Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In Case You Missed It...

Voter fraud is Rovian Republican bullshit meant to discourage poor and minority voters from going to the polls because they tend to vote from Democrats. Not only did the Bush Department of (In)Justice look and look and look for cases of voter fraud to prosecute and even fire US Attorneys who weren't aggressive enough in hunting cases down, without finding even "a single prosecutable case across the country," but -- under Rove's orders I am certain -- the Republicans even set up a bogus think-tank called the American Center for Voting Rights to legitimize the notion that voter fraud was widespread. Having served its function, the think-tank has now shut its doors, as does any front organization once the scam has been perpetrated.

Republicans like to talk about all the fake names that people register to vote and how the voter rolls don't get purged enough to keep fake names off them. Fair enough. There are fake and fraudulent names on voter rolls. But that doesn't mean those fake names are actually being used to vote. That's a whole other thing. Sure, you can be a wiseacre and register Mickey Mouse to vote, and you'll never get caught and it'll be funny. But if you show up at a polling place and try to vote as Mickey Mouse, you're going to get arrested. There's no risk to putting in a false registration, and it's easy. That's why it happens a bunch. But actually trying to vote on a fraudulent registration involves actual risk for almost no gain -- unless you've got thousands of people to do it with you it won't really accomplish anything -- and so it just doesn't happen.

As the article referenced above points out, showing up at the polls to place a fraudulent vote just doesn't make any sense. If you were going to try to swing an election with fake voters, you'd do it with absentee ballots, since the risk is so much lower and one person (or a few) can send in hundreds or thousands of fake ballots. A few people can't go to the same polling place dozens and dozens of times, even without strict identification requirements, without getting noticed. And, in fact, absentee ballot fraud has been found in the US while voter fraud at the polls hasn't.

But, of course, all this is beside the point to the Republicans. They're going after voter fraud and not absentee ballot fraud not because they're not actually worried about either, but because they can intimidate minorities to keep them from voting by passing strict voter ID laws. They aren't pushing absentee ballot fraud laws because they won't help intimidate minority voters.

So don't fall for the line that the Republicans care one whit about voter fraud. They don't. In fact, they know it doesn't happen. It's just a useful tactic in their game of trying to jimmy the system so that the US is no longer a Republic (if it even still is) but a Republican oligarchy.

After all, the Republicans don't seem at all concerned about all the problems with the new voting machines losing votes, mistabulating votes, and failing to register cast votes, even though those allegations are actually widespread and backed up with significant evidence. Why? Because most of these problems happened in Democratic-leaning districts and helped the Republicans. They don't care about fraud. They care about rigging the system so they can keep power.

Oh, and it's not like it's any accident that most of the voting machine errors happened in Democratic-leaning districts where Republicans were in charge of the elections commissions. But that's another story.


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