Tiffany Wilson reporting from Columbus (2008-11-03 08:52:39)
Obama campaign staffers are voting in swing states across the county – and it appears they are bypassing state residency requirements.
Palestra.net’s voter fraud investigation started in Ohio where the law entitles only permanent residents, who intend to remain in the state, the right to vote in Ohio. In the past two weeks, 14 temporary Obama staffers who registered to vote have withdrawn their ballots. The individuals did not meet the legal requirements to cast a ballot in Ohio. When this was brought to their attention, they pulled their ballots. The Prosecuting attorney believes this was a misunderstanding by some “very excited and loyal volunteers.”
On Thursday October 30, Palestra.net turned our attention west to New Mexico. We found a former California delegate to the Democratic National Convention, Shayne Adamski, registered to vote in Albuquerque. New Mexico’s Secretary of State, Mary Herrera (D), said she would turn Adamski’s over to the FBI to investigate.
Two swing states with similar stories sparked my curiosity. So I checked into the other prominent states in play: North Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Virginia and Nevada. The trend continued. From swing state to swing state, some out-of-state campaigners are casting ballots without following election law.
Meet Farah Minwalla, an Obama field organizer in North Carolina. She registered to vote in Mecklenburg County, NC on October 4. According to county auditor reports, the address Minwalla used belongs to a Wanda Nabors. But oddly – Minwalla is also registered to vote in New York AND Nevada. All three registrations are listed as active. So, is she a resident of North Carolina, Nevada or New York? Technically, it appears she could vote in all three.
Minwalla’s online bio for NextGenNow says she is currently pursuing a degree in English and Journalism in New York City. As recently as July, Minwalla wrote a review for a band in Brooklyn, but now she’s registered to vote in swing state North Carolina. The latest RealClearPolitics poll shows Obama ahead by 0.3 percent, in New York Obama leads by 29.7 percent. As I’ve heard so often from campaigners, every vote counts.
I called Minwalla’s cell phone on Sunday and she answered. When I asked when she arrived in North Carolina and why she registered, she handed the phone to an Obama spokesperson. The Obama spokesperson took my questions but gave me no answers. North Carolina election law says you must be a permanent resident to vote.
Let’s travel a little further south to Florida. In September, Julietta Appleton took a leave of absence from work to support Obama. On a TravelObama.org posting Appleton writes, “I knew Florida was a swing state…and I am fluent in Spanish. So I left my job (unpaid) for 6 weeks.” She moved to Miami to get out the vote. Now, she’s out of money and requesting help to get back to New York. Appleton’s post continues, “The next four days I will be working 24/7, then celebrating victory, then resting for a day, and then flying home to NY.” Appleton included a picture of herself voting for Obama in Miami. Florida election laws only allow permanent residents to vote.
Warren Throckmorton (see link above) discovered Appleton’s story on TravelObama.org – a site devoted to matching swing state volunteers in need of money with donors willing to cover their expenses. Have other individuals used this site to mirror Appleton’s own story?
Crossing the country to Missouri now, we meet William Jay Urquhart. Will is a field organizer for the Obama campaign in Missouri. Along with getting out the vote, Urquhart decided to register to cast a vote of his own in Boone County. His current cell phone has a Washington, D.C. area code. I called the number, left a message and sent him an email. No response.
Missouri election laws are almost exactly the same as Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and New Mexico. All of these swing states have the same guidelines in determining residency – you must be a resident, a resident is defined by the intent to remain in the state permanently or to return to it when you leave. In other words, where you tell people you are from and where you tell people you voted, should be the same place. Further, in these states, election law states you cannot gain residency by temporarily working in the state. Did I mention voting records show Urquhart is also registered to vote in Massachusetts? I found voter registration records of a William Jay Urquhart registered to vote in Connecticut and Massachussets. Is this the same individual?
If not, William please contact me so we can straighten this out.
Virginia last elected a Democratic president in 1964. Obama’s campaign is emphasizing the state known as “the Mother of Presidents” so much, that his final rally will take place in Manassas Park. When I tried to cross check names of out-of-state campaigners and volunteers with the state voter registration database, I hit a wall. The database required name, locality, date of birth and the last four numbers of an individual’s social security number to access so checking or verifying information is near impossible.
While there may be a lack of access to information, there’s no shortage of out-of-state volunteers trying to ‘turn Virginia blue.’ A July 24 Washington Post article entitled, “Obama Seeks Out-of-State Volunteers” states Obama’s campaign is calling for out-of-state support, despite its claims that 10,000 volunteers are already active in Virginia. Obama Voter Protection Program, Counsel for Change is the mirror group to a Facebook group for lawyers in Ohio.
The founder for the Ohio Facebook group, James Cadogan, graduated from Princeton and Columbia then practiced law in New York City. This year, Cadogan registered to vote in Ohio. After Palestra.net’s investigations, Cadogan withdrew his ballot. The Virginia Counsel for Change group has 213 members. Are any of them following in Cadogan’s footsteps?
Nevada is a bit of an outlier. The swing state’s law only requires a 30-day residency to vote. I didn’t find a clause that mentions intent to remain or the requirement of permanency. According to the campaign’s “Drive for Change” website, “Barack needs support not just from all Nevadans, but also from Nevada’s neighbors – especially California. This is the chance for Californians to have a major impact on this historic race.” So, technically the many Southern Californians helping to get out the vote in swing state Nevada could vote in Nevada – as long as they stay for 30 days. It all appears legal.
As for the McCain campaign, the numbers aren’t there. Anecdotal evidence and my personal experience of visiting campaign offices around the country do not reflect the same efficient grassroots, get-out-the-vote machine. But we have been looking and we will continue to look.
Tomorrow is Election Day and Palestra.net doesn’t have the time or resources to document every individual voting in every swing state. But something is going on and for every person I profiled, I have additional names in queue. Out-of-state temporary campaign workers are registering and voting in swing states around the country without meeting the letter of Election law. Election Day is tomorrow, what do we do now?
Original article can be found here: http://www.palestra.net/blogs/read/18083