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Saturday, 12 April 2014 19:15

SPECIAL REPORT -- After initial hysteria, back-pedaling over NC voter fraud claims

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Last week, top staff of the N.C. State Board of Elections made a presentation to legislators about the state of voter registration in North Carolina. Out of the board's 58-page PowerPoint presentation [pdf], only two of the slides (34 and 35) related to the Interstate Crosscheck, a project run by the Kansas secretary of state to root out suspected voter fraud.

But the findings of North Carolina's involvement in Crosscheck quickly ignited a media firestorm, especially in the conservative media: "N.C. State Board Finds More than 35K Incidents of 'Double Voting' in 2012" trumpeted National Review. "Oh My: Audit Finds Evidence of Widespread Voter Fraud in North Carolina" blared Townhall.com.

Dick Morris, the conservative comentator and former political operative, made even more wild claims, claiming in an editorial for The Hill that North Carolina's findings offered "concrete proof that massive voter fraud might have taken place in the 2012 election, sufficiently widespread to have tainted more than 1 million votes nationwide."

CROSS-CHECK'S CHECKERED HISTORY

As Facing South was one of the first to report, however, the North Carolina election board's data offered little proof of rampant fraud. The 35,750 figure represented people who, when plugged into Crosscheck's database of voter files from 28 states, had the same first name, last name and date as birth of people who had voted in other states in 2012. But many of those can be explain by clerical errors and the fact that a surprisingly large number of people in different states share the same names and birthday.

The seemingly more troubling figure was 765: That was the number Crosscheck flagged as people whose names, birth date and the last four digits of their Social Security matched as having voted in North Carolina and another state in 2012. Hans von Spakovsky, a voting fraud crusader who used to work for the Federal Elections Commission and is now based at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that was proof North Carolina "had the goods."

Yet the history of the Crosscheck program offers little evidence to suggest such "goods" -- in the form of verifiable, prosecuted cases of voting fraud -- will ever emerge. The fact-checking group PunditFact, in a report drawing on Facing South's analysis, rated Morris' claims as "false," noting that Kobach himself admits few of the potential fraud cases have resulted in proof of criminal wrongdoing.

In a September 2013 presentation about the program, Crosscheck founder Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State, readily acknowledges that out of 84 million records analyzed, only 14 had even been referred for prosecution. Kobach's presentation doesn't list any cases of a voter actually being convicted of fraud. Furthermore, in Crosscheck's 2014 participation guide for states, they admit that "a significant number of apparent double votes are false positives and not double votes. Many are the result of errors -- voters sign the wrong line in the poll book, election clerks scan the wrong line with a barcode scanner."

PunditFact interviewed Michael McDonald, a political scientist at George Mason University, who described other clerical mistakesthat can lead to false claims of double-voting:

You find missing data, or worse, a missing data code. They might plug in '9999' when they don't have a Social Security number and people are getting matched on that missing data code.

Link to original article from Facing South

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Andrea Miller

Andrea Miller was the Democratic Nominee in 2008 for House of Representatives in the Virginia 4th District. Prior to running for office, Andrea was a part of Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s presidential campaign, first as Statewide Coordinator for Virginia and subsequently as Regional Coordinator. From 2006 until leading the VA Kucinich campaign Andrea was MoveOn.org’s Regional Coordinator for Central, Southwest and Hampton Roads areas of Virginia and West Virginia. Andrea is also the PDA Virginia co-chair as well as the Technical Director. Andrea co-hosts, organizes and programs PDA's Blog Talk Radio show. She is also the lead designer and production team leader for PDA's websites and printed materials. Andrea co-directs PDA's Capitol Hill letter drops and Hill meetings.

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