By Rachel Alexander
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 3, 1998

Racism or election fraud?


Arizona Daily Wildcat

Rachel Alexander

In 1996, House Representative "B-1" Bob Dornan, the outspoken and noteworthy Clinton opponent, was narrowly defeated by Loretta Sanchez in California's 46th District. After the election, it was discovered that supporters of Sanchez had allegedly illegally registered non-citizens to vote for Sanchez.

A congressional investigation was launched, uncovering startling information. One of Sanchez's staffers admitted in sworn testimony that the Sanchez campaign encouraged illegal voter registration. The radical Hispanic organization Hermandad Mexicana Nacional was investigated by the county and state for election fraud. Hermandad had registered 721 non-citizens, 442 of whom voted in the election. The head of Hermandad was convinced he would "be indicted on hundreds of felonies." More corruption was discovered when Sanchez's husband was caught and arrested for stealing Dornan signs.

What is revealing is that not only did Sanchez's supporters illegally register non-citizens, but they also pressured them into thinking that Sanchez, an extreme liberal, represented their interests simply because she was Hispanic. However, Dornan has great popularity in the 46th District, which is 50 percent Hispanic. Like many Hispanics, Dornan has a strong Catholic background. He is also very outspoken against racism. He was an activist in domestic civil rights during the 1960s, marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. and registering black voters in the South. Dornan's own webmaster, a key campaign staffer, is Hispanic.

Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, once the investigation began, accusations of racism were launched against Dornan by the Sanchez camp. Liberals said that the investigation itself was racist. The Republicans heading the investigation, fearful of being labeled racist, allowed the Democrats to use criteria which would only find a minimal amount of illegal voters. Dornan lost the election by only 979 votes. The investigation ended this month, coincidentally coming up with 970 illegal votes, 9 votes shy of reversing the election.

Initially, the investigation found 7,141 suspect illegal voters by comparing the names of registered voters to the names listed with the Immigration and Naturlaization Servicew as aliens. However, the Democrats insisted that the first, last and middle names must match exactly for the vote to be thrown out. This brought the total number of illegal voters down to 3,080. The Democrats, trying to reduce that number even further, next insisted that the addresses, birthplaces and signatures must match exactly. Basically, they were insisting that there must be a million-to-one chance that the person who voted wasn't the same one listed with the INS as an alien. This last ploy brought the total down to 970 illegal voters.

As a result of their maneuverings, the Democrats guaranteed that hundreds of illegal votes would slip through undetected. The records supplied by the INS were five years old; since most new immigrants do not remain at their first address for five years, all of those illegal votes were not caught. Also, this method had no way of determining how many illegal aliens voted, since the INS only has records of legal aliens. Nor did this method catch any of the convicted felons or people living outside of the district who may have voted. Furthermore, several boxes of ballots were brought in from the "motor voter" program after the polls closed. These ballots were suspiciously not returned by the voters or their families as the law requires. One election volunteer nervously told the Dornan campaign staff that 40 ballots, ostensibly for Dornan, were never counted.

The reaction in Mexico to these events, according to Bob Dornan's webmaster, has been very negative towards Loretta Sanchez. Mexican citizens who have heard about this controversy believe that illegal voting is wrong, and these tactics are frowned upon in Mexico. Sanchez is not seen as the Latina role model her supporters portray her as, but rather as a fraudulent embarrassment.

Why are Democrats targeting Dornan? For one thing, Dornan has been one of Clinton's most outspoken critics. He first coined the oft-repeated phrase "triple draft-dodging, pot-smoking, cocaine-snorting, womanizing, adulterous liar" on the House floor and was subsequently censored for it. Dornan was well known for his entertaining addresses to the House of Representatives, televised late at night on C-SPAN, which discussed his plans to initiate impeachment proceedings against Clinton.

"We're dealing with a pathological liar," he has said of Clinton. "I think we have a criminal in the White House."

Regardless of how badly Dornan's enemies want him out of office, the use of election fraud and the manipulation of Hispanic immigrants is certainly not the proper way to go about it. Unfortunately, anyone who dares question the election results is labeled as a racist. Dornan plans to run again this fall. Let's hope the Sanchez campaign shows a little honesty this time around.

Rachel Alexander is a second-year law student. Her column, "Common Sense," appears every other Tuesday.


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