When the reports are greatly exaggerated

If you recall a recent odds and ends post where I mentioned that the Election Integrity Maryland group was preparing to wind up its affairs, you can scratch that. The good news is that a group of people stepped forward to carry on their work so by the middle of March they should be back in full operation.

There’s a reason this group is so important: they have made it their task to clean up the state’s voter rolls. More specifically, they are looking for compliance with federal laws that say states are supposed to keep their lists up to date to lessen the possibility of voter fraud. There have been the horror stories about ineligible voters being given ballots, multiple registrations at particular addresses that aren’t even residential, and similar fraudulent schemes developed by the former ACORN group and other similar community organizations. Even if these reports are exaggerated, just one vote that’s cast illegally is enough to cancel out your legitimate one.

I agree that voting is a right and not a privilege, but there are limitations to the rights here in this nation: one must be 18 as of Election Day, not be a felon* or convicted of buying or selling votes, and must be a citizen of United States. In the past our nation had blanket prohibitions on voting based on race and on gender, but we revised our Constitution to rectify these situations. However, it is still the choice of individuals whether they want to exercise their right to vote or even to be registered – although the state of Maryland is trying to install an “opt-out” system of registration based on your trips to the MVA rather than the “opt-in” system we currently employ.

Yet shouldn’t that right come with a set of responsibilities as well, such as to inform yourself about your choices and be aware of when and where you can vote. People joke about voting in certain precincts on the Wednesday following Election Day, but to fall for that ruse proves you may not have been deserving to vote anyway.

So I’m hoping the reformed EIM has a little bit more clout and can cause people to shame local jurisdictions that won’t get with the program of shaving off bloated voter registration rolls. Everyone’s vote should count.

(* in Maryland, you don’t even have to complete your sentence to have your franchise restored, despite the fact Governor Hogan properly vetoed the bill last year. Democrats in the General Assembly overrode the veto, even getting one person to vote twice.)

Helpful aid to democracy, or invitation to fraud?

I was alerted to a bill that was pre-filed regarding automatic voter registration for Marylanders, only to find that there are actually three up for consideration this year.

SB11, introduced by Senator Roger Manno of Montgomery County, and SB19, introduced by Senator Victor Ramirez of Prince George’s County, were both requested for pre-filing over the summer. While neither has been withdrawn, it appears that the two have joined forces with SB350 and gained 18 other co-sponsors from the liberal Democratic wing of the Maryland Senate.

Currently someone who wishes to register to vote has a number of options: most can do so online, although there is the route of doing so at the state MVA. However, this is an opt-in system and apparently it’s not good enough for those backing this bill as they want it to become an “opt-out” system where would-be voters would have 21 days to notify the state board that they do not want to be registered. Obviously these Democrats are counting on people to ignore the notice and be added to the voter rolls.

Those who favor “good government” and honest elections have their concerns about “opt-out” registration, but even more troubling is a proposal in Montgomery County to allow non-citizens and 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in local school board elections. As it was passed by the county’s delegation, this proposed amendment to the Maryland Constitution will soon be introduced as legislation. The Maryland Voter Alliance has urged concerned citizens to help defeat this measure, stating that:

MC 25-16 must not be allowed to pass, as it will continue to muddy the rolls and flood the already-plagued system with additional ineligible individuals, particularly non-citizens and underage voters, which both are violations of state and federal law.

Of course, the proponents will protest that it’s only for local school board elections, but this is the camel’s nose under the tent for expanding the practice. Just imagine the uproar if we in the city of Salisbury passed a voter ID bill for city elections – you can bet your bottom dollar it would be taken to court by someone like the ACLU and groups from all over the country would become involved in our local issue. (Not that such a common-sense bill would pass our City Council or be supported by our mayor.)

Voting is a right, and I would love it if 100% of the population took the time to become informed on the issues and candidates and took the elections seriously. (If they did, I contend there wouldn’t be anyone left of center elected in the country.) But millions who are registered choose not to participate, and millions more have their reasons for not registering. If we get universal registration, what’s to stop the party in power from allocating the ballots of some of these voters who may not even be aware they are registered, casting votes in their name because they – and only they – know what’s good for them?

Yet if that doesn’t arrest the long-term decline in overall participation – a percentage that would only get worse with universal registration – the next step will be compulsory voting, with legal penalties for not participating. In other words, welcome to North Korea. I wonder who would win then? It sure wouldn’t be the supporters of limited government.

