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IL-SEN Tue Oct 12 2010

Kirk Campaign Voter Integrity Drive Targets Key Black Districts

Prepare to see this story on more than a few national news oulets. Last week Republican senate nominee Mark Kirk was unknowingly taped saying that he had funded voter integrity monitors in certain precincts that were especially sensitive to voter fraud. Oh and those districts just happen to be predominately black. Here's the audio via Archpundit. A number of other outlets confirmed the recording's authenticity after the fact:

And here's the meat of what Kirk said:

"These are lawyers and other people that will be deployed in key, vulnerable precincts, for example, South and West sides of Chicago, Rockford, Metro East, where the other side might be tempted to jigger the numbers somewhat," Kirk says on the tape."

Here's the Kirk Campaign's response:

"Congressman Kirk supports statewide efforts to combat machine politics and voter fraud that is well-known in Illinois," read a statement Thursday issued by Kirk spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski. "Just this week, two individuals pled guilty to vote fraud in Metro East. Voter fraud dilutes votes and disenfranchises citizens."

And here's the Giannoulias Campaign:

With Karl Rove bankrolling his campaign, it's no wonder Congressman Kirk has cooked up a Florida-style voter intimidation scheme to try to interfere with voting. The Congressman's dirty tricks are disturbing and offensive and he needs to explain himself.

UPDATE: I just talked with Cindi Canary, the Executive Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. She said that actual voter fraud is quite rare.

"Congressman Kirk is correct that on occasion people are busted for voter fraud but it's an extraordinarily inefficient if not impossible way to mess with an election and it's certainly not the province of any political group or political machine or ethnic group," Canary said.

Canary also said that she wasn't surprised the targeted districts are made up of mostly African Americans.

"I think there may be something there and even more broadly it's the urban vote versus the suburban and exurban vote. It's kind of like saying voter fraud is a symptom of African American voters," Canary explained. "This is not necessarily the voter population that he's likely to win."

A few weeks ago Public Policy Polling (whose polls tend to favor the Democrat) released a poll which found Kirk only had 14 percent of support among African Americans. Democratic senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias had 68 percent. The poll is below the fold, scroll down to page 11:

PPP Release IL 9291118


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