Conservatives seized upon faulty report of Moore's supposed dual voter registrationsJuly 2, 2004 11:17 AM EDT ››› AVI ZOLLMAN
On June 28, beneath an article and the headline "One Man, Two Registrations: Michael Moore simultaneously on voter rolls in New York, Michigan," Court TV website TheSmokingGun.com released author/documentarian Michael Moore's New York and Michigan voter registration records. According to the article, Moore's claim that he is "an independent ... not a member of the Democratic Party" is "not exactly correct, because Moore is registered in Michigan as an unaffiliated voter but also has an "active" registration in New York as a Democrat. In fact, New York and Michigan state laws both show that only Moore's most recent -- unaffiliated -- registration is valid. Nonetheless, conservative journalists seized upon The Smoking Gun's report.
Internet gossip Matt Drudge linked to The Smoking Gun's article from his website, The Drudge Report -- on the same day it was posted to TheSmokingGun.com -- using the same headline, "One Man, Two Registrations: Michael Moore simultaneously on voter rolls in New York, Michigan."
Brit Hume, FOX News Channel's managing editor and chief Washington correspondent, reported on The Smoking Gun's article during the June 29 "Political Grapevine" segment of FOX News Channel's Special Report With Brit Hume:
HUME: Liberal activist and filmmaker Michael Moore, upon the release of his new film, Fahrenheit 9/11, made a point of saying the film is not an endorsement of John Kerry, insisting -- "I'm an independent ... [and] not a member of the Democratic Party."
But New York City elections records -- recently uncovered by TheSmokingGun.com -- show that, on a 1992 voter registration form that's still active, Moore marked his party affiliation as -- "Democratic." And, by the way, Moore has also registered to vote in Michigan.
Also June 29, the subject was raised on NRANews.com, the National Rifle Association's new radio program, which, as Media Matters for America previously noted, began broadcasting June 17 on SIRIUS Satellite Radio in an attempt to circumvent campaign finance law. Cam Edwards, host of the NRANews.com show Cam & Company, discussed Moore's registration status with NRANews.com senior producer John Popp:
EDWARDS [as Moore]: "I'm not a member of the Democratic Party -- except in the state of New York."
POPP: Yeah, Cam I'm gonna have to do a little digging around now because I remember in Arkansas it is illegal to have an active voter registration somewhere else, and be registered in Arkansas at the same time, so I'll have to see if that is the case elsewhere. Yeah.
EDWARDS: And that's so nice his votes count twice, what can you say?
It is correct that under New York and Michigan laws, Moore cannot be registered in both places simultaneously, but the laws in those states preclude that from happening. The "active" status of Moore's New York registration, which TheSmokingGun.com has posted, is inaccurate, according to the laws of both states. Under Michigan law, the registration officer who registered Moore without a party affiliation, when he moved there in 2001, was in charge of notifying the New York secretary of state that Moore was to be removed from the New York voter rolls. Likewise, under New York law, Moore's registration should have been canceled upon notice from Moore's Michigan voter registration officer.
Michigan election law provides that:
At the time an elector is applying for registration, the registration officer shall ascertain if the elector is already registered as a voter. If the elector is previously registered, the elector shall at the time of applying for registration sign an authorization to cancel any previous registration. ... The clerk of the city or township in which the elector is newly registered shall notify the registration officer of the place of previous registration of the authorization to cancel. An authorization to cancel which indicates a previous address in a state other than this state shall be forwarded to the secretary of state of that state.
New York law requires that:
A voter's registration ... shall be cancelled if, since the time of his last registration he:
(a) Moved his residence outside the city or county in which he is registered[;]
(h) For any other reason is no longer qualified to vote as provided in this chapter[;]
or upon: (d) A notice from a board of elections or other voter registration officer or agency that such person has registered to vote from an address outside such city or county.