View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Secretary of State's Press Conference 

I just came from a press conference at the Secretary of State's office where she tried to regain control of the vote fraud story. Unfortunately, it looks as though she only made things worse.

Ms. Davidson asserted that she had been "left out of the loop" in the prosecutions and investigations of voter registration fraud, based on suspicious registrations submitted in April. She's now called a meeting of all 64 county DAs for Sunday to discuss the matter. In the meantime, she wasn't able to provide any comprehensive numbers on how many suspicious registrations had been forwarded to DAs or to the AG's office. All of this looks like a panicked attempt to reassure voters of about a problem of undetermined size, being pursued fitfully at best by law enforcement officials.

The AG's representative was Democrat Don Quick, the Deputy Assistant AG, who's running unopposed for Adams County DA this fall. He claimed that the problem was partisan, rather that it was money-driven. He also claimed that since the cases were largely dependent on detailed handwriting analysis, they would take a very long time to finish. When Deborah Sherman of 9News asked about county clerks who claim they were told by the AG's office "not to worry" about registrations they had found, that it was being taken care of, Quick just responded that he couldn't do anything about bad forms that hadn't been forwarded to him.

When I asked him about the fact that some ID at the polls didn't identify the presenter, merely validated an address, he said that I should as the Secretary about that. Which is fine as far as it goes, but fails to address the kind of evidence he's going to need to successfully prosecute vote fraud after the election.

One point that was valid, that many reporters seemingly failed to grasp, was the difference between stopping an invalid registration of vote, and prosecuting that crime. The registration can be stopped, or the ballot disallowed, immediately, preserving the integrity of the election, while the investigation and prosecution of the crime can take much longer.

Here's the 9News report. While Mr. Quick is speaking, note the yarmulke-laden fellow behind him. That's yours truly.

The reporters seemed to focus on two points: the number of bad forms. At the same time, they were entirely focused on the question of registration fraud. Only one reporter, I think from WB2, tried to ask questions about the walk-up registration process which looks like a gaping hole in the system. Several reporters, before the press conference actually started, were openly accusing her of dodging them and of trying to shift blame and attention to the AG's office. I got the impression of a woman caught in a surprise hurricane, desperately looking for a brick building, not from her demeanor, but from her announcements and actions.

Ms. Davidson did have some useful plans for after the election. If voter fraud is found, she'll pursue a grand jury option. She will push for the Secretary of State's office to be given investigative powers. And she'll convene a task force to recommend changes in the law to the General Assembly. All of which does nothing to address the problem of vote fraud in the upcoming election.

The fact is, the reporters are looking at the wrong problem. While it's good to see that they're finally realizing that the threat of vote fraud is real (sorry, Mr. Spencer), as usual, they're looking at the water that's already several miles downstream. Susan Rogers is correct when she distinguishes between voter registration fraud and vote fraud. The former has been proven to have happened. Why are we not worrying about preventing the latter?

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