All of which brings you back to one central point: if you care about the integrity of elections and people actually being able to vote, the supposed cures for vote fraud are vastly more destructive than the problem. All evidence suggests that vote fraud is a minuscule, minuscule problem. Voter ID and most of the other nostrums are solutions looking for a problem. The people who support these policies are either ignorant of the facts or actually want to cull a certain subsection of the population from democratic participation. There are simply no two ways about it.
As the Department of Health and Human Services prepares to implement the Affordable Care Act, they are hiring people to help uninsured Americans find health insurance in the state exchanges that law sets up. Would you believe this has something to do with ACORN and voter fraud? Let’s peek into the dark, festering mind of the wingnut to find out just how, starting with Breitbart.com, which declares “HHS RESURRECTS ‘ACORN’ THROUGH OBAMACARE!”
ObamaCare provides millions of dollars in grants to hire community activists and others as “navigators” to assist individuals enroll in health insurance provided by state or federal exchanges and, according to recent reports, register people to vote. In a new rule proposed Wednesday, HHS lays out numerous guidelines for these “navigators”, including paying them up to $48/hour for their work. The rule, guidelines and voter registration effort are a potential vehicle to resurrect ACORN or an ACORN-like entity.
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to lift 30-year-old restrictions on the Republican National Committee’s “ballot security” programs that the organization said were necessary to combat voter fraud.
The court decided not to take up the RNC’s appeal without commenting on the case. The consent decree came about after the Democratic National Committee sued the RNC for enlisting off-duty sheriffs and police officers to patrol polling places in minority precincts in New Jersey during a 1981 gubernatorial election. In 1982, the RNC agreed not to carry out some programs designed to combat voter fraud and to have other reviewed by a federal court.
After unsuccessfully trying to get a federal judge to get rid of the consent decree in 2008, the RNC appealed, lost, and ultimately turned to the Supreme Court. RNC lawyers argued the decree had become “antiquated and was being used increasingly as a political weapon,” dropping their previous argument that the measure was no longer necessary because former RNC Chair Michael Steele is African-American.
I posted about this a few days after the election. Now they’ve charged the suspect with a fourth degree felony.
A Republican challenger who was detained and questioned by Santa Clara Police on election day after he allegedly attempted to vote twice has now been charged with a fourth degree felony.
Marshall Fischer, 40, of Silver City, is now facing one count of fraudulent and double voting, according to the criminal complaint filed Monday in Bayard Magistrate Court.
But Fischer said the whole incident was blown way out of proportion and that he was new to being a challenger and took the title seriously, but never intended to actually vote twice.
According to the complaint, Fischer told police that he was recruited to become a challenger in the electoral process and received his packet on Nov. 5. [Emphasis added.]
At the time of the incident, before they released the man’s name, TPM had this information:
‘From what we understand, he was trained by the Republican Party,’ Sandoval told TPM. The Grant County Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment.
County Clerk Robert Zamarripa told TPM he and his employees had never seen such an incident before but said it wouldn’t sour his office’s relationship with poll watchers.
‘The Republican Party chairwoman from this county handled it accordingly,’ Zamarripa said. ‘We’ve always worked well together, so I don’t think it would cause any problems whatsoever.’ Zamarripa said he was told the individual only recently began attending the Republican Party’s meetings and wasn’t well known by the organization’s leaders. [Emphasis added.]
I’m very curious about what was in the packet and what was in the training.
TPM would like to interview Mr. Fischer:
Fischer did not immediately respond to an interview request.
One common myth explained:
MYTH #2: St. Lucie County, FL had 141 percent turnout!
A second popular myth, is that Democrats stuffed the ballot boxes in St. Lucie County, Florida, where 141 percent turnout helped Barack Obama carry the county. This myth was circulated by Free Republic, Town Hall and Kyle Rogers at the Examiner. Each of these sites went apoplectic when they jumped to the conclusion that 247,000 ballots were cast in a county with only 175,000 registered voters.
The myth appears to have been started during Republican Rep. Allen West’s short-lived challenge to the results of his race in that county, when the first page of the 11/11/12 St. Lucie County’s Election Summary Report [PDF] said there were 175,554 “Registered Voters” in the county and 247,383 “Cards Cast” in this year’s election. The result was what appeared by the incurious to be a 140.92% turnout.
Naturally, that number was taken as a clear sign of voter fraud on a massive scale.
Of course, there was a simple explanation. The ballot was printed on two pages and 247,000 ballots cast actually meant about 123,500 people had voted.
The front page of the St. Lucie County Elections website even explains, in all caps:
NOTE* - TURNOUT PERCENTAGE WILL SHOW OVER 100% DUE TO A TWO PAGE BALLOT. THE TABULATION SYSTEM (GEMS) PROVIDES VOTER TURNOUT AS EQUAL TO THE TOTAL CARDS CAST IN THE ELECTION DIVIDED BY THE NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS. ALSO NOTE THAT SOME VOTERS CHOSE NOTE TO RETURN BY MAIL THE SECOND CARD CONTAINING THE AMENDMENTS.
Read the whole thing at The BRAD Blog.
It’s also helpful to remember again that voter suppression has been an article of faith among the right wing for decades, as Paul Weyerich explicitly laid out back in 1980:
“I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”
The Secretary of State in Nevada has asked the State legislature to consider a voter ID law that he has proposed.
Under his proposal, which lawmakers will consider in 2013, the photos on residents’ driver’s licenses would be placed electronically with their voter registration records and in the poll books at election locations. People without any identification, but who are registered, would be required to have their pictures taken by poll workers and sign an affidavit that they are the person they represent the first time they vote.
