On the eve of the election, the Mitt Romney campaign and other groups have bolstered their anti-fraud measures in several key states by dispatching a battery of attorneys and election observers to ensure that they are not shortchanged from any legitimate votes on November 6.
‚??We are going to win unless the Democrats steal it from us. That‚??s what we are going to be on guard for Tuesday,‚?Ě one Republican operative told Human Events.
The Republican National Committee itself cannot be involved in any such effort. In 1982, when faced with a lawsuit from the Democratic Party for violating the Voting Rights Act in its efforts to thwart election fraud, the RNC signed a consent decree voluntarily abjuring from such efforts. The decree will be not be reviewed until 2017.
Accordingly, local Republican outlets and various non-affiliated, independent groups are charged with protecting voting integrity. In Arizona, for example, a group known as Verify the Vote, which emerged out of the Phoenix tea party movement, has vowed to have 5,000 well-trained poll watchers throughout the state Tuesday to guard against voter fraud.
Earlier this year, the lone Republican member of the three-member city commission that oversees Philadelphia, Pa. elections made big news when he released a report detailing cases of votes that should not have been cast in the city during the 2008 primaries. The work of Commissioner Al Schmidt took on more significance when a judge decided that Pennsylvania‚??s voter ID law could not take effect until next year.
‚??But all the talk about voter fraud here put folks on notice,‚?Ě Kevin Kelly, Republican state committeeman, told Human Events. ‚??So, [Romney state campaign coordinator] Joe DeFelice recruited 414 new minority inspectors to watch people come to the polls and keep an eye out for any possible cheating.‚?Ě Kelly also credited Philadelphia-based attorney Linda Kerns for ‚??recruiting volunteer lawyers who are ready to respond at a moment‚??s notice to any reports of fraud and be in court.‚?Ě
Kelly added ‚??the general enthusiasm level among noticeable cheaters‚??namely union members‚??isn‚??t there. Too many of them have been out of work and have no motivation to back [Barack] Obama.‚?Ě
Voting irregularities have a history
Going back to 1960, when top Republicans felt that Richard Nixon was cheated out of the electoral votes of Illinois and perhaps Texas, there has been a suspicion that when they are in charge of overseeing the vote counting, Democrats can and will cheat to their own advantage. In New Hampshire‚??s 1974 U.S. Senate race, Republican Louis Wyman actually led in the initial vote count by 335 votes, but a recount gave Democratic candidate John Durkin the lead by ten votes. Although a subsequent recount by the state Ballot Law Commission found that Wyman had won by two votes, the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate refused to seat Wyman, declared the seat vacant, and forced New Hampshire to hold another Senate race eight months later‚??which Durkin won by 27,000 votes.
In 1984, Republican Rick McIntyre not only led in the final count for Congress from Indiana‚??s 8th District but also had a certificate of election. But, at the time, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House would not seat him and a recount overseen by a special House panel chaired by then-Rep. Leon Panetta (D-Calif) decided that Democratic Rep. Frank McCloskey had been re-elected over McIntyre by four votes.
More recently, Republican Dino Rossi won a count and recount in the razor-thin tight race for governor of Washington. But a third count, funded by leftover money from John Kerry‚??s losing presidential campaign, suddenly found a net gain of votes from Democratic-controlled King County (Seattle) and Democrat Christine Gregoire emerged on top by 129 votes.
There are few Republican activists who can forget the Minnesota Senate race four years later, when incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman led election night by 700 ballots, saw a recount bring that margin down to 215 and a final count giving Democrat Al Franken the seat by 315 votes.
‚??Had we had any of the voter fraud operations that are in effect tomorrow in Washington state in 2004 or Minnesota in 2008,‚?Ě one top Republican who requested anonymity told us, ‚??Dino would be governor of Washington state and Norm would be serving his second term as senator‚??and Obamacare would have been dead on arrival in the Senate.‚?Ě
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