Nation: Election Commission Cleared on Fraud Report

Posted March 12, 2008 at 6:43pm

The Election Assistance Commission, the federal voting standards clearinghouse, was cleared earlier this week of burying the findings of a controversial report exploring voter fraud.

The agency last spring ordered that its internal auditors look into claims by lawmakers and reporters that EAC staffers altered and concealed sensitive research, particularly that of outside election experts Tova Wang and Job Serebrov.

The Inspector General for the U.S. Dept. of Interior, which was referred the case, provided its finding to Congress Tuesday and concluded “no evidence to support allegations that the changes were made to the report due to improper reasons or political motivations.”

“We found that the EAC officials reviewing the consultants’ report believed the report was poorly written and contained unsupported conclusions and, therefore, required substantial editing,” the report stated. “This, coupled with an initial delay of the EAC beginning the editing process, caused the final report to be released four months after receiving the consultants’ draft.”

“The voting fraud project and issues relating to vote fraud is a highly charged political issue,” the investigators added. “The decision to edit the report … along with the delay of producing the final report undoubtedly provided a catalyst for the speculation.”

The EAC also took some blame on Wednesday for the nearly yearlong political dust-up, acknowledging that internal procedures were not up to snuff at the time, perhaps fueling the controversy.

“We are already taking steps to implement policies and procedures to ensure that we not only produce accurate reports, but that we are also able to clearly demonstrate a thorough vetting and validation process so the public will have confidence in the reports issued by the EAC,” stated an EAC statement out Wednesday.
— Matthew Murray