He informed Phil and his listeners that earlier today, someone was bringing in vanloads of non-English-speaking Mexicans with no identification to one of the Nashville early voting locations. Along with the non-English speaking individuals came a bilingual woman to act as their interpreter. She informed the election personnel that she would accompany the voters into the booth, read the ballot for them, and insure that their vote was cast for the candidates of their choice.
The Davidson County Election Commission, including its Democrat members, decided that the individuals would not be allowed to vote on the grounds that since they were unable to speak, understand, or read English, they could not possibly be citizens, and therefore were not qualified to vote. In addition, Mr. Greer mentioned that these people were unable even to request the assistance of a translator themselves. Accordingly, Ray Barrett, Davidson County Administrator of Elections, instructed his employees to refuse to allow any of these individuals to vote.
However, someone prevailed upon Mr. Barrett to call the state in order to verify the Commission's decision. Brook Thompson, the Tennessee State Election Coordinator, then ordered Mr. Barrett and the Davidson County Election Commission to allow these non-English-speaking individuals to vote through their bilingual interpreter despite their lack of any sort of identification and total unfamiliarity with the English language.
Phil and Mr. Greer briefly discussed what could be done. They agreed that the only possible remedy would be for the Tennessee Republican Party to file suit in a Federal court. He told Phil that while he intended to urge the state GOP to make the effort, in view of the recent refusal of a Federal court to grant relief to State Sen. Rosalyn Kurita (whose legitimate Democrat primary win was overturned by the big shots of her party in revenge for her vote in favor of a Republican Lt. Governor), he held out little hope that it would be successful. He also noted that even if a court should decide that the votes of these people were illegal, there is no mechanism for withdrawing them. These are not provisional ballots. Once cast, they are inviolate.
There were several more phone calls in quick succession.
First, Brook Thompson himself called up. He told Phil that Federal law requires that these people be allowed to vote with the help of an interpreter if they wish. He pointed out that in some jurisdictions with a higher percentage of non-English-speaking individuals, the Feds require that ballots and registration materials be printed in four or five languages. Therefore, he insisted that he had no choice but to allow these people to vote.
Phil asked him about the requirement that prospective voters must be able to produce valid identification, and Thompson admitted that this is correct. However, he shifted the burden for enforcement back to the Davidson County Election Commission. When Phil asked him if he intended to send someone down to investigate why the ID requirement was not being enforced, Thompson began to stammer and splutter a bit, and finally gave a noncommittal answer to the effect that he'd look into it.
The next phone call was from a woman identified only as Barbara, who is apparently an officer in the Republican Women's organization. She informed Phil that aside from the identification requirement, Brook Thompson is ignoring another legal mandate of which he is definitely aware. She insisted that the law requires that a prospective voter who desires the assistance of an interpreter must personally request such assistance. In other words, the interpreter is not permitted to go up to the election officials and inform them that she intends to go into the booth and help the voter. She explained that the law includes that provision as protection for the voter against coercion and other forms of voter fraud. Unquestionably, Barbara was accusing Brook Thompson of deliberately ignoring that provision of the law, and thus allowing illegals to vote.
Within a few minutes, a man called up who informed Phil that he had been involved in Tennessee elections for 20 years, and was intimately familiar with the applicable laws. He agreed with Barbara, and added that Brook Thompson is not an attorney, and is not an authority on election law, but is a political appointee – appointed by Democrats. This gentleman disputed Thompson's assertion that Federal law mandates that voters be permitted to use an interpreter. According to him, elections are governed by state law, which plainly requires that any voter who wishes to use an interpreter must personally request permission to do so from the election personnel. He vehemently disagreed with Thompson's decision allowing these non-English-speaking people with no valid identification to vote in a Tennessee election.
The caller also informed Phil and his listeners that any voter has the right to challenge any other voter's qualifications. He advised all of us not to depend solely upon the election personnel, but to take the initiative and inform them of any questionable or suspicious activity which we observe at a polling place.
That's where the matter ended for today. Since it's now Friday evening, it is unlikely that there will be any new developments until Monday, 10/20.
Wednesday, 10/22/08, 5:00 AM: As of yesterday afternoon, there have been no further developments. Phil Valentine reported that he has spoken to various law enforcement authorities, and none have been willing to look into this egregious violation of election laws.
During yesterday's program, Phil spoke by phone with Quin Hillyer, Associate Editorial Page Editor of the Washington Examiner. Quin's paper just published his column Quin-essential cases: No Righting Voting Wrongs in Ohio covering similar voting irregularities in Ohio.
When Phil informed Quin of these recent occurrences in Nashville, his first reaction was a gasp of surprise. He then remarked, "This election is being stolen right from under our noses."
Phil is now trying to formulate a plan for some sort of direct action designed to force the relevant authorities to do their jobs. He's been successful in such efforts in the past. For instance, he was responsible for the famous 2001 horn-blowing mass demonstration at the Tennessee State Capitol which resulted in the defeat of then-Gov. Don Sundquist's proposed income tax. Whether he'll be able to devise a successful strategy this time remains to be seen, but if I were a betting man, I'd be putting my money on Phil.
