Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

The voter fraud racket is back!

Adam Serwer is a staff writer for The American Prospect, where he writes his own blog.

With another Election Day approaching, conservatives are again trotting out conspiracy theories about elections stolen through voter fraud. The absence of any actual intimidated voters in the trumped-up New Black Panther voter intimidation case has been a fundraising boon for the Republican National Lawyers' Association, which has spent all year trying to persuade anyone who will listen that there is an "epidemic" of voter fraud. As Suzy Khimm has reported for Mother Jones, conservative groups in Minnesota, Illinois, and Texas have all been gearing up for so called "anti-fraud" operations.

Voter fraud is a virtually nonexistent problem. Conservatives helped assemble the myth that now-defunct community organizing group ACORN "stole elections" by blurring the distinction between voter registration fraud -- which is as easy as filling out a registration form incorrectly -- and the actual act of casting a fraudulent ballot. Despite the fact that the Justice Department spent years in an effort to root out voter fraud that only produced a handful of prosecutions, none involving a large-scale conspiracy to steal an election, the belief that Democrats regularly steal elections through fraudulent votes is widespread. Nevertheless, this myth gets recycled every election year. Last year Wall Street Journal editorial columnist John Fund even stooped to recycling a anecdote about voter fraud in Philadelphia in 1993 -- almost verbatim -- to allege voter fraud in the New Jersey Governor's race. As a 2007 Brennan Center report put it, the possibility that someone will impersonate another person at the polls is "more rare than death by lightning." There's a reason for that: As Chris Beam points out, even if you wanted to steal an election this way, it's logistically unfeasible. Swaying the numbers in any significant way would require such a large number of well-trained co-conspirators that getting caught is a virtual certainty. 

So-called "voter integrity" efforts often have a more sinister motive -- suppressing votes in Democratic leaning precincts, which often means areas where there are a lot of minority voters. It's no coincidence that Illinois Senate candidate Mark Kirk indicated his intent to send "voter integrity" squads to black neighborhoods in Chicago, or that a Tea Party group baselessly accused a voter registration group of colluding with the New Black Panther Party.

But while the voter fraud panic is mostly hype, voter suppression is a very real phenomenon. Before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 empowered the federal government to protect the franchise, black voters were essentially barred from voting through violence, intimidation, and coercion.

While the most egregious forms of voter suppression are largely a thing of the past, voter suppression efforts still exist in a more subtle form. Part of the reason there are so many outside Republican groups taking on "voter integrity" initiatives is that the RNC's efforts have to be reviewed by the courts under the terms of a 1982 consent decree, as a result of its prior attempts to suppress the vote in black and Latino neighborhoods through illegal "caging" schemes.

This is the point of the voter fraud racket -- it provides a pretext for one side to try and disqualify the other sides' voters, to cast doubts on the legitimacy of their opponents' victory should they actually lose, and justify more restrictive voting laws that are more likely to negatively affect Democratic leaning constituencies. That's why despite the ongoing non-existence of voter fraud, Republicans continue to pretend it's a problem. It's a lucrative and ideologically useful myth. It also distracts from very real ongoing structural problems with our voting system -- problems that get overlooked because of the disproportionate focus on sensational accusations of voter fraud.

By Adam Serwer  | October 27, 2010; 11:42 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Dems rip Mitch McConnell's "one term" remark, but will voters care?
Next: Do you want to live in "Sharron Angle's Nevada"?

Comments

So, delays in military ballots or voters in Nevada getting ballots PRE-MARKED for Harry Reid are just making that all up now?! Adam Serwer is the one who is unbelieveable.

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 27, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Last night, Michael Savage was ranting about the MSM ignoring the growing number (4) of people reporting machines in Nevada that only allow you to vote for Democrats...'nuff said.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 27, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"That's why despite the ongoing non-existence of voter fraud, Republicans continue to pretend it's a problem. It's a lucrative and ideologically useful myth."

It could also be that nobody ever believes they can really lose in a fair fight. Thus, any election they lose, they other side cheated (via voter fraud or voter suppression or both). How much voter fraud (not suppression, mind you, but fraud) was there supposed to have been in Ohio after John Kerry lost? I don't recall liberal pundits suggesting that voter fraud was non-existent then.

But, I could be off this morning.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 27, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

How to make this a right wing blog with a simple search and replace:

"But while the voter suppression panic is mostly hype, voter fraud is a very real phenomenon. While the most egregious forms of voter fraud are largely a thing of the past, voter fraud efforts still exist in a more subtle form."

