On Tuesday, a Los Angeles County jury convicted California State Senator Roderick D. Wright (D) of false residency voter fraud, after finding that he lied about his address on voter registration and candidacy papers.
Wright's crime was an elite form of voter fraud, which, along with almost all of the most prevalent forms of voter fraud, would not have been prevented by polling place Photo ID restriction laws.
The jury was not persuaded by Wright's claim that he resided in the Inglewood residence of his common law stepmother. Prosecutors presented extensive evidence that established that Wright resided in an "upscale Baldwin Hills neighborhood" that was outside the district. They found that, in addition to lying about his address on his voter registration and candidacy papers, he fraudulently voted in five elections.
As we have repeatedly explained, most recently in covering a recent judicial determination that Pennsylvania's Photo ID law violated that state's constitution, cases involving in-person voter impersonation by ordinary citizens --- the only type of voter fraud that can possibly be prevented by polling place Photo ID restrictions --- are about a scarce as hen's teeth. False residency, by contrast, is a form of voter fraud that has reached epidemic proportions amongst our political elites in both parties, especially, as Brad Friedman has tirelessly documented, amongst the very high-level Republicans who hypocritically call for Photo ID restrictions for everybody else.
Where millions of innocent Americans are at risk of disenfranchisement as a result of the phantom menace of in-person voter fraud, prosecutions of elite politicians for false residency voter fraud have been rare. In one of those rare instances, former Indiana Republican Secretary of State Charlie White was convicted in 2012 of three counts of felony false residency voter fraud. His conviction was particularly ironic, given that he was the chief election official in the first state in the nation to implement polling place Photo ID restrictions. Despite his felony voter fraud charges (and four others) White has not had to serve so much as a single day in jail. Wright, a Democrat, faces up to eight years in prison.
[Update 1/31/2014: Following a meeting by the Democratic caucus, California State Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg (D) announced that Wright will retain his seat pending appeal. However, the Democratic caucus, which sports a super-majority in the state Senate, removed Wright from his position as the Chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.]
Here are just a few of the cases of false residency voter fraud we've documented over recent years, by some high-profile GOPers you will be very familiar with...
Celeste Greig, the head of the California Republican Assembly, recently demonstrated that ignorance about female biology is not limited to Republican men.
But then, that should not come as a surprise. Ignorance, like intelligence, is not gender specific. Whether we deal with global climate change, so-called "intelligent design" or the mistaken belief that rape-related pregnancies are rare, the modern GOP has demonstrated that they are unwilling to let a little thing like science stand in the way of their political agenda.
For the anti-abortion crowd, the notion that rape pregnancies are rare entails what The Atlantic's Garance Franke-Ruta aptly described as the "canard that will not die." As she notes, the truth, according to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is that "among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year." Hardly a "rare" occurrence.
The issue, of course, became a central focus of the 2012 U.S. Senate campaign in Missouri when Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) advanced the idiotic notion that women are rarely impregnated during a "legitimate rape" because "the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down." The idiocy was resurrected by Greig, who on Friday, March 1, after admonishing Akin for his insensitivity, said "the percentage of pregnancies due to rape is small because it's an act of violence, because the body is traumatized."
Unfortunately, Akin wasn't the first to forward the anti-choice ruse, and Grieg, undoubtedly, will not be the last among those seeking to outlaw the right to abortion, even if it requires lying to the American public about scientific facts...
Where, in Pennsylvania, the state GOP admitted that they are not aware of so much as a single instance in which an ordinary citizen has been charged with, let alone convicted of in-person voter impersonation --- the only form of voter fraud that can be prevented by disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restriction laws --- there have been a growing number of claims that political elites have used a false residence to vote, often to insure their own elections in a district where they do not reside.
On October 2, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge ordered that "Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon [D] and his wife will face trial on 23 felony counts of perjury and voter fraud" when the couple allegedly used a false address to both vote and qualify for elective office within LA's 7th district, according to Los Angeles Times. The Alarcons claim they were simply using a second home outside the district while their other home was being renovated.
The issue of false residency voter fraud is neither novel nor limited to Democrats like Alarcon. Indeed, as Brad Friedman has tirelessly documented, the issue of false residency voter fraud amongst high-profile Republicans --- including the GOP's 2012 nominee for President of the United States --- has approached epidemic proportions.
Class, as well as party, may explain the disparity between the ability of the elites to commit false residency voter fraud with near impunity as compared to the harsh impact of Photo ID laws that address a phantom menace as applied to the most vulnerable segments of our society.
