What is the quietest spot in Washington, D.C.? The Rose Garden? The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?
Actually, it's the Justice Department's Voting Section.
Justice's unit that allegedly fights disenfranchisement lately has been caught dozing while at least nine states too slowly deliver absentee ballots to overseas GIs. Too many military votes thus may go uncounted in November.
In yet another outrage, the Voting Section is static while the rolls of at least 16 states evidently list ineligible voters, including non-residents, disqualified felons, and — yes, dead people.
Justice's response? "ZZZZZZzzzzzz."
Even worse, the big sleep at Justice seems totally deliberate. As former Voting Section prosecutor J. Christian Adams testified under oath July 6 before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, he attended a November 2009 meeting in which Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes discussed the federal law that requires that local officials purge illegitimate names from their voter rolls.
Adams swore that Fernandes told Voting Section prosecutors: "We have no interest in enforcing this provision of the law. It has nothing to do with increasing turnout, and we are just not going to do it."
So far, the Voting Section is living down to Fernandes' low expectations. If not willful disregard for federal statutes, only powerful sedatives could explain how federal prosecutors could rest comfortably through these simmering examples of voter-roll adulteration:
- The federal Election Assistance Commission reports that Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Tennessee expunged precisely zero dead voters from their rolls between 2006 and 2008. The same applies to numerous counties in Alabama, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Either these places are experiencing an explosion in immortality, or they are violating federal law.
- Several Iowa and North Carolina counties feature more registered voters than live, voting-age adults. This condition plagues at least a dozen counties each in Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Texas. Registered voters equal 104 percent of Baltimore County, Md.'s voting-adult population; and, according to documents that Adams filed, 113 percent in Lincoln County, W.Va. Alaska's and Michigan's statewide figures are 102 percent.
- As Adams explains, July alone featured vote-fraud investigations, indictments, and convictions in: Atlantic City, N.J.; Troy, N.Y.; Canton, Miss.; Brooks County, Ga.; Independence, La.; Dillon County, S.C.; Adair County, Okla.; Muncie, Ind.; and especially Minn., "where there have been dozens of felon voting indictments arising out of the closely contested 2008 elections."
- Duplicate registration plagues metropolitan areas that straddle state lines. In such spots, people may reside in one state and work or study in another. Greater St. Louis, Kansas City, Memphis, and Cincinnati occupy this category, as do New York and Florida — to which tax-burdened New Yorkers often escape.
- Such unacceptable electoral conditions could help candidates win, thanks to graveyard landslides. But even barring that, America should leave disheveled voter rolls to banana republics.
While the Voting Section naps, J. Christian Adams barely has time to blink. He has warned 16 states of potential lawsuits because they are violating the National Voter Registration Act.
Section 7 of this 1993 "Motor Voter" law expands suffrage by requiring states to enroll voters at motor-vehicle bureaus, welfare agencies, and other government offices.
Simultaneously, Section 8 requires states to update their records so that only eligible voters — not cadavers — can cast ballots.
Motor Voter allows enforcement via private lawsuits against non-compliant states and voter registrars. Adams is highly qualified for this duty, given his five years in the Voting Section.
He resigned last May 14 to protest Justice's politicized mishandling of the New Black Panthers voter-intimidation case.
Other private attorneys should join this cause. Americans for Restoration (AmericansForRestoration.com) welcomes the support of those who prefer to cast ballots without seeing ghosts.
Come Election Night, if the votes of live citizens are not diluted by those of deceased-Americans, it will be no thanks to Justice's Voting Section. They are enjoying an office-wide slumber party while America's voter rolls literally are haunted.
Deroy Murdock is a columnist with Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. E-mail him at deroy.Murdock@gmail.com