Bang! Adam could be writing for Ace of Spades!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 27, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

@Adam "As Chris Beam points out, even if you wanted to steal an election this way, it's logistically unfeasible. Swaying the numbers in any significant way would require such a large number of well-trained co-conspirators that getting caught is a virtual certainty."

Wow you are trying to argue with FACTS AND LOGIC. What a waste on many on the right.
Seriously...look how many believe Obama is a Muslim? Look at how many morons including several who post here are STILL birthers despite the overwhelming FACTS.

FACTS do no matter...many of these people are simply like children throwing a tantrum with their fingers in their ears yelling..nanannanaananan I'm not listening...I can't hear you.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 27, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

shrink2:

Do you think those people are just making it up?!

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 27, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

BTW, how many people really don't vote due to "suppression" versus how many folks actually cause fraudulent ballots? I would expect they are both very low numbers.

In either case, suppression or fraud can only make a difference in extremely close elections. Republicans worrying over fraud in this election are worrying about the wrong things. Democrats worrying about voter suppression--well, as Adam says, "it provides a pretext for one side to try and disqualify the other sides' voters, to cast doubts on the legitimacy of their opponents' victory should they actually lose"--are worrying about something wrong and immoral and illegal (as are those worried about voter fraud), but they aren't worrying about something that's going to make a difference in more than 1 or 2--if that--elections.

It is just as impossible to actually pull off wide scale voter suppression as it is to pull off wide scale voter fraud. Attempts may be made, they may need to be reported, but if egregious, there will be ground to re-hold the election. If moderate, those folks should (and probably will) have mechanisms available to make sure they get to vote.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 27, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

@Adam "As Chris Beam points out, even if you wanted to steal an election this way, it's logistically unfeasible. Swaying the numbers in any significant way would require such a large number of well-trained co-conspirators that getting caught is a virtual certainty."

Wow you are trying to argue with FACTS AND LOGIC. What a waste on many on the right.
Seriously...look how many believe Obama is a Muslim? Look at how many morons including several who post here are STILL birthers despite the overwhelming FACTS.

FACTS do no matter...many of these people are simply like children throwing a tantrum with their fingers in their ears yelling..nanannanaananan I'm not listening...I can't hear you.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 27, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

@ruk (quoting Adam): "As Chris Beam points out, even if you wanted to steal an election this way, it's logistically unfeasible. Swaying the numbers in any significant way would require such a large number of well-trained co-conspirators that getting caught is a virtual certainty."

Carrying out large scale voter suppression that actually prevents people from voting is also logistically unfeasible. Anything that even looks like suppression will be on YouTube in 5 minutes, there will be folks with the ACLU in their speed dial--and voter fraud is arguably a little easier, because it would be concealed, done when hacking voting machines (anybody else remember that fear the Diebold was going to fraudulently steal elections for Republicans, and that that explained why Bush won in 2004--what happened to that?) or when stuffing ballot boxes or finding uncounted ballots for your candidate in the trunk of your car late at night. Voter suppression has to be at the polling places, in front of God and everybody, which usually includes local news media and all sorts of citizen journalists with their camera phones at the ready.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 27, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Voter suppression doesn't even have to be as blatant as it's proving in Texas. In Ohio in 2004, the GOP Sec. of State made sure that polling places around Cleveland wouldn't have enough voting machines for the amount of people who wanted to vote. Consequently, instead of waiting in line for hours and hours, people walked away. I'm sure that wasn't a problem in the rural areas and the suburbs of Cincy.
Of course, the classic case of indirect voter suppression was the "Brooks Brothers Riot" in Dade County Florida in 2000 where a cadre of GOP goons disrupted the election board from counting ballots.

Posted by: filmnoia | October 27, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

"So, delays in military ballots or voters in Nevada getting ballots PRE-MARKED for Harry Reid are just making that all up now?! Adam Serwer is the one who is unbelieveable."

That's not voter fraud. Neither is tampering with voting machines. That's electoral fraud.

That's not what the blog post is about. Voter fraud is having people who either aren't eligible or aren't who they say they are show up and vote. The GOP insists that happens all the time, enough to sway elections. It doesn't happen, they're lying.

Posted by: steveh46 | October 27, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Curious that so many right wing commenters are posting to this site. Could it be because the right is worried about the dissemination of unfiltered reality? Hence, they flood the site with all types of rebuttal, some apparently reasonable enough and others simply incoherent.