What is surprising is that the Sec’y of State is a Democrat. And what is different about this Voter ID law is that the ID is maintained by the election officials. Hence although it is called a voter ID law, voters are spared the burden of acquiring an ID.
Miller has himself suggested that voter ID is a solution in search of a problem. And he also admits that the program will cost many millions of dollars. But the strategy is clearly to neutralize the Republican effort at voter suppression by satisfying their explicit concern for ID without satisfying their real aim to disenfranchise those who don’t really deserve to vote anyway: poor people and minorities.
Although Republicans, not Democrats, generally have championed voter ID laws, Miller said the Minnesota secretary of state, who is a Democrat, proposed the photo ID bill, and the Republican legislators opposed it.
“I am not sure why they would oppose it,” Miller said. “It suggests to me you are after something else.”
The Nation has has a nice writeupabout how Teabaggers and right wingers are having trouble coming to terms with the fact that they lost a presidential election for the second consecutive time, and instead of being personally responsible and doing a little self analysis to discover why it is they lost, the personal responsibility crowd is engaging in time honored tradition right wingers have perfected since the late 1960’s - blame someone or something else.
This time it’s the dreaded bugaboo of…VOTER FRAUD! Of course, the number of verified instances where true, in person voter fraud has been caught couldn’t tip the balance of an election for dog catcher, yet these teabagger groups are convinced that it is happening, and in some instances, may have violated a federal consent decree against targeting people of color for challenges of their eligibility to vote:
On October 5, an e-mail circulated around Allegheny County from Patti Weaver, head of the Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement, that was a clarion call for volunteers to be poll watchers on Election Day. In that message Weaver included a caveat:
Be warned that some of the areas that need poll watchers are not in the nicest part of town. However, this is an excellent opportunity to serve your country.… We are working with the Republican Committees so that they can place people at the locations with the highest likelihood of fraud.
This was interesting because for years, Tea Party groups and True the Vote have sworn that they aren’t targeting minority neighborhoods in their poll work. They’ve been denying this not just to sound moral but because they know it could be found a violation of the Voting Rights Act. And if it is happening in coordination with the Republican Party, then it’s in violation of a longstanding legal consent decree that grew out of the party’s previous efforts to suppress black voters.
But in the post-election fog of finger-pointing on the right, True the Vote and Tea Party groups are directing blame for Mitt Romney’s loss to that very consent decree. They believe that Obama was fraudulently elected both this November and in 2008, and that the Republican Party is unfairly restricted from rooting out that fraud because of the consent decree.
The party has had trouble following these rules. Federal courts found the RNC in violation of the consent decree in 1990 and again in 2004 in Ohio (pdf), where the GOP targeted black voting districts with voter challenge lists.
Republicans have tried to have the decree dismantled as recently as this year, but federal courts have refused (pdf) , citing how demonstrably effective it’s been in stopping the Republican Party from intimidating voters.
At this point, it’s helpful to remember Paul Weyerich’s take on voting - he doesn’t want everyone to be able to do it:
This is from November 8:
Authorities in New Mexico are investigating an Albuquerque father who allegedly showed up at a polling place to vote on behalf of his 18-year-old son, news station KOB reported on Tuesday night.
According to Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, elections workers got suspicious when the silver-haired father showed up to vote and told them he was born in 1994. He was still allowed to cast a ballot, but the workers took down his license plate number when he left. Later, he showed up at a different location and voted under his own name, according to KOB.
When reporter Gadi Schwartz tracked Thomas Pino down at his home, the father denied voting twice. His son, however, happened to pull up in a car a short time later. Seeming to know nothing about the allegations against his father, the son told the station he hadn’t yet voted but still intended to.
The elder Pino later called Schwartz to tell him he had made a mistake by voting on behalf of his son, but said his son had given him permission. Both were registered as Republicans at the same Albuquerque address, according to KOB.
New Mexico does not have a photo voter ID law, which may prevent cases of in-person voter fraud. An investigation earlier this year found that such fraud was very rare, with just ten known cases since 2000. Five of those cases involved suspects voting on behalf of a family member. [Emphasis added.]
Today KOB issued a brief update:
A KOB Eyewitness News 4 On Your Side investigation into voter fraud has resulted in an arrest.
Thomas Pino was taken into custody and charged with forgery.
Bernalillo County officials said Pino told early voting workers he was his 18-year-old son - even though he doesn’t look 18.
Even thought they cropped most of his balding pate from the photo, he still doesn’t look 18 years old.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Outgoing Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster plans to investigate claims that ‘dozens of black people’ who were unfamiliar to municipal officials voted Nov. 6 in rural Maine towns.
‘In some parts of the state, there were dozens of black people who came in to vote,’ Webster said. ‘Nobody in town knew them.’
A Republican Challenger who was supposed to be working the polls watching for voter fraud ended up in handcuffs himself when he stood in line to vote, got a provisional ballot, then announced that he had already voted was just “testing the system to see if people could get away with voting twice.”
Zamarripa said in his experience, this is the first time something like this has happened during an election in Grant County.
“I was a little bit shocked with people always talking about voter fraud and we keep saying it doesn’t happen,” Zamarripa said. “This just reinforces that it can’t happen because if it doesn’t get caught by a good presiding judge like we had, then it gets caught by the canvassing board when they discover someone trying to vote twice.”
He said his office would like to see charges filed in the case.
He must be a graduate of the official ‘Poll Challenger Training’ conducted by the Republican Party.
Go read the whole thing. I’m laughing too hard.