Here's What Vote Fraud Really Looks Like
California Republican Party's sponsorship of the firm YPM is an voter fraud oak tree compared to the innocent ACORN.
Extensive national media coverage of alleged voter registration fraud by ACORN has fanned fears of "voter fraud" by Democratic forces. Given this fact, it's more than a little remarkable that the media has not seen fit to present more balanced coverage. The media could easily do so by reporting, at the same level as ACORN, the far more serious, documented and provable story of election fraud by Young Political Majors, LLC (YPM). YPM's owner Mark Jacoby was recently arrested in California on two felony counts of voter registration fraud and two counts of perjury, as reported in the LA Times October 20. But these 4 charges are the tip of the YPM iceberg. The omission of YPM from the national debate is helping to set the general election on a course of confusion and disfranchisement -- consistent with YPM's undisputed record of disfranchising voters in primary elections earlier this year. As with the case of Tiffany Hofstetter, YPM's activities even include wholesale forgeries of real voters' registration affidavits, that results in them losing their right to vote.
Unlike ACORN's issues (which are almost exclusively the rejection of submitted registration applications that never actually make it onto voter rolls), YPMs frauds are not scrutinized, remain on the rolls, and are therefore far more serious. YPM also differs from ACORN in the following other respects:
(1) YPM usually works directly for the Republican Party, usually in late summer and fall after the primaries are over, even though its main activity seems to be switching Democrats and Independents to Republican status;
(2) The California Republican party admits it knew of YPM's sordid history of alleged fraudulent practices when it hired them, which is available on the internet;
(3) YPM's un-scrutinized frauds continue to impact the voting rights of perfectly legal voters, limiting the ability of Democrats to Get Out the Vote of their own supporters.
(4) YPM in California has twice as many registrations accepted (70,000+) as ACORN has merely submitted (39,570 in California)
(5) YPMs registrations still affect the registration rolls, erroneously listing some voters as absentee who are not, changing addresses, and altering party statistics which influences fundraising for candidates, whether districts are considered "competitive" and influencing what election results mean or whether they are considered suspicious.
(6) They will suppress voter turnout, both by limiting GOTV and creating confusion and longer lines.
(7) They will create misleadingly positive election results for Republicans in early returns, because altered registrations will often force voters to vote provisionally, which votes are counted much later, if at all, depending on a later investigation of registration status;
(8) All of these effects will be repeated for tens of thousands of Democratic voters in every state YPM's been involved in.
(9) Various samples of YPM voter registrations affidavits by both media organizations and local political parties show that somewhere between 41% and 95% of YPM/CRP registrations are fraudulent (the voter never intentionally authorized the changes). This means either those voters are guilty of perjury about what party they are in AFTER THE PRIMARIES ARE OVER, or else YPM is engaged in massive perjury and/or subornation of perjury, with thousands of potential counts of criminal wrongdoing, and has some other motive besides simply changing party registration.
(10) The Registrar claims they sent confirmation postcards for registration changes as required by law to all the voters, but hundreds of voters interviewed by numerous local media outlets are all shocked and surprised to hear of the changes. Can these hundreds of voters really all be forgetting or lying about not receiving these confirmation cards?
(11) In California alone, to give just one example, YPM's been active since at least September 2006, since that was the month that YPM completely fabricated and forged the registration of Tiffany H., changing her party, falsifying everything but her birth date, name and street address (but inexplicably adding an apartment number where there was only a residential home), resulting in the actual denial of her right to vote at all in two Democratic primaries in 2008. See http://robinlynne.us/YPM_Forgery.html
(12) In 2008, in Los Angeles County alone, YPM checked out 24,000 registration affidavits in 2008, but returned only around 9,000 numbered registration forms (that 9,000, in turn, became part of the 70,000 YPM CA registrations overall). Which dumpster did the remaining 15,000 registrations ended up in? Were they filled out? We have no answers to the missing 15,000 YPM registrations.
The official and media excuses for inaction to date are based on (1) the false assumption that ONLY political parties were changed, and (2) the false conclusion that nothing in the generally election is affected, even if people were actually disfranchised in the primary elections, and (3) a misguided, and false, "blame the voter" mentality that is a deeply ingrained part of election officials' culture.