Since the right wing Daily Caller says it is an established fact that the right pays commenters to make sure their propaganda is protected, apparently the right is concerned that this blog may be dangerous to the foxreality they would like us all to believe.

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 27, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I've already voted twice via two separate mail in ballots - both fraudulent - and will be voting in person next week a third time.

Pay no attention to Tea Party members and other conservatives when they raise issue about voter fraud.

Posted by: equinoxranch | October 27, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"How to make this a right wing blog"

I thought this was a right wing blog now.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 27, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

NOT one mention of the Politico report that Obama and the democrats actually have $270 Million MORE than the Republicans this year.

Quite amazing, after the narrative which the democrats have been pushing the past few weeks - which now turns out to be at best, a half-truth, or a third-truth.


I said it before: if anyone is serious about Campaign Finance issues - propose a system which yields a LEVEL PLAYING FIELD - and let the discussion begin.


Any system which gives an advantage to one side or the other is disingenuous - and it usually masked in deceptions.


This is a MAJOR reason why I don't believe Obama was EVER serious about his change agenda - the first change Obama had he trashed the campaign finance system. Look at one's actions - not his words and Obama turns into one of the worst guys in Washington, not the guy he claimed to be.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 27, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

steveh46:

Perhaps you should talk to Adam Sewer about the distinction.

pragmaticstill:

Only 4-5 true conservatives currently post at the Plum Line, compared to the vast majority of LIBERALS (and one very persistent RINO ; )

Still waiting for you to name a SINGLE Obama judiciary nominee that hasn't been confirmed (YOU made that allegation on the prior thread).

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 27, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

BTW, how many people really don't vote due to "suppression" versus how many folks actually cause fraudulent ballots? I would expect they are both very low numbers.

******

Agreed.

In Texas we have early voting; I don't see how vote suppression can work when you have a two week period in which to vote.

I can see how both sides may be vulnerable to voter REGISTRATION fraud. When you hire (for as low a price as possible) people to register people to vote and pay them based on the number of registration don't be surprised when Donald Duck, Buzz Lightyear and Clark Superman show up on the registration forms.

The only threat that seems plausible, if farfetched, is tampering with voting machines. Solid internal control procedures and paper backups can limit this risk exposure. This is a bipartisan risk, imo, and should be dealt with in a bipartisan manner. Of course, since voting rules and regulations are left up to the states, I don't foresee any uniform set of rules creeping up any time in the future.

Posted by: nisleib | October 27, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

More foxreality that the right must protect:

One young man insisted that Holder is "the most anti-gun attorney general this nation has ever had." When Rachel asked how he arrived at this, he had absolutely no idea why he believes what he believes. He referenced Holder's "voting record beforehand," which made no sense, since Holder has never held elected office. Asked what it was, exactly, that Holder did on gun policy he didn't like, the Miller supporter -- who, remember, feels so strongly about this issue that he brought it up -- replied, "I, uh, I honestly, uh, I don't know enough about him to answer that truthfully."

So, Rachel moved to the next voter who's mad about Holder, and who also brought up the subject. "He's anti-gun," the woman said. Asked what he'd done that's anti-gun, the Miller support replied, "I don't have all the facts, but I know that he is."

In the same segment, a third Miller supporter insisted Holder was bad because of "the voter intimidation with the Black Panthers."

That voter later argued that members of the New Black Panther Party -- which the Bush administration saw as too meaningless to pursue -- aren't being prosecuted because they're black. This is one of the reasons she's voting for Joe Miller.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_10/026336.php

Cue the incoherent screeching about Maddow in 3 ... 2 ...

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 27, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

All, this final closing ad from Harry Reid is pretty strong stuff:

Posted by: sargegreg | October 27, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

equinoxranch:

I hope that you are joking.

* Persons must not vote more than once in any election that includes a federal candidate (note: this does not include voting a replacement ballot after a spoiled ballot was invalidated).
[ CITE: 42 U.S.C. 1973i(e) ]

* Persons must not procure or submit materially false, fraudulent or fictitious voter registration applications in any election that includes a federal candidate.
[ CITE: 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-10(2)(A) ]

* Persons must not submit false information as to name, address or period of residence in a voting district for the purpose of establishing eligibility to register or vote in any election that includes a federal candidate.
[ CITE: 42 U.S.C. 1973i(c), 15544(a); 18 U.S.C. 608(b) ]

* Persons must not procure, cast or tabulate materially false, fraudulent or fictitious ballots in any election that includes a federal candidate.
[ CITE: 42 U.S.C. 1973i(c),(e), 1973gg-10(2)(B); 18 U.S.C. 242 ]

* Persons must not pay, offer to pay or accept payment for voting, registering to vote, withholding their vote, or voting for or against any candidate in any election that includes a federal candidate.
[ CITE: 42 U.S.C. 1973i(c), 18 U.S.C. 597, 608(b) ]

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 27, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

@lmsinca: "I thought this was a right wing blog now."

