Tuesday, July 29, 2008
State GOP chairman claims voter fraud prevalent, organized
The delegate cited one incident; three people also have been accused of making up names.
RICHMOND -- The chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia called on top state officials Monday to investigate "what appears to be coordinated and widespread voter fraud" committed by people attempting to register new voters in the state.
Del. Jeff Frederick, R-Prince William County, said last week's arrests of three people involved in a voter registration effort in Hampton are indicative of "a troubling trend" in Virginia. The three canvassers, who range in age from 18 to 22, are accused of making up names in order to meet quotas for the nonprofit organization that hired them. They worked for the Community Voters Project, which discovered the alleged fraud during a check of forms submitted by the canvassers.
Frederick offered little evidence to support his claim that such incidents are widespread, citing only a single incident in which a Richmond woman asserted that her address and telephone number had been used without her consent to complete a new voter registration card. But Frederick said that Gov. Tim Kaine and Attorney General Bob McDonnell should investigate the matter.
Spokespeople for Kaine and McDonnell said that incidents such as the one in Hampton fall under the jurisdiction of local authorities.
Frederick's complaint comes at a time when Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is making an aggressive effort to register new voters in Virginia. Third-party organizations also have registration drives under way.
Frederick insisted that he is not trying to undermine legitimate registration efforts. But, he said, "the citizens of Virginia need to be aware of groups coming into Virginia and attempting to fraudulently impact our elections."
State Democratic Party spokesman Jared Leopold questioned Frederick's motives and accused the GOP chairman of "trying to discourage legitimate attempts to register voters."
"I don't see any evidence of what Mr. Frederick is calling a widespread, statewide problem," Leopold said.