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Voter Suppression & Registration Databases

    The history of elections in Ohio and Florida show that voter suppression is the most blatant means of stealing votes

    As of 2006, the Help America Vote Act requires statewide voter registration databases. They can be used for massive voter suppression. This worries computer scientists.

    We have evidence of orchestrated voter registration scams taking place in Fresno 2005, Oregon and Pennsylvania 2004, and in Florida, 2004 (YouTube video, 8 mins).

    In the spring of 06, CNN's Jack Cafferty reported on voter suppression efforts in Florida, Washington DC, and Congress (YouTube video, 2 mins).


Voter Suppression in California

    As an example, California's republican Secretary of State used the database to reject 43% of new registrants in LA county in the first 10 weeks of 2006. State Senator Debra Bowen put a stop to this shameful action, but it should never had happened in the first place. Indeed, a federal judge ruled in August of 2006 that a nearly identical law in Washington "stands as an obstacle to achieving the purposes and objectives of HAVA [Help American Vote Act], and is therefore preempted by federal law."

    Following is a timeline of events related to California's voter registration database issue:

    www.CaliforniaChronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=12079

    November 2, 2005

    The Secretary of State announces he has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to create the Statewide Voter Registration Database mandated by HAVA. The Bush Administration refers to it as a "model for other states . . ."

    December 5, 2005

    The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) and the National Association of Latino Elected & Appointed Officials (NALEO) write to the Secretary of State to comment on the regulations he proposes to implement the agreement, saying they would "disenfranchise many voters."

    December 12, 2005

    The Secretary of State adopts emergency regulations to implement the agreement and those regulations include a requirement that a voter's registration form must match records in the Department of Motor Vehicles' or Social Security Administration's database in order for the voter to be registered to vote (a voter without a driver's license, a California identification card, or a Social Security number will be assigned a unique identifying number and be registered to vote). Emergency regulations can only last for 120 days, so these were set to expire on April 11, 2006, but were extended on April 5, 2006.

    February 24, 2006

    The Secretary of State responds to the APALC and NALEO letter by saying in part, he will consider amending the regulations following "the experience of the June primary." This means tens of thousands of people may be prevented from registering to vote and voting in the June primary.

    March 24, 2006

    The Brennan Center for Justice in New York (www.brennancenter.org) issues a report on how the 50 states are implementing the HAVA requirement to create a Statewide Voter Registration Database. The report finds that California has implemented one of the most restrictive systems in the country in terms of setting up barriers that may prevent eligible voters from registering to vote.

    March 28, 2006

    Senator Debra Bowen and the League of Women Voters of California write to the Secretary of State independently, pointing out figures from Los Angeles County showing nearly 43% of all registration forms - representing 14,629 people - have been rejected to date by the Secretary of State's database, and urging the Secretary to alter his regulations and data matching criteria to resolve the problem.

    March 29, 2006

    The Secretary of State's spokesperson is quoted as saying the rejection rate is 26% across the state. According to county elections officials, historically only about 1% of all voters attempting to register to vote are found to be ineligible to do so.

    March 31, 2006

    The Secretary of State announces that instead of changing his regulations or data matching standards, he's proposing legislation to change one piece of the law so that if a county elections official submits a voter registration form without a driver's license number on it, the form will be accepted as long as there is a match to only one record in the Department of Motor Vehicle files. County elections officials estimate this will address between 33% and 50% of the problem.

    April 5, 2006

    The Secretary of State files a request to extend his emergency regulations, saying " the need for changes or additions to the regulations may only become apparent once their functionality has been observed in the course of an actual election . . . it is in the best interests of the voters of this state to readopt the emergency regulations . . . and wait until after the June 6, 2006, election to begin the process of revising the regulations and implementing them on a permanent basis. If the regulations are not readopted, the Secretary of State will be out of compliance with HAVA and the November 2, 2005, interim compliance agreement with the Department [U.S. Department of Justice], resulting in the risk of legal action by the Department ..."

    April 6, 2006

    The Senate Elections, Reapportionment & Constitutional Amendments Committee holds a three-hour hearing on the issue. The Secretary of State declines to appear at the hearing. A witness for the Brennan Center for Justice testifies that as a result of the Secretary of State's regulations and data matching standards, California's policy is "an unmitigated disaster that would disenfranchise thousands upon thousands of eligible voters." She also states the Secretary of State cannot be sued for changing the regulations or data matching standards in a way that doesn't comply with his agreement with the Bush Administration. He can only be sued for failing to comply with HAVA and 41 other states have adopted regulations and data matching standards that allow eligible voters to easily register to vote without violating the requirements of HAVA.

    April 7, 2006

    The Secretary of State, in an e-mail sent to county elections officials, announces he is changing his data matching standards in one area. The change would allow people who submit a voter registration form with their driver's license number on it (if the license was issued before December 2005) to be automatically registered by the Secretary of State's computer system if the number matches a record in the Department of Motor Vehicles database using the first three letters of the person's last name or their date of birth. Under the previous system, only the first three letters of a person's name were used for the match, meaning people whose driver's license was in a different last name (perhaps they'd gotten married), had spaces in their name the computer didn't recognize (such as "de la Torre"), or have two last names (such as "Lam Chen") were routinely rejected.

    April 18, 2006

    The Legislative Counsel of California issues a legal opinion concluding that nothing in state or federal law precludes the Secretary of State from changing his regulations or data matching standards to reduce the number of hurdles an eligible voter has to clear before being able to register to vote.

    April 19, 2006

    The Secretary of State files a request with the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) to amend his emergency regulations to ensure that eligible voters who submit a voter registration form without a driver's license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number, the individual will still be registered to vote and added to the rolls - as long as the Calvalidator computer system can find a driver's license number through the DMV database that matches that voter. However, in light of the preliminary injunction handed down by a U.S. District Court in Washington state involving a law similar to the Secretary's regulations, in appears that these changes don't solve the larger constitutional question of whether it's permissible to require any type of match.

    August 1, 2006

    U.S. District Court in the Western District of Washington issues a preliminary injunction in the case of Washington Association of Churches, et al. v. Sam Reed to prevent the Washington Secretary of State from enforcing a state law requiring the state to match a potential voter's name to the Social Security Administration database or the state's Department of Licensing database before allowing that person to register to vote. The Washington State requirement is similar to the requirement adopted by California's Secretary of State in his November 2, 2005, agreement with the Bush Administration's Department of Justice.




Nobody, and no machine, should be counting votes in secret.

For further information, email Jim Soper at : JimSoper2@yahoo.com
CountedAsCast.com/issues/registration.php
July 10, 11

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