August 14, 2012

Voter fraud virtually non-existent

Natasha Khan and Corbin Carson, writing in the August 11 Washington Post:

A new nationwide analysis of more than 2,000 cases of alleged election fraud over the past dozen years shows that in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which has prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tougher voter ID laws, was virtually nonexistent.  

The analysis of 2,068 reported fraud cases by News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. With 146 million registered voters in the United States, those represent about one for every 15 million prospective voters.

Therefore, as Libby Spencer points out in a Detroit News opinion piece, with no evidence to support the need, voter ID laws are legislation in search of a cause... laws in search of a crime. There are age-old reasons for such laws; voter disenfranchisement and election theft.

Indeed, these new voter ID laws could prevent five million legitimate American voters from casting a ballot, as is their Constitutional right. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that many of these disenfranchised voters are likely to vote Democratic. 

Oh wait, it’s not a coincidence at all. The authors of these laws have admitted in court they have absolutely no evidence of voter fraud and in an unguarded moment, one state Representative in Pennsylvania admitted voter ID laws were specifically enacted to help the Republicans cheat to win...

Pennsylvania so values the right to vote that it inducts citizens who have voted in 50 sequential elections into a voter Hall of Fame. There are 5,923 Pennsylvania citizens who have been inducted that remain alive and are registered to vote, but now the Republican legislature in that state has enacted voter ID laws that could prevent perhaps 23% of these from voting in the 2012 elections.

"These are 1,384 individuals who have not missed a general election since at least 1961 -- but who may very well be prevented from voting for the first time this year -- if they are unaware of the new Voter ID Law, or unable to obtain the proper ID in time for the election,"

We are witnessing again today the very thing that has gone on in this country since our Founding; one or multiple classes will be denied the right to vote based upon some fiction. In the beginning days of this country only landed white men had the right to vote; women, slaves and the indentured purportedly did not have the mental capacity to understand politics, were disallowed and this disenfranchisement was codified in law.

Four score and seven years later we saw an end to slavery, but blacks were still denied the right to vote. It took another century before the right was extended to African American men, and shortly afterwards the women's suffrage movement succeeded in gaining the votie for what was thought to be the last of the disenfranchised classes. All American adults were finally free to go to the polls and cast a ballot.

But it didn't last even until the ink on the VRA had a chance to dry. State laws started popping up enacting poll taxes, literacy tests and a litany of other creative means to reinstitute what the VRA and CRA had made illegal.

Those were Democrats doing that in the 1960's, in 2012 it is the Republicans trying to steal elections by some eerily familiar means. 22 states, all with Republican majorities in the statehouse, have enacted some form of voter ID law. Some states went beyond simple ID requirements, enacting laws placing onerous burdens on voter registration drives, redrawing precinct lines that divided communities, even purges of the voter roles to exclude individuals who could not be counted as reliably Republican.

Thanks to extended early voting hours Democrats took Ohio in 2008, so following the 2010 takeover by Republicans, that party responded by curtailing the early voting period for 2012, shortening it from 35 to just 11 days and eliminating voting on the Sunday before the election. That Sunday is the day when African-American churches historically rally their congregants to go to the polls.

Activists gathered enough signatures to block those restrictions by forcing a referendum on Election Day, so Republicans repealed their own bill, but continued a ban on early voting three days before Election Day. In 2008 93,000 Ohioans voted in those last three days. The legislature magnanimously granted an exception for active duty members of the military, who coincidentally tend to lean Republican.

Ohio was one of five states since 2010 limiting early voting days, but Ohio Republicans are not stopping there. They are further tilting the playing field by expanding early voting hours in counties with reliable Republican populations and cutting back those hours in counties that leaned to the left in 2008 and 2010.

In the cities of Cleveland, Columbus, Akron and Toledo, early voting hours will be allowed only from 8 am until 5 pm Monday thru Friday beginning on October 1. The right-leaning counties still get the hours going into the nights and can vote seven days a week. Ohio Republican election commissioners have systematically blocked Democratic efforts to expand early voting hours in the counties with heavy African American populations. In counties where the board of elections are split equally between Democratic and Republican members, the Secretary of State, Republican Jon Husted, has stepped in to break the tie.

They've been called for this obvious attempt at voter suppression and sudddenly Husted is backpedaling.
Similar schemes have been tried in other Republican states with the voter ID scheme being the most popular, but it all boils down to a single concept... voter suppression.

I have to ask, if the Republican way is so great and Republican ideas so bright... why must they resort to dirty tricks to steal elections?