Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Washington State Vote Fraud Extends to Virginia

I spent most of last weekend at The Homestead, a resort-hotel-spa in Hot Springs, Virginia, for the annual meeting of the Virginia Electoral Board Association. Several hundred Electoral Board members, General Registrars, and other election officials gathered for about two days of speeches, meetings, and meals at which information about election law and practice was discussed and exchanged.

Jean Jensen, secretary of the State Board of Elections (SBE), spoke on Saturday morning. Most of her remarks were of interest only to election officials in the narrowest sense (reports about the new software program developed for the statewide voter registration list, a discussion of legislation that passed the General Assembly, and reviews of budgetary items).

One thing she said really struck a chord with me, however, as I'm sure it did with other people in the audience.

In a review of last year's November General Election, Jensen reported, for instance, that the SBE had fielded more than 10,000 telephone calls on election day, most of them falling into two categories: (1) "where is my polling place?" and (2) "am I registered to vote?" In that latter category, the most amusing call came from a man who didn't show up on the voter registration list. Asked when he had last voted, he said, "I'm not sure. It was either Nixon or Reagan."

But that's not the remark that struck me.

Jensen reported that, shortly after the election, the SBE received 22 provisional ballots from Washington State. None of these ballots were valid in Virginia, of course. So Jensen called Washington State to find out why they had been sent -- indeed, why they had been accepted by Washington election officials in the first place. She was told: "Our mantra is, 'Vote, vote, vote.'"

In other words, Washington State election officials were accepting ballots from voters from out of state who were not, under any circumstances, qualified to vote in that election. Their zeal to expand the electorate overwhelmed their responsibility to ensure the integrity of the electoral process.

Is it any wonder that the Washington gubernatorial election was such a mess, and that Governor Christine Gregoire took office under a dark cloud of allegations of substantial election fraud?

If Dino Rossi and his team are looking for more evidence to bolster their case for a new election, they should call the Virginia State Board of Elections. Concrete evidence of potential fraud is in the Virginia SBE's hands.

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