by James A. Bacon
The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) claims to have documented 1,046 non-citizens who were illegally registered to vote in eight Virginia jurisdictions. Nearly 200 ballots were cast before they could be removed from the rolls, declares the Foundation in a new study, “Alien Invasion in Virginia: The Discovery and Coverup of Noncitizen Registration and Voting.”
“The problem is most certainly exponentially worse because we have no data regarding aliens on the registration rolls for the other 125 Virginia localities,” states the executive summary. “Because no formal programs exist in Virginia to identify noncitizen registrants, the discovery and removal of these non-citizens is either by accident or because the registrant later indicated to election officials that he or she was not a citizen.”
The findings were based upon data culled from the following jurisdictions: Prince William County, Loudoun, Stafford, Bedford, Hanover and Roanoke counties, and the cities of Alexandria and Fairfax.
Almost as disturbing as the raw numbers is the lack of cooperation extended to PILF and the Virginia Voters Alliance by local registrars and the state board of elections. States the report:
Virginia state election officials are obstructing access to public records that reveal the extent to which non-citizens are participating in our elections. These obstructionist tactics have led to PILF and VVA obtaining data from only a handful of Virginia counties so far. But the information from a few counties demonstrates a massive problem.
PILF describes itself as a “public interest law firm dedicated entirely to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, the Foundation seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.”
The so-called “Motor Voter” law enacted in 1993 requires each state to offer voter registration to anyone who applies for a driver’s license. Attempts by states to require registrants to provide documentary proof of citizenship have been thwarted by left-leaning voter groups and the Department of Justice. Virginia requires applicants to do no more than check a box, under penalty of perjury, affirming that they are citizens.
PILF contends that local registrars failed to provide the organization with documents and records required under the 1993 federal law to be made available to the public. Ultimately, that lack of cooperation was traced to the Virginia Department of Elections and its commissioner Edgardo Cortes, according to the report. “Over the course of August and September 2016, responses from election officials rolled in, each one explaining that state election officials had instructed them not to provide lists of non-citizens who had been removed from Virginia’s voter rolls.”
PILF could find no record that anyone who had registered and voted illegally had been prosecuted for fraud.
Bacon’s bottom line: The implications of this report are so earth-shaking — remember that Attorney General Mark Herring defeated Mark Obenshain by only 165 votes out of 2.2 million cast — that even a somnambulant mainstream media cannot ignore it.
Before getting all agitated, though, I would like to see the findings confirmed by credible third parties. I know nothing about PILF and its reputation for fairly presenting the facts. But the allegations cannot be dismissed lightly. The report reproduces 84 exhibits of registration forms that were canceled on the grounds that the individual was a non-citizen. And the findings follow on the heels of allegations that a James Madison University student submitted 20 voter applications under the names of deceased individuals.
If the charges are proven to be true, this is a scandal of massive proportions and heads should roll.
(Editor’s note: My apologies if I’m the last person in Virginia to blog about this story. I’ve been really distracted the past few days, this report just came to my attention, and I hadn’t seen it touted in any local blog or news source yet.)
Update: Former Bacon’s Rebellion contributor Peter Galuszka addresses the issue in the Washington Post “All Opinions Are Local” blog. His bottom line: “Even if all 1,046 cases the groups claim are valid, they do not make their point, given that more than 2 million Virginians tend to vote in elections. That’s hardly massive voting fraud.”
Update to the Update: PILF’s Christian Adams responds in PJMedia to Peter’s piece, charging that it is full of errors. He concludes, “The Virginia legislature is convening a hearing next week about recent reports of failures by state officials to take the threat seriously. And meanwhile the instruments of the old media line up to give cover to criminality in our elections.”