‘Voter Integrity Project’ Claims 30,000 Dead Voters Registered In North Carolina

Tea Party spawned, right-wing group fails to uncover voter fraud. ‘Dead voters come forward to resurrect their voting rights! 

Yet another right-wing, Tea Party affiliated group has leveled unproven charges of ‘voter fraud.’ This time in North Carolina, a key 2012 battleground state in the Presidential Election. While zero cases of voter fraud have–thus far–been uncovered and, news reports and state voter registration officials have discredited the methodology used by this right-wing group, ‘The Voter Integrity Project’ is persisting in its voter intimidation efforts. They have used highly suspect methods and statistical anomalies to claim nearly 30,000 dead people are registered to vote in North Carolina. In 2008, President Obama won the state’s 15 Electoral Votes in 2008 by 14,000 votes out of 4.3 million votes cast in the state.

As reported September 6th by Kelly Poe of newsobserver.com and then reported by charlotteobserver.com, the Internet site for “The Charlotte Observer” newspaper, “the Voter Integrity Project has no evidence of any ballots cast in [the names of the 30,000 ‘dead voters’]”

The Voter Integrity Project compiled the list after obtaining death records from the state Department of Public Health from 2002 to March 31 and comparing them to the voter rolls. “Mainly, what we’re concerned about is the potential [for fraud],” said project director Jay DeLancy. “Since there is no voter ID law in North Carolina, anybody can walk in and claim to be anyone else.”

DeLancy said his group has found evidence to suggest voter fraud in these numbers, but will not quantify how much until he is able to do more analysis. Most cases of what look like a dead person voting are likely just administrative errors, such as a son named Junior voting in his father’s name instead of his own.

The rolls of registered voters are updated every month when the state Department of Health and Human Services gives a list of all death certificates received that month to the state Board of Elections.

More details are being uncovered about this shadowy, right-wing group. As reported by Rachel Maddow, Thursday on MSNBC, so far dozens of the ‘ dead voters’ named by VIP have miraculously have shown up to resurrect their voting rights! State election officials have already investigated the claims and—after hundreds of man-hours of combing records—have reduced the number of ‘suspected dead voters’ to 4,946 while uncovering not a single instance of any ‘dead voters’ casting ballots in previous elections. As a result of these efforts–for example–in Wake County, N.C., letters were sent out to 148 of these supposedly deceased American voters and—thus far—42 have already come ‘back-from-the-grave’ to prove they are indeed alive!

A report from mediamatters.org has challenged The Charlotte Observer’s reporting of this story and the unsubstantiated claims of the V.I.P., citing that:

The paper, which cut its full-time statehouse reporting staff earlier this year, relied on an article published a week earlier in Raleigh’s News & Observer to inform its readers on the efforts of the Voter Integrity Project of NC (VIP-NC) to challenge the status of thousands of North Carolina voters. 

The Charlotte Observer did not print the Raleigh report in full, however, and omitted significant details about the group’s faulty tactics and failed to provide broader context about the issue of voter fraud. On top of this, both papers have neglected to identify the connection between VIP-NC and True the Vote, a national Tea Party-affiliated organization formed to fear-monger about voter fraud.

More and more, as the 2012 Presidential Election nears, we are seeing groups such as True The Vote and other right-wing, Tea Party inspired groups try to restrict voting by largely Democratic leaning demographic groups; students, minorities, the poor and elderly…in an effort to swing the general election to the Romney/Ryan Republican ticket as well as influence the down-ballot races. Their tactics have included promoting Voter Photo ID Laws, restricting voter registration, eliminating or shortening early voting access and outright voter intimidation.

At the same time they have conducted their efforts marked by very shady business practices, funded by secretive right-wing donors. In its report, “Media Matters” reported several discrepancies and profiled the V.I.P. Director, Jay DeLancy, citing:

In addition to these omissions in The Charlotte Observer‘s piece, both the Charlotte paper and the Raleigh News & Observer have failed to illustrate the connection between VIP-NC and True the Vote, a national Tea Party-affiliated organization dedicated to trumping up voter fraud claims and tout voter ID laws. True the Vote has ties to the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, several Tea Party groups, and other right-wing organizations. True the Vote’s parent organization, the King Street Patriots, helped place hundreds of white poll watchers in minority neighborhoods in 2010, and the group was accused of voter intimidation.

The New York Times reported on True the Vote’s connections to VIP-NC, and noted that VIP-NC eventually split from True the Vote in order to more aggressively pursue challenges against immigrants — a tactic even True the Vote distanced itself from. (DeLancy’s comments to the Times also served as an inadvertent admission that voter fraud is extremely rare — by comparing it to the Holy Grail, a mythical object and commonly-used metaphor for rare or unobtainable goals).

A similar ‘Voter Integrity Project’ has also shown up in Ohio and has made even more outlandish claims of voter registration fraud, challenging hundreds of thousands of voter registrations. As reported previously, these groups–like ‘True The Vote’ and ‘King Street Patriots’–only began to show up and make these wild claims of voter fraud beginning with the 2008 election of Barack Obama, our first African-American president. A coincidence? You do the math and follow the money and the political leanings and statements made by these people and then decide for yourself.

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