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Fake “Voter Fraud” Report Debunked by Woman Featured in Front Page Article

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From Progress VA:

Fake “Voter Fraud” Report Debunked by Woman Featured in Front Page Article

PILF has history of wild accusations with few facts

Richmond, VA – The Public Interest Legal Foundation and Virginia Voters Alliance are again scrambling to defend the integrity of a willfully false and misleading “report” alleging rampant voter fraud in Virginia. Months after legislators embarrassingly debunked a 2016 report during a hastily called meeting, a subsequent report from the right-wing group is under fire for misrepresenting facts and data to the public and the media.

On Tuesday, The Washington Times published a lengthy article based on information provided by PILF & VVA. The story led with 3 paragraphs alleging Maureen Erickson was illegally allowed to register to vote with an address in Guatemala and subsequently voted in 14 elections. The problem with PILF’s accusations? Erickson is an American citizen living in Guatemala as a missionary. She votes absentee, as she is legally allowed to do.

Erickson took to Facebook to express her surprise and disgust with this gross misrepresentation of the facts.

 

While The Washington Times has published an “editor’s note” and is ostensibly investigating further, this pattern of reckless accusations clearly discredits PILF & VVA and their report.

“For the second time in as many years, PILF has issued a recklessly and demonstrably false “report” to manufacture a fake narrative and distract from the true story: politicians that manipulate voting laws to limit democratic participation and rig elections,” said Progress Virginia executive director Anna Scholl. “We see this for what it is—an attempt to sow fake news in hopes of generating public support for additional restrictions on the right to vote. Virginians are not so easily fooled.”

In 2016, PILF & VVA published the prelude to this current report, alleging thousands of noncitizens were consistently allowed to vote in Virginia elections. The report featured a flying saucer on the cover to complete its derogatory “illegal aliens” accusations. Within days, problems arose with the report. A Washington Post column revealed the first individual they contacted was a naturalized citizen and legally registered. Revelations appeared that PILF’s work was used online by white supremacists to justify their hate and bigotry. The founder of VVA routinely posts racist and sexist memes on social media.

The inaccuracies in the 2016 report were driven home by Delegate Jennifer Boysko at an “emergency” October 13 joint Privileges and Elections hearing, where she noted instance after instance where evidence contained in PILF’s own report directly contradicted their assertions. She highlighted evidence that individuals named by PILF as noncitizen voters were either A) citizens or B) ineligible to vote due to mental incapacitation, not citizenship status.

With the revelations that the key example from PILF’s 2017 report is in fact an eligible voter, history seems to repeat itself. Chesterfield registrar Larry Haake noted in a communication published by PILF, “they are consciously misrepresenting the data they are receiving from us. Clearly, they have no legitimate purpose in what they are doing…. During the course of the [previous] lawsuit, the PILF lawyer lied about the data Commissioner Cortes mentioned they were provided in September, denying that they received any data. Do not underestimate the depth to which these PILF lowlifes will go to embarrass voters and harass us. They are fully aware the particular report they want is misrepresentative of the actual truth, but the truth is clearly not what they want.”

What PILF and VVA continue to choose to ignore is the actual process by which noncitizens are identified on the voter rolls and removed. There is no national database of U.S. citizens to compare voter rolls against. When the Department of Elections receives information from a state agency (for example, the DMV) that an individual registered to vote has indicated they are not a citizen, the relevant local registrar has 30 days to send a citizenship verification letter to the voter. The letter notes the state has received information that the individual is not a citizen. To maintain their voter registration, the voter must sign a legally binding document verifying their citizenship and return it to the registrar’s office within 14 days. Any individual who does not return the form is removed from the rolls. It is not uncommon for voters to be falsely flagged as noncitizens (see Maureen Erickson above.) Voters routinely report accidentally checking the wrong box on a government form and unknowingly initiating this process. Additionally, failure to return the signed form within 14 days is not necessarily an indication of citizenship status. Maureen Erickson lives oversees and never received the letter. Individuals move; mail gets lost or ignored. PILF’s conclusions are at best a stretch.

