November 2, 2012 Secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections Don Palmer 1100 Bank Street, Richmond, VA 23219

Chairman of the Virginia State Board of Elections Charlie Judd 1100 Bank Street, Richmond, VA 23219 Vice-Chairman of the Virginia State Board of Elections Kimberly Bowers 1100 Bank Street, Richmond, VA 23219 Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, II 900 East Main Street Richmond, VA 23219 United States Attorney Neil MacBride 2100 Jamieson Ave Alexandria, VA 22314 United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy Post Office Box 1709 Roanoke, Virginia 24008-1709 Dear Sirs and Madam: We write to strongly request your immediate attention and action to remedy the poll watcher training activities of “True the Vote” in Virginia. The True the Vote’s Virginia training materials provide incorrect and misleading guidance about Virginia law and voting procedures. Virginia poll watchers that rely on the erroneous “training” in True the Vote’s poll watcher manual pose a grave risk of fostering an environment of confusion, hostility and intimidation. Worse, these ill-trained poll watchers could intentionally or inadvertently make it harder for Virginians to vote, especially new voters, voters of color, voters who need language assistance, and voters with physical disabilities. It is critical that you protect eligible Virginia voters from the potentially suppressive tactics of poll watchers relying on True the Vote’s Virginia Poll Watcher training manual. The errors are numerous and serious.

We urge you to have the counties remind the chief officers that under Virginia Code § 24.2-604, the chief officers have the authority to remove persons, including poll watchers, who are disturbing, disrupting, or delaying the voting process. The document, “True the Vote Virginia Observer Training,” is attached. This document is presented as a Virginia specific manual, however large sections include misleading or inaccurate boilerplate language cut and paste from other True the Vote state manuals, including Colorado and Texas. Here are some of the statements from the training manual that are plainly wrong and highly misleading. The bulleted statements are taken directly from the training manual; the sub-bullet point provides the inaccuracy and our suggested response. Statement: Page 36 [Under “Voting After the Poll is Closed”]: “If a vote is cast after the legal closing time, it should be cast as a provisional ballot and separated from those votes before the legal closing time.” o Correction: Virginia law is clear: if a voter is in line at 7:00pm, even if the voter casts a ballot after 7:00pm, the voter casts a regular ballot, not a provisional ballot. In other words, everyone in line at the closing of polls in Virginia is entitled to vote with a regular ballot. Statement: Page 7 [Under “Election Officials”]: “The chairman for the State Board of Elections is the Chief Election Officer for the state of Virginia.” o Correction: The Chief Election Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia is the Secretary of the State Board of Elections, Secretary Palmer. Statement: Page 23 [Under “Voting Area”]: “[I]n the case of voters requiring assistance in a language other than English, a [party or candidate] representative with proficiency in that language may be asked to assist.” o Correction: Virginia Code § 24.2-604 was amended in the previous legislative session to prohibit an authorized representative [party or candidate] to provide assistance in any case permitted under § 24.2-649. Virginia Code § 24.2-604 states that, “Authorized representatives shall not be allowed in any case to provide assistance to any voter as permitted under § 24.2-649 or to wear any indication that they are authorized to assist voters either inside the polling place or within 40 feet of any entrance to the polling place.” Statement: Page 23 [Under “Voter Check-In”]: “Voter states name and current address and election officer repeat name and address. Officer asks voter to present acceptable form of ID: his Commonwealth of Virginia voter registration card, his social security card, his valid Virginia driver’s license, his concealed handgun permit issued pursuant to §18.2-308, or any other identification card issued by a government agency of the Commonwealth, one of its political subdivisions, or the United States; any valid student identification card issued by any institution of higher education located in the Commonwealth of Virginia; any valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of

