EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

June 2, 2014

Column: Justice Department remains blind to voter fraud

In a May 17 commencement speech at Morgan State University, Attorney General Eric Holder once again dismissed the problem of voter fraud as being inconsequential. Efforts to curb it, he claimed, are merely attempts to deprive minorities of their right to vote.

It’s not just that Holder personally persists in ignoring the many cases of such fraud that have been documented by historians and journalists. His entire Justice Department studiously ignores evidence of possible fraud and steadfastly refuses to do anything about it. I know this from personal experience.

From 2010 to until 2013, I served on the Fairfax County Electoral Board in Virginia. In August 2011, we notified the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria, as well as the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department (which coordinates election crime prosecutions) in Washington, of possible voter fraud by non-citizens.

In checking with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, the board had discovered 278 registered voters who, when they got their driver’s license, had told the DMV that they were not U.S. citizens. Before we cancelled any of the seemingly illegal registrations, we gave all of these voters the opportunity to confirm their citizenship. None of them did so. Almost half of them (117) had not only registered to vote, they had in fact voted in state and federal elections.

“Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses,” the handbook written by the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section, notes that falsely claiming to be a citizen on a voter registration form violates three different federal statutes. Each of these violations is a felony, subject to imprisonment of up to three or five years, depending on the statute.

As the handbook further explains, actual voting by a non-citizen violates the law and is a strict liability offense. In other words, it “does not require proof that the offender was aware that citizenship is a prerequisite to voting.” Violations are misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in prison.

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