems rather lucid.  Here's her take on the shenanigans in Minnesota:
=============
Minnesota Ballots: Land of 10,000 Fakes
by  Ann Coulter

 
What is the point of having a hand recount of ballots in the Minnesota Senate race if the Democratic secretary of state is going to use the election night totals in precincts where it will benefit Democrat Al Franken?
   
Either the hand recount produces a better, more accurate count, or there was no point to the state spending roughly $100,000 to conduct the hand recount in the first place.
   
But that is exactly what the George Soros-supported secretary of state has agreed to do in the case of a Dinkytown precinct near the University of Minnesota. The hand recount of the liberal precinct produced 133 fewer ballots than the original count on election night and, more important, 46 fewer votes for Franken.
   
So he's proposing to defer to the election night total over the recount tally.
   
There are no "missing" ballots in Dinkytown. Ballots were run through the voting machines twice on election night. Last week, Minneapolis elections director Cindy Reichert explained they already knew for a fact that 129 ballots had been run through machines twice on election night, which pretty closely matched the 133 allegedly "missing" ballots.
   
As Reichert said, "There are human errors that are made on Election Day." According to an article in the Dec. 2, 2008, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Reichert was "confident that that's what happened" and that "we have all the ballot envelopes here."   
   
But after relentless badgering by the Franken campaign, now Reichert isn't so sure anymore. So the new plan is for Minneapolis to submit both the election night total from Dinkytown -- which gives Franken an extra 46 votes -- and the meticulous hand recount total, which does not, and allow the canvassing board to decide which to use.
   
The 129 ballots that Reichert said were run through the machines twice on election night could end up being counted twice. 
   
In all other precincts, the initial tallies from election night are treated as highly unreliable rough approximations of the actual vote, while the results from the hand recount are regarded as the absolute truth.
   
Only in the Dinkytown precinct, where the election night total gave Franken an additional 46 votes, does the state treat the hand recount as an error-prone joke compared to the highly accurate election night vote.
   
The Soros-supported Secretary of State Mark Ritchie explains that there is "precedent" for counting election night totals rather than the recount totals. If so, how about using the election night tally from some of the precincts that gave Coleman more votes on election night?
   
Highly implausible, post-election "corrections" in just three Democratic precincts -- Two Harbors, Mountain Iron and Partridge Township -- cost Coleman 446 votes. But I note that Ritchie doesn't propose deferring to the election night totals there.
   
The Minneapolis Star Tribune attributed the 436-vote "correction" in Franken's favor to "exhausted county officials." Were they more exhausted in those three precincts than in Dinkytown?
   
Either the post-election tally is better than the election night tally or it isn't. Cherry-picking only those election night results Ritchie likes isn't an attempt to get an accurate vote-count; it's an attempt to get a Democrat in the U.S. Senate.
   
If Minnesota is going to accept the election night tally from Dinkytown, why not from any of these precincts where Coleman lost votes under far more suspicious circumstances?  And why are guys named "Al" always caught trying to steal elections?
   
Wholly apart from the outrageous inconsistency of deciding that some election night tallies trump the hand recount and some don't, Franken's miraculous acquisition of more than 500 votes from heavily Democratic precincts in post-election "corrections" wasn't believable on its face -- and that's even accounting for the fact that Franken voters tend to be stupider than average and therefore more likely to fill out their ballots incorrectly.
   
Corrections in all other 2008 races combined led to only 482 changes in the entire state of Minnesota. The idea that typo "corrections" in one single contest from only three precincts, out of more than 4,000 precincts, could lead to 436 "corrections" benefiting Franken is manifestly absurd.
   
Ritchie's proposal to accept the election night count from one precinct is a stunning admission that even he doesn't believe a hand recount is any more accurate than the original election night tally. 
   
To be sure, endlessly recounting ballots doesn't yield more accurate results, it just creates different results. There is no reason to think a tabulation is more accurate because it occurred later in time.
   
But then why have a recount at all?  If the state of Minnesota is going to spend $100,000 and endless man-hours to conduct a meticulous hand recount on the grounds that it is more accurate, the state ought to at least pretend to believe in its own recount.
   
Election recounts are never intended to get more accurate results. They are simply opportunities for Democrats to manufacture new votes and steal elections.
   
And once again, Republicans are asleep at the wheel while another close election is being openly stolen by the man whose contributions to western civilization include the "Planet of The Enormous Hooters" sketch on "SNL."

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #53 on: December 26, 2008, 07:52:29 AM »

By JOHN R. LOTT JR. and BRADLEY SMITH
How would you like elections without secret ballots? To most people, this would be absurd.

We have secret balloting for obvious reasons. Politics frequently generates hot tempers. People can put up yard signs or wear political buttons if they want. But not everyone feels comfortable making his or her positions public -- many worry that their choice might offend or anger someone else. They fear losing their jobs or facing boycotts of their businesses.

And yet the mandatory public disclosure of financial donations to political campaigns in almost every state and at the federal level renders people's fears and vulnerability all too real. Proposition 8 -- California's recently passed constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage by ensuring that marriage in that state remains between a man and a woman -- is a dramatic case in point. Its passage has generated retaliation against those who supported it, once their financial support was made public and put online.

For example, when it was discovered that Scott Eckern, director of the nonprofit California Musical Theater in Sacramento, had given $1,000 to Yes on 8, the theater was deluged with criticism from prominent artists. Mr. Eckern was forced to resign.

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Richard Raddon, the director of the L.A. Film Festival, donated $1,500 to Yes on 8. A threatened boycott and picketing of the next festival forced him to resign. Alan Stock, the chief executive of the Cinemark theater chain, gave $9,999. Cinemark is facing a boycott, and so is the gay-friendly Sundance Film Festival because it uses a Cinemark theater to screen some of its films.

A Palo Alto dentist lost patients as a result of his $1,000 donation. A restaurant manager in Los Angeles gave a $100 personal donation, triggering a demonstration and boycott against her restaurant. The pressure was so intense that Marjorie Christoffersen, who had managed the place for 26 years, resigned.

These are just a few instances that have come to light, and the ramifications are still occurring over a month after the election. The larger point of this spectacle is its implications for the future: to intimidate people who donate to controversial campaigns.

The question is not whether Prop. 8 should have passed, but whether its supporters (or opponents) should have their political preferences protected in the same way that voters are protected. Is there any reason to think that the repercussions Mr. Eckern faced for donating to Prop. 8 would be different if it were revealed that instead of donating, he had voted for it?

Indeed, supporters of Prop. 8 engaged in pressure tactics. At least one businessman who donated to "No on 8," Jim Abbott of Abbott & Associates, a real estate firm in San Diego, received a letter from the Prop. 8 Executive Committee threatening to publish his company's name if he didn't also donate to the "Yes on 8" campaign.

In each case, the law required disclosure of these individuals' financial support for Prop. 8. Supposedly, the reason for requiring disclosure of campaign contributions is to allow voters to police politicians who might otherwise become beholden to financiers by letting voters know "who is behind the message." But in a referendum vote such as Prop. 8, there are no office holders to be beholden to big donors.

Does anyone believe that in campaigns costing millions of dollars a donation of $100, or even $1,000 or $10,000 will give the donor "undue" influence? Over whom? Meanwhile, voters learn little by knowing the names and personal information of thousands of small contributors.

Besides, it is not the case that voters would have no recourse when it comes to the financial backers of politicians or initiatives. Even without mandatory disclosure rules, the unwillingness to release donation information can itself become a campaign issue. If voters want to know who donated, there will be pressure to disclose that information. Possibly voters will be most concerned about who the donors are when regulatory issues are being debated. But that is for them to decide. They can always vote "no."

In Today's Opinion Journal
 

REVIEW & OUTLOOK

Obama's Secretary of EarmarksBridges to EverywhereStill Oklahoma's Most Wanted

TODAY'S COLUMNIST

Declarations: A Year for the Books
– Peggy Noonan

COMMENTARY

Obama Picks a Moderate on Education
– Collin LevyThe Economic News Isn't All Bleak – Zachary KarabellDonor Disclosure Has Its Downsides
– John R. Lott Jr. and Bradley SmithBush Is a Book Lover
– Karl RoveA Brother's Plea: Remember Burma
– Min ZinIronically, it has long been minorities who have benefited the most from anonymous speech. In the 1950s, for example, Southern states sought to obtain membership lists of the NAACP in the name of the public's "right to know." Such disclosure would have destroyed the NAACP's financial base in the South and opened its supporters to threats and violence. It took a Supreme Court ruling in NAACP v. Alabama (1958) to protect the privacy of the NAACP and its supporters on First Amendment grounds. And more recently, it has usually been supporters of gay rights who have preferred to keep their support quiet.

There is another problem with publicizing donations in political elections: It tends to entrench powerful politicians whom donors fear alienating. If business executives give money to a committee chairman's opponent, they often fear retribution.

Other threats are more personal. For example, in 2004 Gigi Brienza contributed $500 to the John Edwards presidential campaign. An extremist animal rights group used that information to list Ms. Brienza's home address (and similarly, that of dozens of co-workers) on a Web site, under the ominous heading, "Now you know where to find them." Her "offense," also revealed from the campaign finance records, was that she worked for a pharmaceutical company that tested its products on animals.

In the aftermath of Prop. 8 we can glimpse a very ugly future. As anyone who has had their political yard signs torn down can imagine, with today's easy access to donor information on the Internet, any crank or unhinged individual can obtain information on his political opponents, including work and home addresses, all but instantaneously. When even donations as small as $100 trigger demonstrations, it is hard to know how one will feel safe in supporting causes one believes in.

Mr. Lott, a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland, is the author of "Freedomnomics" (Regnery, 2007). Mr. Smith, a former Federal Election Commission commissioner, is chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics and professor of law at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.

 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #54 on: December 31, 2008, 03:02:24 AM »

For those who thought the new era of Democratic governance would be dull, we present this year's Senate replacement follies. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich kept the entertainment going yesterday by defying just about everyone and nominating former state Attorney General Roland Burris to the seat being vacated by President-elect Obama.

Recall that federal prosecutors had gone public with their criminal complaint against Mr. Blagojevich earlier this month expressly to deter him from making such an appointment. Mr. Obama had then declared that the Governor should not make an appointment, and Senate Democrats had said they wouldn't seat anyone Mr. Blagojevich did appoint. Majority Leader Harry Reid repeated that pledge yesterday regarding Mr. Burris, who lost to the Governor in a primary in 2002 but then was vice chairman of his transition team.


Democrats who run the state assembly are still trying to impeach Mr. Blagojevich, but meantime they've stepped back from allowing a special election for the seat. Democrats hope to dump the Governor and then have his replacement appoint a different Democrat. No doubt they're afraid Republicans might win given this exquisite display of competent, honest Democratic government.

Meanwhile, Democrats in New York are fighting over Caroline Kennedy's campaign to be appointed to the Senate seat being vacated by Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton. Former Democrat and former Republican and now independent Mayor Mike Bloomberg is all for the idea, as reportedly is Mr. Obama, whom the daughter of JFK and niece of Senator Ted Kennedy endorsed at a crucial moment during the Presidential primaries. Not so happy is New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the son of a former three-term Governor, who would like the seat himself and was once married to a Kennedy.


Caught in the middle is Democrat David Paterson, who will appoint a new Senator but is Governor himself only because Eliot Spitzer flamed out with a prostitute. Ms. Kennedy hasn't helped herself with a recent spate of interviews showing she doesn't know very much about many public issues. But then how much worse could she be than the professional politicians who populate Albany or represent New York in Washington? Democrats will outnumber Republicans in New York's House delegation next year, 26-3, and it speaks volumes about their abilities that Mr. Paterson might choose a dynastic neophyte over any of them.

Lest it be overlooked, there's also the spectacle in Delaware, where the soon-to-depart Joe Biden has arranged to have a crony appointed to take his Senate seat of 36 years. Edward "Ted" Kaufman, a former aide to Mr. Biden, is expected to keep the seat away from a more ambitious Democrat for two years, until Joe's son Beau Biden, the state attorney general, can return from his National Guard tour in Iraq and run in 2010 to maintain the family business.

And don't forget Colorado, where a mooted Senate replacement for Secretary of Interior nominee Ken Salazar is his brother, Congressman John Salazar. Democratic Governor Bill Ritter, who has benefited from the money and organization of the Salazar political machine, will make that appointment.

So to recap all of this change you can believe in: A Kennedy and Cuomo are competing to succeed a Clinton in New York; the skids are greased for a Biden to replace a Biden in Delaware; one Salazar might replace another in Colorado; and a Governor charged with political corruption in Illinois wants one of his cronies to succeed the President-elect. Let's just say we're looking forward to 2009.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #55 on: December 31, 2008, 03:09:10 AM »

Second post:

By TRENT ENGLAND
Olympia, Wash.

Sorry Minnesota, but the sequel is never as good as the original.

For those who watched the Washington State governor's race recounts in 2004, the ongoing recount drama in Minnesota is just another rehash of the same script -- albeit for a U.S. Senate seat that might put Democrats one vote away from a filibuster-proof majority.

Four years ago in Washington, Democratic Party candidate Christine Gregoire lost the first count, lost the recount, and then won a second, highly dubious recount by 133 votes. In Minnesota, where Sen. Norm Coleman is defending his seat against comedian-turned-candidate Al Franken, the first count showed Mr. Coleman up 725 votes. Today, thanks to another dubious recount, Mr. Franken is apparently in the lead.

Razor-thin margins like these put election systems to the test. As the old proverb goes, they are a crisis and an opportunity. Yet the crises keep coming and the opportunities continue to be squandered. It's time to learn the lessons of the recount wars and address the systemic flaws in our election processes. Indeed, the price of a continued decline in voter confidence is too troubling for most Americans to comprehend.

In Washington's 2004 gubernatorial election, at least 1,392 felons illegally voted, 252 provisional ballots were wrongly counted, and 19 votes were cast from beyond the grave, according to Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges's opinion in a case brought by Dino Rossi, Ms. Gregoire's Republican opponent.

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Election workers in King County (where Seattle is located) "enhanced" 55,177 ballots to make it easier for tabulating machines to read them -- even though the county had failed to establish written procedures as required by state law. In some cases, individual election workers modified voted ballots using black felt markers and white-out tape while observers were kept at a distance that prevented meaningful observation. Nine separate times, King County "discovered" and counted unsecured ballots.

Nevertheless, Ms. Gregoire lost to Mr. Rossi by 261 votes.

An automatic recount reduced Mr. Rossi's lead to just 42 votes. The Gregoire campaign demanded a state-wide hand recount, a time-consuming and expensive process that state law says the challenger must pay for (if the result changes, the challenger is reimbursed). Big labor unions joined with far-left groups like MoveOn.org to put up the money for Ms. Gregoire's third-time's-the-charm ballot shuffle.

During the recount process, five counties found new, uncounted, unsecured ballots and added them into their totals. King County officials admitted publicly that ballot reconciliation reports were falsified in an attempt to conceal variations between the number of votes counted and the number of voters who voted (two elections workers were disciplined as a result).

By the end, 3,539 votes more than the number of voters who voted were tabulated. Four other swing counties provided an additional 4,880 mystery ballots. Ms. Gregoire was the victor by a margin of 133 votes.

That margin -- 133 votes -- happens to be the same number of ballots that Minneapolis election officials are currently missing. The initial vote tally in one Democrat-leaning precinct counted 133 more ballots than officials have been able to find for the Senate recounts. The Minnesota canvassing board decided on Dec. 12 to allow Minneapolis simply to ignore the recount and go with the original number. This provided a 46-vote boost for Mr. Franken, about the same as his current projected lead. The board also "requested" that counties reconsider rejected absentee ballots, a new and novel part of the recount procedure that is also expected to favor Mr. Franken.

Something is wrong when a victorious candidate owes more thanks to vote counters than to voters. Such was the case in Washington in 2004, and Minnesota is poised to follow in its footsteps in 2008.

It need not be this way. After 2004, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation produced a 42-page report offering a dozen solutions. While a few were implemented, most were simply ignored by officials content to cross their fingers and hope the next close election is in someone else's jurisdiction.

Some reforms are simply educational and cultural; others are fundamental and essential. Election officials need to understand current federal and state laws and regulations governing the entire election process, including recounts. Those responsible for elections must also inculcate a culture of compliance among election staff, including temporary staff hired at election time.

From the moment they are printed, ballots should be isolated and guarded and their chain of custody recorded. Officials with rule-making authority are responsible for establishing processes that clarify how ballots are to be handled, stored, counted, and, if necessary, recounted.


Most important to maintaining and increasing public faith in elections is improving openness, especially leveraging Internet technology to make anyone a potential election observer. The Minneapolis Star Tribune's project to put all 6,700 contested ballots in the Senate race on the Web, so people can compare their own judgments to those of the canvassing board, is but one example. Election officials who have nothing to hide should be putting as much as possible online as quickly as possible.

Citizens and the media might also take a closer look at some of the individuals and organizations involved in monkeying with and even overturning elections. Both Mr. Franken and Ms. Gregoire were endorsed by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- Acorn -- a group under investigation in several states for suspected voter registration chicanery.

The man overseeing the Senate recount, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, was also endorsed by Acorn, and his election campaign in 2006 was funded in part by something called "The Secretary of State Project." This latter group, founded by MoveOn.org's former grass-roots director, exists solely to install far-left candidates as secretaries of state in swing states.

Close elections will always stir controversy. They will often require recounts to validate the results. Yet the Washington and Minnesota recounts offer cautionary tales. The democratic process is too important to be disregarded until a virtual tie forces us to pay attention. Regardless of which candidates win our elections, the voters -- not the vote counters -- should win every time.

Mr. England is director of the Citizenship and Governance Center at the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #56 on: January 05, 2009, 03:17:33 AM »

Strange things keep happening in Minnesota, where the disputed recount in the Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken may be nearing a dubious outcome. Thanks to the machinations of Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and a meek state Canvassing Board, Mr. Franken may emerge as an illegitimate victor.

 
APMr. Franken started the recount 215 votes behind Senator Coleman, but he now claims a 225-vote lead and suddenly the man who was insisting on "counting every vote" wants to shut the process down. He's getting help from Mr. Ritchie and his four fellow Canvassing Board members, who have delivered inconsistent rulings and are ignoring glaring problems with the tallies.

Under Minnesota law, election officials are required to make a duplicate ballot if the original is damaged during Election Night counting. Officials are supposed to mark these as "duplicate" and segregate the original ballots. But it appears some officials may have failed to mark ballots as duplicates, which are now being counted in addition to the originals. This helps explain why more than 25 precincts now have more ballots than voters who signed in to vote. By some estimates this double counting has yielded Mr. Franken an additional 80 to 100 votes.

This disenfranchises Minnesotans whose vote counted only once. And one Canvassing Board member, State Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson, has acknowledged that "very likely there was a double counting." Yet the board insists that it lacks the authority to question local officials and it is merely adding the inflated numbers to the totals.

In other cases, the board has been flagrantly inconsistent. Last month, Mr. Franken's campaign charged that one Hennepin County (Minneapolis) precinct had "lost" 133 votes, since the hand recount showed fewer ballots than machine votes recorded on Election Night. Though there is no proof to this missing vote charge -- officials may have accidentally run the ballots through the machine twice on Election Night -- the Canvassing Board chose to go with the Election Night total, rather than the actual number of ballots in the recount. That decision gave Mr. Franken a gain of 46 votes.

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Meanwhile, a Ramsey County precinct ended up with 177 more ballots than there were recorded votes on Election Night. In that case, the board decided to go with the extra ballots, rather than the Election Night total, even though the county is now showing more ballots than voters in the precinct. This gave Mr. Franken a net gain of 37 votes, which means he's benefited both ways from the board's inconsistency.

