The Spectacle Blog

Swing States Refuse to Purge Ineligible Names from Voter Rolls

By on 11.6.12 | 11:50AM

When the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) became law in 1993, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) warned at the time that the "motor voter" provision of the law could create opportunities for electoral mischeif. That's what you call a prescient forecast.

The scandals that have beset the left-wing community organizing group known as ACORN, and its Project Vote affiliate, demonstrate how forward looking Sen. McConnell was at the time. But this is largely because President Obama's Department of Justice refuses to enforce the NRVA's Section 8, which requires state officials to purge the names of ineligible and dead voters. This has had serious consequences in recent election cycles and could impact the 2012 elections.

Take Colorado.
After obtaining documents from the Colorado Secretary of State's office through an open records request, Judicial Watch found that state officials were pressured into accepting policy changes that set up to increase voter registration public assistance recipients. As a result, the number of the agencies responsible for public assistance jumped from rose from 3,340 in 2007 to almost 44,000 in 2010. But here's the kicker: In the 2009-2010 period, eight percent of the voter registration forms that were rejected came from Colorado's public assistance agencies. That's over four times the national average of 1.9 percent.

An analysis of the voter registration rolls by ColoradoWatchdog.org found that a strong potential for voter fraud exists. Out of the 3.4 million registered voters in Colorado, 1.2 million are "inactive," Earl Glynn, a special projects coordinator and researcher at the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, concluded. The inactive names "could be borrowed by corrupt official," Glynn explained in his report.

Take Ohio.
Judicial Watch in partnership with "True the Vote" has filed a lawsuit against Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted that alleges he is not enforcing Section 8's anti voter fraud directives. U.S. Census data shows that the number of individuals listed on voter registration rolls exceeds the number of eligible voters in at least three Ohio counties.

Judicial Watch and True the Vote have filed a similar lawsuit against Republican officials in Indiana, which is considered a sure win for Gov. Mitt Romney. But the race remains tight in both Colorado and Ohio polls show that Romney and President Obama are relatively even. If Romney loses Ohio by a close margin he may able to fix the blame on members of his own party who declined to remove ineligible voters from the rolls.

In a formal response to Judicial Watch, Secretary Husted claimed that Ohio's efforts to update voter rolls "have been hampered… by the restrictions and seemingly inconsistent provisions of the NVRA." Husted also informed Judicial Watch that he had written a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder "to discuss possible solutions," but did not receive any response. This means Ohio's Republican Secretary of State is deferring to Obama's AG instead of upholding the clear and unambiguous wording of Section 8.

If Mitt Romney does not prevail tonight, there is a good case that he may be able to fix the blame on some of his own Republicans.

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