Boards of Elec­tions re­fute McDonough’s voter fraud claims

The Dundalk Eagle - - OPINION - By BRAD KRO­NER bkro­ner@ches­ Fol­low me on Twit­ter @brad­kro­ner.

The Fred­er­ick County Board of Elec­tions is deny­ing Del. Pat McDonough’s ( R-7) al­le­ga­tions that he has the “smok­ing gun proof” that “mas­sive voter fraud” is oc­cur­ring in Mary­land.

McDonough, who is chal­leng­ing U. S. Rep. Dutch Rup­pers­berger ( D- 2) for Mary­land’s Se­cond Con­gres­sional seat, did not pro­vide any ev­i­dence to sup­port his al­le­ga­tions.

The Dun­dalk Ea­gle re­quested but did not re­ceive doc­u­men­ta­tion of voter fraud from McDonough’s cam­paign.

“We have doc­u­men­ta­tion,” said McDonough, who ex­plained that he could not pro­vide the in­for­ma­tion be­cause it was go­ing to be used in court. He ex­plained that the doc­u­ments were pro­vided to the Vir­ginia Voter’s Al­liance by a jury clerk — whom McDonough could not name — mak­ing it not pub­lic in­for­ma­tion. The doc­u­ments, in­clud­ing voter rolls and jury qual­ifi cation forms, how­ever, would be pub­lic in­for­ma­tion.

He al­leged that non- cit­i­zens who were called in for jury duty in Fred­er­ick County ad­mit­ted that they voted de­spite not being cit­i­zens.

“There is no ba­sis to the ru­mor that is being cir­cu­lated,” said Stu­art Har­vey, the di­rec­tor of the Fred­er­ick County Board of Elec­tions.

Reached for fur­ther com­ment, McDonough said, “he’s ly­ing.”

In 2014, four peo­ple fi led a law­suit against the Fred­er­ick County Board of Elec­tions and the Mary­land State Board of Elec­tions, al­leg­ing voter fraud.

“The four res­i­dents state in the law­suit against the Fred­er­ick County and state boards of elec­tion that a com­par­i­son of voter rolls and ju­ror qual­ifi cation ques­tion­naires show res­i­dents who told the courts they were not cit­i­zens were nev­er­the­less reg­is­tered to vote,” ac­cord­ing to a 2014 story by the Fred­er­ick News- Post.

“Del. McDonough is mak­ing the charge based on a law­suit that was fi led, and later with­drawn, by the Vir­ginia Voter’s Al­liance,” Har­vey said.

In re­sponse, McDonough said, “That’s true, but it had noth­ing to do with the mer­its of the case.” He ex­plained that at­tor­neys ar­gued over the case and the Vir­ginia Voter Al­liance sim­ply “lost in­ter­est.”

The 2014 law­suit was based on out­dated data from 2001 to 2011, ac­cord­ing to Nikki Charl­son, the deputy state ad­min­is­tra­tor for the Mary­land State Board of Elec­tions. She said the charges were dropped one week after being fi led.

McDonough wrote that “this scan­dal is a form of sup­pres­sion of vot­ers’ rights. Our votes are being can­celled or di­luted by a non- cit­i­zen who is vot­ing at the same time.”

A num­ber of stud­ies have found that voter fraud is ex­tremely rare and in­signifi cant in its im­pact.

A 2012 Pew Re­search study in­di­cated that there were 24 mil­lion voter reg­is­tra­tions — or one in eight — that were no longer valid or con­tained er­rors, though the report did not cite ev­i­dence that the reg­is­tra­tions had led to fraud.

“There is no wide­spread voter fraud go­ing on,” Har­vey said.

Fed­eral law pro­hibits non- cit­i­zens from vot­ing. Non- cit­i­zens are not qual­i­fied to par­tic­i­pate in jury duty.

“If a non- cit­i­zen de­lib­er­ately voted, they would be fac­ing per­jury charges, at a min­i­mum, and their name would be re­ferred by our board to the state pros­e­cu­tor,” Har­vey said.

McDonough ar­gued that cur­rent law is not being en­forced.

“Un­der present Court rules and state law, the in­for­ma­tion con­tained in the doc­u­ments confi rm­ing a non- cit­i­zen is reg­is­tered to vote is to be for­warded to the State Elec­tion Board,” McDonough said in a state­ment. “Step 2 re­quires the Elec­tion Board to re­move this in­di­vid­ual from the vot­ing list and pro­vide the in­for­ma­tion to the State Pros­e­cu­tor for fu­ture ac­tion. None of th­ese man­dated ac­tions are being ini­ti­ated at this time.”

McDonough said he faults jury clerks for not send­ing lists of non- cit­i­zens to elec­tion boards.

How­ever, jury clerks “reg­u­larly sub­mit the names of in­di­vid­u­als who report that they are nonci­t­i­zens,” ac­cord­ing to Charl­son.

“This year, the jury com­mis­sion­ers have sub­mit­ted al­most 6,000 names of in­di­vid­u­als who pro­vided in­for­ma­tion that may af­fect their voter reg­is­tra­tion sta­tus,” Charl­son said. “This in­for­ma­tion in­cludes new ad­dresses and re­ports of de­ceased in­di­vid­u­als or in­di­vid­u­als who report that they are not cit­i­zens.”

In the 2016 leg­isla­tive ses­sion, McDonough in­tro­duced House Bill 1122, which would have re­quired a jury com­mis­sion to report the names of non- cit­i­zens who aren’t qual­i­fied to vote to the State Board of Elec­tions ( SBE) and the Mary­land Ve­hi­cle As­so­ci­a­tion ( MVA). Those two agen­cies would then be tasked with re­mov­ing non- cit­i­zens from vot­ing reg­is­tra­tion lists and re­view­ing non- cit­i­zens’ driv­ing records.

The bill was called un­fa­vor­able by both the ju­di­cial com­mit­tee and the Ways and Means Com­mit­tee in the Mary­land House of Del­e­gates.


Del. Pat McDonough is a Repub­li­can del­e­gate rep­re­sent­ing Mary­land’s 7th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict, which in­cludes parts of Bal­ti­more County and Har­ford County.

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