And then there are the absentee ballots. The Franken campaign initially howled that some absentee votes had been erroneously rejected by local officials. Counties were supposed to review their absentees and create a list of those they believed were mistakenly rejected. Many Franken-leaning counties did so, submitting 1,350 ballots to include in the results. But many Coleman-leaning counties have yet to complete a re-examination. Despite this lack of uniformity, and though the state Supreme Court has yet to rule on a Coleman request to standardize this absentee review, Mr. Ritchie's office nonetheless plowed through the incomplete pile of 1,350 absentees this weekend, padding Mr. Franken's edge by a further 176 votes.

Both campaigns have also suggested that Mr. Ritchie's office made mistakes in tabulating votes that had been challenged by either of the campaigns. And the Canvassing Board appears to have applied inconsistent standards in how it decided some of these challenged votes -- in ways that, again on net, have favored Mr. Franken.

The question is how the board can certify a fair and accurate election result given these multiple recount problems. Yet that is precisely what the five members seem prepared to do when they meet today. Some members seem to have concluded that because one of the candidates will challenge the result in any event, why not get on with it and leave it to the courts? Mr. Coleman will certainly have grounds to contest the result in court, but he'll be at a disadvantage given that courts are understandably reluctant to overrule a certified outcome.

Meanwhile, Minnesota's other Senator, Amy Klobuchar, is already saying her fellow Democrats should seat Mr. Franken when the 111th Congress begins this week if the Canvassing Board certifies him as the winner. This contradicts Minnesota law, which says the state cannot award a certificate of election if one party contests the results. Ms. Klobuchar is trying to create the public perception of a fait accompli, all the better to make Mr. Coleman look like a sore loser and build pressure on him to drop his legal challenge despite the funny recount business.

Minnesotans like to think that their state isn't like New Jersey or Louisiana, and typically it isn't. But we can't recall a similar recount involving optical scanning machines that has changed so many votes, and in which nearly every crucial decision worked to the advantage of the same candidate. The Coleman campaign clearly misjudged the politics here, and the apparent willingness of a partisan like Mr. Ritchie to help his preferred candidate, Mr. Franken. If the Canvassing Board certifies Mr. Franken as the winner based on the current count, it will be anointing a tainted and undeserving Senator.

 
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« Reply #57 on: January 05, 2009, 09:54:39 AM »

This is exactly the outcome that was predicted.  Franken et al will keep demanding recounts after recounts until they can come up with a total that puts him ahead and then suddenly the process is over and the Democratic machine will declare him the winner.

Lets hear the MSM speaking of "voter disenfranchisement" now.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #58 on: January 05, 2009, 11:43:47 AM »

PD WSJ

How Burris and Franken Became a Matched Set

There was a reason that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told NBC News yesterday he is willing to "negotiate" a solution to the seating of Roland Burris, the Illinois Democrat appointed to take the vacant Senate seat held by Barack Obama until November.

"I'm an old trial lawyer," Mr. Reid said. "There's always room to negotiate." That's curious, given Mr. Reid's formerly adamant stance that Mr. Burris's appointment is fatally tainted because it was made by disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

One explanation for Mr. Reid's flexibility may be the political heat Senate Democrats would take for failing to seat an African-American in a body that currently has no blacks as members. But another is that Democrats might face charges of hypocrisy if on the same day they refuse to seat Mr. Burris, they move to seat Democrat Al Franken as the senator from Minnesota. A key argument Democrats are using to justify not seating Mr. Burris is that the Illinois Secretary of State is refusing to issue a certificate of appointment. But Mr. Franken, who currently leads Republican Norm Coleman by 225 votes, will lack a certificate of election from his state's Secretary of State when the Senate convenes tomorrow. While the state's canvassing board will likely declare Mr. Franken the winner today, Minnesota law holds that the Secretary of State can't certify Mr. Franken as the official winner until Mr. Coleman's expected legal challenge of the result is resolved.

But that hasn't stopped leading Democrats from moving to have Mr. Franken seated anyway. "With the Minnesota recount complete, it is now clear that Al Franken won the election. The Canvassing Board will meet tomorrow to wrap up its work and certify him the winner, and while there are still possible legal issues that will run their course, there is no longer any doubt who will be the next Senator from Minnesota," New York Senator Chuck Schumer said yesterday, echoing comments made last week by Minnesota's own Senator Amy Klobuchar.

If Democrats want to seat Mr. Franken despite the cloud hanging over the disputed recount that gave him a narrow lead only last week, they will have trouble explaining why they are denying Mr. Burris his seat, even though he had no role in Governor Blagojevich's alleged attempts to sell a Senate appointment. That's why Senator Reid now says the Senate could accept Mr. Burris if the appointment were made by a new Illinois governor or by Lt. Governor Pat Quinn, who is expected to become governor after Mr. Blagojevich is removed from office.

That says to me Mr. Quinn is being leaned on by Mr. Reid to signal that he would choose Mr. Burris if he becomes governor, thereby giving Democrats an out. But Mr. Quinn would simply be rubber-stamping the same choice that Senate Democrats thought unacceptable just last week. Senate Democrats should not be allowed to wiggle free of their previous position so easily, especially if they simultaneously try to seat Mr. Franken over the objections of Senate Republicans.
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« Reply #59 on: January 05, 2009, 12:11:15 PM »

"Franken [kept] demanding recounts after recounts until they can come up with a total that puts him ahead and then suddenly the process is over and the Democratic machine [declared] him the winner."

Like Florida, they always look harder for votes in the areas known to be liberal.  They found ballots in trunks of cars and they 'recounted duplicates' where no originals exist.  If they needed more they were ready to look in Sandy Berger's briefs.  All but one update I think had Franken gaining.  Amazingly with all ballots opened, found or read with a crystal ball, there were no additions to the other totals such as third party candidate who had an impressive 15% to begin with, and no corrections or updates on any other race.

Perhaps this race was lost when the voters removed a perfectly good, fair, competent and scandal-free Secretary of State, Mary Kiffmeyer, and put in the move-on-dot-org replacement in an expensive, energetic and needlessly vicious battle on an off-year.  The new Secretary of State made himself the tie-breaking vote on the balanced recount panel.  Go figure.

Now they have the total vote margin just higher than each of the shenanigans that led to the shift in the lead so that any one court ruling will not change the result.
---

My proposal is extreme, but effective.  Since elections are a form of counting heads, in the spirit of sharia law I propose that we behead those guilty of election fraud.  Then when we count again or vote again we won't mistakenly include them.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 06:07:37 PM by DougMacG » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #60 on: January 05, 2009, 12:55:00 PM »

It's too bad they won't have another election with the two front runners and without the third party candidate to decide a contested election like this.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #61 on: January 05, 2009, 06:41:11 PM »

Quoting CCP: "It's too bad they won't have another election with the two front runners and without the third party candidate to decide a contested election like this."

I don't favor automatic runoff proposals where the minor party voters can name a second choice for a second count, but in this situation you are right.  The recount panel should have declared with certainty that the errors in this process are greater than the ever-changing lead.

Still I don't agree with leaving out the 3rd guy on a re-vote.  I think his vote percentage and chance of winning only go up as Minnesotans grow tired of both of these New Yorkers.  As I see it, the Coleman vote is mostly an anti-Franken vote and the Franken vote is mostly an anti-Republican vote.  Barkley's message was to blame both parties for the tone of campaigns and the mess that we are in - a message that couldn't be better aimed or timed.  Dean Barkley served as senator in this seat for about a minute - 6 years ago, appointed by Jesse Ventura after Paul Wellstone died, Walter Mondale lost and Norm Coleman waited to be sworn in.
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« Reply #62 on: January 08, 2009, 12:37:22 PM »

Joe Soucheray, columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press on the bizarre, selective recount below.  I said order a re-vote because the errors exceed the margin.  He says flip a coin - a far more fair and even process than the current one.  Now the legal process goes to the MN Supreme Court, former NFL MVP and Democrat activist Alan Page presiding.  We don't just elect wrestlers here, lol.

Soucheray: Recount stew cooked down to a horribly tainted end
By Joe Soucheray  http://www.twincities.com/soucheray

The recount process didn't work or, more accurately, could not reasonably determine a winner. Al Franken no more won the U.S. Senate race than your pet cat, Zuba, who somebody probably voted for as a write-in candidate.

It would have been more plausible had Norm Coleman won the recount, having won on Election Night but by such a slim margin that it was mathematically unacceptable and thus triggered a recount.

In Minnesota, a victory margin of less than one-half of 1 percent triggers a recount. That's ridiculous, because the process that followed resulted in even less than a one-half of 1 percent margin for the victor.

The recount cannot determine a winner because the recount process we just witnessed quite likely produced corruption, however carefully it was massaged. It is difficult to believe, for example, that Franken benefited each time the canvassing board, under the eagle-eyed glare of Mark Ritchie, a secretary of state who it seems was tailor-made for this particular victory by another Democrat, applied different standards to different problems.

A precinct in Minneapolis "lost'' 133 ballots? Well, let's ignore that and just revert to the election night tallies from that precinct. A precinct in Maplewood had 171 more ballots to count than their total from the election? Hmm, we better count those. Not to mention quite probably double-counted votes and the generosity that was shown to many of the absentee voters whose errors in following instructions
were thought to be only "minor.''

The corruption we just witnessed is ideological in nature, a corruption of privilege and responsibility. Secretaries of state, like Ritchie, have become powerful players in elections. By encouraging more voting and making it sound virtuous and noble to do so, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, for example, brought into the fold more and more uninterested and disengaged bodies, cheapening the votes of the legitimate lot of us who vote correctly and responsibly. Joe Mansky, the chief election officer in Ramsey County, said the other day that when he asked the long line of absentee voters who were outside his offices the Monday before the election why they were there, he heard from many, "The Obama campaign sent us.''

Now, of course, the Obama campaign can obviously encourage the strongest possible voter turnout, but when voting activists drag a net through the state and dump every possible human being who can fog a mirror and don't need much identification at the polling places or have them fill out absentee ballots, you are simply providing all the ingredients necessary to cook a recount stew that resulted in, well, the way it was supposed to result this time.

The result is horribly tainted. It will probably hold, despite impending court proceedings, but it will be no less tainted. And yes, the same would be true had Coleman emerged with a 225-vote victory. The margin for error is too glaring to be ignored by the other side.

What we need is a margin of victory that is mathematically bulletproof, not one-half of 1 percent. I don't know what that margin is, but a mathematician could come up with it based on vote totals. Out of 2.9 million votes cast, there would have to be a margin of victory that could not be automatically challenged as questionable. One vote below that number would call for the coin flip — yes, a coin flip.

A coin flip would have been more honest and contained more dignity than this slop we just endured. It takes all mischief off the table. Ceremonial coins could have been minted with Norm's face on one side and Al's face on the other. The coin would be showed to the television cameras before the toss. The candidates wouldn't even have to call it. If their face survives the flip, they win.

Then, they shake hands, and the state sells off the 10,000 or so minted special coins and dedicates the proceeds to the arts or wetland restoration or, the way we are going, to providing more buses to bring numskulls to the polls. You just can't make a good recount stew without those questionable ballots.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #63 on: January 14, 2009, 04:44:26 PM »

I haven't encountered this blog before, but this well linked piece seems a good survey of ACORN:

The Inside Story of ACORN

ACORN (American Community Organizations for Reform Now) is among the most misunderstood and most powerful organizations in the country. It's structure is extremely sophisticated and often terribly secretive and it's likely this is done on purpose in order to hide or misdirect from many questionable and often illegal activities. While this last campaign brought to light a series of accusations of voter fraud, the reality is that the malfeasance that goes on at ACORN only scratches the surface when talking about voter fraud. The most significant case of malfeasance so far brought to light was the case of Dale Rathke who embezzled millions from ACORN. This case is important mainly because Rathke is the brother of Wade Rathke, one of the founders of ACORN. When someone so close to the top commits such a brazen act of criminality, questions should be raised. More troubling still is that the embezzlement occurred in 2001 but didn't come to light till months ago, just after the statute of limitations had expired.

ACORN is in fact not really one organization but rather a collection of many affiliates. These affiliates are all classified in a number of different ways. For instance, some are 501 (C)3's. A 501 (C)3 gets special treatment from the government and as such, it also must remain non partisan. Other affiliates are 501 (C)4's. This is a different classification of the tax code and such an organization can be partisan. The flagship, ACORN itself, is a 501 (C)4. It's get out the vote arm, Project Vote, is a 501 (C) 3.

Much of the malfeasance of ACORN comes from its nebulous relationship with a private company called Citizen's Consulting Inc. CCI is a sort of accounting and financial services firm. CCI also only has one client, or shall I say a series of clients...ACORN and all its affiliates. Whenever ACORN receives any money, be it from the federal governmnent or other resources, it first goes to CCI. Then, CCI filters that money to anyone of ACORN's affiliates. Of course, this creates all sorts of room for malfeasance. If the government were to give money to say Health Care for America Now to provide health care services in poor neighborhoods, that money will first wind up at CCI. Where that money ends up is anyone's guess. Why? That's because CCI is a private company and so getting a look at its books is no easy task. In fact, I doubt more than a handful of politicians even know the relationship between ACORN and CCI.

In fact, ACORN is such a sophisticated organization that often politicians will get on the floor of the legislature to rail against ACORN and then turn around and meet with one of their affiliates and authorize funding. That's because more times than not a politician has no idea that they are dealing with an ACORN affiliate.

The structure of ACORN is also rather sophisticated. ACORN has a board of directors but these folks have largely ceremonial titles. Most of the board are zealots of the cause. They rose through the ranks of ACORN often starting as foot soldiers fighting for causes near and dear to them. Since ACORN is often associated with causes for poor, most of the board are themselves poor. As such, they are often rather unsophisticated and thus will be overwhelmed by the sophisticated nature of the organization itself. In fact, the real power at ACORN lies in it executive committee. The executive committee is currently made up of Maude Hurd, Alton Bennett, Maxine Nelson, Carol Hemmingway, Alicia Russell, Pedra Reavis, and Marie Pierre.

There is no question that ACORN is ideological, however in reality ACORN is really driven by something much different than ideology. That drive is greed. ACORN's real goals aren't necessarily any sort of change but rather to create a plethora of constant campaigns. The work on such campaigns as living wage, universal health care, and providing housing for the poor. As such, whatever accomplishments like the Community Reinvestment Act had in influencing society, what they really did was provide ACORN with a nearly never ending platform.

The Community Reinvestment Act

United States federal law designed to encourage commercial banks and savings
associations to meet the needs of borrowers in all segments of their communities, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.[1][2][3] The Act was intended to reduce discriminatory credit practices against such neighborhoods, a practice known as redlining.[4] The Act requires the appropriate federal financial supervisory agencies to encourage regulated financial institutions to meet the credit needs of the local communities in which they are chartered, consistent with safe and sound
operation. (See full text of Act and current regulations.[1]) To enforce the statute, federal regulatory agencies examine banking institutions for CRA compliance, and take this information into consideration when approving applications for new bank branches or for mergers or acquisitions.[5]

allowed ACORN a never ending campaign in which ACORN would "enforce it". Enforce it they did and often with heavy handed tactics. They would picket banks, show up at homes of bank managers, and often demand boycotts of those banks they felt weren't complying with CRA. Because enforcing something like CRA is perpetual, CRA became a perpetual campaign. Worse yet, often ACORN would go directly to the federal government, through HUD, for funding. In other words, their heavy handed tactics were being subsidized by the tax payers. Of course, we'll never know how much money these campaigns got because all of it first started at CCI and then who knows where it wound up.

The mac daddy of ACORN, if you will, is Project VOTE. Project VOTE is their voter registration arm. It is also where their biggest malfeasance occurs. Because Project VOTE is a 501 (c) 3, it cannot support anyone candidate. What Project Vote is supposed to do is register voters anywhere anytime. Here's what really happens. ACORN, the 501 (C) 3, will back some candidates, often in local, county, and state elections, then they will disperse Project VOTE only in those areas where the candidates they support have a significant voter advantage. This sort of cherry picking is completely against the law. It also allows a 501 (c)3 to get around their supposed non partisan status. Do they register voters? Absolutely, except the overwhelming majority of the voters registered favor one candidate, the one that ACORN is backing. They get away with this because most politicians don't even know that Project VOTE is affiliated with ACORN let alone the scheme they run.

ACORN has hundreds of affiliates though no one, outside the insiders, knows exactly how many. It likely receives hundreds of millions of Dollars from the government. Though again, no one is sure because all of it is hidden by using the private CCI as an initial weigh station. It works with HUD, HHS, and the Department of Labor along with a host of philanthropies in order to continue its operations. All of it is done in the shadows through a very sophisticated network of affiliates and one private company, CCI, doling out the money. By doing this, it becomes nearly impossible to track its activities. What I have brought to light is only scratching the surface but should give everyone an idea of just how powerful and dangerous ACORN is.
Posted by mike volpe at 7:47 AM
Labels: acorn, Corruption, domestic policy, universal health care

http://theeprovocateur.blogspot.com/2009/01/inside-story-of-acorn.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #64 on: January 15, 2009, 11:25:40 AM »

 MICHAEL STOKES PAULSEN
You would think people would learn. The recount in the contest between Norm Coleman and Al Franken for a seat in the U.S. Senate isn't just embarrassing. It is unconstitutional.


This is Florida 2000 all over again, but with colder weather. Like that fiasco, Minnesota's muck of a process violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, the controlling Supreme Court decision is none other than Bush v. Gore.

Remember Florida? Local officials conducting recounts could not decide what counted as a legal vote. Hanging chads? Dimpled chads? Should "undervotes" count (where a machine failed to read an incompletely-punched card)? What about "overvotes" (where voters punched more than one hole)? Different counties used different standards; different precincts within counties were inconsistent.

The Florida Supreme Court intervened and made things worse, ordering a statewide recount of some types of rejected ballots but not others. It specified no standards for what should count as a valid vote, leaving the judgment to each county. And it ordered partial recounts already conducted in some counties (but not others) included in the final tabulation. The result was chaos.

The Opinion Journal Widget
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By a vote of 7-2, Bush v. Gore (2000) ruled that Florida's recount violated the principle that all votes must be treated uniformly. Applying precedents dating to the 1960s, the Court found that the Equal Protection Clause meant that ballots must be treated so as to give every vote equal weight. A state may not, by "arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person's vote over that of another." Florida's lack of standards produced "unequal evaluation of ballots in several respects." The state's supreme court "ratified this uneven treatment" and created more of its own, and was unconstitutional.

Bush v. Gore is rightly regarded as controversial -- but not because of its holding regarding the Equal Protection Clause, which commanded broad agreement among the justices. The controversy arose because of the remedy the Court chose for Florida's violation, which was to end the recount entirely. The majority thought that time was up under Florida law requiring that its results be submitted in time to be included in the Electoral College count. That aspect of Bush v. Gore commanded only five votes. Two justices thought Florida should get more time and another chance.

The problem with the remedy was that it arguably violated the same principle that led the Court to invalidate the recount: the need to treat all votes equally. It had the practical effect of awarding the election to Bush (though subsequent media counts confirmed that Bush won anyway, under any uniform standard). This has led to enduring partisan criticism of the case, some fair and some unfair.

But no matter: Bush v. Gore is the law of the land. On the question of how the Equal Protection Clause applies to state recounts, the ruling, which reflected a 7-2 majority, controls.

Minnesota is Bush v. Gore reloaded. The details differ, but not in terms of arbitrariness, lack of uniform standards, inconsistency in how local recounts were conducted and counted, and strange state court decisions.

