We are all aware of Red State Voter ID legislation – to prevent the kind of voter fraud that happens when someone shows up at their polling place pretending to be someone else which never happens – and some of us are aware of REDMAP the Republican redistricting/gerrymandering campaign to create “Forever Red Congressional Districts.”  But guess what?  Republicans have so alienated all but white males across the country they’re embarking – have embarked – on another voter disenfranchisement drive since they simply cannot win honestly, you know, by counting up the number of votes of people who actually voted Republican.     

The newest effort to combat fraud that doesn’t exist is called the “Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program” designed to purge voter rolls of folks who are registered in more than one state, who haven’t voted in years or folks who have doubled voted from separate addresses or states.  Rolling Stone Magazine explores this effort in their latest Combating Voter Fraud campaign.    Over two dozen states are using Crosscheck to purge their rolls of “illegal” registrants.   In over 1 million voters on Crosscheck lists analyzed by the magazine, Democratic constituencies – the young, Black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters – are disproportionally represented.  Some of the biggest purges of voters underway are in Ohio and North Carolina, two important swing states. 

Like Voter ID efforts, the Crosscheck effort is a means to “prevent” a kind of voter fraud that doesn’t occur.  After the 2000 election debacle in Florida, the Bush Administration conducted a five year investigation into the menace of mass voter fraud but found scant evidence of wrongdoing.  Crosscheck has tagged some 7.2 million voters – suspects – but Rolling Stone found no more than four perpetrators in this total who have been charged with double voting or deliberate double registration. 

In Virginia, some 342,556 were listed as apparently registered to vote in both Virginia and another state in January 2014.  Thirteen percent of the names on the Crosscheck list were tags as “inactive voters” and these 41,637 people were simply cancelled from the voter rolls.  In analyzing nearly 1 million names on the lists from Georgia and Washington State, one-quarter of the names lacked a middle name match.  Also, fathers and sons (Sr. & Jr.) were identified as the same voter, and there were 357 “James Browns” on Georgia’s list.  According to Crosscheck, James Willie Brown is the same voter as James Arthur Brown and James Clifford Brown is the same voter as James Lynn Brown. 

A data base expert, Mark Swedlund, looked at the data from Georgia and Virginia and he was shocked by Crosscheck’s “childish methodology.”  “God forbid your name is Garcia, of which there are 858,000 in the U.S. and your first name is Joseph or Jose.  You’re probably suspected of voting in 27 states.” Crosscheck’s “childish methodology” results in one in six Hispanics, one in seven Asian-Americans and one in nine Africa-Americans in Crosscheck states winding up on their list.  When asked if he thought the program was designed to target minorities Swedlund replied: “I can’t tell you what the intent was.  I can only tell you what the outcome is.  And that outcome is discriminatory against minorities.”

Crosscheck’s inventor is one Kris Kobach, current Kansas Secretary of State and former Yale educated law professor, author of Arizona’s “Driving While Brown Law” that gave police authority to stop drivers to check their immigration status, (since ruled unconstitutional) co-author of the 2016 Republican Party Platform (that includes a recommendation that every state adopt Crosscheck) and is also a Trump supporter.  In 2013, at a national State Election Directors convention, he announced that Crosscheck had uncovered 697,537 “potential duplicate voters” in 15 states and that Kansas would cover the cost of compiling a nationwide list.   13 more states signed up for Crosscheck right then. 

One “potential duplicate voter” interviewed by Rolling Stone, is Donald Webster, who lives in an African-American neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio, (a swing state).  Crosscheck lists him registered in Ohio as Donald Alexander Webster, Jr. while registered a second time as Donald Eugene Webster (no Jr.) in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Webster told Rolling Stone that he had never been and never used “Eugene” and had never even been to Charlottesville.  Both are subject to losing their ability to vote.  “How low can they go?” Webster asked,  “I mean, how can they do that?”

Rolling Stone put this very question to voting rights attorney, Robert Fitrakis, who examined the magazine’s Crosscheck data and the Donald Webster dual listing and page after page of Ohio voters.  Fitrakis says that the Ohio Secretary of State’s enthusiasm for Crosscheck fits a pattern.  “He doesn’t want to match middle names, because he doesn’t want real matches. They’re targeting people with clearly identified ethnic names that typically vote for the Democratic Party.  He wants to win Ohio the only way he knows how - by taking away the right of citizens to vote.”

End of story. 

NOTE:  So with Voter ID Laws, REDMAP and Crosscheck it is estimated that over a million legal voters could be barred from voting in this year’s Presidential election.  I’m hopeful that this Crosscheck nonsense will be stopped in its tracks by lawsuits but this is unlikely to happen before November.  To ban Crosscheck is going to require Supreme Court case.  REDMAP is already under some pressure with several gerrymandered Republican districts under judicial scrutiny. 

I’m wondering that if it weren’t for these three pogroms (and God knows what else might be afoot across the country) maybe taking back both the House and the Senate would be in the bag come November 8th 2016.

See the September 8, 2016 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine for the complete article.  


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