After the Yuma Sun reported that an SEIU-affiliated group, Mi Familia Vota, had been working on get-out-the-vote activities in Yuma County’s Hispanic communities, several right-wing blogs, lead by Publius Pundit, began sounding the voter fraud alarm.
Publius Pundit, a supporter of the Republican challenger to Rep. Raul Grijalva, wrote that “voter fraud on a massive scale could be taking place,” claiming that 3,000 new voter registration applications were dropped off at once and 65 percent were invalid. (Neither of which, if true, would be evidence of fraud.) The blogger, Maria Carvajal, also noted the “statistical improbability” that most of the registrations were Democratic.The claims were picked up by Big Government, Michelle Malkin, Gateway Pundit and others. About 25 people, including some tea partiers, held a protest in Yuma over the claims.
“We heard the democrats dropped off 5,000 early ballot requests and we’re not accusing anybody of voter fraud, but I don’t carry around 5,000 ballot requests in my trunk,” one protester told KSWT.
It appears the allegations are baseless. Mi Familia Vota, along with One Arizona, submitted about 3,000 requests to add voters to the permanent early voting list. They aren’t new registrations. Instead, already registered voters are asking to get an early voting ballot mailed to them every election cycle.
“Our goal was mainly signing Latinos up on the permanent early voting list. That way they become frequent voters,” Francisco Heredia, the Arizona state director for Mi Familia Vota, told TPMmuckraker. “We’re not telling people how to vote.”
The group only submitted about 300 new registrations, Heredia said. He also said that the requests were not submitted all at once, but on a weekly basis over two months.
The Yuma County recorder, Robyn Stallworth Pouquette, who is in charge of voter registration, told local news outlets that there’s no evidence of fraud. She told the Yuma Sun that she had received a total of 14,000 permanent early voter list requests this year, and 8,000 were approved. The others were rejected, due to either duplicate requests or because voters were ineligible to vote in the county.
“The recorder has maintained checks to maintain the integrity of every election conducted in Yuma County and staff is working overtime so that every request received is properly processed according to Arizona law,” she said.