Monday, November 1, 2010

Voter Fraud Fraud

As Digby puts it, "apparently the Republicans believe the Democrats are so lame, that they are going to steal this election and lose anyway."  Systematic voter fraud is non-existent; it is an urban myth.  The Bush Justice Department spent five years investigating allegations of voter fraud but, as the Times reported, "turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections."  A report by the Brennan Center for Justice concluded that "by any measure, voter fraud is extraordinarily rare.”  Republicans, however, will not let the facts get in the way of their voter fraud obsession."  Historian Rick Perlstein provides the context:  The "'vote fraud' fantasies are tinged by deeply right-wing racial and anti-urban panics. I've talked to many conservatives who seem to consider the idea of mass non-white participation in the duties of citizenship is inherently suspicious. It's an idea all decent Americans should consider abhorrent. It is also, however, a very old conservative obsession--one that goes back to the beginnings of the right-wing takeover of the Republican Party itself."  As the Nation reports:  "state GOP chapters, local Tea Party groups and organizations like Americans for Prosperity are mobilizing across the country—holding training sessions and posting instructional videos on their websites about how to challenge suspicious voters."  Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin announced that “We are all voter fraud police now.”  Adam Serwer has an excellent rundown of the voter fraud racket, including "the trumped-up New Black Panther voter intimidation case," and and how "conservative groups in Minnesota, Illinois, and Texas have all been gearing up for so called 'anti-fraud' operations."  He points out that the goal is not stopping voter fraud:  These "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."  Serwer concludes:  "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."


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