There is no evidence of voter fraud because no one asks

Casino workers vote at an early voting polling station in October 2016. (AP photo)

Casino workers vote at an early voting polling station in October 2016. (AP photo)

After President Trump proclaimed to the world that the only reason Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million was that 3 million or more ballots were cast fraudulently — by noncitizen, the dead or by Box 13 in Alice, Texas, perhaps — the media dutifully reported, even Fox News, that there is no evidence, no proof, no foundation for such a claim. It is utterly unsubstantiated.

Today the morning newspaper dutifully reports that Nevada’s Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske says her office is unaware of any “evidence” to support claims of voter fraud.

“There is no evidence of voters illegally casting ballots at the most recent election in Nevada,” Cegavske said in a statement. “The secretary of state’s office is aware of attempted fraud related to voter registration in Nevada; however, with the help of local election officials, we were able to investigate and make one arrest.”

She did encourage anyone with evidence of voter fraud to file a complaint with her office.

There is no evidence because voters are not required to prove they are citizens or to show valid ID to prove they are who they say they are. And how many people after the fact are going to come forward and volunteer that they voted fraudulently?
Vin Suprynowicz pointed this out in a blog posting Wednesday and cited a 2012 column by Las Vegas newspaper columnist Glen Cook to show there is “evidence” if you really look for it and actually, you know, ask questions.
Cook spoke shortly before the election that year with two immigrant noncitizens who had been registered to vote by a representative of their union, Culinary Local 226. They spoke English but didn’t read it very well. They told Cook the Culinary official who registered them to vote didn’t tell them what they were signing and didn’t ask whether they were citizens. Later Culinary canvassers started seeking them out and ordering them to go vote.

Cook verified their identities, their lack of citizenship and their status as active registered voters in Clark County.

The two told Cook that they did not have to show a photo ID to register and merely showed a Culinary health insurance card and a power bill.

“One would establish identity and one would establish residence,” then-Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax told the columnist. “Just like every other voter in Nevada, they will not be asked to prove citizenship.”

Cook also got the Culinary political director to deny the union canvassers do such a thing.

Shortly before the election this year The AP reported that the Culinary union in Las Vegas had registered  34,000 of its members to vote and had reassigned 150 of its members to full-time political work, intending to knock on 200,000 doors and confront  their co-workers in casino cafeterias and by phone. The union also chartered buses to shuttle casino workers to an early voting site during their paid lunch break, and handed each a boxed lunch.

According to a New York Times account shortly before the election, the Las Vegas Culinary union had 57,000 members and 56 percent of them were Latino. No indication how many were citizens.

According to Pew Research Center, in 2014 Nevada had the highest ratio of illegal alien workers in the nation at 10.4 percent.

Cook concluded his column by arguing:

We should ask every voter, upon registration, to prove citizenship, but we don’t. Instead, we have an honor system that’s exceedingly easy to cheat and gives political parties and politically active groups a powerful incentive to break the law without much risk of being caught.

There is no risk of being caught if no one asks.

Cook spoke to just two people who should not have been registered to vote and should not have been pressured to vote and pressured to vote for the union ticket. How many more there might be is unknown, because no one is asking.

Newspaper column: In Nevada election the tail wags the dog

Welcome to the state of Clark.

The land mass that is Clark County was added to Nevada three years after statehood, carved from a corner of Arizona. It was a part of Lincoln County until 1909, when the Legislature split off Clark County.

Clark dangles on the map like a vestigial tail on the nether region of Nevada.

On Election Day 2016, the tail wagged the dog.

This past week 1.1 million Nevadans cast presidential ballots, fully 68 percent of those were cast in Clark County — and there was a stark difference in how Clark voted compared to the rest of the state.

Only in Clark County did a majority vote for the Democratic Senate candidate. Thus it was for much of the ballot.

In the presidential contest alone the difference was a spectrum shift from bright Democratic blue in Clark to crimson Republican red just about everywhere else in the state.

While Democrat Hillary Clinton beat out Republican nominee Donald Trump statewide by about 36,000 votes, she bested him in Clark by more than 80,000 ballots, while he out polled her in the rest of the state by 55,000 votes, according to Secretary of State tabulations.

The only other Nevada county Clinton won was urban Washoe and that by only 2,500 votes out of more than 190,000 cast there. In other counties Trump won largely by margins exceeding 2-to-1 and in Lincoln County by 6-to-1.