Well, Greg, maybe, but Adam? ;)

BTW, I've been reading up on using baking soda to treat gout. Apparently there's a lot of anecdotal evidence that it works for people, so . . . I'm trying it!

But very depressed about my future menu. And my wife's freaking out. I'm telling her not worry about it and I'll take care of my own meals but she insists on fussing over it. Ugh! I'm hoping the baking soda helps. Anyhoo, thanks again for your advice.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 27, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree that actual voter fraud is minimal. But I never understood how advocacy groups could sponsor voter registration drives. Seems like that's asking for trouble. It should be on the individual to take the initiative to register.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | October 27, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

All, Harry Reid's final closing ad about "Sharron Angle's Nevada" is some pretty harsh stuff:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/10/do_you_want_to_live_in_sharron.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | October 27, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

The only person I know of being charged with voter fraud and will most likely get charged is Ann Coulter, Dinesh D'Souza's ex-girlfriend, who also happened to date Laura Ingraham. I guess Dinish is into masculine women with over developed hands and Adams apples.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | October 27, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Ann Coulter dated Laura Ingraham?!

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 27, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Kevin

Here's a link that will help you and your wife figure out what the heck to eat, they had three cookbooks when we were going through this and now have four. There's a lot of extra info in there re diet and gout, I'm sure I've forgotten some of it. I will tell you though that after suffering for three years my husband hasn't had a gout attack in as many years. An occasional twinge, we reflect on what he's eaten in the last day or two and adjust our diet accordingly. Good luck, and I really hope you feel better, although I'm not real sure about the baking soda deal. :)

http://www.gout-haters.com/

Posted by: lmsinca | October 27, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

@lmsinca:

Thanks! I did see the cookbook earlier. Google gout and baking soda. There's a lot of stuff on it, mostly about increasing alkalinity.

http://ehealthforum.com/health/topic32252.html

Is a forum thread on gout and baking soda that I found interesting reading this morning. Of course, baking soda is a salt, so there are issues with that as a cure. But the suggestion (which I think is good) is not using the full recommended dose, but just enough to work for you, sounds all right to me--if it turns out that a little works.

I will let you know how it goes with me. I can live without alcohol, but mushrooms and red meat and yeasty bread? If I have to, but . . . If I can just cut down and try to balance out what I'm eating with more alkaline foods (and a pinch of baking soda in a glass of water), I'd like that better. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 27, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

They could do what tea party supporters of Rand Paul do. Just beat up voters who support the other candidate, especially the women.

Intimidation? Nah!

Posted by: thebobbob | October 27, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Talk about intellectual dishonesty.

What about Patrick Murphy's gambit:
"Bucks County, Pa. – Last week, it came to light that voters in southeastern Pennsylvania’s 8th district were receiving notices warning that their right to vote could be in jeopardy if they did not return an absentee ballot to the “Pennsylvania Voter Assistance Office,” a fictitious agency headquartered at a post office box. The letters, shown below, were underwritten by the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee."

here in Ohio there was a strange case of many absentee ballots all being sent to the same PO Box. hmmm, I wonder. sure Mr Serwer it might take quite a bit on a national level, but on a local level? Not so much. A handful of misdirected and fraudulently completed absentee ballots could keep the state legislature in the hands of the Democrats. That's important as the census driven redistricting looms large.

and what screed from Mr Serwer would be complete without a sneer in the general direction of those with the nerve to disagree with him. Here's an example:
"trumped-up New Black Panther voter intimidation case..."

this is a quote that asks the question "What are going to believe a back bench partisan hack or your own lying eyes?" Mr Serwer, we've seen the video. We've read the words of whistle blowers like Adams. You are trying hard to do the "nothing to see here" routine and many of us aren't buying it.

here's the fire with which ignorant folks like Mr Serwer are playing. What if the American people reach the conclusion that the voting process is so corrupt that their vote no longer really matters? then what Mr Serwer? Mr Sargent? Know it all liberals commenting here? Buehler?