Consider the inconsistencies: One county "found" 100 new votes for Mr. Franken, due to an asserted clerical error. Decision? Add them. Ramsey County (St. Paul) ended up with 177 more votes than were recorded election day. Decision? Count them. Hennepin County (Minneapolis, where I voted -- once, to my knowledge) came up with 133 fewer votes than were recorded by the machines. Decision? Go with the machines' tally. All told, the recount in 25 precincts ended up producing more votes than voters who signed in that day.

Then there's Minnesota's (first, so far) state Supreme Court decision, Coleman v. Ritchie, decided by a vote of 3-2 on Dec. 18. (Two justices recused themselves because they were members of the state canvassing board.) While not as bad as Florida's interventions, the Minnesota Supreme Court ordered local boards to count some previously excluded absentee ballots but not others. Astonishingly, the court left the decision as to which votes to count to the two competing campaigns and forbade local election officials to correct errors on their own.

If Messrs. Franken and Coleman agreed, an absentee ballot could be counted. Either campaign could veto a vote. Dean Barkley of the Independence Party, who ran third, was not included in this process.

Thus, citizens' right to vote -- the right to vote! -- was made subject to political parties' gaming strategies. Insiders agree that Mr. Franken's team played a far more savvy game than Mr. Coleman's. The margin of Mr. Franken's current lead is partly the product of a successful what's-mine-is-mine-what's-yours-is-vetoed strategy, and of the Coleman team's failure to counter it.

The process is not over yet, since the state court decision in effect kicked the can down the road. The candidates can revisit these issues by contesting the legal validity of the election under state law -- which Mr. Coleman's team did last week.

But as matters stand now, the Minnesota recount is a legal train wreck. The result, a narrow Franken lead, is plainly invalid. Just as in Bush v. Gore, the recount has involved "unequal evaluation of ballots in several respect" and failed to provide "minimal procedural safeguards" of equal treatment of all ballots. Legally, it does not matter which candidate benefited from all these differences in treatment. (Mr. Franken did.) The different treatment makes the results not only unreliable (and suspicious), but unconstitutional.

What is the remedy? Unlike Bush v. Gore, there is no looming national deadline. Minnesota can take its time and do things right.

This means two things: First, the process must conform to Minnesota election law. Second, it must conform to Bush v. Gore. Whatever standards Minnesota uses must be applied uniformly, consistently, and under clear standards not admitting of local variation. Discrepancies between machine counts and hand recounts, and between numbers of recorded votes and signed-in voters, however resolved, must be resolved the same way throughout the state.

The standards for evaluating rejected absentee ballots likewise must be uniform, with decisions made according to legal standards, not by partisan campaigns. If the Minnesota Supreme Court fails to assure these things, the matter could go right up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Today's Opinion Journal
 

REVIEW & OUTLOOK

Leadership and PanicsA Geithner Tax AmnestyStimulus for Tax Collectors

TODAY'S COLUMNISTS

Wonder Land: Bush and the Libby Pardon
– Daniel HenningerWelcome to the White House, Mr. Obama
– Karl Rove

COMMENTARY

Even Businessmen Deserve a Lawyer
– Arlen Specter and Edwin Meese IIIBush Destroyed a Dictator. Clinton Installed One.
– Ruth R. WisseAnd what if there is no reliable way to determine in a recount who won, consistent with Bush v. Gore's requirements?

The Constitution's answer is a do-over. The 17th Amendment provides: "When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct."

In a sense, a vacancy has already "happened." The U.S. Senate convened on Jan. 6 with only one senator from Minnesota. Still, the seat is perhaps not "vacant," just unfilled. But if the contest proceeding does not produce a clear winner that passes constitutional muster, a special election -- and a temporary appointment by Gov. Tim Pawlenty -- may be the only answer.

For now, the only thing certain is that the present "certified" result -- which is that Mr. Franken won by 225 votes out of more than 2.9 million cast -- is an obvious, embarrassing violation of the Constitution.

Mr. Paulsen is professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minn. He is formerly associate dean of the University of Minnesota Law School.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #65 on: January 30, 2009, 08:39:17 AM »

By HANS VON SPAKOVSKY
Remember the storm that arose on the political left after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Indiana's voter ID law last April? According to the left, voter ID was a dastardly Republican plot to prevent Democrats from winning elections by suppressing the votes of minorities, particularly African-Americans.

 
Since the election of Barack Obama, we haven't heard a word about such claims. On Jan. 14, the federal appeals court in Atlanta upheld Georgia's voter ID law.

The reasons for the silence about alleged voter suppression is plain. In the first place, numerous academic studies show that voter ID had no effect on the turnout of voters in prior elections. The plaintiffs in every unsuccessful lawsuit filed against such state requirements could not produce a single individual who didn't either already have an ID or couldn't easily get one.

Second are the figures emerging from the November election. If what liberals claimed was true, Democratic voters in states with strict photo ID requirements would presumably have had a much more difficult time voting, and their turnout dampened in comparison to other states. Well, that myth can finally be laid to rest.

The two states with the strictest voter ID requirements are Indiana and Georgia. Both require a government-issued photo ID. According to figures released by Prof. Michael McDonald of George Mason University, the overall national turnout of eligible voters was 61.6%, the highest turnout since the 1964 election.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (JCPES) found that black turnout in the 2008 election was at a historic high, having increased substantially from 2004. The total share of black voters in the national vote increased from 11% to 13% according to exit polls, with 95% of blacks voting for Mr. Obama.

So what happened in Georgia where the ACLU, the NAACP and other such groups claimed the state's photo ID law was intended to depress black turnout? According to figures released by Curtis Gans at American University, Georgia had the largest turnout in its history, with nearly four million voters. The Republican turnout was up only 0.22 percentage points; the Democratic turnout was up an astonishing 6.1 percentage points, rising from 22.66% of the eligible voting population to 28.74% of the eligible population.

The overall turnout in Georgia increased 6.7 percentage points from the 2004 election -- the second highest increase in turnout of any state in the country. According to the JCPES, the black share of the statewide vote increased in Georgia from 25% in the 2004 election, when the photo ID law was not in effect, to 30% in the 2008 election, when the photo ID law was in effect.

By contrast, the Democratic turnout in the neighboring state of Mississippi -- which has no voter ID requirement but also has a large black population similar to Georgia's -- increased by only 2.35 percentage points.

In Indiana, which the Supreme Court said had the strictest voter ID law in the country, the turnout of Democratic voters in the November election increased by 8.32 percentage points. That was the largest increase in Democratic turnout of any state in the country. The increase in overall turnout in Indiana was the fifth highest in the country, but only because the turnout of Republican voters actually went down 3.57 percentage points. The nearby state of Illinois (no photo ID requirement) had an increase in Democratic turnout of only 4.4 percentage points -- nearly half Indiana's increase.

Of course, the decline in Republican turnout and huge increase in Democratic turnout in Indiana matched what happened elsewhere, and explains why Mr. Obama won. Republican turnout nationwide declined 1.3 percentage points from the 2004 election, while Democratic turnout increased 2.6 percentage points.

The JCPES predicts that when the final turnout numbers are in for the 2008 election, black turnout will probably reach a historic high of almost 67% and likely surpass white turnout for the first time. All at a time when about half of the states have passed various forms of voter ID requirements, including two states with strict photo ID laws.

The claim that Republican legislatures in Georgia and Indiana passed voter ID to depress Democratic turnout is demonstrably false. But even if it were true, they obviously failed miserably to achieve that objective given the huge increases in Democratic and minority turnout in both states.

I guess liberals will now claim that their historic increases in turnout would have been even higher if not for voter ID laws. But that would be an absurd argument, given the states' performance in comparison to other states without voter ID laws.

With every election that has occurred since states have begun to implement voter ID, the evidence is overwhelming that it does not depress the turnout of voters. Indeed, it may actually increase the public's confidence that their votes will count.

That won't stop the ACLU or the League of Women Voters from filing more frivolous lawsuits against such state laws and continuing to waste taxpayer money. But ultimately they will lose, and our ability to protect the security and integrity of our elections will be preserved.

Mr. von Spakovsky, a visiting legal scholar at The Heritage Foundation, is a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission and a former Justice Department official.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2009, 09:20:43 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #66 on: January 30, 2009, 08:15:19 PM »

January 30, 2009
Ensuring "Equal Treatment" in the Minnesota Recount: Bush v. Gore Redux
by Hans A. von Spakovsky
Legal Memorandum #36
Having once granted the right to vote on equal terms, the State may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person's vote over that of another.

--U.S. Supreme Court, Bush v. Gore[1]

We actually have a chance in Minnesota to reverse some of the damage that Florida 2000 did to the trust that Americans overall have in our system. Recounts are normal. They are very important, they happen all the time. In Minnesota, we do them and we do them well.

--Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Secretary of State[2]

In contrast to Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's claim that Minnesota would do a good job conducting the recount in the election contest between incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken, the carelessness of local election officials, the arbitrary and capricious decisions of the Minnesota Canvassing Board, and the strange decisions of the Minnesota Supreme Court likely have caused the state to violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Unless the Minnesota Supreme Court corrects these mistakes in the ongoing election contest, there is little question that Senator Coleman would have a viable federal case under the precepts of the Bush v. Gore decision[3] and the similar mistakes made by Florida election officials in the 2000 presidential election.

The Legal Doctrine of Bush v. Gore

The question before the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore was whether the recount procedures adopted by Florida in the aftermath of the November 2000 general election were "consistent with its obligation to avoid arbitrary and disparate treatment of the members of its electorate."[4] The Florida Supreme Court had ordered that the "intent" of Florida voters be discerned by local election officials from punch-card ballots that, either through error or through deliberate omission, had not been perforated sufficiently for a counting machine to register a vote.

Trying to discern voters' intent was not objectionable, but the "absence of specific standards to ensure its equal application" was a problem.[5] In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court noted that it was acknowledged at oral argument that "the standards for accepting or rejecting contested ballots might vary not only from county to county but indeed within a single county from one recount team to another."[6]

Some of the examples of this disparate treatment included three members of the Miami-Dade County canvassing board each applying different standards defining a legal vote, Palm Beach County changing its standards in the middle of the counting process, and Broward County using "a more forgiving standard than Palm Beach County."[7] The Florida Supreme Court then magnified these errors by ratifying this uneven treatment and mandating that the recount totals from these counties be included in the certified statewide total, as well as approving partial recounts from some counties.

Seven Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that this unequal treatment was unconstitutional; the only disagreement among them was on the remedy.[8] In their concurring opinion, Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas also pointed out the Florida Supreme Court's interference with the detailed legislative structure governing the election process established by the Florida legislature.

Normally, the distribution of power among the different branches of a state's government raises no federal issue, except for the requirement that "the government be republican in character."[9] Thus, federal courts normally defer "to the decisions of state courts on issues of state law."[10] However, since the Constitution conveys broad power to state legislatures to define the method of appointment of presidential electors, "[a] significant departure from the legislative scheme...presents a federal constitutional question."[11] It is state legislatures that have the exclusive right to define the method of appointment of presidential electors.

The orders of the Florida Supreme Court departed from the state's legislative structure by taking such actions as extending the seven-day statutory certification deadline established by the legislature and defining a "legal vote" in a way that plainly departed from the legislative scheme. This could not be deemed "appropriate" constitutionally and was an additional reason to reverse the state court.[12]

The Minnesota Recount

Minnesota uses opti-scan paper ballots. Voters, in a procedure similar to the one used in completing answer sheets for standardized tests like the SAT, complete a paper ballot by filling in an oval next to the name of the candidate for whom they want to vote. The ballot is then fed through a computer scanner before the voter leaves the polling place so that the votes can be tallied by the computer.

On election day, Coleman won reelection by a margin of 725 votes out of 2.9 million cast.[13] After the initial canvass, which is the process by which counties resubmit to the Secretary of State the vote totals of local precincts from election day, Coleman's lead shrank to 221 votes because almost all of the "corrections" sent in by local election officials benefited Franken.[14] A hand recount of the paper ballots was then initiated, and after a series of dubious decisions by local election officials and the Minnesota Canvassing Board overseeing the recount, Franken was certified as the winner by 225 votes.[15] Senator Coleman then filed suit contesting the certification.[16]

As in most states, Minnesota allows election officials to make an exact duplicate of a ballot if it "is damaged or defective so that it cannot be counted properly by the automatic tabulating equipment."[17] Opti-scan paper ballots that have been properly filled out by a voter but folded, for example, sometimes cannot be read by the computer scanner because of the fold. A copy of the damaged ballot is made in the presence of two judges from different political parties by filling in the same circles for the same candidates as on the original card. Duplicate ballots must be clearly labeled as "‘duplicates,' indicate the precinct in which the corresponding damaged or defective ballot was cast, bear a serial number which must be recorded on the damaged or defective ballot card, and be counted in lieu of the damaged or defective ballot card."[18] The defective original ballots must be segregated from the other counted ballots and "placed in envelopes marked or printed to distinguish" the number and type of ballots in the envelope.[19]

In this case, however, local election officials in 26 counties apparently did not follow this Minnesota requirement and did not properly mark or segregate the duplicate ballots to distinguish them from the originals. As a result, duplicate ballots were hand-counted along with the original ballots, resulting in more votes being recorded than there were voters who showed up on election day.[20] Thus, some voters in at least 26 counties had their votes counted twice, while voters in Minnesota's other 61 counties had their votes counted only once--a clear and obvious example of unequal and disparate treatment.

One of the members of the Minnesota Canvassing Board admitted that there was "a very good likelihood that there is double counting here," yet the Board allowed these vote totals that violated Minnesota law to be included in the recount, benefiting Franken by an additional 80 to 100 votes.[21] One of the members of the board, Judge Kathleen Gearin, dismissed the concern over double counting, saying it was not a problem "because there was very little of it."[22]

When conducting its recount, Ramsey County found 177 more ballots than were recorded by the precinct computer scanners on election day.[23] Election officials ignored the electronic total and included the extra 177 ballots in the vote total of their hand recount, netting Franken an additional 37 votes.[24]

Yet when Hennepin County conducted its recount, there were 133 fewer ballots in Minneapolis than were recorded by precinct computer scanners on election day.[25] In direct conflict with what occurred in Ramsey County, Hennepin election officials ignored the missing ballots and used the electronic vote total from election day for their recount total, providing Franken with an additional 46 votes.[26] This despite the fact that Minneapolis's election director, Cindy Reichert, said that these ballots "likely were a result of ballots with write-in candidates being run through a counting machine twice."[27]

In other words, the "missing" ballots may never have existed in the first place. All of these actions were approved by the Canvassing Board.

Minnesota law requires that a "ballot shall not be rejected for a technical error that does not make it impossible to determine the voter's intent."[28] The specific rules governing how to determine a voter's intent were defined by the legislature. One of those rules is that if "the names of two candidates have been marked, and an attempt has been made to erase or obliterate one of the marks, a vote shall be counted for the remaining marked candidate."[29]

Yet when it was determining voter intent on ballots with such technical errors, the Minnesota Canvassing Board applied those rules inconsistently. For example:

It has been reported that on some ballots where voters had completely filled in the oval for Coleman and then put an "x" through the oval, the board determined that there was no vote for Coleman.
However, on other ballots where the exact same type of markings were made for Franken, the board determined that they were valid votes for Franken.[30]
On a ballot where the voter had placed an "x" next to the Constitution Party candidate but had filled in the oval for Coleman, the board determined that there was no vote for anyone.
On another ballot where the oval next to Coleman was filled in but an "x" had been place next to Franken, the board determined this was a vote for Franken.[31]
There was no consistency in the board's determinations of intent other than the fact that their inconsistent decisions overall seemed to benefit Al Franken.

Another problem in the recount was the 12,000 absentee ballots that were not counted on election day after they were rejected by local election officials for not complying with Minnesota law.[32] Many of the ballots that were rejected were reexamined, and 933 were included in the recount. [33]

Under Minnesota law, the only ballots that should have been included in the recount were those that were actually cast in the election. As Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Kenneth E. Raschke, Jr., told Secretary of State Richie on November 17, 2008, rejected absentee ballots are not considered as "cast" in an election.[34] Section 204C.35, subd. 3 of the Minnesota Code specifies that "
  • nly the ballots cast in the election and the summary statements certified by the election judges may be considered in the recount process."

In fact, Ritchie's own administrative rules (which he ignored) as outlined in the Hand Count instructions of his 2008 Recount Guide explained that:

[A]n administrative recount...is not to determine who was eligible to vote. It is not to determine if campaign laws were violated. It is not to determine if absentee ballots were properly accepted. It is not-- except for recounting the ballots--to determine if [election] judges did things right. It is simply to physically recount the ballots for this race![35]

As Assistant Attorney General Raschke said, the proper forum to remedy the claimed wrongful rejection of any absentee ballots was "a judicial election contest." However, a second letter submitted to the Canvassing Board in December, this time from the Minnesota Solicitor General, took the opposite view. He provided an opinion that "a reviewing court would likely uphold a determination by the State Canvassing Board to accept amended reports...that include absentee ballots of voters...whose votes were improperly rejected by election officials due to administrative errors" even though such actions are "not necessarily contemplated under a strict reading of the statutes.[36]

Despite Minnesota law, the instructions issued by the Secretary of State for recounts, and the conflicting opinions from the office of the state Attorney General, the Minnesota Canvassing Board recommended that counties sort and count absentee ballots that were "mistakenly" rejected on election day.[37] When Senator Coleman filed a petition with the Minnesota Supreme Court to stop this procedure, the court inexplicably ruled that such absentee ballots could be counted if "local election officials and the parties agree that an absentee ballot envelope was improperly rejected."[38]

Minnesota law does provide that obvious errors of election judges and county canvassing boards "in the counting or recording" of votes can be corrected if the candidates for that office unanimously agree in writing that an error occurred.[39] However, the Minnesota Supreme Court specifically held that the "improper rejection of an absentee ballot envelope is not within the scope of errors subject to correction" under this law.[40]

Despite that determination, the court allowed competing candidates and local election officials to waive the applicable law established by the Minnesota legislature on absentee ballots and make decisions on which votes should count. As a professor of election law at Hamline University in St. Paul said, this basically gave the "campaigns a veto over the counting."[41] In his dissent, Justice Page pointed out that this holding would "arbitrarily disqualify enfranchised votes on the whim of the candidates and political parties without the benefit of the legislatively authorized procedures" of Minnesota law.[42]

Secretary of State Ritchie also stopped this review of disputed absentee ballots "before many Coleman-leaning counties had provided theirs."[43] The dissent noted that there were "at least 600 absentee ballots" that were improperly rejected and might never be counted[44] and the Coleman campaign claimed there were 654 improperly rejected ballots that should have been examined by the Canvassing Board.[45]

Applying Bush v. Gore to the Recount

Regrettably, we have an entire series of actions in the Minnesota recount that fit squarely within the unequal treatment problems that ensnared Florida officials in 2000 and led directly to the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore. These problems range from allowing double votes in some counties to allowing votes that violated state law.

The disparate treatment of votes was clearly present in the Minnesota recount. Because of the failure of local election officials to properly mark and segregate the original, defective ballots that could not be counted by precinct computer scanners and the duplicate ballots created as substitutes, both the original and duplicate ballots were hand-counted in a number of counties. Thus, the value placed on the ballots of some persons was greater than the value placed on ballots of other Minnesota voters, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.[46]

The fact that the total vote count from one county was based on the election-day electronic total and apparently included nonexistent ballots, while the vote totals from other counties were based on the hand count, is another example of the application of a disparate standard. The arbitrary and inconsistent application of the "intent" standard by the Canvassing Board is also too similar to the problems the U.S. Supreme Court noted in Florida in 2000, when different counties applied different and varying rules to what would be considered a vote with punch-card ballots, to survive scrutiny by the federal courts.

