Tuesday, 02 October 2012
A few great pieces on the shenanigans that are being played regarding voter fraud.
Bottom line: 147 million registered voters and only 867 documented cases of fraud since 2000.
Even if only half turned out on average for only federal elections that's 73.5 million people x 6 elections which = 441 million votes. 867/441 million = 0.002% fraud, or 99.998% legit.
Or put it another way: 867 cases / 50 states = 18ish per state. Divide by 6 elections = about 3 frauds per state per election.
Meanwhile, thousands of Americans are being deliberately hindered from exercising their most fundamental, democratic, and patriotic right of citizenship - their right to vote.
While the Republicans have raised an enormous furor over in-person voter fraud, nobody has said a word about another illegal practice: vote buying. The price of a vote is thought to vary from state to state. In West Virginia $10 gets you a vote. In Arkansas, a $2 half-pint of vodka does the job. In court cases, it has been revealed how cheaply some people will sell their votes, especially in the heart of vote-buying country: Appalachia.
A recent study of voter fraud by a consortium of journalism schools found only 867 cases since 2000 where someone had admitted guilt or been convicted of fraud--out of 146 million registered voters. From the vote buyer's perspective, the safest way to buy a vote is to get the voter to request an absentee ballot, sign the envelope, and give the ballot and signed envelope to him. The buyer then fills it in and sends it back to the designated address. Occasionally someone gets caught, but it is rare. In one case in Tennessee, a candidate for the state legislature won his primary by eight votes, taking 85% of the absentee ballots but a much smaller fraction of the in-person votes. It is this kind of situation that raises a red flag but it is still hard to prove. Absentee-ballot fraud is the preferred method because if someone promises to vote a certain way in return for a certain quantity of a selected beverage, the buyer has no proof that the voter did what he was supposed to do. When the buyer gets an absentee ballot in his hands, proof is so much easier. None of the voter ID laws deal with this problem. As an aside, a great deal of computer science research has gone into devising electronic voting systems that (1) guarantee voter privacy while (2) at the same time deterring vote buying as much as possible, often by making it possible for the voter to fool the purchaser. For the technically savvy, Google "Tanenbaum Paul trustworthy voting".
A new study from a civil rights group called the Advancement Project says restrictive voting laws passed in 23 states could deter or prevent up to 10 million Latino citizens from voting in November. The laws aren't the same in all states. They do things like purging voters from the rolls (frequently including legal voters), requiring photo ID to vote, reducing early voting hours, and so on. Many of these laws are being challenged in court now, but it is doubtful that all the challenges will be resolved before the election. The intent of the laws is to suppress turnout of Democratic-leaning constituencies. If large numbers of voters who are not allowed to vote ask for provisional ballots, in close contests there could be court cases over these ballots after the election and the ensuing chaos could make the 2000 election in Florida look like a Victorian picnic.
The numerous lawsuits attacking the laws that were designed to reduce voter turnout are still ongoing. For example, tomorrow a U.S. Court of Appeals will hear arguments about a law that deals with counting or not counting provisional ballots filed in the wrong precinct due to poll-worker error. In 2008, there were 14,355 of these in Ohio alone. Also at issue in Ohio is the state's law shutting down early voting the three days before the election except for military voters. Democrats are arguing that since the polls will be open to allow soldiers to vote, there is no reason not to let civilians vote as well. There are about a dozen other suits pending in various states. Unless decisions come down quickly, there could be chaos on election day.
In 2008, an organization called ACORN registered a million low-income voters, some of whom were nonexistent. The Republicans screamed about this even though none of the nonexistent voters actually voted. The problem was the minimum-wage workers who were paid per voter they registered, so some of them made up false names.
Now the shoe is on the other foot. The Republican Party hired a Virginia firm, Strategic Allied Consulting, to do voter registration in four swing states (Virginia, Nevada, Colorado, and North Carolina), and now it is being accused of precisely the same thing as ACORN was: fraudulent voter registration. The scandal was uncovered by the Palm Beach, FL, County Elections Supervisor who flagged 106 questionable registration applications bearing similar signatures and incorrect addresses.
and one more ...
Today's news: A panel of federal judges blocked a new law in Texas, saying the state had not proved that the changes would not disproportionately harm minorities. State judges in Wisconsin stopped the statute there. South Carolina’s measure is under federal judicial review, with little time for implementation even if it is approved.