Meanwhile, in the senatorial race to fill the vacancy being left by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s retirement, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto won statewide, but the only county she won was Clark. She won statewide by about 2 percentage points or 26,000 votes, but won by 80,000 votes in Clark. Republican Joe Heck, who gave up his Congressional District 3 seat to run for the Senate, won every other county, some by more than 4-to-1. Excluding Clark, Heck won the remainder of Nevada by more than 55,000 votes.

Nearly 4 percent of Nevadans chose “none of these candidates” in the Senate race.

In the 4th Congressional District — which includes part of northern Clark County, the southern part of Lyon County and all of White Pine, Nye, Mineral, Esmeralda, and Lincoln counties — Democrat Ruben Kihuen won districtwide by nearly 10,000 votes but won in Clark by about 24,000.

Incumbent Republican Cresent Hardy won every other county, all by about 2-to-1 or more.

After the dust settles, Nevada switches from having four out of its six Washington delegates being Republicans to four being Democrats.

Democrats won all save one of the Clark County state Senate seats up for grabs, giving the Democrats an 11-10 majority in Carson City, instead of the previous 11-10 GOP edge.

Republicans won every rural Assembly seat, while Democrats carried most races in Clark and Washoe, giving Democrats a 27-15 majority, instead of the previous Republican majority.

The gun grabbing Question 1 ballot initiative requiring background checks for almost every gun purchase or gift passed by 100,000 votes in Clark, but failed in every other county, often with 80 to 90 percent voting no.

Question 2, legalization of pot, passed only in Clark, Washoe, Nye and Story, but narrowly won statewide due to Clark’s numbers.

In 2014 Nevada experienced a red shift, when Republicans won all six statewide elective offices — governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, controller, attorney general — as well as majorities in both houses of the Legislature.

The 2016 reversal of fortune was probably best explained by a little-circulated Associated Press story that appeared about a week before the election. It described how the Las Vegas Culinary union was busing thousands of casino housekeepers and staffers to early voting sites just off the Las Vegas Strip, “speaking in Spanish as they clutched pocket-sized brochures listing candidates endorsed by the powerful Culinary union.”

The union bused workers during their paid lunch break and handed them boxed lunches for the ride back to work.

The story went on to report that the union had registered 34,000 members to vote, had reassigned 150 members to full-time political work, planned to knock on 200,000 doors and place phone calls to co-workers.

There is talk in California since the election of Trump about secession from the Union. Anyone think Clark County should go with them?

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Joe Heck says House will not take up Senate’s ‘comprehensive’ immigration bill

While the Las Vegas news media were gathered at the Culinary Union headquarters to hear Sen. Harry Reid criticize opponents of the Senate-passed immigration reform bill and listen to people chant, “Sí, se puede,” Congressman Joe Heck was at the Nevada Republican Men’s Club saying the 1,198-page pork larded bill will not be taken up by the House.

He said he expects House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, to bring up aspects of immigration reform one piece at a time and not in a “comprehensive” bill.

Joe Heck

Heck pointed out the absurdity of the bill’s contention that a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants may not begin until the Southern border is 90 percent secure, meaning 90 percent of those trying to illegally cross the border are caught. If a certain unknown number escape capture or detection, how can you ever make such a calculation? he asked.

But to Republican Heck the biggest stumbling block is the language in the bill that reads: “The Secretary shall permit registered provisional immigrants to apply for an adjustment to lawful permanent resident status if (list of exceptions) … 10 years have elapsed since the date of the enactment of this Act.”

In order words, amnesty starts in 10 years whether the boots a single new border guard are on the ground or whether a single foot of border fence has been built.

The congressman began his talk about immigration with a line similar to his online discussion of the issue: “As the grandson of Italian immigrants, I welcome the debate on immigration reform and the opportunity to find real solutions for our broken immigration system.”

He goes on to say:

“First and foremost, we must improve border enforcement. This includes not simply securing our northern and southern borders, but securing all points of entry to the country and eliminating visa overstays.

“Next, we must eliminate incentives for individuals to want to come here without following the legal pathway. The most obvious incentive is the chance to find employment, so a modern e-verify system must be put in place to ensure businesses are hiring only those legally permitted to hold a job and protect against worker exploitation.”

In his speech, as online, Heck said the real broken part of the law is not illegal immigration but legal immigration, which has become paralyzed with the bureaucratic roadblocks of processing visa requests. It should not take years for someone to go through the process, he said.

He said he flatly opposes blanket amnesty, though he is open to proposals that address earned citizenship, but it must not penalize those already waiting in line.

By the way, four of the six officers of the Nevada Republican Men’s Club are women.