For individuals looking for actual facts, the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice this month published an investigation into noncitizen voting. In interviews with local elections officials, including many in Virginia, they found noncitizen voting was “exceedingly rare.” No Virginia official could identify an incident of noncitizen voting in Virginia in 2016.

  • dje3

    Let me see….The laws of Virginia make it almost impossible for any group or individual to gain enough voter information to even attempt to determine how many voters are not citizens. In fact the laws were designed to specifically thwart any verification activity under the RUSE of privacy. Many counties refuse to release any information there.

    Even though the county registrars attempted to hide all information from researches, this group. actually found almost 6000 illegal voters in the few counties they could actually get some information from. So this article then tells of ONE person who was on the list that may have been voting legally and accuses the list of being fraudulent?

    (I say may because that person possibly did not fill out the proper forms or listed wrong information in the wrong place and that is why they were on the list? Example stating that their current address is outside of a county when they meant that they were working outside the country and their permanent address was in the county. This would mean that their vote WAS NOT legal!)

    From the data given:
    1 in 1000 voters in Virginia was found to be an illegal voter by this groups work.
    This article found 1 in 5600 that was on the wrong list and had the right to vote.

    Which list proves to have more accurate data? Obviously the one stating that there are illegal voters has only 1/5600 wrong entries. therefore over 5 times more accurate than the voter rolls.

    The real issue is that regardless of which party one is in, allowing foreign nationals and those not legally allowed to vote is a violation of law and of the rights of those legal voters to have their vote COUNT with or against ONLY LEGAL VOTERS. Shall we allow the diminishing of rights of legal citizens? Who decides what votes to diminish and why? Shall we give some group only a 3/5 vote?

    Any group or individual that attempts to allow an illegal vote to exist or continue or even attempts to thwart such information being released for political gain is being subversive and in my opinion is aiding and abetting in a crime.

    Should we as Democrats allow the skewing of our national political control and process by not addressing illegal voting? If not are we prepared for the results of that activity? Even if the activity pulls us to the extreme Right?

    I find this article frankly of low moral standard and that the author has little understanding of the seriousness of the accusations involved. I do not want my vote diminished, especially in a race that is counting handfuls of votes to find a winner!

    • Looking at some of your other comments on Disqus (e.g., “Apparently the Prime Minister has never read the Quran. This is exactly what the Quran tells muslims to do. The religious perversion is not a perversion OF Islam, the perversion is considering Islam to be a religion, especially a religion of peace.”; “Let the Dems move to Islam.. that will ASSURE that they lose the votes.”) tells us all we need to know about where you’re coming from…

      • dje3

        Thank you. So many do not understand nor do they study and read. There are several books in the 1890s that talked of Islam and their methods..of the subversion and terrorism even then! And..these books were not about religion or islam..these are side notes inside books about geological phenomenon and other sciences!
        This is NOTHING new from Islam. In SE Asia, the south pacific and the Philippines they have been murdering families, raping daughters and enslaving them as workers and sex toys…taking the young boys as slaves for a VERY LONG TIME.

        They take all the family’s moneys and goods and land and use it as their own. They send their best to Mecca and have them trained as insurgents ….this has been going on for CENTURIES! All of this is said to be GOOD and RIGHTEOUS under Islam.

        I want NONE of it! I say that we begin to declassify Islam GLOBALLY as a religion and call it what it is…a political ideology and GOVERNMENT that recognizes no other government or borders.

  • Reagan George

    The lady with the Guatemalan address was removed by the Virginia State Board of Elections because she self-identified as a non-citizen when she went to DMV to renew her driver’s license. PILF and VVA only reported and included her in our report because of her action with the DME and SBE not us. Her address was directly from the list given to us from the VA voter registration system which led us to question what precicnt she was assigned to and what Congressional District represented her. We did not alledge anything about her. Maybe the action by the SBE and DMV was a mistake. I’m sure the 5,555 others included in our findings was not.