Under the Constitution, "[t]he times, Places and Manner of holding election for Senators...shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations."[47] This clause "is a default provision; it invests the States with responsibility for the mechanics of congressional elections" unless Congress preempts states' legislative choices.[48]

As in Florida, the Minnesota legislature set out a detailed legislative structure for recounts and the requirements for absentee ballots, and Congress has not preempted the state's "legislative choices." Before the election, the Secretary of State issued rules pursuant to authority delegated by the legislature[49] on how recounts would be conducted if one became necessary. Yet the Canvassing Board, of which the Secretary of State is a member, with the seeming approval of the Minnesota Supreme Court, did not adhere to the legislative structure or the Secretary's own recount rules promulgated prior to the election in its consideration of absentee ballots.

In fact, the court decided to waive the application of the rule that specifies that recounts shall consist only of the ballots actually cast on election day. It also gave competing political candidates the ability to make decisions about whether specific absentee ballots should be counted regardless of applicable law, giving the candidates virtual veto power over the legislative requirements. This would likely be considered an "inappropriate" departure from the legislative structure and therefore unconstitutional under the concurring opinions in the Bush v. Gore decision, since states regulate congressional elections pursuant to a constitutional "delegation of power under the Elections Clause."[50] There is also an indication that certain counties, just as in Florida, had "a more forgiving standard" when reviewing previously rejected absentee ballots.

Unless either the three-judge panel that is currently hearing the election dispute or the Minnesota Supreme Court can correct all of these problems, there is little question that Senator Coleman would be able to argue successfully in federal court that the recount process violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. As the Supreme Court said in Bush v. Gore, "it is obvious that the recount cannot be conducted in compliance with the requirements of equal protection and due process without substantial additional work."[51]

However, one problem that may not be capable of correction no matter how much additional work is done by the state is the intermingling by some counties of duplicate and original ballots. If duplicate votes cannot be identified and removed from the vote totals, then it will not be possible for Minnesota to conduct a recount that values every person's vote equally.

Under such circumstances, the state would be forced to stand by the original electronic count from election day along with (1) any corrections in the absentee ballot count (which may properly be considered under Minnesota law at the "contest" phase) and (2) new and consistent determinations of voter intent on defective ballots--both as determined by the court in full compliance with Minnesota law. Otherwise, the only constitutionally acceptable remedy will be to conduct a new, special election for the vacancy in the position of the United States Senator from Minnesota.

Hans A. von Spakovsky is a Visiting Legal Scholar in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He is a former Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission and a former Justice Department official.
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« Reply #67 on: January 30, 2009, 08:15:55 PM »

[1]Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 104-105 (2000).

[2]No Model for U.S.: Minnesota's Senate Recount Deeply Suspect, San Diego Union-Trib., Jan. 6, 2009 [hereinafter No Model for U.S.].

[3]There has been considerable academic debate about the soundness of this decision. See, e.g., Election 2001 Symposium, 68 U. Chi. L. Rev. (2001), with articles by Richard A. Epstein, Samuel Issacharoff, Cass R. Sunstein, and John C. Yoo, among others. Whatever the debate, however, the decision stands and seems particularly to apply in this recount.

[4]531 U.S. at 105.

[5]Id. at 106.

[6]Id.

[7]Id. at 106-107.

[8]Id. at 111.

[9]Id. at 112.

[10]Id.

[11]Id.at 113.

[12]Id.at 122.

[13]Tensions High in Minnesota Ahead of Senate Recount, FOXNews.com, Nov. 11, 2008.

[14]John Lott has questioned the dubious statistical probability of this one-sided improvement in Franken's vote totals, pointing out that virtually all of his new votes came from just three out of 4,130 precincts, almost half of them in a heavily Democratic precinct in Two Harbors, Minnesota. None of the other races had any changes in their vote totals in that precinct. See John R. Lott, Jr., Minnesota Ripe for Election Fraud, FOXNews.com, Nov. 10, 2008.

[15]Pat Doyle & Kevin Duchschere, Coleman Goes to Court Over Senate Recount, StarTribune.com, Jan. 7, 2009; State Canvassing Board, Certificate of Recount of the Votes Case for United States Senator, available at http://www.sos.state.mn.us/docs/us_senatorrecountcanvas
singdraft1__2_.pdf (last visited Jan. 30, 2009).

[16]Notice of Contest, Coleman v. Franken, No. 62-CV-09-56 (Ramsey Cty. Dist. Ct. Jan. 6, 2009).

[17]Minn. Stat. § 206.86.

[18]Id.

[19]Minn. Stat. § 204C.25.

[20]No Model for U.S., supra note 2.

[21]Editorial, Funny Business in Minnesota, Wall St. J., Jan. 5, 2009 [hereinafter Funny Business].

[22]Minutes of State Canvassing Board, Dec. 16-19, 2008, p. 12.

[23]Curt Brown, Minnesota's Vote: Cast Into Doubt, StarTribune.com, Dec. 14, 2008.

[24]Funny Business, supra note 21.

[25]Kevin Duchschere & Mark Brunswick, Senate Recount: 133+5÷87=1 Big Muddle, StarTribune.com, Dec. 12, 2008.

[26]Funny Business, supra note 21.

[27]Rachel E. Stassen-Berger & Jason Hoppin, Minnesota U.S. Senate Race: Glut of Ballot Challenges Chokes Recount, Pioneer Press, Dec. 4, 2008. When Ms. Reichert appeared before the Canvassing Board, she changed her story and denied that ballots had been counted twice even though a search had failed to find any missing ballots. Minutes of State Canvassing Board Meeting of Dec. 12, 2008, pp. 3-6. In a bizarre development, the Board later claimed that Ms. Reichert "was not providing testimony when she appeared before the board" since the Canvassing Board cannot hear testimony or hold evidentiary hearings. Id. at 5.

[28]Minn. Stat. § 204C.22.

[29]Minn. Stat. § 204C.22(11).

[30]For the ballots and the decisions of the Minnesota Canvassing Board, see Minnesota Senate Recount: Latest Coleman-Franken Results, StarTribune.com, http://senaterecount.startribune.com/ballots/index.php?
review_date=2008-12-18&index=9 (last visited Jan. 30, 2009). See also John R. Lott, Jr., & Ryan S. Lott, Ballot Madness: Tipping the Scales in Minnesota's Senate Recount, FOXNews.com, Dec. 22, 2008.

[31]Minnesota Senate Recount: Latest Coleman-Franken Results, supra note 30.

[32]There are four grounds given for rejecting an absentee ballot, including the lack of a signature. See Minn. Stat. § 203B.12(2).

[33]Mark Brunswick & Pat Doyle, Senate Recount Trial Underway, StarTribune.com, Jan. 26, 2009.

[34]Letter from Kenneth E. Raschke, Jr., Asst. Attorney General, to Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State, on Canvass of Rejected Absentee Ballots (Nov. 17, 2008).

[35]Id. (emphasis in original).

[36]Letter from Alan I. Gilbert, Solicitor General, to the State Canvassing Board (Dec. 10, 2008).

[37]Duchschere & Brunswick, Senate Recount: 133+5÷87=1 Big Muddle, supra note 25.

[38]Coleman v. Ritchie, No. A08-2169, slip op. at 2 (Minn. Dec. 18, 2008).

[39]Minn. Stat. § 204C.38 (emphasis added).

[40]Coleman, slip op. at 2. "Counting" or "recording" errors are arithmetic errors in the vote totals.

[41]Editorial, Recount Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better, Rochester Post-Bull., Jan. 7, 2009.

[42]Coleman, slip op. at D-2.

[43]No Model for U.S., supra note 2.

[44]Coleman, slip op. at D-5.

[45]Coleman v. Ritchie, No. A08-2169, slip op. at 5 (Minn. Jan. 5, 2009). In the litigation filed contesting the election and the decisions of the Canvassing Board, Coleman claims there are 5,000 wrongly rejected absentee ballots. Alex Robinson & Karlee Weinmann, Subpoenas to Stall Senate Trial, Minn. Daily, Jan. 27, 2009.

[46]531 U.S. at 104-105 (citing Harper v. Virginia Bd. of Elections, 383 U.S. 663, 665 (1966) and Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 555 (1964)).

[47]U.S. Const., Art. I, § 4.

[48]Foster v. Love, 522 U.S. 67, 69 (1997).

[49]Minn. Stat. § 204C.361.

[50]Cook v. Gralike, 531 U.S. 510, 523 (2001).

[51]531 U.S. at 110.

http://www.heritage.org/Research/LegalIssues/lm36.cfm

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« Reply #68 on: February 08, 2009, 09:36:09 PM »

Any one know how much ACORN is being stimulated by His Glibness's syphillis , , , I mean stimulus bill?
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« Reply #69 on: February 10, 2009, 12:33:04 AM »

By JOHN FUND

President Obama said in his inaugural address that he planned to "restore science to its rightful place" in government. That's a worthy goal. But statisticians at the Commerce Department didn't think it would mean having the director of next year's Census report directly to the White House rather than to the Commerce secretary, as is customary. "There's only one reason to have that high level of White House involvement," a career professional at the Census Bureau tells me. "And it's called politics, not science."

The decision was made last week after California Rep. Barbara Lee, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Hispanic groups complained to the White House that Judd Gregg, the Republican senator from New Hampshire slated to head Commerce, couldn't be trusted to conduct a complete Census. The National Association of Latino Officials said it had "serious questions about his willingness to ensure that the 2010 Census produces the most accurate possible count."

Anything that threatens the integrity of the Census has profound implications. Not only is it the basis for congressional redistricting, it provides the raw data by which government spending is allocated on everything from roads to schools. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also uses the Census to prepare the economic data that so much of business relies upon. "If the original numbers aren't as hard as possible, the uses they're put to get fuzzier and fuzzier," says Bruce Chapman, who was director of the Census in the 1980s.

Mr. Chapman worries about a revival of the effort led by minority groups after the 2000 Census to adjust the totals for states and cities using statistical sampling and computer models. In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Department of Commerce v. U.S. House that sampling could not be used to reapportion congressional seats. But it left open the possibility that sampling could be used to redraw political boundaries within the states.

Such a move would prove controversial. "Sampling potentially has the kind of margin of error an opinion poll has and the same subjectivity a voter-intent standard in a recount has," says Mr. Chapman.

Starting in 2000, the Census Bureau conducted three years of studies with the help of many outside statistical experts. According to then Census director Louis Kincannon, the Bureau concluded that "adjustment based on sampling didn't produce improved figures" and could damage Census credibility.

The reason? In theory, statisticians can identify general numbers of people missed in a head count. But it cannot then place those abstract "missing people" into specific neighborhoods, let alone blocks. And anyone could go door to door and find out such people don't exist. There can be other anomalies. "The adjusted numbers told us the head count had overcounted the number of Indians on reservations," Mr. Kincannon told me. "That made no sense."

The problem of counting minorities and the homeless has long been known. Census Bureau statisticians believe that a vigorous hard count, supplemented by adding in the names of actual people missed by head counters but still found in public records, is likely to lead to a far more defensible count than sampling-based adjustment.

The larger debate prompted seven former Census directors -- serving every president from Nixon to George W. Bush -- to sign a letter last year supporting a bill to turn the Census Bureau into an independent agency after the 2010 Census. "It is vitally important that the American public have confidence that the census results have been produced by an independent, non-partisan, apolitical, and scientific Census Bureau," it read.

The directors also noted that "each of us experienced times when we could have made much more timely and thorough responses to Congressional requests and oversight if we had dealt directly with Congress." The bill's chief sponsor is New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who represents Manhattan's Upper East Side.

"The real issue is who directs the Census, the pros or the pols," says Mr. Chapman. "You would think an administration that's thumping its chest about respecting science would show a little respect for scientists in the statistical field." He worries that a Census director reporting to a hyperpartisan such as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel increases the chances of a presidential order that would override the consensus of statisticians.

The Obama administration is downplaying how closely the White House will oversee the Census Bureau. But Press Secretary Robert Gibbs insists there is "historical precedent" for the Census director to be "working closely with the White House."

It would be nice to know what Sen. Gregg thinks about all this, but he's refusing comment. And that, says Mr. Chapman, the former Census director, is damaging his credibility. "He will look neutered with oversight of the most important function of his department over the next two years shipped over to the West Wing," he says. "If I were him, I wouldn't take the job unless I had that changed."
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« Reply #70 on: February 12, 2009, 09:42:01 PM »

OBAMA WATCH CENTRAL
White House grabs 2010 census power
GOP warns Democrats attempting unconstitutional vote manipulation
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted: February 07, 2009
11:15 pm Eastern

By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
In a move with major political implications for voting, districting and representation in future elections, the Obama administration has demanded oversight of the 2010 U.S. census.

The move has Republicans crying foul, alleging that transferring the power of census-taking from the Commerce Department, which normally oversees the U.S. Census Bureau, to the White House is an attempt to manipulate redistricting of congressional seats.

"This action appears to be motivated by politics, rather than the interests of our country," House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement. "The United States Census should remain independent of politics; it should not be directed by political operatives working out of the White House."

The Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers reports a senior Republican aide telling her that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has no business overseeing the headcount that will shape the future of U.S. elections.

"With all of its political implications," the aide reportedly said, "hijacking the census from the Commerce Department and letting it be run out of Rahm's office is like putting PETA in charge of issuing hunting permits."

Discover how we can break the hammerlock of statism and reestablish our freedom in Joseph Farah's "Taking America Back" from WND Books!

Congressional Quarterly reports that Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the top Republican on the House Government Reform Committee, said the proposed move may even be in violation of federal law.

"Any attempt by the Obama administration to circumvent the census process for their political benefit will be met with fierce opposition," said Issa. "This ill-conceived proposal undermines a constitutionally obligated process that speaks to the very heart of our democracy."

Bruce Chapman, director of the U.S. Census Bureau under President Reagan, explains the Republican objection and why the census is so important in his Discovery blog:

"Everyone knows that it is possible to organize a decennial census in a way that benefits one party or another politically," Chapman writes. "One way to effectuate this otherwise unpalatable departure from the Census Bureau's 200-year history of non-partisanship is to put the Bureau administratively under direction of the politicos in the White House. In reality, that would be a sure invitation to cook the books on the highly consequential count of Americans."

Chapman also claims, "The only reason the White House would want to be involved is in figuring out how to add more voting power to certain states and groups within states."

The decennial census, taken every 10 years, generates maps and numbers then used to draw congressional districts. Ideally the census director conducts the count in a non-partisan manner under the authority granted by U.S. code to the secretary of Commerce.

Congressional Quarterly, however, announced earlier this week that a senior White House official reported the director of the Census Bureau will now report directly to the White House and not the secretary of Commerce.

CQ later updated its report, stating that the White House "took a small step back from what the senior official told CQ" by announcing that the director of the Census Bureau would "work with the high-level officials rather than report directly to them."

Secretary of Commerce nominee, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H.

Several news outlets speculated that the White House power play was prompted by objections from minority group leaders over Obama's nomination of Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., to be secretary of Commerce, the office responsible for the census. Many of the groups are concerned about how particularly Hispanics will be counted in the next census, since the numbers affect both redistricting and federal funding based on demographic changes over the past decade.

Several minority leaders have expressed dismay over Obama's nomination of a Republican with a questionable track record on the census.

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said in a statement, "Sen. Gregg's record of previously voting to abolish the Commerce Department and his attempts to block President Bill Clinton's efforts to secure adequate funding for the 2000 census raise troubling concerns."

A National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials spokesman told Politico, "Secretary of Commerce-designate Judd Gregg's record raises serious questions about his willingness to ensure that the 2010 census produces the most accurate possible count of the nation's population."

An editorial in the Hispanic newspaper La Opinion went further, emphasizing a fear that Gregg may not place a high enough priority on getting an accurate count.

"We cannot afford this risk," the paper opined.

At a White House briefing, however, spokesman Robert Gibbs denied that the change was linked to worries over Gregg's nomination.

MSNBC reports a White House spokesman further arguing that Obama's action actually has historical precedent.

"From the first days of the transition the census has been a priority for the president, and a process he wanted to reevaluate," the spokesman reportedly said. "There is historic precedent for the director of the census, who works for the Commerce Secretary and the president, to work closely with White House senior management – given the number of decisions that will have to be put before the president. We plan to return to that model in this administration."

Former Census Bureau Chief Chapman, however, disagrees.

"Simply put, there is no excuse for this idea," Chapman writes. "It is not true that the Census Bureau has ever been under the direct management of the White House, and for good reason. Even if angels were in charge of the executive mansion, if the nation's premier statistical agency were placed under White House direction, the danger to public trust would be enormous. The Decennial count is one of the few federal functions specifically described in the Constitution itself and must be operated above suspicion of politics."

Chapman added, "Power flows from an accurate census count. Everyone involved for years has seen the count therefore as a sacred trust. It must not be polluted with even a semblance of presidential meddling."

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RAT
« Reply #71 on: February 19, 2009, 11:32:42 AM »

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/02/19/smelling-a-rat/

Smelling a RAT
posted at 10:11 am on February 19, 2009 by Ed Morrissey   


Byron York smells a RAT.  Charles Grassley smelled a RAT right before the Senate vote on Porkulus, but couldn’t get his statement to the floor on time.  You’ll smell a rat, too, when you’re done reading this post, and it won’t just be the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, either:

You’ve heard a lot about the astonishing spending in the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, signed into law this week by President Barack Obama. But you probably haven’t heard about a provision in the bill that threatens to politicize the way allegations of fraud and corruption are investigated — or not investigated — throughout the federal government.

The provision, which attracted virtually no attention in the debate over the 1,073-page stimulus bill, creates something called the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board — the RAT Board, as it’s known by the few insiders who are aware of it. The board would oversee the in-house watchdogs, known as inspectors general, whose job is to independently investigate allegations of wrongdoing at various federal agencies, without fear of interference by political appointees or the White House.

In the name of accountability and transparency, Congress has given the RAT Board the authority to ask “that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation.” If the inspector general doesn’t want to follow the wishes of the RAT Board, he’ll have to write a report explaining his decision to the board, as well as to the head of his agency (from whom he is supposedly independent) and to Congress. In the end, a determined inspector general can probably get his way, but only after jumping through bureaucratic hoops that will inevitably make him hesitate to go forward.

First, let’s ask ourselves how this stimulates the economy.  Why include this in an emergency stimulus bill when it has nothing to do with stimulus or economics?  This rule change should have come in separate debate in Congress — like so many other portions of Porkulus.

It does, however, have everything to do with Hope and Change.  What the RAT Board can do, as York points out, is direct or quash investigations by Inspectors General throughout the federal bureaucracy.  Until now, IGs have had independence of action in order to avoid charges of politicization (remember that word?) and to conduct probes without interference from the Department of Justice, the White House, or Congress.  Now they will answer to Congress not on general performance, but on the specifics of their probes.

How did it get into Porkulus?  Grassley says it wasn’t in the original bill passed in the Senate, and it suddenly appeared in the conference version.  No one has claimed ownership of the RAT Board yet, but clearly the Democratic majority wants full control over oversight in the bureaucracy — which more or less means an end to effective oversight over the majority, which is the entire point of the IG position.  After all, if we could rely on politicians and bureaucrats to police themselves, we wouldn’t need Constitutional checks and balances at all.

The name of the RAT Board is Orwellian, as is its appearance in the administration that claimed it would have the most transparency in American history.  Putting IGs under Nancy Pelosi’s thumb eliminates transparency and accountability, and calling it an Accountability and Transparency Board is a grim joke.  It’s simply a mechanism to shut down potentially embarrassing (or worse) IG investigations while commanding others against political foes.