I suspect that these two pieces of legislation will be approved by the General Assembly, and it will be incumbent upon Governor Hogan to veto them. We have heard the discussion about this year being the session that lays the groundwork for the Democrats’ strategy to get “their” governor’s seat back in 2018, and one of these tactics was to make Hogan veto bills that Democrats can demagogue with certain voters. This would be one of them; however, he should still veto these bills.

WCRC meeting – February 2013

My coverage this month is going to depart from the norm because our guest speaker was someone of statewide importance. And just as we rearranged our agenda to allow him to speak after the welcoming and introductory remarks from club President Larry Dodd, I’m going to submit the highlights of what Blaine Young had to say to an expanded audience through Watchdog Wire later this week. It’s not often that we can make news in this corner of the state so I want to take advantage.

Still, we had a lot go on in this month’s meeting from more regular participants, including some surprising changes in club leadership occurring next month. Once Blaine finished with his remarks, passed out some literature and cards, and embarked on his return to Frederick, I went through the January minutes and we received the Treasurer’s Report from Deb Okerblom, who volunteered for the task in Tom Hughes’s absence.

Dave Parker gave the Central Committee report, noting that the House gun bill (HB294) will have its hearing this Friday. He told us to ignore the pro-gun control rally in Lawyer’s Mall (which, in my opinion, will get 1/5 the participation as the pro-Second Amendment rally held earlier this month but five times the media coverage) and sign up to testify – “this is serious stuff,” he warned. “Without the Second Amendment, we have no other rights.”

Other egregious bills being heard this week were ones on Election Day voter registration – “talk about voter fraud,” Parker opined.

In other news, Dave talked up the Dorchester County Lincoln Day Dinner this Saturday and hinted that our version may or may not occur March 23 because we have the opportunity to secure a prime speaker. “You better get your tickets fast” if this speaker indeed comes, said Dave. (And no, I honestly don’t know who it is. Trust me: I want that scoop!)

Dave also shared that Alex Mooney had resigned, for those in the room who didn’t know, and that Diana Waterman was both acting as interim Chair and running for the position herself. Parker also revealed that the other two Vice-Chairs would retain their positions, meaning that there would be no more than two elections at the convention, for Chair and for First Vice-Chair should Waterman prevail. (As for that race, Red Maryland has a statement dated Monday from Andrew Langer announcing his intention not to run, but advocating support for Anne Arundel County attorney Greg Kline instead.)

Once again, Shawn Jester and Bill Reddish tag-teamed on the Andy Harris report, noting he had been named to the Appropriations Committee and that we were “very fortunate” to have him there. They also called the recent Second Amendment town hall meeting “very successful,” although one allegedly foul-mouthed participant begged to differ.

Ann Suthowski interjected to praise a letter to the Daily Times penned by Joe Ollinger. I wholeheartedly agree.

Woody Willing noted in his Board of Elections report that the number of unaffiliated voters continues to increase at the expense of Republicans and (moreso) Democrats.

The main event – besides Young’s remarks – was nigh, as we finally got around to nominating a slate of officers for 2013. Due to assorted mishaps and misfortunes, we could not do our usual process of choosing leadership so this year’s crop was nominated from the floor. Since only one person was nominated for each post, the election was conducted shortly thereafter by voice vote. Here are your 2013 WCRC officers:

  • President: Jackie Wellfonder
  • First Vice-President: Marc Kilmer*
  • Second Vice-President: Larry Dodd
  • Third Vice-President: Sean Fahey
  • Fourth Vice-President: Cathy Keim
  • Secretary: Michael Swartz*
  • Treasurer: Deb Okerblom

(*denotes a holdover in the position. Also, Dodd was President in 2012, Okerblom was Fourth Vice-President.)

It was much less momentous, but we also resolved as a group to participate in the Salisbury Festival once again.

Finally, County Council member John Hall spoke briefly about the Tier Map hearing, the situation at the Wicomico County Airport with the upcoming sequestration – “we’ll do what we have to do,” but won’t lose flight service – and announced that FY2013 revenues for the county came in $7 million better than projected thanks to additional income tax collections, which will hopefully soften the blow from a loss in assessed property base.

But the meeting couldn’t have been bad – I won the 50-50 drawing.

The next chapter in WCRC history will begin to be written March 25. Be there or be square.

Odds and ends number 50

Half a hundred now of these items which deserve a paragraph or three, and in this rendition several are of national interest.

I wanted to start out with a rather comprehensive look by Accuracy in Media at voter fraud. In truth, this is less of an expose than a confirmation because we on the Right had been thinking about this for years, and some of these accounts have filtered down to a local level.

