Bryan Preston of The PJ Tatler has a piece up right now that is an absolute MUST READ:
Why Is the Voter Participation Center Spoofing the Virginia State Board of Elections’ Return Address?
It’s a very detailed and involved article which lays out the law breaking and attempted voter fraud going on in Virginia right now.
“The center’s registration forms, some of which have been addressed to the dead, children, even pets and felons ineligible to vote in Virgina, state that recipients are eligible to vote. They come with some personal information already filled in, and instruct recipients to send the forms in to the Virginia State Board of Elections via Business Reply Mail to an address pre-printed on the form. But where do the returned forms really go?”
The article then proceeds to follow the forms to a PO box — not to the Board of Elections. Like I said, it is an involved article with many screenshots. You have to read the whole thing.
When I finished reading the article, I remembered a local story about the sub-group of Voter Participation Center — Women’s Voices, Womens Vote Action Fund (WVWVAF). The section in the Tatler piece about Page Gardner rang a bell. They were fined $100k for misleading robocalls with follow-up mailers here in North Carolina. The mailings included pre-filled out voter registration forms. This WVWVAF’s Gardner apparently didn’t learn in 2008 and is doing it again in 2012 with the Voter Participation Center. It’s worth noting that NPR tried to tie WVWVAF to Hillary Clinton in 2008:
But the group behind the calls isn’t partisan Republican or ideologically conservative. It’s Women’s Voices Women Vote, a 501(c)(3) charity that states its mission as registering single women to vote. The robocalls seem completely at odds with the group’s usual, upbeat message. In one of the group’s public service announcements, the actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus strolls thru a replica of the Oval Office and fantasizes about women electing a woman president (herself, actually, not Clinton; Louis-Dreyfus is actually supporting Obama).
Women’s Voices, Women Vote did not make anyone available for comment on Wednesday or Thursday.
Just a week ago, the group’s founder, Page Gardner, contacted the North Carolina Board of Elections to let them know about the mailing. She noted that the Women’s Voices packet, which she said was intended to boost registration in general, would arrive in mailboxes just before the primary. Gardner wrote: “We hope this unfortunate coincidence in timing does not lead to any confusion or aggravation for either your state’s voters or registrars.”
Group’s Ties to the Democratic Candidates
Will Evans of the Center for Investigative Reporting , who collaborated in reporting this story, found some Obama backers among the Women’s Voices leadership, but the group mostly has ties to Clinton and her campaign. Gardner worked on former President Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign. Board member John Podesta was President Clinton’s chief-of-staff. Maggie Williams, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, used to be on the Women’s Voices leadership team and did consulting work for the group.
Gardner offered multiple apologies for the “confusion” and who should come running to defend WVWVAF but Maude Hurd, the National President of ACORN. WVWVAF removed the statement given by Hurd from its site, but I found it here:
Other groups are stepping forward on behalf of Women’s Voices, Women Vote. Maude Hurd, National President of ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, released a statement of support:
Could WVWV have stopped its registration efforts once it was too late to register to vote by mail for the general election? Yes. But the Department of Motor Vehicles and public assistance agencies routinely continue registration during this period as do many voter registration organizations. The result is that thousands of people who would otherwise not get registered at all are at least able to vote in the general election.Given the heightened interest in this year’s primary, and North Carolina’s new procedures for registration at early voting, it would have been better if WVWV had been willing to pause its efforts and settle for registering fewer voters, or had shifted to a different registration strategy. That doesn’t mean they had bad intentions, or that their net effect on minority turnout in the primary was negative, or even that they were sloppy. It means that they overlooked how the special North Carolina circumstances this year would interact with their standard gameplan.
Standard gameplan? I’m feeling nauseated.