The conservative Public Interest Legal Foundation recently issued a report titled `Alien Invasion in Virginia’. But their investigation revealed only that “31 non-citizens had cast a total of 186 votes between 2005 and 2015”. Recently Donald Trump has been urging his supporters to go to other polling places and watch out for fraud. Whether organized or spontaneous such actions are dangerous to democracy. We have an adequate system of bi-partisan poll watchers.
It has long been an article of faith for some that the Democratic Party engages in systematic surreptitious voter fraud. "Vote early and often", "voting from the graveyard", "late reporting Chicago districts" are old memes which may have had, at some point, a basis in fact. The only truly systematic vote rigging was, of course, in the south where Black people were in fact denied the vote until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the Twenty-fourth amendment to the Constitution barring poll taxes effectively established voting rights for all citizens.
The voter fraud theme has often been a rallying cry for Republicans . It is the groundless basis for the many state voter ID laws making it harder for poor and minority citizens to vote. Thirty five years ago during our gubernatorial election the Republican National Committee developed voter challenge lists and organized a "National Ballot Security Task Force". In Newark local firebrand Anthony Imperiale recruited off duty sheriff’ and police officers who wore identifying arm bands as they patrolled heavily minority voting places, where they had placed posters warning against voting fraud.
The Democratic National Committee filed suit against the Republican National Committee. The late Federal District Judge Dickinson Debevoise issued a nationwide "consent decree" barring voter intimidation. He retained jurisdiction and handled subsequent proceedings, modifying the order. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the order and its continuing validity in 2010. In today’s bitter election atmosphere Donald Trump's repeated calls to his supporters to be on the lookout for voter fraud presents a risk far greater than did the RNC’s 1981 efforts.
In a dramatic escalation of a long legal battle between the national Democratic and Republican parties – and in what is arguably a fitting culmination to the year of Donald Trump – the Democratic National Committee is asking a federal court to hold the Republican National Committee in contempt of court for allegedly violating a decades-old consent decree limiting so-called "ballot security" activities at poll places.
The Democrats' filing Wednesday, among other things, ask that the consent decree -- which is set to expire Dec. 17 -- be extended for another eight years. The DNC is also asking the court to block any coordination between Trump and the RNC as it relates to Election Day poll monitoring activities that many fear will amount to voter intimidation.