Boards of Elections refute McDonough’s voter fraud claims
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 McDonough is making the charge based on a lawsuit that was fi led, and later withdrawn, by the Virginia Voter’s Alliance,” Harvey said.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The 2014 lawsuit was based on outdated data from 2001 to 2011, according to Nikki Charlson, the deputy state administrator for the Maryland State Board of Elections.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.