A historic and monumental bill was passed late Sunday night by bending arms and bending rules. Representative Hastings summed it up saying, “There ain’t no rules here—We make them up as we go along.”  Congressman Tom Perriello’s vote made the difference in the outcome of this healthcare legislation. This culmination of rule bending began more than two years ago when Tom Periello ran for the 5th District in Virginia.  In November 2008, radical groups including, Acorn, and others, reaped the rewards of their brilliantly conceived plan to subvert the will of the citizens and throw the Presidential Election to Barack Obama by focusing their efforts on registering new Democrat voters in six Tipping Point States. Adding a small number of Democrat voters in each of these six states including Virginia swung all their Electoral votes to Obama. The plan was simple. Get ineligible people registered to vote including itinerate college students from majority Democrat states. While an Obama vote in their home state would not affect the election, by voting in a Tipping Point State, they could swing that state to Obama.

The results were spectacular. Nationally, Barack Obama was elected. Locally, by a margin of 727 votes out of 316,893 cast, Tom Perriello won.  We got a congressman who held 21 town hall meetings while at the same time telling those attending that, he, “didn’t consider the views spoken at these meetings to represent the will of his constituents!” He was not seeking to learn the will of his constituents. The only conclusion to be drawn is that he did the 21 town hall meetings for PR purposes.

We got a congressman who admitted that the Congress was corrupt saying, “If you don’t tie our hands we will keep on stealing!” We got a congressman who does not represent the will of his constituents as demonstrated by his directions to his staff to not count the calls and e-mails as “they don’t represent the will of his constituents!” His latest ploy is to simply not answer his office phones in Charlottesville and on Capital Hill. I called numerous times in the last several days in an attempt to state my views on the health care legislation. Every call was greeted by a recording stating the voice mail box was full. On the eve of this momental vote, there were no staff answering the calls, not even a machine to which I could express my views. This is why I refuse to call him Representative Perriello. He doesn’t represent the will of his constituents.

The question of who can register to vote in Virginia is defined in Article 1 & 2 of the Constitution of Virginia. Each voter shall have a domicile and place of abode in the jurisdiction. These same criteria are also the basis for determining whether a person is required to title their automobile, get a Virginia driver’s license, pay taxes or qualify for in-state tuition. Students have already had their residency determined when they applied to attend college in Virginia. In Virginia, out-of-state student pay about $20,000 more per year for tuition than in-state students.

In the 2008 election, an existing three page State Board of Elections (SBE) questionnaire which could have been used to answer the eligibility question was forbidden to be used by the registrars. When some registrars sought to point out to students that registering to vote would result in their having to register their auto, get a Virginia license and pay local taxes, the Kaine administration, Governor Tim Kaine, also the chairman of the DNC at the time, got the SBE to issue a directive that this information could not be presented. Instead, the applicant could not be questioned and their statement as to residence was taken as the final word on the subject, even though the Attorney General had previously determined that “A registrar may make any inquiry reasonably necessary to determine the qualification of an applicant to register and vote in the registrar’s jurisdiction, including inquiries relating to the applicant’s domicile.”. The result was out of state students (for tuition purposes), stating that they were Virginia residents for voting purposes even though both determinations must be based on their domicile.

We will never know how the Presidential Election might have turned out if these illegal voters in the six swing states had not been permitted to vote. It is clear that this scheme exacerbated the defeat of our conservative congressman in the 5th District.  Virgil Goode was defeated by Congressman Perriello by a margin of 727 votes out 316,893 cast. Without these itinerant college voters, our 5th District congressman would be opposing government health care and massive spending bills.

In addition to subverting the will of our citizens, most of these students don’t pay local taxes. They don’t have children in school. They don’t care about land use issues or replacing aging sewer pipes. They just want to vote and have their vote count more than it would have in their home state! Recently, the public expressed their outrage when Mary Landreu and Ben Nelson had their votes count more on the Senate Health Care Bill. These student voters are no different. They want their vote to count more than other citizens!

Currently, our Commonwealth has different definitions of residence varying by agency. The legal definition of domicile states that a person can have only one domicile. Therefore, it is not possible to have a different domicile for different usages. You can not be a resident of Virginia for voting purposes and an out-of-state student for tuition purposes. You can’t have dual state citizenship.

This obfuscation of who can register to vote in Virginia must be stopped with rules which follow the intent of our Constitution. The General Assembly must pass legislation requiring a single common definition of residency for all purposes, from voting to paying automobile property taxes, based on the Constitution. When an individual registers, their name would be added to the master list of Citizens of Virginia which could not be manipulated by the Governor or any other politician.

This list would be distributed to all state and local agencies for all applications where residency is an issue. The citizenship list would be used by the police to enforce the current rules for registering your car and getting a driver’s license. Commissioners of Revenue would refer to the list to collect property taxes. The Voter Registrar would use the list to determine who is qualified to vote. This approach would eliminate all of the complaints by local municipalities about people who vote but don’t participate in civic duties or pay taxes, requirements already in place in current Virginia and local municipality regulations.

Either the students accept the rights and the obligations of citizenship, or remain citizens of their home state. Most will not accept the costs of citizenship in order to play games with our elections. If they decide to become citizens of Virginia this will increase our tax revenues and help balance the budget.

I suggest that this proposal should be submitted to the Virginia General Assembly for consideration as an alternate to the current SBE residency rules.  I further suggest that the Virginia Attorney General establish an investigative team to bring charges against every organization such as Acorn which subverted the will of our citizens in the 2008 election. Furthermore, they should investigate and bring charges against every voter who violated the law by voting more than once in the 2008 election.

For the lack of a nail, this nail being the 5th congressional district of Virginia, and a small number of districts in the six swing states, health care, bank bailouts and stimulus spending battles were lost.

For the lack of a nail!

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