The first claim is false, because even based on existing media coverage to date, YPM's activities go well beyond the petition "bait and switch," slamming of voters into the Republican Party covered by the LA Times and other media outlets. This coverage also includes false registration changes into absentee voter status, false address changes, and others. Moreover, letters to and from the Registrar's office as early as August 20, 2008 establish that the Registrar's office knew that YPM's frauds included wholesale forgeries of real voters' applications that have caused real voters, like Tiffany H., to be denied the right to vote in California primary elections in 2008. See http://robinlynne.us/YPM_Forgery_Registrar1.html
Instead, in an apparent attempt to deter further investigation, the CRP has filed complaints with the US Attorney's office and some state authorities, claiming that the reward offered for information leading to Jacoby's arrest was "intimidation" and harassment. Yet, around the same time, the CRP itself offered a $500 reward for information relating to allegedly stolen republican political signs. National Republicans, state Republicans, SOS Bowen, and even O'Reilly are all on record claiming they will investigate fraud no matter where it comes from. See,e.g., http://republicanwhip.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=104639
So what gives here? Even assuming the fraud was limited to slamming, why in the world would the CRP pay so much money to switch party registrations after the primary? Timelines from the stories about YPM in 2004, 2006 and 2008 always show them most active in slamming after the primary, usually in the fall. Why change party registrations mostly in the fall, after the primaries? Jeb Bush himself called this "Bizarre."
The answers relate to how slamming does indeed impact the general election, not just the primary election (where it disfranchises completely). Although most victims of YPM will probably be able to vote (provided they were only "slammed" into being Republicans) it's very likely some will be disfranchised. Some, like Tiffany H, had their address changed enough for them not to get their mail (or show up at the wrong precinct), others may receive an absentee ballot and think nothing of it, then show up at the polls and be marked as having already received a ballot, and be forced to vote provisionally and have their votes be counted late. Others will show up at the wrong precinct because of change of address, and not have ID that matches, causing confusion.
Perhaps most important of all, there are probably thousands of unwitting victims in LA are listed under the wrong party, inflating Republican registrations and distorting the evaluation of election results both for their meaning and whether or not they are fraudulent or irregular, and preventing the proper political parties from mobilizing their own voter-members to the polls. Chaos is the best friend of lowered voter turnout, and a good friend of fraud as well.
Perhaps worst of all, the publicized wrongdoing on initiative gathering and voter registration is the best friend of further (good faith) efforts to reform the system that only make it harder to register to vote, harder to vote, and harder to organize initiatives and referendums. Thus, even the response of good faith reform-minded citizens helps suppress the vote, and helps suppress democracy. Can you see any other reason Republicans spend so much money on slamming party registrations in the fall?
The most likely responses and remedies to these frauds - tighter laws on initiative gatherers and voter registration drives, just play into the hands of the Republican agenda for tighter controls on voting. Perhaps that proves that CRP Spokesperson Hector Barajas was telling the truth all along when he said to the Press-Enterprise on October 21 that the party knew about YPMs history before hiring them, and also stated to the Press-Enterprise, even after 4 felony counts against YPM's owner, that he was unsure whether or not they'd hire YPM again next year.
From my perspective, whether or not the CRP gets their money's worth depends greatly on how you and I react to this.
Instead of over-reacting with "reform" lots of people should be looking at prison time. Starting with the nine registered as having worked with YPM in LA County alone. But so far, even victims of YPM crimes can't get LA County Registrar to send them the attachments to letters to the DA that the victims are cc'd on, that would identify more information regarding YPM. "It's just one person's" right to vote - no big deal for these election officials. But that means you and I aren't any big deal to them either.
With the above in mind, and because the evidence in fact is voluminous enough, a special website is being set up to house a chronology, evidentiary source documents and other links that go beyond what one article like this can contain. See http://robinlynne.us/YPM_Forgery.html It backs up all the central facts stated herein. It should be fuel enough for a thousand blogger, even if the mainstream media refuses to do its job. And it will help explain why chaos, in elections, is not always just an accident.
Whatever threat, if any, presented by ACORN has been checked and balanced by scrutiny and publicity. The opposite is the case with YPM, whose problems, both reported and unreported, continue to impact our elections. This will still be an issue after the election. As Abraham Lincoln said, "What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself." We can let the media know, election officials know, and our fellow citizens know that we can, together, give this skunk the publicity it deserves, without giving them the over-reaction it seems they want.
Lehto is a former consumer fraud and election law
attorney for over a