"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Don't Bother Me With The Facts II

An analysis recently completed by consultants hired by the GOP found thousands of cases where people in New Jersey apparently voted more than once, or voted posthumously in the 2004 election. The Republicans have forwarded the study to State's Attorney General Peter Harvey, asking for an investigation before Oct. 11, the last day New Jerseyans can register to vote before the Nov. 8 election. Key findings of the study may be read here.

Tom Wilson, New Jersey State Chairman of the Republican Party said sloppy record-keeping cannot explain all of the irregularities the analysts found. "Clearly, if you're dead, you didn't vote," explaining such findings suggest voter fraud.

Wilson said the analysis did not include voter party affiliations to ensure impartiality for possible use in court and declined to release the names of those who cast questionable ballots, explaining there could be criminal charges.

Democratic spokesman Richard McGrath said: "If the Republican Party conducted the investigation, it's safe to assume that the facts and figures are wrong and the findings are suspect. If an investigation is needed, it should be done the right way, not the Republican way."

McGrath must be confused. Republicans paid for an analysis of New Jersey’s voter roles, found thousands of voter irregularities and turned all of the data over to Attorney General Peter Harvey, a Democrat, for an investigation.

The Republicans are incapable of taking anyone off voter registration lists and are powerless to enforce or root out voter irregularities. They must rely on the State’s Attorney General to take action or they must sue in court. The Attorney General’s office or the court may then find the analysis accurate and take appropriate steps to clean up the voter roles and prosecute voter fraud or the study will be rejected as flawed and inaccurate.

Not everyone sees it that way. Here’s journalist and blogger Steve Hart’s take on the voting irregularities uncovered by the Republican analysis:
When Karl Rove slithered through New Jersey a few months back, he must have made a big impression on the state's Republican Party reptiles. In particular, he must have coached them on the party's formula for democracy, post-2000 style: If you can't win the vote, keep people from counting the ballots, raise a big cloud of dust and send in your lawyers.

But this con ain't gonna fly. What gives the game away is the party's refusal to release its findings to the press.
The idea of being able to vote only if eligible, once per election and not after death apparently doesn’t comport with Hart’s concept of democracy. Sorry Steve, we’ll bet most people are with us on this one, even if you throw in the name Karl Rove and call Republicans reptiles. Voters, regardless of party, want fair elections and don’t approve of people committing voter fraud.

Hart says Republicans are perpetrating a con because if their allegations were true they’d turn over their finding to the press. That’s an odd statement, because Hart, along with everyone else, learned of the findings in the press.

We assume Hart means the press has not been provided with the list of the people voting more than once or posthumously. Why is it unusual for people to turn over evidence of a crime to the law? Most folks prefer criminal investigations to be conducted by the proper authorities and for trials to be conducted in the courts, not by or in the press.

The State’s Attorney General is responsible for clearing up voter registration lists and if he isn’t doing his job, he should be forced to comply with the laws that help to ensure clean and fair elections. We support the counting of all votes; we just prefer all the votes counted to be legal. Is this a partisan or controversial notion? Curious isn’t it that the Democratic Party and Steve Hart see it that way? We have to ask the question, why? The answer seems obvious to us, but we’ll let our friends on the other side of the aisle speak for themselves.

Maybe the Democrat and former Governor, Brendan Byrne can shed some light of the issue:
Former Gov. Brendan Byrne likes to poke fun at Hudson County by joking that when he dies, he will be buried in Jersey City so that he can remain active in politics. But Republicans this week released a study that found dead people were voting all over the state, and that Hudson County was not the worst offender. Bergen County had the most dead voters, while Hudson was tied for fifth place with Morris.

The news hit Byrne hard. But he's not changing his burial plans just yet.

"We've got to do more to stimulate interest in politics among dead people in Hudson County," he tells the Auditor.
In other election news: Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg asked a judge to allow her to seek Byron Baer's state Senate seat without forfeiting her Assembly seat.
The move comes after the Bergen County Clerk's Office said the Teaneck Democrat could not be nominated for two elected positions at once - her own Assembly seat, for which she won the Democratic primary in June, and Baer's vacated Senate seat, which will be filled in a special party election Thursday night.

In the election last week, former Assemblyman and Hackensack Police Chief Ken Zisa beat Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck, by a single vote, 112-111, to be on the November ballot.

But Weinberg will ask a judge this week to count five unopened ballots from Tenafly that were disqualified by U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn, who was called in by Weinberg and Zisa to resolve the dispute.

Rothman threw the ballots out because the voters' names were not forwarded to the Bergen County Democratic Organization until Wednesday, the day before the special election.

Rothman also threw out two ballots from Bergenfield because he believed they were cast by voters who illegally replaced two other members.

The ballots, if approved, could change the outcome of the election.
These are the shenanigans that go on amongst Democrats …

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