Wednesday, 10/22/08, 2:10 PM: Welcome, Instapundit readers. I learned just a few minutes ago that Phil's aware of this post, and has verified that it is entirely correct. I'll update you whenever new information becomes available.
Thursday, 10/23/08, 1:10 PM: Donald Sensing of Sense of Events comments:
When nothing matter except gaining power, any means is justified by the end. Understand that on page 56 of the official DNC platform document, available online, it says explicitly that the Democrat party goal is to eliminate any identification requirements for either voting registration or voting itself.Later, he linked to the relevant passage in the Democrat platform in this post. Donald points specifically to this excerpt:
we oppose laws that require identification in order to vote or register to vote
The post is not entirely correct. Mr. Greer did NOT say these alleged voters were without ID. Valentine asked him and he countered they did have ID. Valentine then started giving examples of the weakest forms of ID one is required to have and Mr. Greer reiterated one must have something with an address and a picture or signature. Mr. Greer did not say exactly what these folks had. I also disagree that he was mad, and Valentine seemed to know the story better than Mr. Greer.
And if these details are all true, the media, liberal or not, would have covered this story. I'd love to know who Commissioner Greer called other than Phil Valentine. If these details are true, if the election workers let these people in without IDs as you claim, the media would cover it and the employees who let it happen would be fired. So, why has Mr. Greer only been paraphrased by Phil Valentine. If these fraud charges are true and, as some sort of witness, that's all Mr. Greer has done about them, call into a radio show, he should be investigated, too.
I was not recording the program, and wrote the post from memory. Subsequently, Phil (who I do not know and have never met except through an occasional brief email) was kind enough to review the post for correctness. He found no errors.
Subsequently, yesterday evening, I emailed Phil and asked him if there's any chance of his making the audio from the four calls (Lynn Greer, Brook Thompson, "Barbara," and that gentleman who said he's worked in Tennessee elections for 20 years and Brook Thompson was full of it --- there is no such Federal law) available on his website as a podcast, or on YouTube as a "video" (audio track with some sort of a picture). As of this time, I have not yet received a response. If and when Phil agrees to make the audio available in some form, I'll link to it. Then you can listen to it and draw your own conclusions. Until then, Nashteach, we'll just have to agree to disagree about what we heard, as well as about Mr. Greer's emotional state.
Sorry to state this so bluntly, but your argument that "if these details are all true, the media, liberal or not, would have covered this story" indicates that either you are hopelessly naïve, or that you think we are. Those of us who are conservative have long ago resigned ourselves to the pervasive liberal slant of the media. Particularly in this election, they are so far in the tank for the Democrats that they're growing fins and scales.
I can't vouch for the accuracy of Mr. Greer's allegations, because I wasn't there. However, by the same standard, you have no grounds on which to question them, much less to imply that he is lying. At this point, all we can reasonably do is hope that some additional evidence emerges which either corroborates or contradicts his account.
There's another question to be answered: "What's the point?" Nashville/Davidson County invariably votes for Democrats by a huge majority. Therefore, what motivation would the Democrats have to commit vote fraud when the result of the upcoming election is already preordained in their favor? Likewise, why would Lynn Greer raise the issue of vote fraud when even if the allegations were investigated and found to be true, the Republicans would still lose? Ideas, anyone?
Friday, 10/24/08, 4:02 AM: In addition to the commenters below, several other bloggers with links to this post are attempting to shed some welcome light on this controversial event.
Steve Owens, of Pax Parabellum, emailed me privately to let me know that he had spoken by phone with Ray Barrett, Davidson County Administrator of Elections. He reports what he learned on his blog in Tennessee Voting Shenanigans? Perhaps Not.
On the matter of the "vanload(s)" of immigrants voting... Mr. Barrett cleared that up as well. It seems that the TRUE story, which Mr. Barrett states Lynn Greer will corroborate, is that a Cuban couple came into an early voting center, already properly registered to vote, and requested assistance voting as neither one spoke English well. Mr. Barrett lamented the tendency of the media to pick up a story and run with it before getting all the facts. He stated that both he and Mr. Greer had been out in the early voting centers for several days making sure everything was being done according to the rules.Ned Williams, of WisdomIsVindicated, apparently has some inside contacts at the Davidson County Election Commission. After discussing the situation with them, he posted this informative piece: Election "fraud" fog in Nashville.
After all the instances being reported where people are trying to nullify or outright steal our votes, I am gratified that we really do have officials in government making sure our votes count as we cast them. After speaking with Mr. Barrett and his staff I get a real sense that we have such a person here in Nashville.
