Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 12, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN....The New York Times, in a genuine act of public service, has conducted an investigation into voter fraud. Republicans claim it's rampant, and the only way to stop it is via strict voter ID laws that — purely by coincidence — happen to have the effect of reducing turnout among several traditionally Democratic constituencies. So what's the score? By 2005, four years after John Ashcroft had changed Department of Justice guidelines to streamline prosecutions, how much voter fraud had DOJ dug up?

....about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year. Most of those charged have been Democrats, voting records show. