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Conservatives using sketchy videos to suggest Dems guilty of voter fraud

By Sahil Kapur
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 14:41 EDT
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Election watchdog site claiming to “transcend party lines” run by former GOP operative

WASHINGTON — As Massachusetts voters cast their ballots for the important Coakley-Brown election, conservatives and Republicans insinuate that Democrats are engaging in voter fraud despite offering little evidence to make their case.

Many are jumping on videos uploaded by the independent blog ElectionJournal.org that insinuate fraud. One video uploaded to YouTube, titled “More Coakley Electioneering In Boston,” is ostensibly filmed outside the Boston polling center, “Robert and Theresa Parks Community Building,” and shows a Coakley sign not far from the entrance.

“There is campaign signage clearly violating the 150-foot rule,” says a voice in the video. “It is placed 10 feet from the door to the polling place.”

But the video shows no date or time-stamp, nor does it address questions such as how long the sign was up for or who placed it near the door.

Another video shows a woman who claims to be named Isabel Melendez (spelling may not be accurate), who they claim is a Democratic activist, holding absentee ballots on the street. But it offers no evidence that any wrongful or suspicious ballots were cast.

That didn’t stop Fox Nation from using it to suggest “Voter Fraud in Massachusetts.”

Blogger Michelle Malkin made it the centerpiece of a post titled “Massachusetts Senate race: Voter Fraud watch.” Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government Web site also mentioned it.

The conservative National Review responded with the headline: “You’re Not Supposed to Get an Absentee Ballot in a Box of Cracker Jacks.”

Conservatives and Republicans are reportedly preparing to level the fraud charge if Democrat Martha Coakley, who is just behind Republican Scott in recent polls, wins.

The Washington Independent‘s David Weigel writes that “around 150 conservatives are in town, armed with cameras, looking for fraud–mostly in Boston.”

The Boston Herald reports that the conservative activist group Americans for Limited Government’s president Bill Wilson sent out a mailer to supporters saying, “The ability to vote as dead people is a realistic concern” — a likely reference to the allegation leveled against ACORN in the 2008 election.

“When you see the crowds and feel the enthusiasm, you get the feeling like the only way for [Scott Brown] to lose this is fraud,” said Massachusetts GOP Minority Leader Bradley Jones.

But Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin, whose office is responsible for making sure elections run smoothly, isn’t impressed.

“These are conservative groups who don’t know anything about this state,” Galvin said, according to the Boston Herald. “I’ll put (Massachusetts’ record) up against any state. We guard the rights of voters here.”

Stoking the flames of these allegations has been Ed Schultz, progressive MSNBC and radio host, who caught flack for saying he’d “cheat” to help Coakley win the election and “keep these [Republican] bastards out.”

Schultz backtracked, but not before being inundated with accusations that he was encouraging voter fraud.

Election watchdog site claiming to “transcend party lines” run by former GOP operative

ElectionJournal.org, whose arbitrary videos conservatives are citing to accuse Democrats of voter fraud, presents itself as a nonpartisan organization but appears to be run by a long-time former Republican operative whose focus is elections.

“Vote fraud transcends party lines, international borders and appears in many different forms; vote buying, intimidation, tampering, forgery, absentee ballot, impersonation, petition, violence, registration,” reads its description on Facebook.

Nowhere on the Web site does it claim to have any partisan or ideological affiliation, but its founder’s name is listed as Mike Roman.

Archives from the George Washington University reveal that a man named Mike Roman was on 2008 presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani’s exploratory committee, and has the following credentials.

Director of Election Day Operations at the RNC during the 2006 election cycle.  Pennsylvania Election Day operations director during 2004.  Prior to 2004, Roman worked for the Pennsylvania House Republican Campaign Committee.  An elected Ward Leader in Philadelphia from 2002-06.

Politico‘s Jonathan Martin confirms this in a 2007 report titled, “Rudy’s team.”

Mike Roman most recently served as Director of Election Day Operations at the Republican National Committee during the 2006 election cycle and as the Pennsylvania Election Day Operations Director during 2004.  Prior to 2004, Roman worked for the Pennsylvania House Republican Campaign Committee.  Roman was also an Elected Ward Leader in Philadelphia from 2002 to 2006.

There’s no indication on the Web site that it’s in any way affiliated with the conservative or Republican establishment. It presents itself as an independent citizen-run organization. Its “About” section reads:

Electionjournal.org is an online community dedicated to raising public awareness of vote fraud and election irregularities. If an election is worth winning, then there is someone willing to steal it.  We report it.

A Twitter feed belonging to a Mike Roman echoes his description on ElectionJournal.org as a “political strategist” and “private investigator.” It links to Roman’s Facebook page, where he lists ElectionJournal.org as one of his Web sites.

In further evidence of Roman’s ties to — or at least interest in — the conservative establishment, Roman is Facebook “Friends” with popular right-wing blogger Eric Erickson of RedState.com, RNC chair Michael Steele, New Jersey Governor-elect Chris Christie and conservative media figure Andrew Breitbart, among others.

Roman lists a flurry of Republican organizations in his “pages” section, including GOPAC, Republican National Lawyers Association, New York Republican State Committee, among others.

He’s also a “fan” of various Republican politicians, including Scott Brown.

While ElectionJournal.org lists both progressive and conservative Web sites on its blogroll, the content on its blog is predominantly critical of the Democratic Party and appears not to ever point out Republican transgressions.

One headline reads: “ACORN: Nonprofit but certainly Partisan. Legal Warnings and Political Strategy Revealed.” Its most recent posts all suggest potential voter fraud issues and “electioneering” committed by Democrats.

Director of Election Day Operations at the RNC during the 2006 election cycle.  Pennsylvania Election Day operations director during 2004.  Prior to 2004, Roman worked for the Pennsylvania House Republican Campaign Committee.  An elected Ward Leader in Philadelphia from 2002-06.
 
 
 
 
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