Thursday, March 15, 2007

Clean up voter registration rolls

With voter registration rolls going unchecked for accuracy year after year, even with the implementation of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and its mandated database of registered voters across the country, (in Pennsylvania it's called the SURE database) it's surely a duty of opponents no matter which political party to review and scour nomination petitions and make challenges when warranted.

It's time for Pennsylvania to clean up its voter registration rolls of deceased, the voters who have moved out of the state, and or out of one county into another county, now.

Update: March 16, 2007 7:38 AM Net the Truth Online Report
We attended the court hearing before Fayette County Judge Steve Leskinen regarding the challenge to nomination petitions brought against candidate for controller, Sean Lally by current Fayette County controller, Mark Roberts, seeking to retain his position for a third-term.

What Net the Truth Online learned during and in-between the testimony of Fayette Election Bureau director, Laurie Lint:

* the county permits one more chance voting after a person has moved from one address to another.

During testimony, director Laurie Lint was asked by Judge Leskinen about the possibility of a person changing addresses after the deadline for changing voter registration information and before the signing of nomination petititions. Lint responded that election officials allow the voter to vote at the old address "one more time," then the address is changed if the voter has not officially done so.

* the voter does not have to change from her maiden name to her married name on the voter registration list and can continue to vote with the maiden name.

so how is the voter registration list accurate and how is potential election fraud prevented if a female uses different names and potentially different addresses?

*the county of Fayette has not conducted a full review of the bulky (some 80,000 plus) names on the voter registration list which would include mailings to addresses in the county which may not be accurate or up-to-date.

During a short break in the proceedings, we had the opportunity to ask director Lint about the county's voter registration rolls.

Have the names - all of the names - on the listing been checked for those who are deceased, or moved out of the county as some 80,000 - 89,000 names remain on the list? Not just the potential names for these proceedings, but all of the names?

Director Lint said the county had not undergone a review of all.

Right. That review would include a mailing to those addresses which potentially are under the domain of Judge Steve Leskinen hearing the case of Roberts vs Lally, and potentially on the nomination petitions of other candidates.

The hearing resulted in actual striking of names from the nomination petitions of Sean Lally in the court proceeding. The following reasons applied:

!signer was not found to be registered to vote in Fayette
!signer and address were not on the voter registration roll of Fayette
!signer was registered in the county of a different party
!signer name was different than the name that matched the address of the signer - that address was found on the database system with a different name
!signer was registered at the given address but had signed two Lally petitions
!signer had signed both Roberts' petitition and Lally petitition - in several instances with the exception of one, Roberts' petitition had been signed at an earlier date - thus the later dated name was struck out.

The nomination petitions are also being challenged for "improper affadavit of circulator..."

See more update:

Technicalities may knock some candidates off ballot
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
By James O'Toole, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Candidates for a variety of county and municipal offices face the threat of being thrown off the ballot as Common Pleas Court reviews challenges to their nominating petitions.

Among the more prominent hopefuls targeted in the partisan filings are Charles McCullough, a candidate for the GOP nomination for the at-large seat on Allegheny County Council; Patrick Dowd, a member of the Pittsburgh school board who is running for City Council in District 7; Rachel Cooper, the party-endorsed Democrat in District 9; and Rick Swartz, the only candidate of either party opposing the re-election of county Chief Executive Dan Onorato.

The challenges are a political rite of spring as candidates and their attorneys scrutinize the petitions and financial disclosure forms of their rivals for any flaw that could lead a court to short-circuit their candidacies. Almost every year, some candidates run afoul of the strict procedures for the content and deadlines of the election documents...

Fayette controller challenges petitions
By Chris Foreman
Thursday, March 15, 2007

Fayette County Controller Mark Roberts is challenging the candidacy of his primary opponent, Sean Lally, claiming he filed "deficient" and "irregular" nominating petitions this month.
Judge Steve Leskinen has scheduled a hearing for 1:30 p.m. today.

Roberts, a Democrat in his second term, is questioning whether Lally has the necessary 250 authorized signatures of registered voters.

Roberts, 39, of Uniontown, is disputing the validity of about 290 signatures, according to a spreadsheet exhibit filed by his attorney, Jason Adams.

Among those signatures, 53 allegedly were from unregistered voters and 20 from citizens who also signed Roberts' nominating petitions, according to the exhibit.

Roberts also contends Lally improperly signed an affidavit for petitions he circulated to gain about 140 names.

Adams was not available for comment Wednesday, and Roberts did not immediately respond to a message.

Lally, 38, of Uniontown, is making his second run for a public office. He did not answer a message left yesterday at his construction business.

Four years ago, he aligned himself with then-commissioner Sean Cavanagh as Cavanagh fielded a slate of candidates against four incumbent row officers.

Lally lost a primary race against Clerk of Courts Janice Snyder, who criticized him for having an active voter registration in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

Roberts battles opponents' petition
By Amy Zalar, Herald-Standard
Updated 03/15/2007 01:00:02 AM EDT

Fayette County Controller Mark Roberts is challenging the nomination petitions of challenger Sean P. Lally and is asking a judge to throw Lally off the primary ballot.

While Roberts' challenge hinges on the allegation that Lally did not personally circulate all the petitions that have Lally's signature on them, Lally said he has done nothing wrong, and has written proof of that fact.
The challenge was presented in motions court Wednesday morning before Judge Gerald Solomon, who scheduled a hearing for the petition for 1:30 p.m. today in Courtroom Number 3 before Judge Steve Leskinen.

The challenge, which alleges deficiencies and irregularities in Lally's petitions, was filed late Tuesday afternoon in the office of Prothonotary Lance Winterhalter, on the last day to challenge nomination petitions. Attorney Jason F. Adams filed the challenge on behalf of Roberts.

While some of the signatures on Lally's petitions are being challenged as those of unregistered voters, improper addresses or as people who previously signed Roberts' petitions, most of the challenges deal with an allegation that Lally did not personally circulate his nomination petitions.

On the back of the petitions is a place in which the petition circulator must sign and notarize the petitions, verifying they indeed circulated the petition.

Lally said he personally circulated most of his 15 petitions, and kept written proof of that. "I did nothing (improper) or illegal," Lally said. "He's trying to use a technicality that doesn't exist to get me thrown off the ballot."...


Mark Rauterkus said...

I'm running against Dan Onorato as a Libertarian in the General Election.

I'd rather run against Rich Swartz.

Onorato has really messed up our voting systems.

Net the Truth Online said...

Thank you for your comment and the posting on your site.

What is your opinion of PA's SURE database of registered voters? Do you support the electronic poll books being installed one of these days in conjunctions with the electronic voting machines?

Most accounts of the status of the voter registration rolls continue to maintain they are inaccurate, filled with deadwood, so to speak.

Could you address how you would go about conducting a review of the voter registration rolls, and subsequently purge the list of names of deceased, those who have moved out of the county, out of the state, and possibly those who have dual registrations in another state?