Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Voter Fraud in Nashville

I heard just a snip of Phil Valentine's radio program while in the car Friday where voter fraud in Davidson County was being outed. I didn't catch it all but thankfully Inoculated did and provides the details. Read it all and when you go in to vote, don't be shy about noticing what's going on around you. Here's a bit of Inoculated's very detailed coverage.

[Davidson County Election Commissioner Lynn Greer] informed Phil and his listeners that earlier today, someone was bringing in vanloads of non-English-speaking Mexicans with no identification to one of the Nashville early voting locations. Along with the non-English speaking individuals came a bilingual woman to act as their interpreter. She informed the election personnel that she would accompany the voters into the booth, read the ballot for them, and insure that their vote was cast for the candidates of their choice.
The Davidson County Election Commission said you have to understand/speak/read English to be a citizen. Since they couldn't, they couldn't vote.
However, someone prevailed upon Mr. Barrett to call the state in order to verify the Commission's decision. Brook Thompson, the Tennessee State Election Coordinator, then ordered Mr. Barrett and the Davidson County Election Commission to allow these non-English-speaking individuals to vote through their bilingual interpreter despite their lack of any sort of identification and total unfamiliarity with the English language.
I'd like to know which voting locations, who this woman is, who arranged the van loads of 'voters' and why the local media hasn't picked up on this. Considering the upcoming English as our official language vote in January, the requirement that legal immigrants know English and the massive voter fraud that is going on around the nation...what's not to like about expending pixels and ink on this story?

I'd also like to know what the Davidson County Election Commission is currently doing to ensure the honesty of our election.

Hat Tip: Bill Hobbs who is exactly right when he writes:
"Voters of Tennessee can put an end to the Democrats' reign of error by electing more Republicans to the state legislature. How many more? Republicans currently hold 16 Senate seats and 46 House seats, a total of 62 seats. It takes 67 to take over the State Election Commission."
The Democrats stole the election from their own Sen. Rosalind Kurita despite her having the people's vote and they were a party to enabling these shenanigans in Davidson County. They don't need to remain in control of our election process.


N.S. Allen said...

1. There is no proof of "massive voter fraud...around the nation." There have been widespread reports of voter registration fraud, yes, with registration forms being submitted that were clearly invalid, but virtually no non-partisan source has concluded that this constitutes a real risk of actual voter fraud.

2. Needless to say, I'm skeptical about this story. All the reports that a Google search on the topic nets me are just blog reports going off of the original radio show or the original posting. If any legitimate, non-partisan media source has picked up on the story, it's been buried underneath all of the partisans blabbing about it.

And Lynn Greer himself, of course, is a Republican with an apparent history of making dramatic accusations of voter fraud or the potential for it. He was complaining about the voter rolls in 2004, for example. Either way, he's not exactly a non-partisan voice.

So, I'll wait until someone with an interest in actually getting to the bottom of things, rather than someone with an interest in partisan outrage, does some investigation, before I say that something did or did not happen or that someone did or did not do wrong.

3. In a broader sense, I am curious as to what will come out of all of these accusations of voter fraud that we're hearing. I mean, Republicans come out every election year with horror stories about how there's going to be massive voter fraud, always adding that this means we need to throw in some new requirements to make sure that the election's integrity is protected. And those new requirements always, oh-so-coincidentally, happen to make it harder for poor minorities, an overwhelmingly Democratic demographic, to vote. That's a standard feature of national elections.

This year, however, above and beyond the accusations of voter roll errors, lax ID requirements, and all that, we have the ACORN thing. And, as I said above, no one except Republican partisans seems to be taking that seriously, because it simply presents no believable potential for voter fraud.

I'm curious to see, then, whether the ACORN thing turns out to be an excuse for Republicans to pretend than an Obama presidency is illegitimate, when and if he wins the election. I think that, after 2000 and 2004, we might just see a cycle in which the losing side every four years immediately gropes for an excuse to call the winning side cheaters.

Needless to say, that wouldn't be good for democracy. It would undermine confidence in the election system and make any legimitate accusations of voter fraud appear immediately suspect.

Buckley said...

I'm skeptical, too. Why has no one besides conservative talk radio covered this? And, if a coordinated effort, why would this happen in Tennessee, where no one in his or her right mind thinks Obama will win? It makes no sense, unless someone just wants to stir things up and make Dems and non-English speakers look bad.

despite their lack of any sort of identification

On Valentine's show Lynn Greer said they did indeed have ID. They have to have some sort of ID- either picture or with a signature and an address- to vote. Remember that big book of our names and signatures we have to sign before we vote? If this is as blatantly fraudulent as people claim, how did they get past this book? No retelling of this story ever explains that.

Except for "they can't speak English," some details of this story do seem to change with the teller. And isn't that convenient as we gear up for a vote about government doing business in English?

If this is true, it's shameful. But aside from people who heard it from other people who heard it from other people, there is no actual evidence of these claims.

William said...

I can't believe anyone is really dumb enough to believe anything Phil Valentine says.

Kay Brooks said...