Put simply, it brings the worst aspects of the Chicago Machine to Washington DC — a result which we repeatedly warned would happen with Obama’s election.
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« Reply #72 on: February 25, 2009, 03:14:45 PM »

The House of Representatives seems set to grow by two Members, to 437, after next year's election. Yesterday the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act passed a key procedural vote in the Senate, making passage of the legislation, which President Obama supports, all but certain. The only thing standing in the way may be the Constitution.

The District of Columbia is reliably and overwhelmingly Democratic, and most of the bill's sponsors are Democrats. But one Republican is conspicuous among its sponsors: Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. That is because the legislation also creates a new House seat for Mr. Hatch's state, which in 2000 lost out to North Carolina for the 435th seat because the Census Bureau declined to count Mormon missionaries temporarily overseas as Utah residents.


Utah is one of the most Republican states in the country, but this is still a bad trade for the GOP. Whereas the new District of Columbia seat is permanent, and Democratic dominance in D.C. is as permanent as such things can be, the other new seat will be Utah's for only two years. Thereafter, like all other Congressional seats, it will be reassigned every 10 years as part of reapportionment. It could just as easily go to a Democratic state as to a Republican one.

More important, the legislation runs afoul of the plain language of the Constitution, which provides that House members shall be chosen "by the People of the several States" and stipulates that the District of Columbia is not a state.

In 1960, Congress proposed a Constitutional amendment giving residents of the capital the right to vote for President. The 23rd Amendment was ratified the following year. The District already sends a nonvoting delegate to the House, but if Congress wishes to grant it full representation, it should do so by amending, not ignoring, the Constitution.
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« Reply #73 on: February 26, 2009, 06:25:28 PM »

Associated Press Writer Jim Abrams, Associated Press Writer – 25 mins ago
Featured Topics: Barack Obama Presidential Transition WASHINGTON(AP — The right to a vote in Congress denied the District of Columbia when it became the nation's capital two centuries ago would be granted under legislation the Senate passed Thursday.

Congress is "moving to right a centuries-old wrong," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid shortly before the 61-37 vote.

The House is expected to pass the measure with a strong majority next week and President Barack Obama, a co-sponsor when the bill failed to clear the Senate two years ago, has promised to sign it.

The measure is likely to face a court challenge immediately after becoming law; opponents argue that it is unconstitutional because D.C. is not a state and does not qualify for representation.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, who sponsored the bill with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, expressed confidence that they could win the legal argument and noted that the bill contained an expedited appeals process to ensure a quick court decision.

The real issue, he said, is that the disenfranchisement of 600,000 residents of the nation's capital "is patently unjust and un-American in a sense of the best principles of this country."

"This is a historic moment," said Ilir Zherka, head of the advocacy group DC Vote. "In 2007 we were gaining tremendous momentum," he said. "The huge difference this year is that we have an advocate in the White House."

Two years ago, with Democrats holding a smaller majority in the Senate and then-President George W. Bush threatening a veto on constitutional grounds, the Senate fell three votes short of overcoming a GOP-led filibuster.

Under the rules of debate Thursday, supporters needed 60 votes to win passage. Six Republicans voted for the measure while two Democrats opposed it.

Utah's Hatch was a co-sponsor in part because the legislation, to offset the certain Democratic gain from D.C., adds a fourth district to Republican-leaning Utah. That would increase House voting membership by two, to 437.

The two representatives would be seated at the start of the next session in January 2011. Utah's maintaining that fourth seat would depend on the outcome of the 2010 census. Utah barely missed out on picking up an extra seat after the 2000 census.

The final Senate vote came after supporters turned back a constitutional challenge and another amendment that would have effectively returned the nonfederal areas of the district to Maryland.

Senators did approve, 62-36, a controversial amendment pushed by pro-gun advocates that overturns most of the district's tough gun control laws. That provision would still have to be approved when the House and Senate meet to reconcile differences in their bills.

Opponents of the legislation pointed to Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, which says members of the House should be chosen "by the people of the several states."

The Constitution is clear, said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, that "only states elect members of Congress. And according to the same article, the seat of the federal government is not to be considered a state."

Congress in 1978 did approve a constitutional amendment giving the district a full voice in Congress, but it was unable to win ratification of three-fourths of state legislatures.

Those on the other side cited Article I, Section 8, which empowers Congress to "exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever" over the district chosen to be the national capital. Constitutional scholars, they say, agree that gives Congress the right to give the district a vote. They add that D.C. residents pay federal taxes and serve in the military and that the courts have long considered the district equivalent to a state in matters such as interstate commerce, taxation and criminal matters.

D.C. residents have had the right to vote in presidential elections since the 23rd Amendment was ratified in 1961.

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« Reply #74 on: March 17, 2009, 05:56:54 PM »

ACORN to Play Role in 2010 Census
The U.S. Census Bureau is working with several national organizations to help recruit 1.4 million workers to produce the country's 2010 census, including one with a history of voter fraud charges: ACORN.

FOXNews.com
Tuesday, March 17, 2009


The U.S. Census is supposed to be free of politics, but one group with a history of voter fraud, ACORN, is participating in next year's count, raising concerns about the politicization of the decennial survey.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now signed on as a national partner with the U.S. Census Bureau in February 2009 to assist with the recruitment of the 1.4 million temporary workers needed to go door-to-door to count every person in the United States -- currently believed to be more than 306 million people.

A U.S. Census "sell sheet," an advertisement used to recruit national partners, says partnerships with groups like ACORN "play an important role in making the 2010 Census successful," including by "help[ing] recruit census workers."

The bureau is currently employing help from more than 250 national partners, including TARGET and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), to assist in the hiring effort.

But ACORN's partnership with the 2010 Census is worrisome to lawmakers who say past allegations of fraud should raise concerns about the organization.

"It's a concern, especially when you look at all the different charges of voter fraud. And it's not just the lawmakers' concern. It should be the concern of every citizen in the country," Rep. Lynn A. Westmoreland, R-Ga., vice ranking member of the subcommittee for the U.S. Census, told FOXNews.com. "We want an enumeration. We don't want to have any false numbers."

ACORN, which claims to be a non-partisan grassroots community organization of low- and moderate-income people, came under fire in 2007 when Washington State filed felony charges against several paid ACORN employees and supervisors for more than 1,700 fraudulent voter registrations. In March 2008, an ACORN worker in Pennsylvania was sentenced for making 29 phony voter registration forms. The group's activities were frequently questioned in the 2008 presidential election.

ACORN spokesman Scott Levenson told FOXNews.com that "ACORN as an organization has not been charged with any crime." He added that fears that the organization will unfairly influence the census are unfounded.

"It will be the Census Bureau that determines the role and scope of its 300 national partners. ACORN is committed to a fair and accurate count," Levenson said.

The census is an official count of the country's population mandated by the U.S. Constitution. It is used to determine distribution of taxpayer money through grants and appropriations and the apportionment of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. Every U.S. household unit, including those occupied by non-citizens and illegal immigrants, must be counted.

Westmoreland and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a member of the House census subcommittee, said the panel has held hearings to make sure the penalties for census takers committing fraud are clearly defined.

"I feel fairly confident that the penalties for an individual manipulating the count are pretty severe," Chaffetz said. The penalty for any fraudulent activity can be up to five years in jail.

Westmoreland said he hopes the Census Bureau will maintain its measures to ensure an accurate report.

"I feel comfortable right now with the people at the census department that they're going to put forth their best effort to have a fair count," he said.

The U.S. Census Bureau has refuted any suggestions that ACORN or any other groups will fraudulently and unduly influence the results of the census.

"The Census (Bureau) is a nonpartisan, non-political agency and we're very dedicated to an accurate account," bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner told FOXNews.com. "We have a lot of quality controls in place to keep any kind of systemic error or fraudulent behavior to affect the counts."

Buckner said the bureau received an overwhelming number of qualified applicants -- more than 1 million -- for the 140,000 census taker jobs filled to complete the first phase of the effort. Each applicant, he said, must take a basic skills exam, which includes reading a map and entering data into a handheld computer. Applicants are also subject to an FBI background check, he said.

But Buckner acknowledged that it is difficult to track an applicant's political background.

"I have no way of tracking any of that information," he said. "If somebody comes in to a position with a political agenda and their work exhibits that, there are rules against that," he said.

Buckner stressed the need for organizations like ACORN to assist in the effort, saying that "any group that has a grassroots organization that can help get the word out that we have jobs" is helpful.

In 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau had 140,000 partnerships from "national organizations to local and community organizations to elected officials," he said. "The list is as broad as the phone book."

 
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03/17/lawmakers-concerned-role-acorn-census/
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« Reply #75 on: March 29, 2009, 11:44:54 PM »

By DAVID B. RIVKIN JR. and LEE A. CASEY
The Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 -- otherwise known as "card check" -- is organized labor's dream. As a practical matter, this legislation, pursued by both the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress, would do away with the secret ballot in the unionization process. Although card check's advocates and critics have spilled much ink arguing about the bill's fundamental fairness to labor and management, so far the debate has not focused on the other compelling interest at stake: the constitutionally protected right of employees to keep their opinions on controversial issues like unionization to themselves. This is card check's Achilles' heel.

 
David G. KleinThe Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech, along with the Fifth and 14th Amendment due process clauses, to protect a variety of expressive and associational rights. The right to speak and associate anonymously is among those rights. Indeed, anonymous speech has a long and honored tradition in American politics. Much of the political agitation leading up to the American Revolution was necessarily anonymous in order to avoid British sedition charges. And three of the Constitution's Framers -- James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay -- wrote the Federalist Papers supporting its ratification under the anonymous pen name "Publius."

The Supreme Court has consistently recognized the importance of this type of political discourse. The reason is obvious: Public speech on contentious issues often inflames passions, prompting intimidation and retaliation. Outing speakers who prefer anonymity chills speech, and has the potential to suppress it entirely.

In an early and important case, NAACP v. Patterson, 1958, the state of Alabama attempted to obtain a listing of the NAACP's membership, although the organization had "made an uncontroverted showing" that revealing the identities of its members had, in the past, exposed them to "economic reprisal, loss of employment, threat of physical coercions and other manifestations of public hostility." The Supreme Court affirmed the NAACP's right to associate freely and privately.

The Court similarly vindicated the right to anonymous speech in political campaigns in the 1995 case McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission. It struck down a law forbidding distribution of unsigned campaign literature, reasoning that the state had shown no interest compelling enough (such as the integrity of the campaign financing process) to justify restrictions on this core First Amendment right. "Identification of the author against her will," the Court explained, "is particularly intrusive; it reveals unmistakably the content of her thoughts on a controversial issue."

When courts have upheld restrictions on anonymous speech, they have required that such provisions be narrowly tailored to serve an overriding governmental interest. Moreover, they have been most comfortable in upholding these provisions when the competing interest itself also involved the protection of First Amendment values.

Thus, for example, campaign contribution limits and disclosures have been defended as necessary anticorruption measures, balancing the abridgement of individual speech against the integrity of the political process, and protecting the marketplace of ideas. Whatever one thinks about the legal strength of these rationales -- and they have many detractors -- it's clear that the judiciary has used them when balancing competing First Amendment interests.

There can be little doubt that the act of voting on important issues is a form of symbolic speech, residing at the very core of the interests protected by the Constitution. The secret ballot has not only been adopted in federal and state elections, it is recognized as a fundamental human right in a number of international instruments. This includes the U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United States is a party, that requires secret ballot voting as "guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors."

Labor organizing has been one of the most contentious exercises in modern American history, often leading to violence and employee intimidation on both the management and union side. Demanding that workers state publicly (by checking "yes" or "no" on a card) whether they support unionization would involve real and immediate dangers of intimidation, and would deprive workers of their right to anonymous expression. The fact that individuals could refuse to sign a card is unavailing, since a refusal to choose, in this instance, is an effective no.

Card-check supporters may argue that the activities of labor organizers, no matter how intimidating, involve purely private actions to which the Constitution's protections of free speech and association do not apply. However, the Supreme Court has recognized that certain government-sanctioned regulatory schemes can give associated private conduct the character of state or federal action, making the Constitution applicable.

In one early case, Public Utilities Commission v. Pollack (1952), the Court ruled that a private, Washington, D.C., bus company, which operated a radio news and music service in its vehicles that prompted customer complaints of unwanted political indoctrination, was subject to First and Fifth Amendment requirements. The Court reasoned that the Constitution applied since the local public utility commission had permitted the challenged service. In another important case, Railway Employees' Department v. Hanson (1956), the Court concluded that federal authorization of "union shop" agreements (under the Railway Labor Act) meant that governmental action was present because "the federal statute is the source of the power and authority by which any private rights are lost or sacrificed."

The same would be true of card check, which would endow a successful authorization-card drive by labor organizers with immediate consequences under federal law. The National Labor Relations Board would, under the new law, have to "certify" a collective bargaining unit based upon the completed cards. And the new law would effectively subject employer and employees to binding arbitration.

The presence of sufficient governmental action to require constitutional scrutiny can often be a fact-intensive inquiry. But when such mandatory legal consequences result from ostensibly private conduct, the courts would certainly be justified in concluding that the Constitution's requirements apply.

Sanctioning -- and thereby promoting -- demands that employees publicly disclose how they feel about unionization clearly violates their First Amendment entitlement to vote and practice their speech privately. Significantly, unlike other cases in which such restrictions have been upheld, union organizers cannot articulate even a semblance of an offsetting First Amendment value. While they may complain that the current system does not favor unionization and hence inhibits their associational rights, the problem, if any, arises from possible employer intimidation -- not from the secret ballot as such.

In this context, the new law would entitle organized labor to the government's imprimatur of its card-check choice. With the government thus supporting demands that employees publicly state their opinions on a controversial matter, the courts should view card-check's provisions as being ill-tailored to meet the problem of employer intimidation, and thus, unconstitutional.

Messrs. Rivkin and Casey are Washington, D.C., lawyers who served in the Justice Department under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
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« Reply #76 on: April 11, 2009, 08:36:23 AM »

The next push to subvert the integrity of the vote is coming.

Reviving the Motor Voter Law
Published: April 10, 2009

In 1993, Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act, widely known as the motor voter law, to make it easier for eligible voters to register and to increase registration rates of traditionally underrepresented groups, including poor people.

In addition to requiring states to provide voter registration materials to people applying for and renewing driver’s licenses, the law requires states to offer registration forms at offices that administer public assistance such as food stamps and unemployment insurance.

States started out with some enthusiasm, but in recent years compliance has fallen sharply. Project Vote and Demos, public-interest groups that work for voting rights, studied the implementation of the motor voter law nationally from 1995 to 2007. In a 2005 study of 103 people leaving a Department of Jobs and Family Services office in Ohio, only three reported being given voter registration forms. Surveys conducted outside of public assistance offices in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maryland and other states found similar problems.

Not surprisingly, the motor voter law is proving to be far less effective in registering voters than it should be. According to the report by Project Vote and Demos, the number of people registering from public assistance agencies fell 79 percent between 1995 and 1996 — the first years for which data were collected — and 2005 and 2006, the most recent reporting period.

This week, Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat of New York, wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder and asked him to sue states that fail to comply with the National Voter Registration Act. For eight years, the Bush Justice Department showed little interest in enforcing the law. The Obama administration needs to do better.

The larger answer to low registration rates is to enact laws requiring universal voter registration, which would put the burden on states to find people — through government lists, including tax records — and register them. But until that happens, the Justice Department should make sure that states follow the motor voter law’s more modest mandates.
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« Reply #77 on: April 11, 2009, 09:08:33 AM »

And, like California, the federal law will forbid the gov't employees for asking if the person they are registering to vote is a citizen.
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« Reply #78 on: April 11, 2009, 09:19:28 AM »

CA law forbids asking citizenship?  I would love to have a citation on that as I spread it forward , , ,
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« Reply #79 on: April 11, 2009, 09:41:27 AM »

Ok, it appears not to be law, but California's policy interpreting federal law. I'm looking for where CA DMV has issued a policy forbidding DMV clerks from asking about citizenship prior to registering voters.

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Legalissues/lm28.cfm

This problem has been exacerbated by many states' interpretation of a HAVA provision that requires a citizenship question on the federal mail-in voter registration form. The provision, in 42 U.S.C. § 15483, requires the following question: "Are you a citizen of the United States of America?" If an applicant fails to answer this question, HAVA provides that the local election official must notify the applicant of the failure and "provide the appli cant with an opportunity to complete the form in a timely manner to allow for the completion of the registration form" prior to the election.[64]  Under the threat of lawsuits by organizations like the Ameri can Civil Liberties Union, states such as Ohio, Iowa, and South Dakota will register an individual even if he fails to answer the citizenship question. The Justice Department so far has failed to sue these states to force compliance with HAVA.[65]

HAVA also imposes an identification require ment for first-time voters who register by mail.[66]  Many states, including California, have interpreted this provision to apply only to registration forms received through the U.S. mail, so the requirement is easily avoided by turning in the registration form directly to election officials. Additionally, docu ments named in the law as acceptable forms of identification for voter registration, such as utility bills and bank statements, are easily obtained by non-citizens. HAVA also requires applicants to pro vide a driver's license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number but allows an indi vidual to register even if he has neither number.[67]
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« Reply #80 on: April 11, 2009, 10:15:52 AM »

April 09, 2009
The End of Fair Elections?

By Tom Hoffman
Anyone who believes Hugo Chavez's presidency is the result of a free and fair election should stop reading and go protest against global warming.  For the rest of us, it may come as a surprise to some; we may have witnessed the last free and fair election in this country. How long ago that election was does not matter now; there will not be another one.

Remember when "B1 Bob" Dornan lost his House seat to a woman named Sanchez? The election was stolen by Hermandad Nacional Mexicana a group that made a concerted effort to register illegal aliens. Since then, the art of rigging the vote has been refined and perfected by the likes of ACORN and other community activist organizations.

The modus operandi is clear. First, there must be a team of lawyers to challenge any efforts to determine voter eligibility. What we end up with here in California is "motor voter" registration.  This means DMV workers urge anyone getting a driver's license to go ahead and register to vote. Lawyers and Democratic state legislators have made it illegal to require documentation regarding immigration status; it's the honor system. If an illegal feels uncomfortable lying to a bureaucrat at the DMV, he or she can apply by mail and receive an absentee ballot. This way they need not even have to show up at the polling place; just mail it in.

It's just too easy to cheat. Of course, at the polling place there is no need to prove who you claim to be; honor system again. Sign in and vote with no questions asked.  The lawyers and legislators paved the way for the "undocumented worker" to vote like a native born citizen by doing away with need to document anything, let alone citizenship.  All that is necessary is a mailing address; and, no kidding, the same culprits are busy doing away with that so the "homeless" can now register.

Registering as many fraudulent votes as possible and making it as difficult as possible to disqualify voters is only front end of the strategy. Once an election has been made close enough to allow for disputes and recounts, whole new machinery has been put in place. Here is where the big money comes into play. The secretaries of state, whose duty it is to oversee the election process, must be beholden to the community activists. Large campaign donations to the secretary of state candidates assure the community organizers a voice in all "recounts". Their squads of well-trained lawyers will likely get sympathetic rulings in their efforts to disqualify eligible voters and qualify the ineligible.

Is it any wonder that, as the rules get watered down again and again, the number of "get out the vote" organizations has multiplied?  There has always been some fraud in our electoral system: but until recently, the scale has not been sufficient to succeed in stealing a national election.  We've passed that line. Once passed, the line can never be redrawn.

