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Contested Virginia Races Put Spotlight On Noncitizen Voting

Legislative contests could determine control of the House of Delegates in a state having a serious problem with illegal votes

by Brendan Kirby
Updated 01 Dec 2017 at 7:02 AM

Disputed races for the Virginia House of Delegates -- which could determine control of the chamber -- highlight the potential for fraud and even innocuous bureaucratic glitches to impact elections.

It has been three weeks since Virginians voted for governor and representatives in the House of Delegates, and the tenuous Republican hold is still not confirmed. Democrats swamped Republicans in the election but -- as things currently stand -- will hold only 49 seats to the GOP's 51 when the new members take office.

Several losing Democrats are seeking recounts, however, and a federal judge has left open the possibility of ordering a special election. Close outcomes include:

The 28th District in Northern Virginia, where Republican Robert Thomas beat Democrat Joshua Cole by 82 votes in a race to succeed retiring House Speaker William Howell.
The 88th District in Fredericksburg, where incumbent Republican Delegate Mark Cole beat Democrat Steve Aycock by a little more than 4,000 votes.
The 40th District in Fairfax County, where Republican Delegate Timothy Hugo defeated Democrat Donte Tanner by 106 votes.
The 94th District, where Republican incumbent David Yancey of Newport News beat Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds by just 10 votes.

No one has suggested that voter fraud played any role in the outcome of any of those races. But elections experts contend that the close races refute the argument that voter fraud is too rare to make a difference.

Even small numbers of illegal ballots could make a difference in races separated by handfuls of votes, said Hans von Spakovsky, a legal analyst at The Heritage Foundation and a member of Presidential Donald Trump's election integrity commission.

"That should be a big concern," he said.

In Virginia, illegal voting is not just a theoretical problem. The Public Interest Legal Foundation has uncovered documentation showing thousands of noncitizens on the voter rolls -- including some who have actually cast ballots. Since the 1980s, according to a report by the voter integrity group, 7,474 ballots have been illegally cast by noncitizens who never should have been allowed to register.

And those are just the people who voluntarily came forward and asked to be removed from the rolls. Representatives from the advocacy organization have said there is no way to determine how many ineligible voters might be on the rolls.

Von Spakovsky said Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has shown no interest in preventing illegal voting. He noted that the legislature passed a law requiring jury commissioners to alert election officials any time someone picked for jury duty admits to being a noncitizen. That way, von Spakovsky said, election officials could check to see if those people are on the voter rolls and remove them.

"And McAuliffe vetoed it," he said.

Von Spakovsky said the only possible motive is that the governor believes removing noncitizens would hurt Democratic election prospects.

"You can understand why he's doing that," he said.
The only problem with the world is that the idiots are cocksure and intelligent are doubtful.