Arriving just in time for the Nov. 8 elections is a “report” whose cover features a 1950s-style flying saucer approaching bucolic Virginia. The report is making its rounds in the state blogosphere.
Titled “Alien Invasion of Virginia, the Discovery and Coverup of Noncitizen Registration and Voting,” the report by two-right wing groups claims that a spot check of records in several Virginia voting districts reveals 1,046 people who were not U.S. citizens but were registered to vote.
It claims that 200 ballots were cast before they could be removed from voting rolls. The localities involved are Prince William, Loudoun, Stafford, Bedford, Hanover and Roanoke counties and the cities of Alexandria and Fairfax.
The report is the work of the so-called Public Interest Legal Foundation and the Virginia Voters Alliance, which complain that there is no formal program to root out voter registrations of non-U.S. citizens. Such registrants could be charged with perjury.
Apparently, the two “public interest” groups hounded voting registrars to review voting documents in which the registrant checks a box as to whether he or she is a U.S. citizen or not. In some cases, the applicant apparently checked “no” but was allowed to register to voter.
In other cases, the registrant’s voting status was declared “cancelled” later because either voting officials discovered that the applicant was not a citizen or the applicant called in to say he or she wasn’t.
For months, conservative Virginia legislators, such as House Speaker William Howell (R-Stafford), and their supporters have been trying to find evidence of massive fraud that they insist exists. They have pushed voter-identification measures, claiming they are critically needed.
Until now, however, hard evidence of fraud hasn’t materialized, other than a case of 19 deceased persons allegedly being registered by a James Madison University student.
Now, we have the aliens from outer space report. It is already being cited as a big cause for alarm.
Wrote one conservative Virginia blogger: “The implications of this report are so earth-shaking — remember that Attorney General Mark Herring defeated Mark Obenshain by only 165 votes out of 2.2 million cast — that even a somnambulant mainstream media cannot ignore it.”
I scrolled through the report, noting that very few of the surnames seem to be of Anglo-Saxon origin; they are Hispanic or Muslim. The two voting fraud groups included everyone’s name, address and telephone number.
I noticed one man on the list seemed to be a U.S. soldier because one of his addresses seemed to be near Fort Belvoir and he also had listed an A.P.O. (Army Post Office) number.
I scrolled down to Valeria I. Oropeza of Woodbridge. She had registered to vote on Dec. 4, 2012, and in 2015 signed an affidavit that she was a U.S. citizen.
A handwritten note at the bottom of her file reflected that her registration had been canceled on Oct. 29, 2015, because she was a non-citizen.
Since her number was listed, I telephoned Oropeza, who said that she was registered to vote and that she had been a U.S. citizen since 2008. She had no explanation why her name was in the report.
I checked more into the Public Interest Legal Foundation and found that its leader was J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department lawyer who is author of a book titled: “Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department.”
Voter registration has been a major issue this election year across the country. In Virginia, it drew attention because Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, tried to used his executive authority to restore voting rights to 206,000 convicted felons who had served their sentences. Critics claimed he did so to help the chances of Democrats in this year’s races, notably those of Hillary Clinton and her running mate Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginian.
Now, we have the aliens from outer space report. It does make seem to make a valid point that merely checking boxes and scribbling addenda is sloppy.
But even if all 1,046 cases the groups claim are valid, they do not make their point, given that more than 2 million Virginians tend to vote in elections. That’s hardly massive voting fraud.
Peter Galuszka is a regular contributor to All Opinions Are Local.