Remember last year, when Pajamas Media gave Joe The Plumber a camera and sent him off to do some serious investigative work in Israel? Well, they’re doing it again — except this time instead of Joe the Plumber it’ll be as many Pajamas Media readers as they can find, and instead of Israel it’ll be every polling place where those readers suspect there might be voter fraud.
The conservative website announced the launch of a “Voter Fraud Watch” this week.
J. Christian Adams, the former Justice Department employee who quit the Civil Rights Division and testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the DOJ’s handling of the New Black Panther Party case, has “agreed to lend his legal expertise” to Pajamas Media, where he is a contributor.
“We’ve all been concerned about the growing reports of voter registration fraud and voter fraud running up to the election,” Bryan Preston of Pajamas Media told TPMMuckraker. “It’s a grave concern.”
Preston said that Pajamas, with their national network of readers, will be able to alert readers of instances of voter fraud and spread the information online and filter it up into the mainstream media.
“There’s no geographic area we’re targeting, there’s not any given state that we’re targeting,” Preston said. “The main thing we’re saying is if you’re going to a polling place, have a video camera on you, have an iPhone on you.”
Pajamas CEO Roger L. Simon wrote in a blog post that his company was seeking “to develop a network of citizen journalists/poll watchers to monitor as many polling places as possible across the nation on election day.”
“These people would report back to us — with either video, still photos, text or some combination thereof — on cases of voter fraud, intimidation or other voting malfeasances they may encounter,” Simon wrote. “We will then cover these occurrences heavily on Pajamas Media and PJTV and promote them to the media at large.”
“It should go without saying that we expect these reports to be made irrespective of the political party or ideology of the person or persons involved,” Simon wrote.
As recommended by Adams, readers will be looking for voter intimidation, electioneering taking place too close to the polls, forced assistance, registration fraud — focusing on those who are voting multiple times — and dead voters.
They are not, however, working with other Tea Party or Republican groups, Preston said.
Voter fraud is an ongoing issue for conservatives in the 2010 campaigns, as TPMMuckraker has reported, despite the lack of evidence that voter fraud is a major problems in elections.
Some liberal and voting rights groups say that such campaigns suppress voter turnout.
“No one wants voter fraud, but unfounded fears cannot serve as prevention of actual voters casting actual votes,” Michael Waldman, the executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice, said at an event this week.
Asked for a recent example where voter fraud has had an impact on elections, Prestonhad to go back a few decades, but claimed that it was an ongoing issue.
“In Texas the entire career of Lyndon Baines Johnson was based on voter fraud, so if you want to go back that far,” Preston said. He added that voter fraud has been an ongoing issue in places like Texas and Chicago. The GOP Illinois came under scrutiny this week because of the “voter integrity” campaign of GOP Senate nominee Mark Kirk, which was targeted towards two predominately African-American neighborhoods in Chicago and two other areas in the state.
“Well we’re not pursuing anyone along those lines at all, we’re not laying out any geographic locations on this,” Preston said.
He intends for Pajamas Media’s effort to be a bipartisan.
“If people see any sort of shenanigans going on, than they should sent it to us,” Preston said. “We are a conservative blog, but this really isn’t an ideological thing that we’re doing, it’s a voter integrity thing that we’re doing.”