No, Virginia, Democrats aren’t trying to register your dog to vote.
As Drudge Report readers already know, Mitt Romney’s campaign sent a letter to Virginia officials on Wednesday complaining that the “dubiously named” Voter Participation Center has been sending out voter registration forms “pre-populated with names and/or information belonging to the recipients’ dead relatives, minor children, non-citizen relatives, already registered voters, convicted felons, and cats and dogs.”
The letter, signed by Romney general counsel Kathryn Biber, asks Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli and Charles Judd, the chairman of the state board of elections, to investigate the voter registration campaign, claiming it may be in violation of several state laws. It claims the Voter Participation Center’s tactics “amount to, or at the very least induce, voter registration fraud.”
The Voter Participation Center said on its website that “conservative activists have tried to discredit the work of voter registration groups … by raising false and groundless claims about fraud.” It called a Richmond Times Dispatch story on some of the forms “a perfect example of the disservice these kinds of story do to civic engagement efforts like ours designed to make it more convenient for unregistered Virginians to vote.”
So how did cats, dogs and kids get on the list to begin with? Much like direct mail companies, the center obtained commercial mailing lists of Virginia residents from various vendors. The same thing occasionally happens with credit card applications — Capitol One offered a Canadian dog that had been dead for over 10 years a $30,000 line of credit.
Of course, without a signature, those voter registration forms are meaningless and wouldn’t be accepted by elections officials. If someone were to fraudulently sign a form filled out in the name of their pet and send it into state officials — let alone actually show up to the polls pretended to be Fido — they’d be committing a felony.
Setting all that aside, Virginia actually has a voter ID law, the type of law Republicans say should prevent any dogs from voting in November.
The Voter Participation Center says it has sent over 200,000 voter registration forms to Virginia voters, while elections officials have received about 100 complaints.
Late update: The Voter Participation Center is striking back at the Romney campaign, writing in a letter that the organization was “astounded” the campaign would call for an investigation into “completely lawful voter registration efforts.”
In a letter to state officials, the Center said the Romney campaign’s efforts “may rise to the level of interference with legitimate voter registration efforts contrary to applicable state and federal laws.”
VPC founder and president Page Gardner called the Romney campaign’s request “part of a blatant and ongoing partisan effort to keep people from voting.” From her statement:
We see it everywhere -voter purges in Florida, Texas and Colorado; onerous voter ID laws, which Pennsylvania State GOP House Leader Mike Turzai recently admitted serve no purpose other than to elect Republicans. We will fight these efforts to disenfranchise voters in Virginia and in every other state.
Late, late update: The Voter Participation Center says the voter registration forms they mail out to Virginia residents will no longer be pre-populated.