ACORN is but one instance of a well financed nationwide effort to institute voter fraud. It is the financing of the likes of George Soros and the organizing skills of the likes of Bill Ayers that assures us of rigged elections from now on. Take the recent U.S. Senate election in Minnesota. The community activists registered thousands of new voters. Given that ACORN has already admitted to voter fraud (by mistake of course), it is certain a fair number of these were fraudulent. It is also certain that nearly all were Democrat votes. The Republican still managed to win by a few hundred votes on the initial count. The margin was too close to rule out a recount; mission accomplished for ACORN and their ilk. In come the lawyers to disqualify Republicans. With the full sympathy of the secretary of state, the radicals manage to turn the tide in favor of the Democrat; game, set, match.

With a proven game plan and large numbers of "community activist" organizations spread out across the country, all that is necessary to rig state and national elections from now on is a large and reliable source of funding. That has already been assured in the "Stimulus" bill. George Soros will now be helped by the U.S. Taxpayer; helped big time. Community activist organizations will find themselves flush with taxpayer cash. They are the grass roots agencies in charge of "neighborhood stabilization." I suppose we could get Jimmy Carter to certify the fairness of the 2010 elections.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/04/the_end_of_fair_elections.html at April 11, 2009 - 11:13:29 AM EDT
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« Reply #81 on: April 11, 2009, 12:59:45 PM »

A post from the Warrior Talk forum

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Prior to my current place of employ, I worked for one of the big 3 electronic voting machine companies.

Election fraud is really easy to commit on a small scale by one person, but get many people online to collaborate and it can throw a small election. Massive fraud by one or two people is hard but massive fraud by many can and does happen.

Example 1:
In California an elections official cannot request an ID if you are not a provisional voter. The list of registered voters is posted on the outside of the polling center. Every two hours the list must be updated with who has voted so far and be publicly viewable so candidates can potentially call/contact voters who may or may not vote for them.

So, as someone who would travel from precinct to precint to check on the voting machines, I could have instead walked up to the list, grabbed a name off, quickly memorized the name and address and walked in and voted. We see how the left collaborates with "google-bombing" etc, it is very easy for them to collaborate with this.

Example 2:
Partisan Democrat works in the elections dept (they are almost all democrat)
Paper ballots used for election
Partisan worker makes a few marks on the ballots where republican has been chosen. Adding an additional vote to a "vote for one" contest makes it into an "overvote" and that contest is disqualified from count. The democrat does not have to add more ballots or actually vote for the dems, he or she just needs to overvote some contests here and there to subtract the republican vote.

Example 3
Ballots from republican areas "get lost"

Example 4
Ballots from democratic areas are run through the high-speed counting machines twice - honest mistake -not.

Example 5 -
San Francisco allows illegal aliens to vote in "local elections". In theory they should have a separate ballot that only displays the "local elections" in the precinct specfied, not state or federal. Though the special ballot most likely does exist, when the illegal alien checks in to vote, the poll worker gives him or her a complete ballot instead, either by habit, accident or intentional fraud.
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« Reply #82 on: April 18, 2009, 06:58:15 AM »

Meanwhile, back in the Minnesota Senate recount, the three-judge panel reviewing the race has declared Democrat Al Franken the winner. Republican Norm Coleman intends to appeal to the state's Supreme Court, while Democrats and the press corps pressure him to surrender. We hope Mr. Coleman keeps fighting, because the outcome so far hangs on the fact that some votes have been counted differently from others.

 
APEven after the recount and panel-findings, the 312-vote margin separating the two men equals about .01% of the 2.9 million votes cast. Even without any irregularities, this is as close to a "tie" as it gets. And there have been plenty of irregularities. By the end of the recount, the state was awash with evidence of duplicate ballot counting, newly discovered ballots, missing ballots, illegal voting, and wildly diverse standards as to which votes were counted. Any one of these issues was enough to throw the outcome into doubt. Combined, they created a taint more worthy of New Jersey than Minnesota.

The Coleman camp pushed for resolution of these problems during the recount, but it was stymied by a state canvassing board that cared more about preserving its "Minnesota nice" reputation than about making tough calls. The state Supreme Court also punted difficult questions. The mess then landed with the three-judge panel overseeing Mr. Coleman's contest trial, a panel that seemed out of its depth.

Case in point: the panel's dismal handling of absentee ballots. Early in the recount, the Franken team howled that some absentee votes had been erroneously rejected by local officials. We warned at the time that this was dangerous territory, designed to pressure election officials into accepting rejected ballots after the fact.

Yet instead of shutting this Franken request down, or early on issuing a clear set of rules as to which absentees were valid, the state Supreme Court and the canvassing board oversaw a haphazard process by which some counties submitted new batches to be included in the tally, while other counties did not. The resulting additional 933 ballots were largely responsible for Mr. Franken's narrow lead.

During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6,500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933. The three judges then finally defined what constituted a "legal" absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied these standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional absentees that the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed only about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now "illegal" according to the panel's own ex-post definition.

If all this sounds familiar, think Florida 2000. In that Presidential recount, officials couldn't decide what counted as a legal vote, and so different counties used different standards. The Florida Supreme Court made things worse by changing the rules after the fact. In Bush v. Gore, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this violated Constitutional principles of equal protection and due process, which require that every vote be accorded equal weight.

This will be a basis for Mr. Coleman's appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Should that body be reluctant to publicly rebuke their judicial colleagues who sat on the contest panel, Mr. Coleman could also take his appeal to federal court. This could take months.

Another solution is to hold a special Senate election. Minnesota law does not specifically provide for such a runoff. However, the U.S. Constitution's 17th amendment does provide states with a roadmap for filling "vacancies," which might be a legal starting point for a do-over. Even before the shifting standards of the contest trial, the St. Paul Pioneer Press looked at the ballot-counting evidence and called for a revote. It could be that this is where the court case is leading in any event.

Democrats want to portray Mr. Coleman as a sore loser and make the Republican worry that he will ruin his chances for other political office. But Mr. Coleman has a legitimate grievance that not all votes have been treated equally. If the Franken standard of disparate absentee-voter treatment is allowed to stand, every close election will be settled by a legal scramble to change the vote-counting rules after Election Day. Minnesota should take the time to get this one right.
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« Reply #83 on: April 18, 2009, 09:59:24 AM »

Doug,
What is your opinion of the "recount" process?
It seems the Dems always challenge the close contested contests and keep the counting going till they get a postive outcome then of coruse just stop.
Was the process as legit as it could be in your opinion?  One can never tell who to believe in these situations and with obvious media bias and loss of even semblence of even an effort of objectivity we don't know what to believe anymore.
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« Reply #84 on: April 29, 2009, 04:15:42 PM »

Moving this from the His Glibness thread:

"Under federal campaign finance rules, Mrs. Clinton's Senate campaign committee -- called Friends of Hillary -- can't donate to her presidential campaign, but it can purchase such assets as the mailing list."

So she sends herself millions of dollars otherwise prohibited by law, and buys 'the list'.

"The second-largest list payment, about $822,000, came from Mrs. Clinton's political action committee, Hill PAC."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124096138758165891.html
---
We listen to these panderers call for campaign finance reform only to then watch them make a mockery of the laws they pass
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« Reply #85 on: May 09, 2009, 09:32:37 AM »

By JOHN FUND
Democrats are split on how to deal with Acorn, the liberal "community organizing" group that deployed thousands of get-out-the-vote workers last election. State and city Democratic officials -- who've been contending with its many scandals -- are moving against it. Washington Democrats are still sweeping Acorn abuses under a rug.

On Monday, Nevada officials charged Acorn, its regional director and its Las Vegas field director with submitting thousands of fraudulent voter registration forms last year. Larry Lomax, the registrar of voters in Las Vegas, says he believes 48% of Acorn's forms "are clearly fraudulent." On Thursday, prosecutors in Pittsburgh, Pa., also charged seven Acorn employees with filing hundreds of fraudulent voter registrations before last year's general election.

Acorn spokesman Scott Levenson calls the Nevada criminal complaint "political grandstanding" and says that any problems were the actions of an unnamed "bad employee." But Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada's Democratic Attorney General, told the Las Vegas Sun that Acorn itself is named in the criminal complaint. She says that Acorn's training manuals "clearly detail, condone and . . . require illegal acts," such as requiring its workers to meet strict voter-registration targets to keep their jobs.

Other Democrats on the ground have complaints. Fred Voight, deputy election commissioner in Philadelphia, protested after Acorn (according to the registrar of voters and his own investigation) submitted at least 1,500 fraudulent registrations last fall. "This has been going on for a number of years," he told CNN in October. St. Louis Democrat Matthew Potter, the city's deputy elections director, had similar complaints.

Elsewhere, Washington state prosecutors fined Acorn $25,000 after several employees were convicted of voter registration fraud in 2007. The group signed a consent decree with King County (Seattle), requiring it to beef up its oversight or face criminal prosecution. In the 2008 election, Acorn's practices led to investigations, some ongoing, in 14 other states.

The stink is bad enough that some congressional Democrats have taken notice. At a March 19 hearing on election problems, Michigan Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, pressed New York Rep. Gerald Nadler, chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, to hold a hearing on Acorn. He called the charges against it "serious." Mr. Nadler agreed to consider the request.

Mr. Nadler's office now says there will be no hearing on Acorn because Mr. Conyers has changed his mind. Mr. Conyers's office released a statement on Monday saying that after reviewing "the complaints against Acorn, I have concluded that a hearing on this matter appears unwarranted at this time." A Democratic staffer told me he believes the House leadership put pressure on Mr. Conyers to back down. Mr. Conyers's office says it is "unaware" of any contacts with House leaders.

Then there's Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Last month, he voted for a committee amendment (to the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act) by Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R., Minn.) to block groups indicted for voter fraud from receiving federal housing or legal assistance grants. Identical language was passed into law in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Mr. Frank now says he "had not read [the amendment] carefully" before backing it. He gutted the amendment on Thursday, claiming that the language Congress passed just last year is "a violation of the basic principles of due process."

A lot of money is at stake. In the stimulus bill passed by Congress, Acorn is eligible -- along with other activist groups -- to apply for $2 billion in funds to redevelop abandoned and foreclosed homes. Meanwhile, public records show that last spring the IRS filed three tax liens totaling almost $1 million against Acorn, most of which concerned employee withholding.

All of this infuriates Marcel Reid, who, along with seven other national Acorn board members, was removed last year after demanding an audit of the group's books. "Acorn has been hijacked by a power-hungry clique that has its own political and personal agendas," she told me. "We are fighting to take back the group."

Bertha Lewis, the head of Acorn, told me last year before their ouster that the "Acorn Eight" were "obsessed" and "confused." But Anita MonCrief, an Acorn whistleblower, says the problems run deep. Ms. MonCrief worked at Project Vote, an Acorn affiliate, in late 2007. She says its development director, Karen Gillette, told her she had direct contact with the Obama campaign and also told her to call Obama donors who had maxed out on donations to the candidate but who could contribute to Acorn. Project Vote calls her charges "absolutely false." (Ms. Gillette has declined comment.)

Acorn's relationship to the Obama campaign is a matter of public record. Last year, Citizens Consulting Inc., the umbrella group controlling Acorn, was paid $832,000 by the Obama campaign for get-out-the-vote efforts in key primary states. In filings with the Federal Election Commission, the campaign listed the payments as "staging, sound, lighting," only correcting them after reporters from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review revealed their true nature.

Mr. Obama distanced himself from the group's scandals last year, saying "We don't need Acorn's help." Nevertheless, he got his start as a community organizer at Acorn's side. In 1992, he headed a registration effort for Project Vote, an Acorn partner at the time. In 1995, he represented Acorn in a key case upholding the new Motor Voter Act -- the very law whose mandated postcard registration system Acorn workers use to flood election offices with bogus registrations.

But Acorn's registration tricks may soon be unnecessary. Congressional Democrats are backing a bill to mandate a nationwide data base to automatically register driver's license holders or recipients of government benefits.

This "would create an engraved invitation for voter fraud," says Hans von Spakovsky, a former Federal Election Commission member, who points out that these lists are filled with felons and noncitizens who are ineligible to vote. Ironically, in light of its troubles with the law, Acorn was selected in March to assist the U.S. Census in reaching out to minority communities and recruiting census enumerators for the count next year.

As for the Nevada indictment, Acorn isn't worried. "We've had bad publicity before, and all it does is inform the community that we're here working for the community," Bonnie Greathouse, Acorn's head organizer in Nevada, assured the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week. "People always come forward to our defense. We're just community organizers, just like the president used to be."

Mr. Fund is a columnist for WSJ.com .
===============

BTW, Glenn Beck has been going after ACORN with serious intent this week.  Very impressive.
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« Reply #86 on: May 29, 2009, 01:56:21 PM »

Well this is certainly a naked exercise of political prerogative.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Charges brought against three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense under the Bush administration have been dropped by the Obama Justice Department, FOX News has learned.

The charges stemmed from an incident at a Philadelphia polling place on Election Day 2008 when three members of the party were accused of trying to threaten voters and block poll and campaign workers by the threat of force -- one even brandishing what prosecutors call a deadly weapon.

The three black panthers, Minister King Samir Shabazz, Malik Zulu Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were charged in a civil complaint in the final days of the Bush administration with violating the voter rights act by using coercion, threats and intimidation. Shabazz allegedly held a nightstick or baton that prosecutors said he pointed at people and menacingly tapped it. Prosecutors also say he "supports racially motivated violence against non-blacks and Jews."

The Obama administration won the case last month, but moved to dismiss the charges on May 15.

The complaint says the men hurled racial slurs at both blacks and whites.

A poll watcher who provided an affidavit to prosecutors in the case noted that Bartle Bull, who worked as a civil rights lawyer in the south in the 1960's and is a former campaign manager for Robert Kennedy, said it was the most blatant form of voter intimidation he had ever seen.

In his affidavit, obtained by FOX News, Bull wrote "I watched the two uniformed men confront voters and attempt to intimidate voters. They were positioned in a location that forced every voter to pass in close proximity to them. The weapon was openly displayed and brandished in plain sight of voters."

He also said they tried to "interfere with the work of other poll observers ... whom the uniformed men apparently believed did not share their preferences politically," noting that one of the panthers turned toward the white poll observers and said "you are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker."

A spokesman for the Department of Justice told FOX News, "The Justice Department was successful in obtaining an injunction that prohibits the defendant who brandished a weapon outside a Philadelphia polling place from doing so again. Claims were dismissed against the other defendants based on a careful assessment of the facts and the law. The department is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who intimidate, threaten or coerce anyone exercising his or her sacred right to vote."

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/elections/2009/05/29/charges-black-panthers-dropped-obama/
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« Reply #87 on: May 29, 2009, 08:33:48 PM »

Moving GM's post to this thread:

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/05/29/who-pressured-justice-to-drop-case-against-vote-intimidation-in-philly/
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« Reply #88 on: June 02, 2009, 09:18:43 PM »

Feds spike voter citizenship checks in Georgia

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Georgia should use the same system that prospective gun owners have to pass.That check has been accepted as non discriminatory.

ATLANTA — The Justice Department has rejected Georgia's system of using Social Security numbers and driver's license data to check whether prospective voters are citizens, a process that was a subject of a federal lawsuit in the weeks leading up to November's election.

In a letter released on Monday, the Justice Department said the state's voter verification program is frequently inaccurate and has a "discriminatory effect" on minority voters. The decision means Georgia must halt the citizenship checks, although the state can still ask the Justice Department to reconsider, according to the letter and to the Georgia secretary of state's office.

"This flawed system frequently subjects a disproportionate number of African-American, Asian and/or Hispanic voters to additional, and more importantly, erroneous burdens on the right to register to vote," Loretta King, acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's civil rights division, said. King's letter was sent to Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker on Friday.

The decision comes as Georgia awaits word on whether a law passed in the spring that requires newly registering voters to show proof of citizenship will pass muster with DOJ. Under the law that takes effect in January, people must show their proof up front compared to doing checks through databases.

A three-judge federal panel in October ordered the state to seek Justice Department preclearance for the checks under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the same reason the federal agency must sign off on the new law that made Georgia only the second state after Arizona to require such proof. Georgia is one of several states that need federal approval before changing election rules because of a history of discriminatory Jim Crow-era voting practices.

Secretary of State Karen Handel blasted DOJ's decision, saying it opens the floodgates for non-citizens to vote in the state.

"Clearly, politics took priority over common sense and good public policy," said Handel, a Republican candidate for governor in 2010.

Justice Department officials said the citizenship match through driver's license and Social Security data has flagged 7,007 individuals as non-citizens but that many have been shown to be in error.

"Thousands of citizens who are in fact eligible to vote under Georgia law have been flagged," the Justice Department letter said.

The Justice Department decision marks the first time the new Democratic Obama administration has weighed in on Georgia's election laws. It is also the first time the Justice Department has rejected a change in election procedures by Georgia since the 1990s, according to a spokesman for the Georgia attorney general.

"We are pleased with this decision," said Elise Shore, Southeastern Regional Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "It vindicates our filing of the lawsuit."

But Handel said that more than 2,100 people who attempted to register in Georgia still have not resolved questions regarding their citizenship. Her office's inspector general is investigating more than 30 cases of non-citizens casting ballots in Georgia elections, including the case of a Henry County non-citizen who said she registered to vote and cast ballots in 2004 and 2006.

Handel said the checks were designed to follow federal guidelines to ensure the integrity of the vote and that those eligible are casting ballots.

But the ACLU and the Mexican American defense fund sued, saying the efforts amounted to a "systematic purging" of rolls just weeks before the election.

Separately, the U.S., Supreme Court is considering a challenge to the portion of the Voting Rights Act requiring Georgia and select other states to seek approval before tinkering with election law.

By SHANNON McCAFFREY, The Associated Press
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« Reply #89 on: June 06, 2009, 08:30:30 AM »

Last week, we reported on a bill introduced by Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) to eliminate "birthright citizenship" for children of illegal aliens. We erred in stating, "Birthright citizenship has been in place since the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868..." The 14th Amendment does not confer citizenship on the children of illegal aliens born on U.S. soil as we implied.

Patriot reader and Harding University political science professor Cheri Pierson Yecke wrote in to clear up the matter. She noted that birthright citizenship "began with the Supreme Court decision of United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898). SCOTUS shamefully ignored congressional intent and gave the following opinion: 'A child born in the United States, of parents of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicile and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States, by virtue of the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."'"

Dr. Yecke added, "As can be seen in the Senate debate on the 14th Amendment (39th Congress, First Session), a provision for 'anchor babies' was never the intent of Congress." Sen. Jacob Howard (R-MI) argued for adding the phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" to the Amendment, saying, "This [Amendment] will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors, or foreign ministers..."

In other news designed to create more Democrat voters, the Obama administration vacated a rule implemented by the Bush administration limiting access to an attorney for illegal aliens facing deportation. According to the Associated Press, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey "had issued a 33-page decision in January saying the Constitution does not entitle someone facing deportation to have a case reopened based upon shoddy work by a lawyer. Mukasey also said, however, that Justice Department officials have the discretion to reopen such cases if they choose."

From the Department of Injustice
Charges of voter intimidation against three members of the "New" Black Panther Party were dropped this week by the Obama Justice Department. It should have been an open-and-shut case of voter intimidation and harassment. Men in paramilitary uniforms, at least some of whom belonged to Louis Farrakhan's infamous Nation of Islam, were caught on videotape standing in front of a Philadelphia precinct blocking the doorway while voters tried to enter on Election Day last November. The thugs, one of whom brandished a club, cast menacing stares and racial epithets at white voters in line.

The men responsible were charged and the Obama administration actually won the case, but they moved to dismiss the charges on May 15. No justifiable explanation has been given, but we can reasonably suspect that it's primarily because Obama doesn't want to anger his constituents. A spokesman for the Justice Department had the nerve to state, "The department is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who intimidate, threaten or coerce anyone exercising his or her sacred right to vote." The department clearly did not do that in this situation. Liberal civil rights attorney Bartle Bull was a witness and is leading the charge against the administration's actions.