How then will we demonstrate to the government that we've withdrawn our consent to be governed by these criminals? Hmmm?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 27, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

So would Mr. Sewer be for or against investigating voting machines in Nevada that are automatically checking Harry Reid's name? What about the fact that the technicians for these electronic contraptions are from the SEIU which is lage democrat constituenc? Certianly that's sheer coincidence right?

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Voting-machines-in-Clark-County-Nevada-automatically-checking-Harry-Reids-name-Voting-machine-technicians-are-members-of-SEIU-105815608.html

How about the Daytona Beach commissioner being involved in absentee ballot fraud? No need to worry or investigate that too, I suppose Mr. Sewer?

http://www.wftv.com/news/25536806/detail.html

How about the glitch in Chicago's system, resulting in people not receiving their ballots in enough time to have them in by election day?

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/iteam&id=7747590

What about a federal court overturing Arizona's proof-of-citizenship requirement for REGISTERING (not the actual act of voting)? Does Mr. Sewer believe it doesn't matter if people are actually citizens before the register?

http://azstarnet.com/news/blogs/pueblo-politics/article_3bbf4f4e-e12c-11df-b57f-001cc4c002e0.html

Mr. Sewer cites a couple investigations that "officially" turned up no results of voter/electoral fraud and determines that this is nothing to worry about. Never mind that internal documents show severe disagreement within the government about the accusations and investigations, which would indicate something is somewhat amiss. He ignores the examples cited above as well as numerous others that prove him wrong. Just another left-wing hack from the Washington Democrat.

Posted by: octopi213 | October 27, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing28:

Did you see the post by "equinoxranch" at 12:26 PM?

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 27, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Here's the addy to the story about the Ohio absentee ballots:

http://www.irontontribune.com/2010/10/20/state-to-investigate-ballots/

In a sparsely populated county a handful of votes can swing an election.

Instead of Mr Serwer's intellectual dishonesty Americans should take the voting process seriously. When it is so corrupt that people simply don't believe the votes actually matter, plan B then comes to mind.

Again I ask, what does Mr Serwer envision as America's plan B?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 27, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that I don't see any of the folks posting here who insist voter fraud in favor of Democrats is wide-spread, address Greg's comments about it never having been proven. The Bush Justice Dept., obviously itching to do so, tried and failed, even firing the U.S. Attorney in Arizona when he declined to pursue a case when there wasn't one to pursue. Of course, these folks believe it's true because they refuse to believe that any Democrat could win an election without cheating, and besides, their favorite right-wing media stars wouldn't lie to them, would they?

Posted by: bienefes | October 27, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

yes jake, It is IMHO a bad attempt at humor. I don't believe it.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 27, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"But, I could be off this morning.'

You must be...it's the afternoon.

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 27, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, this is pure garbage:
=========
Of course, these folks believe it's true because they refuse to believe that any Democrat could win an election without cheating, and besides, their favorite right-wing media stars wouldn't lie to them, would they?
===================

Try reading the comments. The folks to which you refer are providing specific examples of voting process problems. Speaking for myself it isn't that I think only cheating will get a Democrat elected. I think that allegations of cheating by anyone should be taken seriously and that the franchise should be treated as something sacred.

Of course it is just an accident that the allegations this time around seem to be aimed at Democrats. But if you've got some examples of Republican malfeasance, by all means, share.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 27, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Voter fraud exists, and is happening as we speak in Hoboken, NJ.

There is currently a local election for city council. Total votes will probably be between 1600 - 2000. Amazingly - there are nearly 600 requests for vote by mail applications - the vast majority of them from the Hoboken Housing Authority. And "suprise, surprise" a huge number of the people who vote by mail also get paid $40 to "work" on election day for one of the candidates.

So how does it work?

The old guard in Hoboken goes through the housing authority, and signs everyone up to vote by mail. Then when the ballots arrive they go to that persons apt and "help" them fill them out. And come election day, each of these people are paid $40 to "work" (ie, put on a t-shirt).

It is voter fraud, pure and simple. It is happening as we speak. And for the record, this race is a non-partisan race.

http://hobokenhorse.blogspot.com/2010/10/tim-occhipinti-street-money-time-has.html

Posted by: Mark477 | October 27, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

pragmatic:

"Could it be because the right is worried about the dissemination of unfiltered reality?"

Yes, yes, that is exactly why I come here. And coming here definitely soothes that fear, since it makes it clear to me that even those on the left are clueless of unfiltered reality, and hence in no position to "unleash" it. Thanks, PLers.

