WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- Daily news notes, political rumors, and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.
True or false? -- State and federal authorities are in the midst of an investigation into so-called voting irregularities in South Dakota that could have an impact on the November election for U.S. Senate. According to a report in the Sioux Falls, S.D.. Argus Leader, problems with registrations and absentee ballots submitted to state election officials by a woman working with the state Democratic Party prompted the investigation.
"Auditors in several West River counties raised concerns about some of the documents submitted to their offices. An initial investigation revealed that absentee ballot applications had been filed for people who don't exist or had recently died," Attorney General Mark Barnett is quoted as saying in Saturday's Argus Leader.
"There was one document that was sent in where a lady supposedly sent in an absentee ballot some days after she was actually killed in a car accident," the paper reports Barnett saying. Both political parties have pushed throughout the west to gain the support of Indian voters -- with Democrats having made major pushes in and around reservations, where an average 10,000 of a potential 67,000 residents participate in most statewide elections, the Argus Leader reported.
If the investigations lead to fraudulent registrations being tossed from the rolls prior to the November election, it could, say analysts, damage the re-election hopes of freshman Democrat Sen. Tim Johnson, who is locked in a dead-even contest with Republican John Thune, the state's U.S. House member.
Once more into the breach -- Judi Moriarty-Ebers was the first woman to be elected secretary of state in Missouri. She was also the first statewide elected official in the Show Me State to be impeached and removed from office. Now Moriarty-Ebers, a Democrat, is trying to become the first in the state to come back from all that -- running for a seat in the state legislature against a Republican who had voted to impeach her.
After being found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of backdating her son's filling for a state House seat, she was brought up on misconduct charges in the legislature. The state House approved three articles of impeachment and the state Supreme Court, which tries the cases, voted unanimously to remove her from office.
After eight years out of the limelight, Moriarty-Ebers is running for a seat in the state House of Representatives against Republican Todd Smith, who served in the body from 1985 to 1995 and voted for one of the three counts to impeach her.
And the award goes to... -- Veteran anti-Communist crusaders will gather Nov. 12 at Washington's J.W. Marriott Hotel for an awards banquet to honor heroes of the Cold War. The winners have not yet been announced by the 4th annual Truman-Reagan Awards Dinner, sponsored by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is sure to be attended by some of the city's most important national security policy makers, past, present and future. The foundation was created after the fall of the Soviet Union to raise funds to erect a museum featuring permanent exhibits giving testimony to the ways in which Communist tyranny violated the rights of man.
Illini in line -- Democrats had hoped that the decennial redistricting in the state of Illinois would eventually break their way. In a deal reportedly negotiated by representatives of U.S. House Speaker Denny Hastert and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, the state remap largely strengthened the state's incumbent U.S. House members -- except for Republican John Shimkus and Democrat David Phelps. Because Illinois lost one congressional seat due to population loss downstate, the two men were placed into a consolidated district that Democrats had hoped to win -- but a new poll by Public Opinion Strategies, a GOP firm, likely dashes those hopes.
According to the survey, Shimkus has a 13-point lead over Phelps, 51 percent to 38 percent and Phelps' negatives have doubled since September. Shimkus, on the other hand, enjoys high name ID and has favorable/unfavorable rating of 51 percent and 13 percent.
From the commemorative calendar -- For those of you who did not see it, President George W. Bush has issued a proclamation recognizing Oct. 15 as White Cane Safety Day, in honor of the visually impaired.
"The white cane is a powerful symbol of independence and opportunity for visually impaired persons. It is also an essential tool for increasing mobility and productivity for those who are blind as well as those who suffer from severe visual impairment. On White Cane Safety Day, our Nation renews its dedication to eliminating barriers for every disabled American, especially the blind and visually impaired," the president said.
In 1964 the Congress, by joint resolution, designated Oct. 15 of each year as "White Cane Safety Day."
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