Alderman Cordle Accuses Democratic Activist Weikel of Registering Illegal Aliens to Vote-- “He’s going to try to take the election..." ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Alderman Cordle Accuses Democratic Activist Weikel of Registering Illegal Aliens to Vote-- “He’s going to try to take the election..."

An Annapolis Alderman, criminal investigator and putative mayoral candidate has accused a local Democratic activist of registering illegal aliens to vote.
In an email to CP on Friday, September 14, Alderman David Cordle, a Chief Investigator of the Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office, used his official city Aldermanic email account to write the following about Charles “Chuck” Weikel:
“Chuck is the leading culprit in rumor and misinformation. He doesn't cover his tracks very well; but I guess everyone has to have their pipe dream....He'll tell any audience exactly what they want to hear. Registering voters? Yup, illegal aliens who can't read our ballot- confirmed by ‘Friends of Chuck‘.”
CP found a number of things very disturbing about this email missive, written in response to a post CP had written on September 11 about Weikel’s activism and work in registering voters. For one thing, Cordle is an elected official, a putative Republican candidate for Mayor and a criminal investigator. In addition to the fact that such statements are unbecoming of a public official and an aspiring Mayor, the troubling political motivation is compounded by the fact that he is an investigator and such words can be deemed to have a “chilling effect” on discourse and activism.
Ironically, in that same posting about Weikel that prompted Cordell‘s letter, CP had opined that:
“Electoral politics and campaigns are not governance. They are politicking--and often at its worst. Many of us wish that election campaigns would be legally shortened. All this rumor stuff and campaigning and fundraising distorts the entire public discourse--especially this early.”
CP wrote back to Cordle on 9/15 asking for more information:

While you had nothing to say about what I wrote concerning the APFO [Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance], you certainly did manage to make a pretty strong personal attack on someone who might possibly be opposing you in the Mayoral race. While I don't think it's productive and it concerns me that an elected official and someone who aspires to be Mayor would resort to such name calling, I am sure that you have your reasons for believing this. It would be interesting to know why you think he is registering illegal aliens to vote and how such a thing could be possible. Sounds fraudulent and illegal to me. Are you investigating this?
I am assuming that this is for publication?

On 9/17, CP again wrote to Cordle:

“Dave: I did reply to this email asking for more information. I'd like to hear back from you. Thanks Paul Foer”

CP thought about this some more. Of course this was intended for publication. It was sent to the publisher of a blog in response to a post on the blog. It’s not just a little nastiness between two people. It has potentially serious political implications and it is an elected official and investigator making accusations against a local resident and political activist. And what other motivation would Mr. Cordle have had for writing this? CP decided to inform Mr. Weikel about this and to ask specifically about the accusation of registering illegal aliens to vote.

On Sept 17th, CP wrote:
In our recent discussion, I have informed you that Alderman David Cordle has accused you of registering illegal aliens to vote. Specifically, this is what he wrote to me, "...illegal aliens who can't read our ballot- confirmed by 'Friends of Chuck'."
Can you please confirm, deny or comment on this accusation? What has been the extent of your registration efforts and results? What about the part about "not being able to read our ballot"? What might that have meant? I have asked Alderman Cordle for clarification as well.
Paul Foer

This is the response from Weikel:
Thanks for informing me today of States Attorney Investigator and Alderman David Cordle's accusation(s) against me in an email from last Saturday night. I am doubly concerned that he would make such accusations using his city email address to you and to appear to violate his office's procedures in accusing me of illegal activity to a third party. It is also unclear to me under which capacity he has made such accusations -- as an Alderman, States Attorney Investigator or private citizen.
As a member of the AA County Dem Central Committee, we have conducted summer a outreach program throughout the 16 precincts in the City of Annapolis. We have canvassed over 2,300 doors (as of this weekend) and are now following up with neighborhood meetings. This is the kind of effort that routinely is organized by the Democratic Party, its members and officials throughout Maryland and the US. And it's what I consider it to be an example of the kind of effort that I got elected to do by Democrats in District 30.
As part of this effort, I have conducted a summer voter registration drive. This drive has been met with only limited success, registering approximately 10 voters. Of this number, none have been Latino or Hispanic in origin. In my Spanish language newsletter, we have asked Latinos who are US citizens to register to vote. I have also distributed voter registration forms and voter guides in Spanish to Centro de Ayuda and Bienes Raices Realtors. I have been told they have distributed voter registrations to only two people who have registered. I have not handled either of these two registrations -- I am told they were returned to the AA County Board of Elections by the registrants themselves.
Unfortunately, the initial voter registration part of this effort has been slow. But I intend to continue to try to register all legal US citizens, especially Hispanic and Latinos.
It's important
to note two additional facts:
-- One does not have to be an English speaker / reader to register to voter in Maryland. Voter registration forms and voter guides are printed in Spanish as, as I understand it, are the voting machines. So, in fact, one does not need to read a ballot in english to vote (although, presumably, one must be literate in either spanish or english!)
-- There is no organization called "Friends of Chuck", there is only "Democrats for Chuck" -- a State of Maryland Election Campaign Account (it is accessible online and the next finance report is due in January 2008).
Additionally, you verbally informed that Alderman Cordle has further stated in the email to you that I "am not very good at covering my tracks" and mentions a "pipe dream". This further concerns me in that he is a member of the law enforcement community. Is he conducting an ad hoc investigation of some presumed illegal activity? If such an investigation exists, is it sanctioned by his office? Or is this an attempt to intimidate?
It is the right of every citizen to take part in civic and political activities. As you know, I have always happy engaged in political expressions and found them to be challenging and exciting. I believe its unfortunate that others, even those whom I may not agree with, do not share my enthusiasm for democracy.