Here are just a few recent cases of false residency voter fraud by some faces you will be very familiar with. Only one of them, to date, has faced any sort of actual accountability for their election crimes...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: It's official: Worst. Fire Season. Ever.; Rep. Todd Akin is not the only anti-science Republican in the US House; More industrial farming animal abuse; China ventures into the unfrozen Arctic; PLUS: Brain-eating amoebas thriving in Oklahoma ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Record radiation found in Fukushima fish; US court strikes down new EPA pollution rules; Chevron refinery fire was 'a close call'; India blackout and the costs of air conditioning; Agriculture is a major water pollution culprit; Shell inks $1b deal to frack in China ... PLUS: Keystone XL construction begins: 'When This Oil Spills, It's 'A Whole New Monster' ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Given disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restriction laws Republicans have enacted in nearly a dozen states over the past year, you'd think there was an epidemic of Democratic "voter fraud" in this nation. That's certainly the way the GOP has framed it, fooled the corporate mainstream media into reporting it, and even scammed the White House and Congressional Democrats into going along with it when they signed legislation that defunded ACORN, a four-decade old community organization never found to have committed voter fraud, or even helped to see a single fraudulent vote cast in any election anywhere.
As it turns out, not only is there no such epidemic of Democratic voter fraud, but the opposite is true. Over the past year, very high profile Republicans --- including this year's presumed standard bearer, Mitt Romney; the Sec. of State of Indiana (the first state to institute polling place Photo ID restrictions) Charlie White; one time GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich; MO's new GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate Todd Akin; and the group hired the Sacramento, CA Republican Party to collect voter registrations this year for Rep. Dan Lungren; among others (all detailed below) --- have each been revealed as having committed or participated in election fraud --- both voter registration fraud and actual voter fraud --- in state after state.
So really, should we be surprised to learn that four aides to former long-shot GOP Presidential candidate and U.S. House Rep. Thaddeus McCotter --- Representative of the state's 11th and one of its most Republican districts --- were indicted yesterday on dozens of criminal felony and misdemeanor election fraud charges for having turned in over 1,500 forged and falsified signatures in a "blatant" and "disgraceful" attempt, as the state's Republican AG described it, to qualify the Congressman for this year's ballot?...
Today on my show on Pacifica Radio's KPFK in Los Angeles, I spent the first part on a "Republican War on Democracy" update.
The update kicked off this week with the latest details in the story of Indiana's new Republican Sec. of State Charlie White who is facing seven felony charges, three of them for voter fraud, as yesterday, the Indiana Recount Commission found (incredibly enough) that though White was registered at his ex-wife's house to vote (rather than his own) and had re-married and purchased a condominium, he actually hoped to someday move back into the ex-wife's house. Therefore, he wasn't illegally registered to vote, so he was not illegally on the ballot, so he gets to remain as Indiana's Secretary of State. So sayeth the Indiana Recount Commission.
The Democrats who filed the complaint with the commission may still decide to take the case to court where, in the meantime, White is still facing those seven felony violations. (Did I mention that three of them are related to voter fraud?)
As well, I offered a quick review of all of the other recent high-profile GOP vote fraudsters, such as Ann Coulter, Gov. Mitt Romney, Ambassador Jon Huntsman and Rep. Todd Akin, and the latest news on which states' GOP-fueled voter-suppressing polling-place Photo ID restrictions have been passed into law, and which ones have been thankfully stopped by gubernatorial vetoes.
Also, there was a remarkable statement by Ohio's new Republican Sec. of State John Husted against Photo ID disenfranchisement recently! He deserves big props for that!
In the second part of the show, I was joined by Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's energy program. He's an expert on the dangers and pitfalls of nuclear power and other fossil fuels. We discussed the unprecedented floods threatening the Fort Calhoun and Cooper nuclear plants in Nebraska; the wildfire threats to New Mexico's Los Alamos nuclear site; the woeful state of nuke plants across the country (as detailed of late in Jeff Donn of AP's remarkable investigative reports here, here, here & here); and the fact that there seems to be absolutely nobody at the federal level of our government able or willing to do a damn thing to protect the citizens from the looming and growing dangers.
My interview with Slocum (and a shot at climate change denying Rep. Steve King (R-IA)) is here:
Maddow's excellent report does not, however, delve into the recent and growing spate of high-profile GOPers who have, or appear to have committed similar felony voter fraud violations --- such as Romney's potential fellow Mormon GOP Presidential hopeful Gov. Jon Huntsman, Missouri's GOP U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin, Indiana's Republican Sec. of State Charlie White (who is currently facing 3 voter fraud-related indictments), or GOP voter fraud queen Ann Coulter.