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 27, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Voting irregularities in New Jersey? Say it ain't so. How many have seen the story about the voting machines that miraculously appeared at an NJEA office? the NJEA official quoted in the story seemed pretty matter of fact about the incident.
How about the guy in Florida who rigged his own election with absentee ballots? do I sense a pattern?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 27, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

bienefes:

Did you see the post by "equinoxranch" at 12:26 PM? Of course it's difficult to prove when he / she hides behind a fake name / address(es). Even if it this one instance is a joke, you really don't think ANYONE votes illegally twice?

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 27, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The article said voter fraud is virtually non-existent. Providing links to 5 or 6 stories of voter fraud would seem pretty consistent with the claim that such fraud is virtually non-existent.

The links also support the article's point that voter fraud is quickly recognized and dealt with and would be nearly impossible to institute on a wide scale. In Florida, the guy has been arrested and in Pennsylvania there is an investigation and a petition circulating to address the problem.

Threats of popular uprising in the face of overwhelmingly legitmate elections completely devoid of fraud, intimidation etc are laughable, especially given the Republican cheerleadding for Citizen's United. Hundreds of millions of dollars from anonymous donors will erode voter confidence much faster than a sad

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 27, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

It is clear that some in America simply don't think that fraud in elections is worthy of concern.

here's the current line of attack: Well those with concerns are only providing five or six links to voter fraud stories. Therefore there is no voter fraud.
Yeah right.

The next line of attack: Americans have no right to question the validity of elections. Ashotinthedark says that they are fair and therefore no dissention is permitted. We need not concern ourselves with any abreaction to the wide spread stories of people in the political process rigging elections to suit themselves. Since there are only a few examples being provided at the Plum Line comment thread, it is not a problem. Americans should return to work because the liberals need the money.

To see this dynamic writ large substitute man made global warming for voter fraud. Man made global warming exists because important people in the world say it does. Therefore dissent, even from prominent and well educated individuals cannot be tolerated. The science is settled. Therefore Americans should go back to work because liberals need the money.

And which commenter here mentioned any threats of uprising?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 27, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Ever notice that there is no voter integrity measure or check at any point in the process that Democrats don't oppose?

They oppose any verification of identity or citizenship, from registration through voting. Oh, and they are fine with New Black Panthers guarding the door with nightsticks.

No one believes you folks any more. The game is over. You are fired next week.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 27, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

here's the current line of attack: Well those with concerns are only providing five or six links to voter fraud stories. Therefore there is no voter fraud.
Yeah right.

The next line of attack: Americans have no right to question the validity of elections. Ashotinthedark says that they are fair and therefore no dissention is permitted.
---------------------------------------
Yep that's exactly what I said, Skip. I said there is no voter fraud. Nope that doesn't appear anywhere in my post. I said no dissention is permitted. Wait, that's not anywhere in my post either.

What the article says, and what I agree with, is there is a false narrative of rampant voter fraud fueled by democrats that leads to elections being bought. Your links don't prove such a vast conspiracy, they point to a few bad actors that have committed election crimes at least on of which, Florida, was labled as non-partisan.

Here is further support of how dissent won't be toleratd:
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/0924/New-Black-Panther-Party-voter-intimidation-case-Bombshell-for-Obama/(page)/2

"A conservative member of the Civil Rights Commission, Abigail Thernstrom, has also defended the Justice Department's handling of the case.

"This doesn't have to do with the Black Panthers; this has to do with [conservative] fantasies about how they could use this issue to topple the administration," Ms. Thernstrom told Politico last month.

The case could damage the Obama administration, says Mr. Lichtman at American University. But he also argues that most Americans understand that the Voting Rights Act was intended to correct gross and historic injustices, not nit-pick along partisan lines.

"You can try to force [the Voting Rights Act] to be equal, but it's not," he says. "If these are the worst examples you can find, then, by God, white people in America are pretty safe."

Even Conservatives have been brainwashed to downplay the conspiracy!

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 27, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Then please read my comments a bit more carefully. Is voter fraud rampant? Dunno, but how much is too much? YOu want to set a threshold limit? Will that change based on the predicted election results?

What threshold level will the American people tolerate? These are the stories we've heard of, how many more exist? In Ohio corruption in office is rampant. Is it wrong to be concerned that folks who will take bribes and such based on their elected positions would also seek to rig elections so that they stay on the gravy train? Corruption is corruption is corruption. The impression many Americans share is a bloated and uncaring political class that is screwing us and rigging things to stay in power. So again, what's the threshold for concern? When all of my county execs are on the take? Can I worry about voter fraud then?