Meanwhile, the "Justice" Department rejected a program put in place by Georgia's Secretary of State Karen Handel to screen state databases to flag ineligible voters. Their excuse was that the program was inaccurate and discriminatory, though they refused to share the information that led to that conclusion. Handel, who is a Republican candidate for governor, noted that the decision would lead to a flood of non-qualified voters. She also noted the irony that Justice was on board for the program when it was created. What changed? The ruling party in Washington, and the new bosses want wide open voter rolls with no restrictions on eligibility because it makes it easier for them to rig elections.
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« Reply #90 on: June 09, 2009, 12:12:52 PM »

Holder Winks at Voter Intimidation
On ballot integrity, the Justice Department is taking us backward.

By HANS A. VON SPAKOVSKY

When Eric Holder became U.S. attorney general, he promised to administer the law in an objective, nonpolitical manner. So it's disappointing that the Justice Department had spent the last several months misinterpreting key voting rights laws for nakedly political reasons.

Exhibit A: Justice's inexplicable dismissal of a civil lawsuit for voter intimidation against the New Black Panther Party. The Black Panthers weren't content to endorse Barack Obama. They sent their members to the polls last November to "patrol election sites." Fox News aired a video of two Black Panthers in military-style uniforms in a Philadelphia precinct. One of them was carrying a nightstick.

The complaint the Justice Department filed in January (before Messrs. Obama and Holder took over) says the Panthers made "racial threats and racial insults" to voters and "menacing and intimidating, gestures, statements and movements directed at individuals who were present to aid voters." One witness, Bartle Bull, a civil-rights lawyer who worked with Charles Evers in Mississippi in the 1960s, called it the worst voter intimidation he had ever seen.

Justice won the suit by default when the Black Panthers and three individual defendants didn't show up in court to deny the allegations. But instead of following through and getting an injunction to prevent this behavior in future elections, the department, now under Mr. Holder, dismissed the lawsuit against all but one of the defendants (the nightstick holder). Even then, Justice requested only a watered-down penalty: an injunction to prevent him from carrying a weapon in a polling place. But only in Philadelphia and only until 2012!

Exhibit B: Justice recently stopped Georgia from implementing a key provision of the Help America Vote Act. Passed in 2002, the act requires states to verify the accuracy of information voters provide on their registration forms by comparing it with state driver's license and Social Security records -- a sensible requirement. With input from Justice Department lawyers in 2008, Georgia implemented this verification process, including checking the citizenship status of applicants. It is a violation of federal and state law for a noncitizen to register and vote in federal and state elections.

Under Georgia's program, anyone flagged as a potential noncitizen would still be registered if he could confirm to local election officials that he was indeed a citizen. Georgia sent letters to over 4,000 potential noncitizens. More than 2,000 failed to confirm their citizenship, strong evidence that noncitizens were prevented from illegally registering and voting.

Has this verification process depressed minority voter turnout, as some claim? Hardly. There has been a 140% increase in Hispanic turnout and a 42% increase in black turnout since the 2004 election.

But Georgia is still covered under the outdated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires the state to submit any "change" in voting to the Justice Department for preclearance to assure it is not "discriminatory." On May 29, the department vetoed the state's verification program based on the spurious claim that it would have a "disparate" impact on minority voters -- particularly Asians and Hispanics, who are supposedly "twice as likely to appear on the list" of potential noncitizens than whites. Never mind that only 35% of Hispanics and 58% of Asians in Georgia are citizens. Or that not one eligible individual has come forward to claim this program prevented him from voting in the November election. Georgia was doing exactly what the federal government requires private employers to do in checking the citizenship of all employees.

Justice's objection defies common sense, manipulates federal law, and shows a complete disregard for the integrity of our election process. It is this kind of abuse of the applicable legal standard that is yet one more reason for the Supreme Court to hold, in a Texas case now pending (Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District v. Holder), that the renewal of Section 5 in 2005 was unconstitutional and unjustified. If the Justice Department believes a state voting law is discriminatory it should be required by law to file a lawsuit in federal court to prove it, thus allowing the state to defend itself against the charge. That would certainly be an improvement over the current administrative system, where Justice gets to choose the evidence to consider and be the one to decide its legal effect.

But that's apparently too much for the current administration, which is trying to stop verification of voter registration information. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires states to maintain their voter lists by removing ineligible voters, such as those who have moved or died. In 2005, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit in Missouri against the secretary of state for not cleaning up voter registration lists. (A similar suit was settled with the Indiana secretary of state, who agreed to clean up the state's list.) Justice successfully litigated the Missouri lawsuit all the way up to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which remanded it to the district court for further proceedings.

Registration numbers from the November 2008 election show that more than a dozen counties in Missouri have more registered voters than the Census shows they have voting-age residents. Clearly, the state isn't keeping its lists current. However, in March, one month after Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (a Democrat and the defendant in the lawsuit) announced she was running for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Kit Bond, the Justice Department dismissed the lawsuit without explanation.

All of these decisions seriously undermine confidence in the rule of law and our election process. Under the Voting Rights Act, the Department of Justice is charged with protecting voters, no matter what their racial or ethnic background. Under the Help America Vote Act and the National Voter Registration Act, the department is also charged with securing the integrity of the voter registration process. In just the first five months of this administration Justice seems to be moving as fast as it can to defeat that charge.

Mr. Spakovsky is a legal scholar at the Heritage Foundation and a former counsel at the Department of Justice.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124451552193396877.html#mod=djemEditorialPage
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« Reply #91 on: June 13, 2009, 12:07:14 PM »

What's behind Obama's sudden attempt to fire the AmeriCorps inspector general?

By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
06/11/09 8:14 PM EDT

New info: See updates below for Walpin's "one-hour deadline" e-mail to the White House.

There are a number of unanswered questions today about President Obama's abrupt decision to fire the inspector general of the AmeriCorps program, Gerald Walpin.  Obama sent letters to House and Senate leaders yesterday informing them that he was firing Walpin, effective 30 days from the date of the letters.

"It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspectors General," the president wrote.  "That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General."

The 30 day requirement is important because last year Congress passed the Inspectors General Reform Act, which was designed to strengthen protections for IGs, who have the responsibility of investigating allegations of waste, fraud and abuse within federal agencies, against interference by political appointees or the White House.  Part of the Act was a requirement that the president give Congress 30 days' notice before dismissing an IG.  One of the co-sponsors of the Act was then-Sen. Barack Obama.

The Act also requires the president to outline the cause for his decision to remove an IG.  Beyond saying that he did not have the "fullest confidence" in Walpin, Obama gave no reason for his action.

There are two big questions about the president's actions.  One, why did he decide to fire Walpin?  And two, did he abide by the law that he himself co-sponsored?

According to Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, a strong advocate of inspectors general, Walpin received a call from the White House Counsel's office on Wednesday evening.  Walpin was told that he had one hour to either resign or be fired.  Senate sources say Walpin asked why he was being fired and, according to one source, "The answer that was given was that it's just time to move on.  The president would like to have someone else in that position."  Walpin declined to resign.

Grassley fired off a letter to the president on Thursday saying that, "I was troubled to learn that [Wednesday] night your staff reportedly issued an ultimatum to the AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin that he had one hour to resign or be terminated," Grassley wrote.  "As you know, Inspectors General were created by Congress as a means to combat waste, fraud, and abuse and to be independent watchdogs ensuring that federal agencies were held accountable for their actions.  Inspectors General were designed to have a dual role reporting to both the President and Congress so that they would be free from undue political pressure.  This independence is the hallmark of all Inspectors General and is essential so they may operate independently, without political pressure or interference from agencies attempting to keep their failings from public scrutiny."

Grassley's version of events suggests that the White House first tried to muscle Walpin out of his job without having to go through the 30-day process.  It was only when Walpin refused to resign that the White House then notified Congress of the president's intention to fire Walpin.

The bigger question is why the president is doing this and why he is attempting to do it so quickly.  Senate sources now believe Obama is firing Walpin over Walpin's investigation of Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star and a prominent supporter of the president.

Johnson, now the mayor of Sacramento, California, started a non-profit organization called St. Hope. The group's mission, according to its website, is "to revitalize inner-city communities through public education, civic leadership, economic development and the arts."  As part of its work, St. Hope received a grant of about $850,000 from AmeriCorps.

Last year, Walpin began an investigation of how Johnson's group spent the money.  According to the Associated Press, "[Walpin] found that Johnson, a former all-star point guard for the Phoenix Suns, had used AmeriCorps grants to pay volunteers to engage in school-board political activities, run personal errands for Johnson and even wash his car." Walpin asked federal prosecutors to investigate.  In April, the U.S. attorney in Sacramento, a Bush holdover, declined to file any criminal charges in the matter and also criticized Walpin's investigation.

That might suggest that St. HOPE was OK, and it was Walpin who was in the wrong.  But at the same time prosecutors decided not to file any charges against St. HOPE, the U.S. attorney's office also entered into a settlement with St. HOPE in which the group also agreed to pay back about half of the $850,000 it had received from AmeriCorps.

In his letter to the president, Grassley defended Walpin's performance.  "There have been no negative findings against Mr. Walpin by the Integrity Committee of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), and he has identified millions of dollars in AmeriCorps funds either wasted outright or spent in violation of established guidelines," Grassley wrote.  "In other words, it appears he has been doing his job. "

The bottom line is that the AmeriCorps IG accused a prominent Obama supporter of misusing AmeriCorps grant money.  After an investigation, the prominent Obama supporter had to pay back more than $400,000 of that grant money.  And Obama fired the AmeriCorps IG.

 

UPDATE, 1:55 PM Friday:

There are a number of new developments since my post above was published.  First, the White House is confirming that it decided to fire IG Walpin because of the Kevin Johnson/St. HOPE affair.  In a letter sent Thursday night to Sen. Charles Grassley, White House counsel Gregory Craig cited a complaint lodged by the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento, Lawrence Brown, accusing Walpin of misconduct in the St. Hope investigation.  "The Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California, a career prosecutor who was appointed to his post during the Bush Administration, has referred Mr. Walpin’s conduct for review by the Integrity Committee of the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE)," Craig wrote.  "We are aware of the circumstances leading to that referral and of Mr. Walpin’s conduct throughout his tenure and can assure you that that the President’s decision was carefully considered."  This is the White House's first public statement of its reason for firing Walpin.

In the referral which Craig mentioned, which was sent April 29, Lawrence Brown accused Walpin of conducting a biased investigation and seeking "to act as the investigator, advocate, judge, jury and town crier." Brown was particularly angry that Walpin's office had talked with the press at various times in the St. HOPE investigation.  Brown asked AmeriCorps to investigate Walpin's behavior. In a stinging response, Walpin wrote that several of Brown's points were flat-out wrong.

More importantly, Walpin's response sheds light on the process by which St. Hope will allegedly return to the government about half of the $850,000 grant it received from AmeriCorps.  Walpin accused the U.S. attorney's office of undermining Walpin's attempt at "suspension and debarment" -- that is, from taking action that prevents an organization that has engaged in misconduct from receiving any other federal money.

According to Walpin, the U.S. attorney's office resisted efforts to get St. HOPE to repay the money.  Even though AmeriCorps inspector general officials had found "six specific instances of diversion and misuse of [AmeriCorps] grant funds," and even though Kevin Johnson never "submitted a single fact to dispute those findings," the U.S. attorney, according to Walpin, insisted that the settlement agreement forbid suspension or debarment.

Further, according to Walpin, even with the settlement agreement as it now exists, there is little hope the government will ever get any of its money back.  "As St. HOPE is insolvent, the absence of any obligation imposed on…[Kevin Johnson], and the absence of any guarantee or security to ensure payment, makes the settlement a farce," Walpin wrote.

"Mr. Brown knows," Walpin concluded, "that the settlement agreement was carefully drafted so that no obligation is imposed on Mr. Johnson to pay to [AmeriCorps] a single penny of the amount supposedly to be paid to [AmeriCorps] by St. HOPE."

Walpin's response has led congressional investigators to want to know more about Brown, the acting U.S. attorney.  I referred to him earlier as a "Bush holdover."  That's not entirely accurate.  Brown is now the acting U.S. attorney, and he was in the office during the Bush years, but he is a career official, not a Bush appointee.  In the days to come, congressional investigators will be weighing Brown's claims versus Walpin's. A lot is going on with the story, and it is happening very quickly.

 

UPDATE, 4:55 PM Friday:

On Wednesday night, after the White House counsel's office called AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin on his cell phone to tell him he had one hour to resign or be fired, Walpin sent an extensive e-mail account of the call to the man who had phoned him, Norman Eisen, the Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform.  In the e-mail, Walpin explained that he would not make a decision in such a short period of time.  He also noted that Eisen had said any appearance of a connection between Walpin's firing and recent conflicts over Walpin's handing of high-profile investigations was "coincidence."  Here is the whole e-mail, sent from Walpin to Eisen at 7:32 p.m. on June 10:

My email responds to your telephone call to me while I was in a car driving on a highway, at about 5:20 p.m.  I have now reached a destination and therefore can write you this email.

In your telephone call, you informed me that the President wishes me to resign my post as IG of CNCS [Corporation for National and Community Service, which includes AmeriCorps].  You told me that I could take no more than an hour to make a decision.

As you know, Congress intended the Inspector General of CNCS to have the utmost independence of judgment in his deliberations respecting the propriety of the agency's conduct and the actions of its officers.  That is why the relevant statute provides that the President may remove the IG only if he supplies the Congress with a statement of his reasons--which is quite a different matter than executive branch officials who serve at his pleasure and can therefore be removed for any reason and without notification to Congress.

I take this statutorily-mandated independence of my office very seriously, and, under the present circumstances, I simply cannot make a decision to respect or decline what you have said were the President's wishes within an hour or indeed any such short time.  As you are aware, I have just issued two reports highly critical of the actions of CNCS, which is presently under the direction of the President's appointee and, I am advised, someone with a meaningful relationship with the President.

Chairman Solomont and I have had significant disagreements about the findings and conclusions contained in these reports.  It would do a disservice to the independent scheme that Congress has mandated--and could potentially raise questions about my own integrity--if I were to render what would seem to many a very hasty response to your request.

I heard your statement that this request that you communicated on behalf of the President and the timing of our reports and disagreement with the CNCS Board and management are "coincidence," as you put it on the phone, but I would suggest there is a high likelihood that others may see it otherwise.

I suspect that, when presented with the circumstances I have just discussed, the President will see the propriety of providing me additional time to reflect on his request.  If however he believes that my departure is a matter of urgency, then he will have to take the appropriate steps toward ordering my removal, without my agreement.

Gerald Walpin

 

Below are my original posts and updates from Thursday night:

Some strange and potentially suspicious events tonight concerning the Obama White House and the AmeriCorps program.  I've been told that on Wednesday night the AmeriCorps inspector general, Gerald Walpin, received a call from the White House counsel's office telling him that he had one hour to either resign or be fired.  The White House did not cite a reason.  "The answer that was given was that it's just time to move on," one Senate source told me tonight.  "The president would like to have someone else in that position."

Inspectors General are part of every federal department. They are given the responsibility of independently investigating allegations of waste, fraud, and corruption in the government, without fear of interference by political appointees or the White House.  Last year Congress passed the Inspectors General Reform Act, which added new protections for IGs, including a measure requiring the president to give Congress 30 days prior notice before dismissing an IG.  The president must also give Congress an explanation of why the action is needed.  Then-Sen. Barack Obama was one of the co-sponsors of the Act.

Now, there is the hurried attempt to dismiss Walpin, without the required notice or cause.  After last night's call, Walpin got in touch with Congress, and it appears the White House has backed off, at least for now.  This afternoon, Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, who is something of a guardian angel for inspectors general, fired off a letter to the White House about the affair.

"I was troubled to learn that last night your staff reportedly issued an ultimatum to the AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin that he had one hour to resign or be terminated," Grassley wrote.  "As you know, Inspectors General were created by Congress as a means to combat waste, fraud, and abuse and to be independent watchdogs ensuring that federal agencies were held accountable for their actions.  Inspectors General were designed to have a dual role reporting to both the President and Congress so that they would be free from undue political pressure.  This independence is the hallmark of all Inspectors General and is essential so they may operate independently, without political pressure or interference from agencies attempting to keep their failings from public scrutiny."

Grassley said he was "deeply troubled" by the Walpin matter and closed by asking the president "to review the Inspector General Reform Act you cosponsored and to follow the letter of the law should you have cause to remove any Inspector General."

UPDATE 1: I've been trying to discover the real reason for Obama's move, and it's still not clear.  I'm told that it could be a combination of the normal tensions that surround any inspector general's office, or the president's desire to get his own people in IG positions, or a dispute over a particular investigation.  "Bottom line," one source wrote, "getting rid of a tough, Republican-appointed IG who has been aggressively going after waste and fraud gives Obama a chance to replace that IG with a more compliant team player."

I'm also told that a number of inspectors general around the government have been expressing concerns to Congress recently about threats to their independence.

UPDATE 2:  More information now, from the Associated Press.  The White House is going ahead with firing Walpin.  The firing apparently stems from Walpin's investigation of a non-profit group, St. HOPE Academy, run by Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star who is now mayor of Sacramento, California (and a big Obama supporter).  "[Walpin] found that Johnson, a former all-star point guard for the Phoenix Suns, had used AmeriCorps grants to pay volunteers to engage in school-board political activities, run personal errands for Johnson and even wash his car," the AP reports.  In April, the U.S. attorney declined to file any criminal charges in the matter and criticized Walpin's investigation.  But at the same time Johnson and St. HOPE agreed to repay about half of the $850,000 it had received from AmeriCorps.

Bottom line: The AmeriCorps IG accuses prominent Obama supporter of misusing AmeriCorps grant money.  Prominent Obama supporter has to pay back more than $400,000 of that grant money.  Obama fires AmeriCorps IG.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Whats-behind-Obamas-sudden-firing-of-the-AmeriCorps-inspector-general-47877797.html
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« Reply #92 on: June 30, 2009, 11:42:13 AM »

ACORN Rent-A-Mob Thugs to Harass Lenders Tuesday
JUNE 29TH, 2009 BY MATTHEW VADUM
ACORN, which played a starring role in creating the subprime mortgage crisis, plans to add insult to injury by harassing lenders across the nation with protests tomorrow in an effort to coerce them into supporting President Obama’s Making Home Affordable foreclosure-avoidance program.

Austin King, director of ACORN Financial Justice, sent out a press release today advising of the demonstrations that are planned as part of its “Homewrecker 4″ campaign. The four financial companies targeted are Goldman Sachs, HomEq Servicing, American Home Mortgage, and OneWest. Read the whole document here.

ACORN plans to hit Dallas, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, St. Louis, New York City, Wilmington (Del.), Columbus (Ohio), Houston, Little Rock, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, and Seattle.

But let’s not forget that ACORN helped to cause the mortgage bubble by strongarming banks into making loans they shouldn’t have. And cheering them on was ACORN’s lawyer, Barack Obama, who contributed to the increasingly hostile environment for banks when he represented plaintiffs in the 1995 class action lawsuit Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank. The suit demanded that Citibank grant mortgages to an equal percentage of minority and non-minority mortgage applicants. The bank settled the case three years later and reportedly agreed to beef up its lending to unqualified applicants.

ACORN refuses to acknowledge the role that it and the CRA played in the current crisis on Wall Street, and President Obama continues to support stronger enforcement of the disastrous law.