On Monday, September 17th, Cordle wrote the following (in its original form without any modifications):

“Paul,I'm in Arizona on a homice case from 1980, pls feel free to call me on my cell 410-320-0301. Exactly what allegations are you speaking of? If they are claims by Chuck, I'd sugesst you get other sources based on his track rcord…”

CP find this most unusual in that Cordle, who made the original accusation, was asked to substantiate that allegation and then turned it around by asking “Exactly what allegations are you speaking of? If they are claims by Chuck…..”
CP spoke Cordle with on Tuesday, September 18.
First off, Cordle insisted that his claim had nothing to do with his full-time job as a criminal investigator. He also said that he has not yet announced that he is running for Mayor. Cordle claimed to have “reliable sources that have told me this is his plan [to register illegal aliens].” Cordle added that, “I have information that that’s what his tactic is going to be down the road. I am saying he is going after the Hispanic vote. He’s going to try to take the election by getting Hispanic voters….The information I am getting is that he is doing that or that is his plan.”
When questioned about the size or the impact of the local Hispanic vote, Cordle was not certain, and said he had not checked any voter rolls or other information. However, because many aliens, and some illegals, as Cordle claimed, can obtain driver’s licenses, he expressed concerns that they could also obtain voter registration cards. People that have entered the USA illegally have the “potential for them to go and vote and guide the course of our government and way of life could be altered by a thrown election by illegals not eligible to vote. It scares me."

Weikel told CP that, “I have personally not registered a single Latino voter. I have distributed registration cards to community groups who I understand have registered two Latino voters.”

According to the Anne Arundel County Board of Supervisor’s of Elections websites, these are the requirements to become a voter:
Be a U.S. citizen;
Be a Maryland resident;
Be at least 18 years old by the next election;
Not be under guardianship for mental disability;
Not have been convicted of buying or selling votes;
Not have been convicted of a felony, or if you have, you have completed serving a court ordered sentence of imprisonment, including any term of parole or probation for the conviction.
Of course, even if one did have a plan or intent to register illegal aliens to vote, the illegal alien who signed a registration card, which is available in Spanish and English, would be committing perjury. Furthermore, how could such misinformation get past the official body that determines if one is eligible to vote? CP thinks that it is a great leap of faith to allege that just because someone is registering voters and is active in reaching out to the Hispanic community that they are willingly and knowingly registering illegal aliens. It takes yet another great leap of faith to allege that if a person were doing that, their intent would be to influence an election and thereby alter our “way of life.”

It is of course no secret that there are many, many new residents of Annapolis, many of whom come from Central America. It is likely that some, or perhaps many of them entered the USA illegally. It is part of a huge and far-reaching change that is taking place nationally, and of course, across borders. CP speaks Spanish and has visited Latin America numerous times. On a personal level, he supports stopping the flow of illegal aliens and enforcing immigration laws, but he gets goosebumps when asked if that means the illegal aliens here should all automatically be deported. CP believes that our enormous underground service economy would collapse, taking the rest of our economic life with it, if all illegal aliens here were to suddenly disappear. The topic is too complex and too heated to be discussed here in any great detail. How we deal with this and how we adjust to this change locally is the big issue for us here in Annapolis. Having said this, CP is pretty disgusted at how one elected official has chosen to frame the debate.


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