Discredited GOP Operative Thor Hearne, Failed EAC Executive Director Thomas Wilkey, Both Quoted as Legitimate Sources...
By Brad Friedman on 1/2/2008, 11:58am PT  

Richard Wolfe of USA Today, needs some new sources in his Rolodex.

In two decenti-ish and important stories today about massive failures and inaccurate voter purges in the new voter registration databases mandated by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, Wolfe quotes two discredited operatives:

  1. U.S. Elections Assistance Commission executive director, Thomas Wilkey, the man who has failed miserably in his job of overseeing e-voting system certification on behalf of the EAC (or, more accurately, on behalf of America's voting machine companies), and
  2. Our old friend, the discredited discredited (to all but the corporate mainstream media, apparently) chief GOP voter suppression operative, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne of the exposed and defunct Republican front group, "American Center for Voting Rights".

To the substance of the two stories, both running today...The first, on legal voters being tossed off voting roles all across the country, Wolfe reports:

From Florida to Washington, voters have been challenged because names or numbers on their registration forms did not exactly match other government databases, such as Social Security and motor vehicle agencies. "We know that eligible people have been thrown off the rolls," says Justin Levitt, a lawyer with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

The databases are only as good as the information fed into them by applicants and election officials. That can lead to human errors as well as variations from state to state. Colorado, for instance, knocked nearly 20% of its voters off the rolls between the 2004 and 2006 elections. Arkansas purged 3%, according to Election Assistance Commission data.
...
Perhaps the worst problems are in Florida, where a Gannett News Service analysis found more than 14,000 people whose voter registrations were disputed by the state because they didn't match other databases; about 75% are minorities.

Wolfe then goes on to close the story with a comment apologizing for the federal government's failure in all of the above, by quoting Wilkey, the federal government's man who oversaw the failures, on behalf of the EAC, on all of the above...

Federal officials say the system is evolving — and improving. "Even with the top-notch best database in the world, you're still going to have human error," says Thomas Wilkey, the election commission's executive director.

Meanwhile, as we predicted a couple of weeks ago, the repugnant snake-oil shyster, Hearne, has been granted "credibility" once again by the mainstream corporate media, just in time to mislead America in advance of this year's official voting.

In Wolfe's other piece today, there's no mention of Hearne's well-documented, thoroughally-discredited last several years, before he's quoted thusly:

Thor Hearne, national election counsel for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004, says database matching stops voters from posing as someone else. "A bad voter roll, a voter roll that has dead people on it, is one that does in fact allow vote fraud to happen," he says.

...And the evidence that such fraud via dead people voting, is actually occurring? Neither Wolfe nor Hearne bother to offer any. But the implication that we need to purge millions of legal voters from the rolls, in order to keep those mythical dead people from committing virtually any known instances of such fraud, is made clear enough.

What isn't made clear, is that Hearne has been behind this very scheme, to remove legal Democratic voters from the rolls, by any means necessary, for years.