What Fresh Hell Is This?

May 22, 2007

On Voter Fraud

Maybe that should be voter "fraud" or maybe "voter fraud" - I'm not sure.

Anyway, I can recall as clear as day, my friend Fred Honsberger ranting time and time again on Honsberger Live! about the rampant voter fraud threatening the peace and stability of this great nation of ours. So threatening, of course, that it warranted some serious revamping of the way we vote, for surely no one would be in support of a system that allowed such rampant voter fraud, right?

Turns out that, as with many right wing rants, the "voter fraud" movement is itself a fraud.

By way of Slate.com.

The article by Richard Hasen is ostensibly about the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), an organization once front and center in the Republican war against voter fraud. It's gone now. Kaput. Disappeared. Vanished, as Gary Busey once said, like a virgin on prom night.

In case you couldn't see it coming, this is part of the US Attorney firing story. Those fired US Attorneys were being pressured to prosecute allegations of voter fraud and when they didn't, they were shown the door.

Too bad for God's Own Party, the rhetorical foundation upon which those allegations were based are all more or less an illusion. Here's Hasen describing how they did it:
ACVR's method of argument followed a familiar line, first set out by Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund in his book, Stealing Elections. First, ACVR argued extensively by anecdote, pointing to instances of illegal conduct, such as someone, somewhere registering Mary Poppins to vote. Anecdote would then be coupled with statistics showing problems with voter rolls not being purged to remove voters who had died or moved, leaving open the potential for fraudulent voting at the polls. Finally, the group would claim that the amount of such voter fraud is hard to quantify, because it is after all illegal conduct, hidden from the public. Given this great potential for mischief, and without evidence of actual mischief, allegedly reasonable initiatives such as purging voter rolls and requiring ID seemed the natural solution.
That was more or less what I remember Fred doing.

And again, of course, there's little or no evidence of voter fraud at all.
Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.
Didja catch that last part, Fred?


Richmond K. Turner said...

Here's something you don't mention, Dave, but which I think butresses your argument even further. Early during the Clinton administration, Republicans tried their darndest to kill the "motor voter" bill, which allowed people to register to vote at the same time that they were renewing their drivers licenses.

But these kinds of voter registrations are (presumably) the hardest ones to falsify. After all, the potential offender is being photographed at the same time, and state DMVs require all sorts of ID before issuing a driving license. That's not to say that no DMV has ever issued a license to "Mary Poppins", but they tend to have more stringent requirements than ordinary mail-in voter registration.

So if Repubicans are so worried about fraud, why did they fight against motor voter?

Whigsboy said...

Um, this is the same Fred Honsberger who, during separate shows in one week that I heared while running an errand in the afternoon, said he still believed there were WMDs in Iraq but that there was not enough evidence to support the man-made origin of global warming.

Honsberger is a true wingnut. I'll just never understand how these guys get on the radio.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

I suspect they get on the radio by being known supporters of the company line. I KNOW they stay on the radio by drawing large audiences -- something that lefties have difficulty doing.

Ol' Froth said...

I remember the Honzman transformation back in the 2000 election campaign. Prior to 2000, he was a conservative blowhard that was at least listenable to. I rarely agreed with him, but he often spoke out in defense of public education for one. In 2000, he went completely bat-shit crazy.

Days before the election, he was musing if the Electoral College was really necessary anymore, because as you might recall, the right wing was speculating that Bush would win the popular vote, while losing the electoral vote. That view of Fred's quickly changed.

And in a clear example of projection, he fumed "They're trying to steal the election!" which was true, but it Republicans doing the stealing.

Since then, he's become increasingly unhinged and irrational.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Voter fraud and election fraud are not the same -- given the jargon of the day.