Where did I mention a "vast conspiracy"?

Leave us not forget the stuck pig esque squealing of the liberals just a short while ago. Does the word Diebold ring a bell?

Abigail Thernstrom doesn't speak for me. She is just plain wrong. are saying here is that if one alleged conservative dissents then the entire issue is moot? Not so fast red ryder. Does she dissent? so what?

Now you wish to add another narrative: what the folks who voted for the voting rights act intended, as opposed to the way it is being enforced by the Obama Admin.

the problem that holder has is that the cat is out of the bag. Life would no doubt be easier for him if the liberals had not made such a big deal about their allegations of the politicization of the DoJ under Bush. Mr Holder is about to drown in sauce for that particular gander.

Conspicuous in its absence is an answer to my question concerning threats of uprising. Care to walk back from your earlier statement?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 27, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Skip-
American people reach the conclusion that the voting process is so corrupt that their vote no longer really matters?
------------------------
How then will we demonstrate to the government that we've withdrawn our consent to be governed by these criminals? Hmmm?
--------------------------------------
This to me is a thinly veiled threat. Maybe I'm wrong.

I didn't say you mentioned a vast conspiracy, but that was the aim of the article.

I never said Abigal spoke for you or that all dissent is now moot. I posted her quote to show that downplaying these incidents isn't an attempt to silence people. It's simply the conclusion people have drawn, including Ms. Thernstrom.

I did not intend to introduce a new narrative, just wanted to include a fair portion of the article. I don't agree with how Mr. Lichtman interprets the voting act anymore than you agree with Ms. Thernstrom, but I thought it was more honest to include his quote as well.

In my brief googling I came across a couple of other relevant facts, first that this charge is rarely brought, something like 11 times since the act was passed. Which leads one to believe either voter intimidation is very rare or that it's a hard case to prove so the DOJ doesn't want to ruin their record. I also found accusations of Minutemen intimidating Hispanic Voters in 2006 with no charges brought by the DOJ under Bush. So it appears that the Dems are not alone.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 27, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"Which leads one to believe either voter intimidation is very rare or that it's a hard case to prove so the DOJ doesn't want to ruin their record."

The government had already won this case by default. The career lawyers vigorously opposed the political appointees' decision to abandon the case after it was already won. This had nothing to do with prosecutorial discretion. It was politics.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 27, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Basically I'm asking a question. Your position, as I've stated, is that since there is no fraud worthy of concern the Americans have no need for an alternative. They can carry on with the current situation and be content.

I simply don't agree. there is great cause for concern. The behavior of our elected officials and the powerful people around them is unacceptable. If the act of voting becomes suspect and the behavior of the government doesn't change, what alternatives do the american people have?

I dunno about the minuteman case so I'll check it out. But the NBP case is pretty egregious. Sure these things may be hard to prove, that just cements the conclusion that Obama and Holder are playing the race card. The DoJ had a default judgement against these guys and dropped the case anyway. Was there a similar situation in the minute man case?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 27, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Here's some information on the Minutemen incident:
http://tucsoncitizen.com/morgue/2006/11/07/31837-anti-immigrant-activists-accused-of-voter-harassment/

From what I can tell, there appears to have been no investigation whatsoever by the DOJ in the Minutemen case.

If there was a default judgment then that implies it was a civil case. In that situation all you can hope to get is a fine, I'm guessing the guy didn't have much money so they got a restraining order instead.

Here's the complaint that appears to have been filed in 2009:
http://www.justice.gov/crt/voting/misc/philadelphia_bpp_comp.php

They are only asking for injuctive relief and costs and fines associated with bringing the action.

I agree on Holder. The Dems lit the fire, so they can't complain when their feet are held to it too.

As to your question, if it is exclusively with respect to acts of voter fraud, I think the links provided seem to reflect that they are generally small in scale, quickly exposed, and frequently prosecuted. I'm not sure what more we the people can require.

Your questions seems to address a wider behavior of our elected officials as a whole. I still don't see the need to intimate the need for civilian violence at this stage and think that voting should be sufficient to redress the present wrongs.

What I think would go very far is to limit how much money can be spent on political campaigns and elections. I think the money, from both sides, anonymous or well known, does far more to cause distrust than 100 Black Panther incidents would. But I'm not sure how you balance that with the near limitless protection we provide political speech.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 27, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

qb1, in fact is was the Democrats that opened the window for fraud even wider with things like motor voter. Note how the 9th circuit handled the Arizona law. Proof that what you say is true. No verification of any kind would be acceptable to Democrats yet they preach that there is no fraud worthy of concern.

