Gingrich, Perry Hoisted on Fake Voter Fraud Petard

Gingrich, Perry Hoisted on Fake Voter Fraud Petard December 28, 2011

Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry have failed to turn in enough valid signatures to get on the Republican primary ballot in Virginia, a situation with at least two levels of irony to it. The first is that the Gingrich campaign is complaining about exactly the kind of measures that Republicans always advocate in their desire to make voting as difficult as possible, as Politico reports:

A Gingrich campaign official prior to the move by the Republican Party of Virginia said the problem is how the rules are set up, arguing that the party is, for apparently the first time, cross-checking the addresses that signature-givers gave against the electronic voter database file for accuracies. A name without a proper address match was tossed, the official said.

“What one needs to ask is ‘what percentage of valid, registered voters self-identify a current address that matches voter rolls that the voter might not have updated since 2008”? Are you 100% certain that your address you and all of your neighbors matches current voter rolls? It strikes me that this is not an accurate means to identify registered voters signing for ANY candidate, not just Gingrich,” the official wrote.

And yet that is exactly the basis for innumerable accusations of voter fraud by Republican poll challengers during every election. In any state, there are going to be lots of people who have moved in the few months, weeks or even days before an election. Republican vote challengers at the polling places routinely try to get voters rejected as fraudulent because of that. Thousands, probably tens of thousands, of voters are forced to submit provisional ballots after such challenges, which may simply not get counted because the vote totals are reported long before the challenge is settled.

They also use the exact same basis — comparing the official Qualified Voter File list to the names and addresses — to claim later that in a given state there were X number of possibly fraudulent votes cast in the last election, thus proving the need to purge the voter rolls and combat voter fraud. How ironic that they now complain about the same standards being applied in a primary.

The second level of irony is that both the Perry and Gingrich campaigns turned in many more than the 10,000 signatures required and still didn’t have enough valid ones once they were vetted. Remember all the screaming in 2008 about ACORN canvassers turning in invalid voter registration applications along with lots of good ones? That is absolutely inevitable in any canvassing operation. That’s why anyone who has ever participated in a petition drive knows that the goal is always to turn in 20-25% more signatures than needed, because a significant percentage of them will always be thrown out as invalid. When it happens in liberal campaigns, it’s a terrible evil and proof that they are trying to destroy the integrity of elections. When conservative groups have the same problem, it’s unfortunate — and proof that the campaign has been victimized. How amusing.

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  • daved

    We’re still mining out the irony lode here, too, because now the Perry campaign is challenging Virginia’s requirements in federal court. Funny how these guys are so strong on states’ rights until it bites them. Then, they want one of those darn, unelected, activist Federal judges to overturn the rules that a state put in place.

  • But this isn’t even state law, it’s internal Republican party rules.

  • daved

    Well, according to CNN, it’s both — the Perry campaign is suing over the Virginia statues regulating access to the primary ballots, but it’s the state GOP that did the vetting of the signatures and rejected enough of them that both the Perry and Gingrich campaigns failed to qualify.

    The Gingrich people looked into doing a write-in campaign, then discovered that they couldn’t do that, either (not in a primary). However, so far, they aren’t suing.

  • Brother Yam

    They gots rules?

  • daved

    (Oops, that was supposed to be “statutes,” not “statues” above. Though it does read more interestingly the way I wrote it the first time.)

  • d cwilson

    Obviously, the state of Virginia is discriminating against candidates who are lazy and stupid.

  • John Hinkle

    Isn’t there anybody in the Bozo Brigade

    Three other members of the Republican field trying to unseat Democratic President Barack Obama – former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorumdid not meet the Thursday deadline for submitting petitions.

    … who has their act together? Oh wait,

    …Texas Congressman Ron Paul qualified for the March primary in Virginia.

  • had3

    Hey, as a Virginian, I resent that! We’ve got Eric Cantor…no wait, he’s not really lazy, just stupid. Okay, you’re correct.

  • Now do you see why they’re against Big Government?!!!

  • abb3w

    As a God Damn Yankee Virginian… yes, I’m amused.

    (A Yankee is someone born north of the Mason-Dixon line. A Damn Yankee is a Yankee who comes south of it. A God Damn Yankee is a Damn Yankee who decides to become a resident. There are further refinements I’ll leave undetailed, as I don’t presently qualify.)

    I also note a suspicion that the requirements were a 1970s vestige of the dying Dixiecrats; which is additionally amusing, given how many such have shifted their political colors to the Republicans.

  • rudrickboucher

    There are four people with my name in the United States. Three of whom (including myself) are registered to vote in different precincts of the same congressional district (it’s a family name).

    Cross-checking voter name with address could nullify any one (or all three) of our votes. Unless there is some sort of safeguard in place for this (which would certainly violate the principle of an anonymous vote), how can any of us be sure that our vote actually counts?