Now I’ve heard people claim that voting should be a privilege reserved to property owners or to those who pay taxes rather than receive goodies from the government. I don’t agree with that approach, but I think that perhaps if local election boards are running into a problem with last-minute registrations scant weeks before an election, the simple solution would be to simply move back the deadline. Honestly, if people wish to register to vote they’re going to do it well in advance of the election. This would also do away with the open invitation to fraud known as same-day registration.

But I also agree we should do away with motor voter laws and eliminate early voting. If people are serious enough to vote they already have the right to get an absentee ballot. To me it’s a waste of taxpayer money to spend thousands on multi-day elections when just 2% of voters participate.

And don’t even go there and tell me I want to suppress turnout, because I don’t. I want prospective voters to take their responsibility more seriously. The left always screams “voter suppression” whenever some common-sense idea like photo voter ID or those others above are introduced, but they are all in favor of oppressive campaign finance laws. Isn’t that monetary suppression? Hypocrites.

The report is well worth a read.

Along that same line, writers Peter J. Boyer and Peter Schweizer ask why certain corporate interests can go scot-free under the Obama regime while others are hounded by the Justice Department. That’s not to say that Wall Street is a batch of crooks by any means, but in politics perception is reality and the fact that Wall Street gave far more to Barack Obama than John McCain leads to the thoughts of pay-for-play and cronyism.

Speaking of entities which give Democrats a lot of money, Matt Patterson and Trey Kovacs of the Competitive Enterprise Institute asked in the Washington Times why unions just won’t let go if a bargaining unit doesn’t want to stay with them. Well, the answer seems pretty simple to me – as they write:

There is a reason why unions are fighting to hold workers against their will and challenging laws that bring greater freedom to the workplace. Union leaders need a monopoly on labor in order to bankrupt governments and corporations, and they require unfree markets to maintain their own power and wealth.

That goes in the category of “duh,” workers be damned.

And this is a video worth sharing, even if I don’t necessarily agree with the point.

Personally I would prefer Medicare eventually be phased out or devolved to the states, but I realize that’s a decades-long process. Having said that, though, it’s obvious that Obamacare is the wrong direction to go despite the fact it cuts Medicare. Paul Ryan’s not pushing seniors off the cliff.

Finally, I wanted to bring up the attention being paid to a national issue by our own Congressman, Andy Harris. In a recent release, he decried the abuse of taxpayer dollars by those here illegally:

Illegal aliens are filing false tax returns claiming numerous fake child tax credits.  Once our tax dollars are in the hands of illegal aliens, it’s impossible to get the money back.  Once I learned about this outrageous loophole that allows billions of dollars per year to be stolen from US taxpayers, I knew I had to act.

In November of 2011, I joined Rep Sam Johnson in introducing H.R. 1956, Refundable Child Tax Credit Eligibility Verification Reform Act, to close this loophole.   The bill is necessary because the IRS claims that they are simply following the law.  We had hoped that the IRS would act without legislation.

One would think that the White House would instruct the IRS to stop giving away tax dollars to illegal aliens scamming our tax system.  This is an urgent and immediate problem, especially as we’ve passed the tax filing deadline of April 15th.

The child care tax credits have grown from $924 million in 2005 to $4.2 billion last year.  H.R. 1956 will curb the fraud in this program by requiring the IRS to only allow this tax credit for children with a social security number.  H.R. 1956 was assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee and I am waiting for the hearing to be scheduled any time. (Emphasis in original.)

So my question is why there’s been no hurry to move this bill? I guess one would have to ask Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) because it’s his committee. Perhaps his contributors would like the waiver to stand?

In truth, though, I think this is another in the series of ill-advised cautions by the Republican establishment to not risk alienating the Latino vote. Never mind that they turn off millions of voters who are concerned about the illegal alien problem – I’ll grant it’s less of a concern now that migration by illegals is now a net outflow due to a poor economy, but once conditions improve we may become a magnet once again.

Well, that cleans out my mailbox for the most part. Glad you stopped by for some original monoblogue content – I can’t put all my good stuff on Examiner because in all honesty I’m not sure their format would lend itself to such a post. That’s why I maintain this independent, conservative site!

But by all means you should subscribe to my Examiner page to get notice of when I do post there. I’m having fun juggling  all these writing plates! Haven’t broken one yet.

And a happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. I wrote this yesterday so I could devote a little time to the moms in my life today, so enjoy.