the employer’s business; or a copy of a current utility bill statement, government check, or paycheck that shows the name and address of the voter.” o Correction: The State Board of Election’s acceptable voter identification chart shows that voters may also present a tribal enrollment or other tribal ID provided by one of the 11 tribes recognized in Virginia, a military ID, or an expired Virginia driver’s license that is within 30 days of expiration. Statement: Page 32 [Under “Challenging Voters or Absentee/Mail-In Ballots”]: “The Poll Lead or Assistant (usually together) can make a decision to uphold or overrule your challenge. Take careful notes of everything said during this process. It’s also possible that the Poll Lead or Assistant may determine that a final decision on the challenge cannot be reached. In this case, they should allow the challenged voter to vote by provisional ballot only.” o Correction: Pursuant to Virginia Code § 24.2-651, any challenged voter who signs a statement under felony penalty attesting to their eligibility shall cast a regular ballot (i.e., “shall be permitted to vote on the voting system in use at the precinct.”) Statement: Page 33 [Under “What to Watch For”]: “At the check-in area, watch to ensure that voters are presenting the ID required by your state law and that the Election Workers are checking the address on the ID against the address in the voter book/poll book/online record.” o Correction: Nowhere in Virginia law does it say that a valid Virginia ID for voting purposes must have an address on it. Not all legal forms of ID under Virginia Code contain a current address. Furthermore, according to the SBEs’ “What If” guide, there are multiple instances where a voter may cast a regular ballot even if the address on their ID does not match the address in the poll book. For instance, the voters’ ID may contain a mailing address, not a physical address or the voter could have moved within the same precinct. Statement: Page 34 [Under “What to Watch For (continued)”]: “Watch to ensure that the Election Workers are instructing each voter to sign the voter book or digitally sign their online record, as needed. The Election Worker should compare these signatures against the ID presented or against the voter book signatures on record, per your state’s practice.” o Correction: There is no requirement under Virginia law for voters to sign the poll book or for election workers to compare signatures. Virginia law does not require that eligible IDs contain a signature. Your attention to this matter is all the more important because a prominent True the Vote official compared trained poll observers to police officers, which implies that poll watchers are charged with enforcing the law. The organization’s National Elections Coordinator Bill Ouren told attendees at a True the Vote event that “for any of you that have seen qualified, capable poll observers in action, it’s kind of like driving down the road and looking up in that rearview mirror and seeing that there is an officer of the law following you.” Misinformed, wrongly trained poll watchers may be inclined to harass, intimidate, or interfere with a qualified voter’s

right to vote, all of which violates Virginia law, especially if voters are targeted for discriminatory reasons such as race, ethnicity, language ability, or gender. Clearly, reliance on the numerous errors in the True the Vote Virginia Observer Training manual disqualify anyone from claiming that they are a capable poll watcher. Ironically, in an interview with the National Rifle Association News, the President of True the Vote told an interviewer that “if you find value in spending time trying to stop the corruption where it starts, which we argue is at the polls, then what you do is you end up truing [sic] the process all the way to the highest offices in the land” and that "we’ve got to, I believe, take the reins back.” The misstatements of law in True the Vote’s Virginia materials belie the stated goals of True the Vote. Concerns over voter intimidation, partisanship and interference with the right to vote have prompted Congressman Elijah Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to open an investigation into True the Vote. He has requested documents relating to the True the Vote’s plans “to deploy hundreds of thousands of personnel across the country on Election Day to challenge access to the polls for people you believe should not be allowed to vote.” He explained that if True the Vote’s efforts “are intentional, politically-motivated, and widespread across multiple states, they could amount to a criminal conspiracy.” Virginia Code mandates that, “It shall be unlawful for any authorized representative, voter, or any other person in the room to (i) hinder or delay a qualified voter; (ii) give, tender, or exhibit any ballot, ticket, or other campaign material to any person; (iii) solicit or in any manner attempt to influence any person in casting his vote; (iv) hinder or delay any officer of election; or (v) otherwise impede the orderly conduct of the election.” - Virginia Code § 24.2-604(D) We expect that you will enforce this and other voter protection laws to their fullest extent, particularly in the wake of these disturbing training materials that threaten to disenfranchise voters and make it harder for eligible Virginians to vote. We request that you do the following as soon as possible: Enforce Virginia law; Request that the State Board of Elections remind election judges how to handle poll watchers that are trained contrary to Virginia law, including the significant statutory authority under Virginia Code § 24.2-604(D) and (E) to eject any poll watcher who seeks to carry out any action that is contrary to Virginia law;

-

Inform the Virginia Republican and Democrats that their monitors are to obey all laws or risk ejection from the polling location; and Request that True the Vote immediately correct their training materials and distribute corrective materials to all persons signed up to become poll watchers trained and/or mobilized by True the Vote.

-

These steps are critical to ensure a free, fair and accessible election in Virginia. We hope that you will take the necessary steps and begin this process as soon as possible.

Sincerely, The 2012 Virginia Election Protection Coalition Michael Lore Volunteer Coordinator Common Cause Virginia 1133 19th St., 9th floor Washington, DC 20036 mlore@commoncause.org Courtney Mills Staff Attorney Fair Elections Legal Network 1825 K Street NW, Suite 450 Washington, D.C. 20006 Tel: 202-331-0114 Fax: 202-331-1663 cmills@fairelectionsnetwork.com Tram Nguyen Associate Director Virginia New Majority Education Fund 6397 Little River Turnpike, Ste 300 Alexandria, VA 22312 tnguyen@virginianewmajority.org Anna Scholl Executive Director ProgressVA Education Fund PO Box 742 Earlysville, VA 22936 anna@progressva.org Katie O’Connor Staff Attorney Advancement Project 1220 L Street NW Suite 850 Washington DC 20005 KOConnor@advancementproject.org

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful