Interesting but pointless analysis in the NY Times about voter fraud:
An enduring Republican fantasy is that there are armies of fraudulent voters lurking in the baseboards of American life, waiting for the opportunity to crash the polls and undermine the electoral system. It’s never really been clear who these voters are or how their schemes work; perhaps they are illegal immigrants casting votes for amnesty, or poor people seeking handouts. Most Republican politicians know these criminals don’t actually exist, but they have found it useful to take advantage of the party base’s pervasive fear of outsiders, just as when they shot down immigration reform. In this case, they persuaded the base of the need for voter ID laws to ensure “ballot integrity,” knowing the real effect would be to reduce Democratic turnout.
Now a researcher has tried to quantify this supposed threat by documenting every known case of voter fraud since 2000 — specifically, the kind of impersonation that would be stopped by an ID requirement. (Note that this does not include ballot-box stuffing by officials, vote-buying or coercion: the kinds of fraud that would not be affected by an ID law.)
There have been more than 1 billion votes cast in local, state and federal elections over the last 14 years. Out of all of them, the researcher, Justin Levitt, a voting expert at the Loyola University Law School, found 31 cases of impersonation fraud. It’s hardly a surprise that the number is so low; as he writes in the Washington Post today, casting individual fake ballots “is a slow, clunky way to steal an election. Which is why it rarely happens.
The battle that folks like the odious Hans von Spakovsky and John Fund and the rest of the human filth on the right who peddle this nonsense are fighting is not one to promote the integrity of elections, but to disfranchise poor and minority voters. There have been thousands of studies and reports over the years that clearly prove voter fraud is an overblown bogeyman, but the myth persists because the Republicans need the myth to endure in order for them to push their agenda of limiting likely Democratic voters access to the ballot.
Likewise, it is undeniable that voter restriction laws target minorities and the poor:
States where more minorities turn out to vote are more likely to pass vote-suppressing laws, according to an analysis published by the American Political Science Association last week. These findings fly in the face of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent opinion gutting key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, in which Chief Justice John Roberts asserted that race-based disenfranchisement was a thing of the past.
The study, conducted by University of Massachusetts Boston professors Keith Bentele and Erin O’Brien, examined restrictive voting laws proposed between 2006 and 2011. That included voter ID laws, proof of citizenship requirements, voter registration limits, early voting and absentee voting restrictions, and restrictions on felons’ voting rights. They found that “the more that minorities and lower-income individuals in a state voted, the more likely such restrictions were to be proposed.”
Voting rights are under attack in this country as state legislatures nationwide pass voter suppression laws under the pretext of preventing voter fraud and safeguarding election integrity. These voter suppression laws take many forms, and collectively lead to significant burdens for eligible voters trying to exercise their most fundamental constitutional right.
Since 2008, states across the country passed measures to make it harder for Americans – particularly African-Americans, the elderly, students and people with disabilities – to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot. Over thirty states considered laws that would require voters to present government-issued photo ID in order to vote. Studies suggest that up to 11 percent of American citizens lack such ID, and would be required to navigate the administrative burdens to obtain it or forego the right to vote entirely.
And here they are admitting to as much in court:
IT’S the latest fad among state officials looking to make voting harder: We’re not racist, we’re just partisan.
Some background: In June, the Supreme Court struck down a core provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, under which nine states and portions of others had to get federal approval before changing their election laws.
One of those states, Texas, is again in court, facing a Justice Department suit seeking to get the state under federal oversight again. To do so, the Justice Department must prove intentional racial discrimination.
Texas’ defense? It’s discrimination, all right — but it’s on the basis of party, not race, and therefore it’s O.K.
Says Texas: “It is perfectly constitutional for a Republican-controlled legislature to make partisan districting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.”
Leaving aside that whopper — laws that dilute black and Hispanic voting power have more than an “incidental” impact — the statement, part of a court filing in August, was pretty brazen. Minority voters, in Texas and elsewhere, tend to support Democrats. So Republican officials, especially but not only in the South, want to reduce early voting; impose voter-identification requirements; restrict voter registration; and, critically, draw districts either to crowd as many minority voters into as few districts as possible, or dilute concentrations of minority voters by dispersing them into as many white-controlled districts as possible.
It’s why as recently as a few days ago, Scott Walker’s political machine was doing this:
The state of Wisconsin is asking a federal appeals court to allow Wisconsin’s voter identification law to be enforced during this fall’s general election.
In a filing Tuesday with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, lawyers for the state ask that a federal district court judge’s injunction blocking the law on grounds that it would be racially discriminatory be lifted until the state’s appeal of that decision can be resolved.
“The balance of harms tips in Defendants’ favor because the district court’s impermissibly broad injunction purports to permanently enjoin a voting regulation that is designed to preserve the right to vote of all eligible Wisconsin voters,” Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and other state lawyers wrote in the new motion (posted here).
And just for the laughs, here is most assuredly one of the 31 cases of voter fraud found by the times:
It’s always seemed strange that Wisconsin Republicans like Reince Priebus and Scott Walker would insult their own state by claiming that it has a problem with voter fraud and needs tougher laws to prevent it. Wisconsin has traditionally been known for an uncommonly clean political culture (until recently, anyway), and I’ve never quite understood why conservatives would want to impugn it.
Can you say “projection”?
Now we learn about the curious case of Robert Monroe, a 50-year-old health executive who is accused of voting a dozen times in 2011 and 2012, including seven times in the recalls of Scott Walker and his GOP ally Alberta Darling. Wisconsin officials say it’s the worst case of multiple voting in memory.
Oh, and, did I mention he’s a Republican?
That would be embarrassing if the GOP had any shame.
Why try to appeal to voters when you an just work to invalidate the votes of those who disagree with you? As they like to say out here in the backwoods, don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining. Voter fraud is not a problem, it’s the foundation for Republican efforts to suppress the vote and rig elections. Period.