1. I consider intentional voter registration fraud to equal voter fraud.

2. There are no non-partisan voices in this process so you can't wave aside Greer's testimony with that.

3. Dems have never complained about voting irregularities? THAT's hard to swallow.

4. And just who would be that person wanting to get to the bottom of things that would satisfy you as having standing?

5. I can't believe any adult is so lacking in debate skills all they can do is use a junior high tactic like "dumb enough to believe Phil Valentine".

N.S. Allen said...

1. And, if you want to define voter fraud as "any form of fraud related to the election process," you're probably right. If you want to define voter fraud as "a form of fraud related to the election process that results in illegitimate votes being cast," you're almost certainly wrong.

It's quibbling over semantics, to some extent, but my basic point is this: obviously, if someone registers me to vote a million times or registers a Starbucks to vote, so that their registration group gets some more cash, that sucks. It's wrong, and it makes the lives of the people handling voter registration harder. But I'm not going to get to cast a million votes, either way, and my friend Starbucks Johnson isn't getting in the voting booth at all.

So, while we should be concerned that our voter registration system has some serious flaws in it, we shouldn't be worried that those flaws are going to result in the outcome of the election being changed whatsoever. There's simply no reason to believe that bad registration forms = bad votes.

2 and 4. Primarily, I mean the state and local news media. Obviously, it's unlikely that we'll find anyone directly involved who doesn't have a strong opinion about the election. As such, it's unlikely that we'll find anyone involved who can be accounted, prior to a more detailed study of everyone's story, trustworthy. But, once everyone's account is out in the open, hopefully, at least, the real facts will begin to become clear.

Of course, if you mean that it's literally impossible for anyone who comes into contact with the story to consider it from a non-partisan perspective, that absolutely everyone who considers it or reports on it can be accounted as biased, then, frankly, we can't hope to ever say that this will be proven or disproven.

Beyond that, the fact that Lynn Greer decided to bring this story immediately to Phil Valentine, rather than to some non-partisan news source, undermines his credibility, whatever you think of Mr. Valentine. For instance, if I were to discover a blatant attempt at vote suppression by Republicans, it wouldn't be in my best interest to try to get the word out on DailyKos. That would suggest that I'm more interested in raising partisan ire than in presenting a truly troubling incident - if I was confident that what I was saying was true, why wouldn't I go to the non-partisan media?

Certainly, if, as Greer seems to be alleging, Democrats allowed a van-load of "non-citizens" to vote, that's a big story. If it's true, it's not just news for conservatives. It's news for Tennesseans as a whole. So why did Mr. Greer go to Phil Valentine and not to a non-partisan news source?

3. Of course Dems have complained about voter irregularities. When legitimate voter irregularities exist, they should be complained about. But, on the other hand, we should expect a reasonable amount of evidence from either side, when they raise these complaints.

And the fact of the matter is that after, say, Florida in 2000, when the partisan fight was over and Bush was getting ready to enter office, it was confirmed that there had been serious voter irregularities.

Now, in this case, the allegations are much clearer. They're not a matter of confusing technicalities about exact regulations for ballots or absentee votes or anything else. Lynn Greer alleges that a vanload worth of illegal voters got the state to steamroll them into voting booth. That should be easy to prove.

So where's the legitimate, non-partisan corroboration?

N.S. Allen said...

As an addendum, I did another Google search on the topic. Again, at least as far back as I went, no non-partisan reports on the allegation.

There were conservative blogs talking about it, liberal blogs talking about it, but nothing on the topic from off the blogs.

Buckley said...

Inoculated has updated his blog and sheds some light on the story. He relays the following:

Friday, 10/24/08, 4:02 AM: In addition to the commenters below, several other bloggers with links to this post are attempting to shed some welcome light on this controversial event.

Steve Owens, of Pax Parabellum, emailed me privately to let me know that he had spoken by phone with Ray Barrett, Davidson County Administrator of Elections. He reports what he learned on his blog in Tennessee Voting Shenanigans? Perhaps Not.
On the matter of the "vanload(s)" of immigrants voting... Mr. Barrett cleared that up as well. It seems that the TRUE story, which Mr. Barrett states Lynn Greer will corroborate, is that a Cuban couple came into an early voting center, already properly registered to vote, and requested assistance voting as neither one spoke English well. Mr. Barrett lamented the tendency of the media to pick up a story and run with it before getting all the facts. He stated that both he and Mr. Greer had been out in the early voting centers for several days making sure everything was being done according to the rules.

After all the instances being reported where people are trying to nullify or outright steal our votes, I am gratified that we really do have officials in government making sure our votes count as we cast them. After speaking with Mr. Barrett and his staff I get a real sense that we have such a person here in Nashville.

Kay Brooks said...

Thanks for the update, Teach. Appreciate it.

N.S. Allen said...

Wait, so how did a legitimately registered, Cuban couple who requested help voting turn into a van-load of non-citizens being escorted by a translator who insisted that she would be the one to help each of them vote?

Unless Inoculated's account of the Greer call is incredibly, incredibly wrong, this would seem to suggest that Mr. Greer was either deliberately lying or was dramatically misinformed, in which case he should have been checking his facts, rather than running to Phil Valentine.

