And, no, Photo ID restrictions wouldn't have stopped him
(Or the VERY high profile GOPers who committed same)...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/30/2014, 5:05pm PT  

On Tuesday, a Los Angeles County jury convicted California State Senator Roderick D. Wright (D) of false residency voter fraud, after finding that he lied about his address on voter registration and candidacy papers.

Wright's crime was an elite form of voter fraud, which, along with almost all of the most prevalent forms of voter fraud, would not have been prevented by polling place Photo ID restriction laws.

The jury was not persuaded by Wright's claim that he resided in the Inglewood residence of his common law stepmother. Prosecutors presented extensive evidence that established that Wright resided in an "upscale Baldwin Hills neighborhood" that was outside the district. They found that, in addition to lying about his address on his voter registration and candidacy papers, he fraudulently voted in five elections.

As we have repeatedly explained, most recently in covering a recent judicial determination that Pennsylvania's Photo ID law violated that state's constitution, cases involving in-person voter impersonation by ordinary citizens --- the only type of voter fraud that can possibly be prevented by polling place Photo ID restrictions --- are about a scarce as hen's teeth. False residency, by contrast, is a form of voter fraud that has reached epidemic proportions amongst our political elites in both parties, especially, as Brad Friedman has tirelessly documented, amongst the very high-level Republicans who hypocritically call for Photo ID restrictions for everybody else.

Where millions of innocent Americans are at risk of disenfranchisement as a result of the phantom menace of in-person voter fraud, prosecutions of elite politicians for false residency voter fraud have been rare. In one of those rare instances, former Indiana Republican Secretary of State Charlie White was convicted in 2012 of three counts of felony false residency voter fraud. His conviction was particularly ironic, given that he was the chief election official in the first state in the nation to implement polling place Photo ID restrictions. Despite his felony voter fraud charges (and four others) White has not had to serve so much as a single day in jail. Wright, a Democrat, faces up to eight years in prison.

[Update 1/31/2014: Following a meeting by the Democratic caucus, California State Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg (D) announced that Wright will retain his seat pending appeal. However, the Democratic caucus, which sports a super-majority in the state Senate, removed Wright from his position as the Chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.]

Here are just a few of the cases of false residency voter fraud we've documented over recent years, by some high-profile GOPers you will be very familiar with...

False residence voter fraud and high level Republicans

MITT ROMNEY: During the Summer of 2012, long-shot GOP candidate Fred Karger filed a complaint with Massachusetts officials charging that the GOP 2012 nominee for President of the United was illegally registered to vote in his son's unfinished basement in Belmont, MA, despite having moved out of the state several years earlier. The release of Romney's 2010 federal tax returns did little to dispel the concern. Romney failed to include his state returns in his release (or those from 2009) which would likely show, as Karger detailed, Romney was not a resident of Massachusetts at the time he voted for Scott Brown in the January 2010 U.S. Senate special election to fill the seat of the late Ted Kennedy. Romney, who had houses in CA and NH, did not, in fact, own a house in MA until July of 2010 (in anticipation of another Presidential run), despite the fact that state law defines residency as "where a person dwells and which is the center of his domestic, social, and civil life." Residents in Belmont, MA, told Karger that neither he nor his wife had been seen in the town since selling their mansion and moving out of state years earlier.

INDIANA SEC. OF STATE CHARLIE WHITE: In February of 2012, White was tossed out of office after being declared guilty of three voter fraud felonies, having been found by a jury to have registered and voted from a residence where he did not actually live. (The same thing that Romney appears to have done, as noted above.) Although White was convicted on a total of six felonies, he did not have to serve even one day in jail. Instead he received one year of home detention. Prior to that, in a separate civil case, White was ordered immediately removed from office by a circuit court judge who found that his fraudulent registration made him ineligible to be on the ballot when he was elected in 2010 in the first place. Ironically enough, Indiana was the very first state in the nation, in 2008, to institute polling place Photo ID restrictions, despite being unable to cite a single instance of in-person voter fraud in state history. Those restrictions, however, failed to keep White himself, the state's top election official, from committing voter fraud.

SEN. RICHARD LUGAR: In February 2012, the long-serving Senator from Indiana was accused of doing exactly what his state's Sec. of State Charlie White was tossed out of office for --- not living at the address where he was registered to vote. In this case, the allegations came from Tea Party supporters of Richard Mourdock who defeated the popular Lugar to become the Indiana Republican Party U.S. Senate nominee. They charged that Lugar had been registered at a house where he had not lived since 1977. As in White's case, Indiana's First-in-the-Nation polling place Photo ID law failed deter any fraudulent voting by the erstwhile Senator.

REP. TODD AKIN: Speaking of U.S. Senate candidates, the one nominated in 2012 by the Missouri Republican Party to face incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill that year, had been voting for years from a property outside of his own Congressional district where he does not live, as reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at the time. The charges echo those against Romney, Lugar and White. Akin's house, as the paper found during the campaign, was vacant and long-scheduled for suburban re-development. Still, the Congressman had continued to use it as his voting address for some seven elections, ever since the time that he and his family moved to their new house in a different town some 18 miles away.

JON HUNTSMAN: In March of 2011, the then GOP Presidential hopeful was also identified as possibly having committed voter fraud. In his case, the former Governor remained registered to vote at the Executive Mansion in Utah well over a year after he had become the U.S. ambassador to China. As the Salt Lake Tribune noted at the time: "Huntsman voted by absentee ballot for last year’s general election using the state-owned mansion on South Temple as his Utah residence — months after Gov. Gary Herbert settled into the historic building and Huntsman purchased a home in Washington, D.C."

ANN COULTER: Among many other recent cases of high-profile GOP voter fraud. Please remember (since the media didn't much tell you about them in the first place): GOP superstar ANN COULTER'S multiple cases of demonstrated voter fraud (in both FL and CT). Coulter evaded prosecution in CT only after the state's Election Commission ignored key evidence revealing that she resided in NY but used her parent's house to vote in CT.

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Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). Follow him on Twitter: @Cann4ing

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