Saturday, May 03, 2008

Let's talk about the "potential for voter fraud"

In upholding the Indiana voter suppression, er disenfranchisement, er “ID” law, the US Supreme Court’s decision contained the following head smacking passage (hat tip to BooMan and Adam B):
The record contains no evidence of any such fraud actually occurring in Indiana at any time in its history. Moreover, petitioners argue that provisions of the Indiana Criminal Code punishing such conduct as a felony provide adequate protection against the risk that such conduct will occur in the future. It remains true, however, that flagrant examples of such fraud in other parts of the country have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists, that occasional examples have surfaced in recent years, and that Indiana’s own experience with fraudulent voting in the 2003 Democratic primary for East Chicago Mayor -- though perpetrated using absentee ballots and not in-person fraud -- demonstrate that not only is the risk of voter fraud real but that it could affect the outcome of a close election.

Now, I have written a thing or two about election fraud and election integrity issues over the past few years, so I think that I have a bit of a perspective here.

The fact that the US Supreme Court has put the above statement in its opinion is stunning in and of itself. The fact that the discussion about “voter fraud” has centered on the “mysterious evil person who knowingly gives false information in order to vote (or vote in a different precinct)” (oh, the irony there) is one of the biggest problems in the overall area of election integrity.

The number one and number two issues, at least to me, are (1) the fact that time and time again, the voting machines have been proven to be completely unreliable, unverifiable and even more important, owned by major partisan private companies - and have had their President of its’ election unit installing secret software patches on machines in Democratic districts, leading to mysterious 10+ point swings away from popular Democrats at the very last minute and (2) the entire system is corrupt from the inside - a system where bogus “voter fraud” claims can lead to strict laws that are specifically meant to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters, aggressive purging of voter rolls (beyond what even the company in charge of the purging was comfortable with), “caging”, phone jamming and many other documented acts that resulted in tens of thousands of people (mainly likely Democrats) being disenfranchised or suppressed in each of the elections since 2000.

Let’s jump back to the Supreme Court decision again to answer the question posed by those who may ask what the big deal is to get a voter ID, let alone one that is free. This is from Souter’s dissent:

The need to travel to a BMV branch will affect voters according to their circumstances, with the average person probably viewing it as nothing more than an inconvenience. Poor, old, and disabled voters who do not drive a car, however, may find the trip prohibitive, witness the fact that the BMV has far fewer license branches in each county than there are voter precincts.


The burden of traveling to a more distant BMV office rather than a conveniently located polling place is probably serious for many of the individuals who lack photo identification. They almost certainly will not own cars.....and public transportation in Indiana is fairly limited.

The decision further indicates that in order to get the “free” voter ID for the first time, one has to get a birth certificate, a US Passport or something else that....costs money.

So it is ok to disenfranchise “some” people in order to make sure that all of this “voter fraud” - no examples of which were provided (Ann Coulter’s lawbreaking noted above notwithstanding) - doesn’t run rampant.

One other thing to note about photo IDs - roxy at ePluribus Media noted that in Ohio, there was a “glitch” in the system for processing such ID requests, leading to a massive slowdown in the amount of ID cards that are being issued (emphasis mine):

A little article in the Toledo Blade gives one pause ... The article is not long, but though sparse on words it speaks volumes. On Monday it seems there was a little "glitch" with the server at the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. This server is actually a service allowing states to access federal databases as part of the verification process when issuing any state ID cards.

This little "glitch" apparently reduced the number of applications processed in Ohio, from a normal 10,000 per day to 35.

It seems this is not a new problem. A report in the Daily Journal back on Nov. 25th 2007 reports the same type of issue, but which mainly impacted Missouri.

Great, so we have two other states where this is an issue for those who don’t already have photo IDs - and guess which party they are more likely to vote for?

