Over the past two evenings Rachel Maddow has done some interesting reporting on Mitt Romney voting in Massachusetts while claiming the unfinished basement of his son’s multi-million dollar home as his primary residence. All signs point to the Romney’s primary residence as being a $12.5 million beachfront estate in La Jolla, California while they Summer in New Hampshire in their $10 million “cabin” nestled on 11 acres on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.
Maddow expressed at several points that this may not seem like such a big deal, it’s not murder, after all, but it is deeply troubling nonetheless. Republican governors and legislators across the United States are implementing laws designed to make it more difficult for Citizens to organize and vote.
Scant evidence of widespread voter fraud has been found among the general population. When voter fraud does occur it seems confined mostly to two demographics: felons who vote in States that disenfranchise people after they have served their terms in prison, and prominent Republicans. The former, given its disparate impact on poor and minority communities, is nothing more than Jim Crow dressed in fresh feathers while the latter remains inexplicable.
In Indiana, where conservative darling Mitch Daniels instituted voter suppression laws so draconian it disenfranchised a group of Catholic Nuns, former Secretary of State Charlie White is under indictment for three alleged counts of voter fraud out of a total of seven felony charges that is to answer to in Court. Ann Coulter is a serial voter fraudster, voting from her parents’ address in Connecticut in 2002 while living in the $1.49 million condo she bought on the Upper East Side of New York City after moving from her previous apartment on East 82nd Street, allegedly owing over $11,000 in rent. Then in 2006 Coulter lied under oath and swore she lived at an address in Palm Beach actually owned by her real estate agent and then voted in a precinct where she did not legally reside.Then there is the strange case of Congressman Patrick McHenry who used political PAC funds to defend his former aide, Michael Aaron Lay against charges of voter fraud for illegally voting from McHenry’s home in North Carolina. Lay, who took a deferred prosecution deal, was not the first Young Republican found to have used McHenry’s home address as their domicile for voting purposes and McHenry himself voted from his Cherryville address while claiming a homestead deduction on a house he co-owned with another man in Washington, D.C. Jon Huntsman, who has announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the 2012 Presidential race, maintained his address at the Governor’s Mansion in Salt Lake City, Utah after he had resigned as Governor to become the U.S. Ambassador to China and Gary Herbert appointed governor in his place. Mark Jacoby, owner of a firm that registered voters for the California Republican Party pled guilty to falsely using the address of his childhood home in Loss Angeles in order to vote in elections there because in California people who register voters there must be residents themselves. Jacoby was sentenced to three years of probation and 30 hours of community service.
Dick Cheney lived in Dallas, Texas from 1993 to 2000 while he was President of Halliburton. When he and his wife put their Dallas home on the market it was as an “owner-occupied” dwelling. Cheney switched his voter registration from Dallas County, Texas to Teton County, Wyoming where the Cheney’s had continued to maintain a home in Jackson Hole, a scant four days before being named George W. Bush’s running mate in an apparent attempt to thwart Constitutional prohibitions about the President and Vice President collecting a State’s electoral college votes if both are residents of that State.. If it was an attempt it was a successful one as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, where one of the Judges was appointed by Ronald Reagan and the remaining two by George H.W. Bush, ruled Cheney was a legal resident of Wyoming.
The Massachusetts Board of Elections doesn’t have much interest in investigating whether or not Mitt Romney perpetrated voting fraud by claiming his son’s unfinished basement saying that the appropriate time to have brought up this issue was when Mitt Romney last voted. The Town of Belmont, where he hasn’t been seen at the local LDS Temple since 2008, seems equally uninterested. Town Clerk Ellen Cushman cited Romney’s nearly unbroken voting record dating back to 1972 as proof that he is a voter in good standing despite his recent votes being cast by absentee ballot. Cushman also alleges that Romney, who purchased an attached townhome on South Cottage Road in Belmont for $895,000 some 15 months after switching his primary abode to his son’s basement, “meets all the requirements to vote in the country – he’s over 18, an American citizen and a resident of the town – he is and always has been registered to vote in Belmont.” However, it isn’t so clear that he is entitled to vote in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which requires its voters to cast their votes from, “where a person dwells, and which is the center of his domestic, social and civil life.”
It may not be murder but at a time of roughshod attempts at voter suppression based on claims of widespread voter fraud when neither Party is willing to make sure that the notoriously unstable voting platforms provided by electronic voting machines is as least as regulated and verifiable as a Las Vegas slot machine, it sure feels like an ice pick aimed straight at the heart of the Democratic processes.