But something that needs to be pointed out in this whole debate is that one means of undermining ballot integrity is by flooding a polling place with potential voters who require special treatment. Given the histrionics about voter suppression and other forms of "disenfranchisement," poll workers are often motivated to give the demanding party (e.g., the ACORN or La Raza rep. or the friendly ACLU lawyer-on-loan) whatever they demand rather than wait for confirmation from Election Comm. HQ or rather than go through all the steps that are required for determining the person's eligibility to vote. One clever trick I've heard of (I think in PA in 2006) is to swamp a polling place (which invariably has a limited number of provisional ballots) with "ineligible" voters who ultimately are allowed to cast normal, untraceable ballots rather than be turned away because of a shortage of provisional ballots.By all means, read the whole thing.
Complicated and rife with technicalities, you say? No doubt; but it is difficult to conduct a fair ballot (actually, it is almost impossible, especially if you expect it to be simple and easy) when determined persons have concluded that the end of winning an election justifies even immoral means.
Saturday, 10/25/08, 2:15 AM: I have just sent the following email to Davidson County Election Commissioner Lynn Greer:
Provided he grants permission to do so, I will post whatever reply I receive from Mr. Greer. Should he reply, but withhold permission to post his words, I will paraphrase the content of his message. If I receive no response after several days, I'll let you know.
Dear Mr. Greer:
I'm a retired veterinarian and sometime blogger. I live in Lebanon and therefore vote in Wilson County, so I have no dog in this fight.
Last Friday, 10/17/08, I was listening to the Phil Valentine Show when you called in. I listened to your call, and the others which it triggered, with considerable interest.
A few hours later, I wrote up this blog post http://inoculate128.blogspot.com/2008/10/vote-fraud-in-nashville.html#links from memory since, unfortunately, I had not made an audio recording of the program.
My post attracted considerable interest, including links from UT law professor Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit, Bill Hobbs' HobbsOnline, Kay Brooks, Donald Sensings' Sense of Events, Free Republic, VoteFraudSquad.com, and several other popular blogs and websites.
There has even been international interest. One British blogger, who writes under the nom de plume Not a Sheep, linked to the story and left a comment under it.
Wednesday morning, 10/22/08, I emailed Phil (whom I do not know and have never met), advised him of what I had done and the degree of interest it had engendered, and asked him to check the post for correctness. Within a few hours, he wrote back to let me know that he had read the post and found it to be entirely accurate to the best of his recollection, except that he thought that the State Election Coordinator's first name was spelled "Brooks." I verified through the Tennessee Blue Book that his name is, indeed, spelled "Brook."
Most of the reaction to the post has ranged from support to outrage. For instance, Donald Sensing pointed out that such actions are entirely consistent with the Democrat Party Platform. He linked to it in this post http://senseofevents.blogspot.com/2008/10/voting-fraud-in-nashville.html, and drew particular attention to the phrase "we oppose laws that require identification in order to vote or register to vote."
However, there have been a few skeptics. One blogger, Steve Owens, of Pax Parabellum, emailed me privately to let me know that he had spoken by phone with Ray Barrett. He then wrote up what he had learned in this post: http://www.paxparabellum.com/2008/10/tennessee-voting-shenanigans-perhaps.html
In it, he states: "It seems that the TRUE story, which Mr. Barrett states Lynn Greer will corroborate, is that a Cuban couple came into an early voting center, already properly registered to vote, and requested assistance voting as neither one spoke English well."
Another, Ned Williams, of WisdomIsVindicated, apparently has some inside contacts at the Election Commission. After discussing the situation with them, he posted this: http://wisdomisvindicated.blogspot.com/2008/10/election-fraud-fog-in-nashville.html
Two commenters, N.S. Allen and Nashteach, left thoughtful, serious comments on Kay Brooks' blog following this post: http://kaybrooks.blogspot.com/2008/10/voter-fraud-in-nashville.html Nashteach also visited my blog and left a similar comment there. Kay has attempted to reply to their comments as best she could with the information available to her.
I have emailed Phil and asked him if there is any way he could post the audio of the four calls --- yours and the three related ones which followed --- on either his website or YouTube so that those who were not listening to the broadcast could hear the calls for themselves. So far, he has not responded.
Please read the blog posts I have linked in this email, including the comments, then send me your response. I'd like to know whether, in your opinion, my recap of your call was correct, and if not, why not. Steve Owens would like to know if you will, in fact, corroborate Ray Barrett's explanation of what happened last Friday. N.S. Allen and Nashteach would like answers to the points they have raised.
Finally, I have a question of my own, which you may or may not be in a position to answer. Specifically, what could be the point of all this? It is a foregone conclusion that the Democrats are going to carry Nashville/Davidson County, so what motivation would the Democrats have for cheating in this election when they are going to win it anyway? Conversely, what motivation would you have for calling in to Phil Valentine as you did if your account of events were inaccurate, when it would make absolutely no difference in the ultimate outcome even if it were conclusively proven to be 100% true?
I am posting this message to my blog, and also cross-posting it as a comment to Kay Brooks' post. With your permission, I would like to post your reply, so that all of those who are following this story can have the opportunity to read your side of it in your own words.
Thank you in advance for your attention, and thanks also for your many years of dedicated public service.
Cross-posted as a comment to Kay Brooks' Voter Fraud in Nashville post.