Nathan Stubbs

Errors rife in local VIP voter drive

by Nathan Stubbs

Lafayette Parish Registrar of Voters Charlene Meaux says Lafayette has not been entirely immune from a recent voter drive financed by the national Democratic Party that has been inundating registrars in Caddo, East Baton Rouge and Orleans Parish. Those registrar offices have been working some ten to twelve hour days trying to process thousands of new voter applications, many of which are rife with errors. Yesterday, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne announced his office was investigating the situation to see if any election laws have been violated. Dardenne planned to meet with officials from the D.C.-based organization Voting Is Power (VIP), which was hired by the national Democratic Party to conduct the voter drive. VIP set a goal of registering 70,000 new voters in Louisiana, and paid canvassers to go door to door signing up unregistered adults.

In Lafayette, Meaux says her office has received four boxes, with a combined 1,236 voter applications, from VIP throughout the last three weeks of May. Meaux estimates as much as 25 percent of those applications may be determined invalid. In just one box, Meaux says her office flagged 54 applications from convicted felons. Another prevalent problem has been improperly filled out applications and duplicate applications. “What they’re doing a lot is registering people to vote who are already registered,” Meaux says. “A lot are duplicates. We had one guy who registered six times in the same day. It’s giving us an abundance of work for nothing because these people are already registered.” Meaux adds that her office’s fraud unit is looking into some of the cases of duplicate applications.