Inoculate128 said...

Saturday, 10/25/08, 2:15 AM: I have just sent the following email to Davidson County Election Commissioner Lynn Greer:

Dear Mr. Greer:

I'm a retired veterinarian and sometime blogger. I live in Lebanon and
therefore vote in Wilson County, so I have no dog in this fight.

Last Friday, 10/17/08, I was listening to the Phil Valentine Show when
you called in. I listened to your call, and the others which it
triggered, with considerable interest.

A few hours later, I wrote up this blog post
from memory since, unfortunately, I had not made an audio recording
of the program.

My post attracted considerable interest, including links from UT law
professor Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit, Bill Hobbs' HobbsOnline, Kay
Brooks, Donald Sensings' Sense of Events, Free Republic,, and several other popular blogs and websites.

There has even been international interest. One British blogger who
writes under the nom de plume Not a Sheep, linked to the story and
left a comment under it.

Wednesday morning, 10/22/08, I emailed Phil (whom I do not know and
have never met), advised him of what I had done and the degree of
interest it had engendered, and asked him to check the post for
correctness. Within a few hours, he wrote back to let me know that he
had read the post and found it to be entirely accurate to the best of
his recollection, except that he thought that the State Election
Coordinator's first name was spelled "Brooks." I verified through the
Tennessee Blue Book that his name is, indeed, spelled "Brook."

Most of the reaction to the post has ranged from support to outrage.
For instance, Donald Sensing pointed out that such actions are
entirely consistent with the Democrat Party Platform. He linked to it
in this post,
and drew particular attention to the phrase "we oppose laws that
require identification in order to vote or register to vote."

However, there have been a few skeptics. One blogger, Steve Owens, of
Pax Parabellum, emailed me privately to let me know that he had spoken
by phone with Ray Barrett. He then wrote up what he had learned in
this post:
In it, he states: "It seems that the TRUE story, which Mr. Barrett
states Lynn Greer will corroborate, is that a Cuban couple came into
an early voting center, already properly registered to vote, and
requested assistance voting as neither one spoke English well."

Another, Ned Williams, of WisdomIsVindicated, apparently has some
inside contacts at the Election Commission. After discussing the
situation with them, he posted this:

Two commenters, N.S. Allen and Nashteach, left thoughtful, serious
comments on Kay Brooks' blog following this post:
Nashteach also visited my blog and left a similar comment there. Kay
has attempted to reply to their comments as best she could with the
information available to her.

I have emailed Phil and asked him if there is any way he could post
the audio of the four calls --- yours and the three related ones which
followed --- on either his website or YouTube so that those who were
not listening to the broadcast could hear the calls for themselves. So
far, he has not responded.

Please read the blog posts I have linked in this email, including the
comments, then send me your response. I'd like to know whether, in
your opinion, my recap of your call was correct, and if not, why not.
Steve Owens would like to know if you will, in fact, corroborate Ray
Barrett's explanation of what happened last Friday. N.S. Allen and
Nashteach would like answers to the points they have raised.

Finally, I have a question of my own, which you may or may not be in a
position to answer. Specifically, what could be the point of all this?
It is a foregone conclusion that the Democrats are going to carry
Nashville/Davidson County, so what motivation would the Democrats have
for cheating in this election when they are going to win it anyway?
Conversely, what motivation would you have for calling in to Phil
Valentine as you did if your account of events were inaccurate, when
it would make absolutely no difference in the ultimate outcome even if
it were conclusively proven to be 100% true?

I am posting this message to my blog, and also cross-posting it as a
comment to Kay Brooks' post. With your permission, I would like to
post your reply, so that all of those who are following this story can
have the opportunity to read your side of it in your own words.

Thank you in advance for your attention, and thanks also for your many
years of dedicated public service.


Provided he grants permission to do so, I will post whatever reply I receive from Mr. Greer. Should he reply, but withhold permission to post his words, I will paraphrase the content of his message. If I receive no response after several days, I'll let you know.

Cross-posted to my Vote Fraud in Nashville – UPDATED AND BUMPED post.

Buckley said...

Thanks, inoculate128.

Let me add that my recollection is that Valentine was providing most of the details of what he'd heard and Greer was either confirming or revising specific details. I recall that this "event" had been discussed on the Valentine show prior to the day Greer's call was taken. I had pulled into my driveway and sat there because I wanted to hear the call. As I said, Valentine did most of the talking. My recollection is that Greer confirmed they had IDs when asked by Valentine. He also confirmed that there was an issue with a translator, that Mr. Barrett called Mr. Thompson and that he told Barrett to let them vote. Greer may have conveyed Thompson's response to the issue of the translator, but I don't remember the specific answer. (I didn't listen to Thompson's call.)

But my feeling, even at the time, was that Valentine was pushing the story and Greer was was confirming or "editing" certain aspects, namely the ones that did turn out to be accurate. I don't believe Mr. Greer lied; he just didn't correct some of the gossip Valentine was relaying.

Buckley said...

namely the ones that did turn out to be accurate.

Assuming Owens' call from Barrett is accurate, of course.