The final paragraph of the press release is unintentionally hilarious:

Because millions of Americans are losing their homes, neighborhoods and the economy are in ruins, and while the “Home Wrecker 4” are taking tax dollars and giving away huge bonuses, they refuse to do even the bare minimum for American homeowners by signing up for the Obama foreclosure plan.

Millions of Americans are losing their homes and neighborhoods and the economy are in ruins because of groups like ACORN that interfere with markets and force banks to do stupid things.

And ACORN too has taken in millions of dollars in taxpayer funding and is utterly unaccountable. The group even covered up a million dollar embezzlement for eight years.

As I’ve said before, ACORN lies, lies, and then lies so more. No lie is too big or outrageous for the criminal group now charged in Nevada with voter registration fraud.

http://www.capitalresearch.org/blog/2009/06/29/acorn-rent-a-mob-thugs-to-harass-lenders-tuesday/
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« Reply #93 on: June 30, 2009, 01:52:15 PM »

Court Rules Franken Has Won Senate Seat

The Minnesota Supreme Court has just issued its long-awaited
judgment in the Senate race, declaring that Democrat Al
Franken is the winner.

Read More:
http://www.nytimes.com/?emc=na
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« Reply #94 on: July 01, 2009, 08:50:36 AM »

The Minnesota Supreme Court yesterday declared Democrat Al Franken the winner of last year's disputed Senate race, and Republican incumbent Norm Coleman's gracious concession at least spares the state any further legal combat. The unfortunate lesson is that you don't need to win the vote on Election Day as long as your lawyers are creative enough to have enough new or disqualified ballots counted after the fact.

Mr. Franken trailed Mr. Coleman by 725 votes after the initial count on election night, and 215 after the first canvass. The Democrat's strategy from the start was to manipulate the recount in a way that would discover votes that could add to his total. The Franken legal team swarmed the recount, aggressively demanding that votes that had been disqualified be added to his count, while others be denied for Mr. Coleman.

But the team's real goldmine were absentee ballots, thousands of which the Franken team claimed had been mistakenly rejected. While Mr. Coleman's lawyers demanded a uniform standard for how counties should re-evaluate these rejected ballots, the Franken team ginned up an additional 1,350 absentees from Franken-leaning counties. By the time this treasure hunt ended, Mr. Franken was 312 votes up, and Mr. Coleman was left to file legal briefs.

What Mr. Franken understood was that courts would later be loathe to overrule decisions made by the canvassing board, however arbitrary those decisions were. He was right. The three-judge panel overseeing the Coleman legal challenge, and the Supreme Court that reviewed the panel's findings, in essence found that Mr. Coleman hadn't demonstrated a willful or malicious attempt on behalf of officials to deny him the election. And so they refused to reopen what had become a forbidding tangle of irregularities. Mr. Coleman didn't lose the election. He lost the fight to stop the state canvassing board from changing the vote-counting rules after the fact.

This is now the second time Republicans have been beaten in this kind of legal street fight. In 2004, Dino Rossi was ahead in the election-night count for Washington Governor against Democrat Christine Gregoire. Ms. Gregoire's team demanded the right to rifle through a list of provisional votes that hadn't been counted, setting off a hunt for "new" Gregoire votes. By the third recount, she'd discovered enough to win. This was the model for the Franken team.

Mr. Franken now goes to the Senate having effectively stolen an election. If the GOP hopes to avoid repeats, it should learn from Minnesota that modern elections don't end when voters cast their ballots. They only end after the lawyers count them.
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« Reply #95 on: July 01, 2009, 10:46:23 AM »

Perhaps misfiled, but these ham-fisted efforts to limit free speech strike me as antithetical to the electoral process:

McCain, Feingold fight Obama on FEC
By: Kenneth P. Vogel and Manu Raju
July 1, 2009 04:32 AM EST

The campaign finance dream team of Sens. Russ Feingold and John McCain is reuniting to block President Barack Obama’s first appointment to the Federal Election Commission and to push him to shake up the embattled agency.

In a surprising move that invokes memories of a bitter skirmish during Obama’s annihilation of McCain in last year’s presidential election, Feingold (D-Wis.) and McCain (R-Ariz.) have placed a hold on the FEC nomination of Democratic labor lawyer John Sullivan, POLITICO confirmed Tuesday. Their hold could reverberate in Congress, the White House, the 2010 midterm elections and beyond.

In a statement issued in response to POLITICO’s inquiries, the lawmakers signaled they would release the hold only if Obama taps two additional nominees to fill expired seats on the six-member independent panel, which critics contend is systematically deregulating campaign rules.

“The FEC is currently mired in anti-enforcement gridlock,” read the joint statement from Feingold and McCain, whose names became synonymous with efforts to limit the role of special interest cash in politics when they teamed to shepherd into law the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act, better known as McCain-Feingold. “The president must nominate new commissioners with a demonstrated commitment to the existence and enforcement of the campaign finance laws.”

Their hold on Sullivan, who would replace a commissioner whose term expired two years ago, was exhilarating to advocates of limiting the role of money in politics, who want Obama to chart a new course for the agency. And it was an unmistakable shot across the bow of both Senate leaders and Obama, who have not moved to replace the two commissioners whose terms expired in May.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who the White House had consulted on the Sullivan nomination, declined to comment on the hold through a spokesman, while an aide to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not respond to questions.

The White House, which has reached out to the self-styled campaign finance reform community in an unprecedented way, also did not respond to questions about the hold.

But Craig Holman, a campaign finance lobbyist for the nonprofit group Public Citizen, called news of the hold “delightfully surprising.”

“First of all, it’s good to see McCain and Feingold working together again on the campaign finance front,” said Holman.

He and other campaign finance reformers had worked closely for years with McCain on campaign finance matters until the senator began distancing himself from them in the run-up to his presidential campaign as he courted the GOP base. It considers restrictions on political spending to be a violation of free speech.

In regards to reconfiguring the FEC, Holman, who has met with Obama’s representatives several times about campaign finance issues since the election, said, “The White House needs pushing on this. [Obama] hasn’t come out in front in the battle.”

As a senator, Obama was a staunch advocate for beefing up campaign finance rules, and as a presidential candidate he touted a campaign finance measure as one of his top legislative accomplishments. He also promised that he would participate in a Watergate-era clean election system if his Republican opponent did the same.

When McCain won the Republican nomination and agreed to participate, though, Obama flip-flopped, earning the personal enmity of McCain and the scorn of editorial boards and campaign finance reformers.

At the time, Obama pledged to fix the system as president. But he has yet to respond to entreaties from Feingold to support an overhaul bill. And he disappointed reformers when he passed up the chance to dramatically reconfigure the FEC, which has increasingly deadlocked in partisan 3-3 votes on enforcement matters, resulting in dismissal after dismissal and, reformers fear, emboldening would-be violators on the cusp of the 2010 midterm elections.

The commission by statute consists of three appointees from each party, and traditionally Senate leaders have passed lists of acceptable commissioner candidates from their respective parties to the president, who then selects nominees for Senate approval.

The terms of one Democratic and one Republican commissioner – Steven Walther and Don McGahn, respectively – expired in May, while another Democratic commissioner, Ellen Weintraub, has continued to serve on commission even though her term expired two years ago.

But Obama in May announced a single nomination – Sullivan’s – to fill Weintraub’s seat. The White House touted Sullivan, an associate general counsel at the Service Employees International Union, as “a staunch advocate for election reform” and promised that more FEC nominations “will be forthcoming,” but would not say when.

The Campaign Legal Center, a reform group headed by McCain ally and former FEC Chairman Trevor Potter, criticized Sullivan for “bash[ing] important elements of McCain-Feingold” when he filed comments with the FEC on behalf of SEIU.

But Meredith McGehee, policy director for the Center, said the real problem Obama needs to address is McGahn and the two other Republican commissioners, who have regularly voted against enforcement, often against the recommendation of the FEC’s career legal staff.

“Doing something about the FEC without doing something about the McGahn problem is just unacceptable,” McGehee said, adding “this is a guy who is basically implementing a deregulatory ideology in violation of both the spirit and letter of the law.”

That’s not how former FEC Chairman Brad Smith sees it.

Smith – who leads the Center for Competitive Politics, which holds that some limits on campaign spending unconstitutionally suppress free speech – defended the 3-3 splits as the byproduct of a thorough analysis of the law’s application to specific cases and accused Feingold and McCain of targeting McGahn.

“Let’s not dress this up as some noble crusade for good government – McCain and Feingold want someone on the commission who agrees with them,” Smith said. “And they’re going to hold up a guy [Sullivan] who seems to be really a very qualified nominee out of petulance.”

Smith also questioned McCain’s re-embrace of campaign finance issues.

“A cynic might note that now that McCain is no longer seeking the Republican nomination, he has returned to the fold.”

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0609/24393.html
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« Reply #96 on: July 18, 2009, 12:42:40 PM »

AmeriCorps IG sues government over "unlawful" firing
Washington Examiner ^ | July 18, 2009 | Byron York

Gerald Walpin, the AmeriCorps inspector general who was summarily fired in June amid controversy over his investigation of a politically-connected supporter of President Obama, has filed suit alleging that the firing was "unlawful," "politically driven," "procedurally defective" and "a transparent and clumsily-conducted effort to circumvent the protections" given to inspectors general under the Inspectors General Reform Act of 2008.

Walpin's suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is against the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps. Also named are Nicola Goren, the acting CEO of the Corporation, Frank Trinity, its general counsel, and Raymond Limon, the Corporation's "chief human capital officer." The suit asks the court to declare Walpin's firing unlawful and restore him to his position as the Corporation's inspector general.

At the time of his firing, Walpin was involved in a dispute with the Corporation's board over his handling a case involving the misuse of hundreds of thousands of dollars in AmeriCorps funds by Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star who is now mayor of Sacramento, California and a prominent supporter of President Obama. The board disapproved of Walpin's aggressive probe of Johnson, and the investigation also sparked conflict with the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento, because of fears that the probe -- which could have resulted in Johnson being barred from ever winning another federal grant -- might stand in the way of the city receiving its part of billions of dollars in federal stimulus money. This spring, the Corporation's top management decided to lift sanctions against Johnson. Walpin strongly disapproved; at a board meeting on May 20, he frankly criticized board members for going along with that decision to let Johnson off easy.

On June 10, Walpin received a call from Norman Eisen, the Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform, giving Walpin an hour either to resign or be fired. Eisen's ultimatum appeared to be a violation of the Inspectors General Reform Act, which requires the president to give Congress 30 days' notice, plus an explanation of the reasons for his action, before firing an inspector general. (Then-Sen. Barack Obama was a co-sponsor of that legislation.) It also appeared that Eisen's call to force Walpin to resign was an effort to push Walpin out of his job so the White House would not have to go through the 30-day process, or give a reason for its action. When Walpin refused to quit, the White House informed Congress and began the 30-day countdown.

In its first explanation of the firing, the White House wrote a letter to Congress on June 11 claiming that President Obama no longer had "the fullest confidence" in Walpin. When lawmakers of both parties demanded a more detailed reason, the White House wrote another letter on June 16 accusing Walpin of being "confused, disoriented [and] unable to answer questions" at the May 20 meeting.

In the suit, Walpin alleges that all three actions were violations of the job protections given to inspectors general. "There have been at least three attempts to unlawfully remove Mr. Walpin from his post," the suit says, "the first orally on June 10; the second by writing on June 11; and the third by writing on June 16."

In addition, Walpin charges that the White House, in its eagerness to remove him for political purposes, never investigated the reasons it cited for the firing. "In the haste to remove Mr. Walpin from his post, not only were there…failures to comply with the statutorily-mandated procedures to preserve the integrity of the Inspector General post from politically motivated job actions," the suit says, "no investigation was made into the facts alleged as the basis for Mr. Walpin's termination. In particular, there was no attempt to interview Mr. Walpin or ay members of the staff of the Office of Inspector General who were personally involved in each of the [investigations], nor any of the board members."

Walpin does not ask for any damages in the suit; his demands are that the Court declare the firing unlawful, that he be re-instated to his job, and that his attorneys' fees be paid. The suit was filed late Friday afternoon. For more information on the Walpin case, see here and here and here.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/AmeriCorps-IG-sues-government-over-unlawful-firing-51094442.html
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« Reply #97 on: July 20, 2009, 02:43:08 PM »

Jul 20, 2009, 10:50 a.m. EST
Is grousing about Goldman reaching critical mass?
Commentary: Questions are reaching the point where something might happen

By Peter Brimelow, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- I'm amazed: Grousing about Goldman Sachs, and fury at the financial sector, is actually reaching the point where something might happen -- maybe even answers to questions we've been asking for a while.

As Jim Bianco of Bianco Research just noted in his News Clips/Daily Commentary service: "The amount of bad news that [Goldman Sachs Group ] is generating with its record earnings is incredible. We cannot remember a company that has received so much scorn for making money."

Bianco linked to critical stories in the Economist and the New York Times, and a scathing op-ed column ("The Joy of Sachs") by Paul Krugman.

And that's only the beginning. Last week, Arianna Huffington in her liberal Huffington Post Webzine actually issued bipartisan praise of two Wall Street Journal pieces critical of Goldman and the bailout. (Her article is here; the WSJ pieces here and here.)

It's many years since Arianna and I were on the same politically incorrect side of one of William F. Buckley's Firing Line debates. She has since adroitly changed sides, and if she now thinks it's time to attack Goldman Sachs -- a major Democratic donor -- the firm is in trouble.

The most spectacular attack on Goldman Sachs: Matthew Taibbi's Rolling Stone article "The Great American Bubble Machine," posted in Rolling Stone magazine July 13.

This is a follow-up to Taibbi's earlier attack on the bailout, which he portrayed all too convincingly as a sort of Wall Street coup d'état. ( See March 30 column.)

Taibbi describes the extraordinary personnel interlock between Goldman Sachs and Washington, apparently regardless of the party in power. He thinks that a key development was the emergence of Robert Rubin, who became Goldman's co-chairman and then Bill Clinton's Treasury secretary.

Taibbi writes: "If America is circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain. ... The bank's unprecedented reach and power have enabled it to turn all of America into a giant pump-and-dump scam, manipulating whole economic sectors for years at a time, moving the dice game as this or that market collapses, and all the time gorging itself on the unseen costs that are breaking families everywhere."

Of the bailout, he writes: "The numbers show that Goldman essentially borrowed a $5 billion salary payout for its executives in the middle of the global economic crisis it helped cause, using half-baked accounting to reel in investors, just months after receiving billions in a taxpayer bailout."

Sounds wild, but Taibbi makes a case. As a Rolling Stone reader says in the article's comment thread: "The last time I read anything this scary was the New Yorker article about Burmese pythons taking over Florida."

I've been reporting for years that key investment letters had come to the conclusion that the financial markets have been manipulated. ( See Sept. 9, 2005, column.) Now this suspicion is all over the mainstream media. Hmmm.

The scale that would be involved is so spectacular that it dwarfs another issue the letters have been asking about for years: whether the gold price has been systematically suppressed. ( See April 20 column.) Manipulating gold is an afterthought compared to what was allegedly going on.

I continue to think that a key part of this story is the mysterious 1998 Rubin-orchestrated rescue of Long Term Capital. ( See Sept. 29, 2008, column.)

And I'm increasingly confident all this will end with the appointment of another Pujo Committee, paralleling the one which investigated the so-called "Money Trust" in the wake of the Panic of 1907.

The consequences will be monumental.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/is-grousing-about-goldman-reaching-critical-mass
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« Reply #98 on: August 10, 2009, 12:08:19 PM »

By JOHN S. BAKER AND ELLIOTT STONECIPHER
Next year’s census will determine the apportionment of House members and Electoral College votes for each state. To accomplish these vital constitutional purposes, the enumeration should count only citizens and persons who are legal, permanent residents. But it won’t.

Instead, the U.S. Census Bureau is set to count all persons physically present in the country—including large numbers who are here illegally. The result will unconstitutionally increase the number of representatives in some states and deprive some other states of their rightful political representation. Citizens of “loser” states should be outraged. Yet few are even aware of what’s going on.

In 1790, the first Census Act provided that the enumeration of that year would count “inhabitants” and “distinguish” various subgroups by age, sex, status as free persons, etc. Inhabitant was a term with a well-defined meaning that encompassed, as the Oxford English Dictionary expressed it, one who “is a bona fide member of a State, subject to all the requisitions of its laws, and entitled to all the privileges which they confer.”

Thus early census questionnaires generally asked a question that got at the issue of citizenship or permanent resident status, e.g., “what state or foreign country were you born in?” or whether an individual who said he was foreign-born was naturalized. Over the years, however, Congress and the Census Bureau have added inquiries that have little or nothing to do with census’s constitutional purpose.

By 1980 there were two census forms. The shorter form went to every person physically present in the country and was used to establish congressional apportionment. It had no question pertaining to an individual’s citizenship or legal status as a resident. The longer form gathered various kinds of socioeconomic information including citizenship status, but it went only to a sample of U.S. households. That pattern was repeated for the 1990 and 2000 censuses.

The 2010 census will use only the short form. The long form has been replaced by the Census Bureau’s ongoing American Community Survey. Dr. Elizabeth Grieco, chief of the Census Bureau’s Immigration Statistics Staff, told us in a recent interview that the 2010 census short form does not ask about citizenship because “Congress has not asked us to do that.”

Because the census (since at least 1980) has not distinguished citizens and permanent, legal residents from individuals here illegally, the basis for apportionment of House seats has been skewed. According to the Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey data (2007), states with a significant net gain in population by inclusion of noncitizens include Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Texas. (There are tiny net gains for Hawaii and Massachusetts.)

This makes a real difference. Here’s why:

According to the latest American Community Survey, California has 5,622,422 noncitizens in its population of 36,264,467. Based on our round-number projection of a decade-end population in that state of 37,000,000 (including 5,750,000 noncitizens), California would have 57 members in the newly reapportioned U.S. House of Representatives.

However, with noncitizens not included for purposes of reapportionment, California would have 48 House seats (based on an estimated 308 million total population in 2010 with 283 million citizens, or 650,000 citizens per House seat). Using a similar projection, Texas would have 38 House members with noncitizens included. With only citizens counted, it would be entitled to 34 members.

Of course, other states lose out when noncitizens are counted for reapportionment. According to projections of the 2010 Census by Election Data Services, states certain to lose one seat in the 2010 reapportionment are Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania; states likely (though not certain) to lose a seat are Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio could lose a second seat. But under a proper census enumeration that excluded illegal residents, some of the states projected to lose a representative—including our own state of Louisiana—would not do so.

The census has drifted far from its constitutional roots, and the 2010 enumeration will result in a malapportionment of Congress.

In the 1964 case of Wesberry v. Sanders, the Supreme Court said, “The House of Representatives, the [Constitutional] Convention agreed, was to represent the people as individuals and on a basis of complete equality for each voter.” It ruled that Georgia had violated the equal-vote principle because House districts within the state did not contain roughly the same number of voting citizens. Justice Hugo Black wrote in his majority opinion that “one man’s vote in a congressional election is to be worth as much as another’s.” The same principle is being violated now on a national basis because of our faulty census.

The Census Bureau can of course collect whatever data Congress authorizes. But Congress must not permit the bureau to unconstitutionally redefine who are “We the People of the United States.”

Mr. Baker teaches constitutional law at Louisiana State University. Mr. Stonecipher is a Louisiana pollster and demographic analyst.
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« Reply #99 on: August 10, 2009, 01:10:44 PM »

Except for Lou Dobbs everyone else is silent on the illegal issue. Even the cans are afraid of the racist label.

Geraldo Rivera states Lou Dobbs is "slandering" latinos (Dobbs is married to a latina!).

The crats are silent because they benefit from the invasion.  The media is silent because they are predominantly crat by nature.
The cans well...  are cowards?

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