Vote Watch 2004
Vote/Election fraud, vote suppression, voting irregularities, voter intimidation in Election 2004

 

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VIRGINIA

11/1/04 [Permalink]
77. Dirty trick previously reported in Pennsylvania also seen in email in Virginia. Fraudulent email claims Republicans should vote on 11/2 and Democrats on 11/3.

Reader JT email this in:

Tonight I received email from Mike Signer, the lawyer who is coordinating our election protection team here. He mentioned that emails are circulating in Virginia Beach from a "Mike Kennedy," with the subject line: "American Greetings":

"Just a note to say I hope you have registered to vote. I, in no way, want to influence anyone's vote or try to impose my intellectual views concerning the election. However, I do want to remind you of the change made in the voting schedule due to the expected large turn out this year.

Republicans will vote on Tuesday, November 2nd.

Democrats will vote on Wednesday, November 3rd."

I'd heard about that email circulating in other parts of the country but didn't realize it was being sent around in Virginia too. I'd think it's fraudulent misrepresentation, and probably also violates some law or regulation governing campaigning, although I'm a wireless telecommunications lawyer --not an elections expert -- so I'm not sure.

 

10/21/04 [Permalink]
Virginia GOP State Representative complains that Democratic Governor Mark Warner is re-enfranchising ex-felons too fast and plans to bring up this issue in next year's Gubernatorial campaign!

Via Votelaw, here's this rather unbelievable report in the Daily Press:

With Gov. Mark R. Warner restoring the voting rights of felons at an unprecedented pace, a Republican lawmaker is demanding an explanation and calling for a legislative review.

Since Warner took office in January 2002, he has given the vote back to 1,892 Virginia felons who have served their prison time and completed probation. Virginia is one of the most restrictive states for recover the voting rights that are lost upon a felony conviction.

In a tersely worded letter to the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office, Del. Brad Marrs, R-Chesterfield, asked for copies of the files of all applications Warner has approved. The secretary's office reviews the applications and sends them to the governor's office.

Marrs asked the office to confirm a news report that Warner had approved 65 reinstatements in the final week of September, "a rate of 13 per business day or over 1{ per hour."

"If confirmed, these facts indicate that the level of review being undertaken by your office is inadequate," Marrs wrote.

He also said that while efforts have been made to make it easier for felons to regain the right to vote "as a matter of course at the end of their incarcerations, the legislature has specifically rejected those arguments. I believe the General Assembly would look askance at any efforts to bypass its policy-making authority at this point."

The governor has exclusive and unfettered constitutional authority in Virginia to restore the civil rights of felons. Warner streamlined voting-rights restoration for nonviolent felons after hearing in his 2001 campaign for governor that people who had done their time and were lawful citizens faced a daunting paper chase and an indifferent or hostile bureaucracy in seeking their rights back.

"It was a very time-consuming and paper-intensive process," said Kevin Hall, Warner's deputy press secretary.

"What we're doing is not automatic. The applications are still closely reviewed, the records are checked and then it goes to the governor's counsel and finally to the governor himself," Hall said.

"The governor just feels that people who have paid their debt to society and resumed productive, law-abiding lives should have the opportunity to participate."

Of Warner's nearly 1,900 restorations, 1,100 have been this year, said Secretary of the Commonwealth Anita A. Rimler. Warner has denied 114 applications. She said Warner inherited more than 530 applications that previous administrations had failed to act upon.

"Some of these files had been submitted during Governor (George) Allen's administration" that ended in 1998, she said.

Warner has already restored the voting rights to more inmates than any governor in at least 34 years, according to records from Rimler's office. Only Chuck Robb, who restored rights to 1,180 felons, topped 1,000. Warner's immediate predecessor, Jim Gilmore, restored the fewest: 238.

Marrs demanded files from Rimler's office that show whose voting rights Warner restored, why they had gone to prison and what their lives had been like since their release. He also said he intended to "organize a group of concerned legislators" to review the files.

A bill that would have provided an alternative to gubernatorial reinstatement for released felons who want to vote was approved overwhelmingly by the Senate but died in the House in February. Had it passed, Virginians would have voted next month on a constitutional amendment necessary to make the change.

If lawmakers want to curb the governor's authority to restore voting rights, that also requires a constitutional amendment.

The dispute is being burnished for partisan use in next year's elections for governor and all 100 House seats.

"More realistically, this may be an issue for the next campaign because it defines the attitudes of a governor toward crime and criminals, and that may be something we need to point to and go to (Democrat Tim) Kaine and (Republican Jerry) Kilgore and ask how would you use this discretion," Marrs said.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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