Nonsense. We have a right to a clean election process. If our first line of defense against tyranny is the vote, we must insure that our votes are sacred. It certainly doesn't seem that way now.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 27, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

" How much voter fraud (not suppression, mind you, but fraud) was there supposed to have been in Ohio after John Kerry lost? I don't recall liberal pundits suggesting that voter fraud was non-existent then. But, I could be off this morning. Posted by: Kevin_Willis"

The Accusation in 2004 in Ohio was that the Diebold voting machines were rigged to adjust Republican vote totals so that Kerry lost. Those machines had no way to verify vote totals. Diebold also refused to make the source code for the machines available so that it could be checked for just such a rigging. Since the machines just reported totals, with no verification, it certainly was possible. It didn't help the the CEO of Diebold was on record as having said he would do whatever he could to insure that Bush was reelected.

Since the reported vote totals were at odds with exit polling in some districts where such polling was being done, there has always been suspicion that those machines were set to hold certain totals at ahead for Bush. It was possible, it can't be checked, and there was the appearance.

Ohio no longer uses Diebold's secret machines, and the most common touch screen machines print a paper tape that can be counted.

Vote manipulation, and voter intimidation are possible and voter intimidation is an established fact.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 27, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

No evidence huh? Do public arrests count?

VOTE fraud is a non partisan effort to manipulate our system in order to keep or place less than principled individuals in office. The criminals on both sides of the left right paradigm will do “whatever it takes” in their attempts to gain power.

You want change…find an honest way to count votes and verify voters

Daytona Beach, Florida City Commissioner Derrick Henry and his campaign manager, Genesis Robinson, have been arrested for committing absentee ballot fraud.
http://law.rightpundits.com/?p=2416
http://www.myfoxorlando.com/dpp/news/local/102710-City-Commissioner-Arrested-for-Voter-Fraud

http://www.wftv.com/news/25536806/detail.html

Posted by: tfcdave | October 28, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Democrats are rigging voting machines and switching ballots to change Republican votes into Democrat votes. If you plan to vote Republican, stay home--the Democrats will convert your votes into votes for Democrats!

Posted by: CuckooRaja | October 28, 2010 1:49 AM | Report abuse

SteveH46 says: "Still waiting for you to name a SINGLE Obama judiciary nominee that hasn't been confirmed"

Heck, Steve, that's an EASY one!!

http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=5A0DC2FC-E835-EC87-77027F991D21C6E5

Same old story: When a Republican is in the White House, Democrats confirm 95% of all his nominees, and the GOP still whines and cries about inappropriate fillibusters. But when a DEMOCRAT is in the White House, Republicans use every tactic in the book to stop as many nominees as possible from being confirmed. At present count, OVER 50% OF ALL OF OBAMA'S JUDICIAL NOMINEES have been denied a HEARING!!!

That's a Republican's idea of fairness, I suppose.

Posted by: simon92262 | October 28, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Greg is right about both the fraud myth and the Repub tricks. But the professional left also profits from the myth. They tell scary stories to try to stop the rise of Internet voting in the US. Good thing its not working! See,
“Scary Stories Fail to Stop Internet Voting”
http://ssrn.com/author=1053589
Also, “Does the DC Fiasco Damn Internet Voting?”
http://bit.ly/aIfiRa

William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
Political Scientist, author, speaker,
CEO for The Internet Voting Research and Education Fund, a CA Nonprofit Foundation

Email: InternetVoting@gmail.com
Blog: http://internetvotingforall.blogspot.com/
Book in progress: All chapter drafts for my new book can be read/downloaded
(for free) at http://ssrn.com/author=1053589

Posted by: wjkellpro | October 28, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"Democrats are rigging voting machines and switching ballots to change Republican votes into Democrat votes. If you plan to vote Republican, stay home--the Democrats will convert your votes into votes for Democrats! Posted by: CuckooRaja"

This line of thinking is almost as neat as the DNC's sending out Mailings on obscure T-Party candidates, to Registered republicans saying Candidate Kooky is just too extreme for East Podunk and Bunkum Counties, here's why,..., signed, the DNC. (Heard this reported on NPR.)

Hey, Republicans, the Democrats are going to steal your vote. Don't let them, just stay home and they won't be able to.

Wheels within wheels.

Posted by: ceflynline | October 28, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company