On top of this - how many cases of such “voter fraud” are we talking about? Well in mid 2006, the US Department of Justice put out a release regarding the “massive” voter fraud that they have uncovered and investigated. And there was lots to be “proud” of:

As a result of the Initiative, nationwide enforcement of election crimes has increased dramatically. At present, 195 investigations are pending throughout the country. Moreover, since the start of the Initiative in 2002 over 300 investigations of possible election crime have been opened, and over 125 election crime matters have been closed after investigation; 119 individuals have been charged with ballot fraud offenses and 86 individuals have been convicted of these crimes; and 48 individuals have been charged with campaign financing fraud and 42 individuals have been convicted of these offenses.

In over four years, only 42 individuals have been convicted, and under 50 have been charged with campaign finance fraud - now if we think of those who have been heavily lined to campaign finance fraud, one party comes to mind in a big way - and that isn’t the one who keeps pushing “voter fraud” laws. Only 86 people were convicted of “ballot fraud” (of course, Ann Coulter was cleared after calling in a favor from her well connected boyfriend), out of 300 investigations.

These are NOT large numbers, and of course, in a country with 300+ million people, less than 150 people NATIONWIDE being convicted of election-related offenses is not a huge number. I wonder if this included the republicans involved in the New Hampshire phone jamming, or the republicans involved with illegal redistricting in Texas or republicans involved in Jack Abramoff’s illegal money laundering or republican US Attorneys involved in bringing bogus charges up or republicans involved in illegal voter caging.

Now, let’s contrast that to the tens of thousands of Floridians who were disenfranchised in 2000, or the hundreds of thousands of Ohio voters in 2004 who were disenfranchised, or those in New Hampshire in 2002 from the illegal phone jamming.

And let’s talk about the “potential for fraud” in the highly hackable, highly unreliable machines that fix count the vote for 80% of this country. Or the countless other documented stories of people being disenfranchised in 2004 - nearly all of them ones who wanted to vote for Kerry.

So, if the bar is now being set to “undocumented and unsubstantiated cases of potential voter fraud”, then let’s go all the way.

The Diebold and other electronic voting machines have certainly met the threshold of “potential fraud”, being that the companies are tied in with the republican party, are easily hackable and have show too many “irregularities” and vulnerabilities (all “coincidentally” favoring one party) to be relied on.

The voter roll “purges” certainly have the potential to create fraud - especially in Florida where far too many eligible voters were sinisterly removed from the voting rolls, so why are they not being challenged as unconstitutional?

The counting of ballots in secret by partisans, especially where there are no safeguards in place is certainly indicative of potential fraud. The threat of dismissal of those who do not “find” voter fraud (as in the US Attorney dismissal in Seattle, for example) leads to potential fraud.

Secretary’s of State who are aligned with or are a high level operative in a candidate’s campaign (like Blackwell in 2004 as well as Harris in 2000) can (and has) led to fraud and disenfranchisement - not “voter” fraud but wholesale “election” fraud.

I can go on and on and on. The point is that if we are to let the activist judges on the SCOTUS sanction disenfranchisement of voters and suppression of votes based on what “might be”, then let’s do this the whole way - the entire system is not only corrupt but it corrupt in one direction. To think that the 2006 election was fair just because the Democrats won both Houses of Congress is laughable. There were a number of House races that should have also gone to the Democrats.

The game is fixed. The deck is stacked. And don’t think it isn’t already being stacked for this November as well - from the hackable voting machines to the disenfranchisement to the suppression that will occur on Election Day.

The SCOTUS decision was another nail in the coffin that is the farce of “free and fair elections”. There is no such thing, and will not be such a thing until the severity of the problem - the depth of the rot - is called and exposed for the entire country to see and that the system itself undergoes a wholesale change.

Paper ballots aren’t the problem. People showing up to vote more than once or without proper ID is not the problem.

Rigging the entire system from the inside is the problem. And it is a problem in nearly every state.

And until that is addressed and changed, voter ID laws will just continue to be the shiny object that distracts from the fact that each of the past four elections have, in one way or another - on one level or another - been stolen.

No comments: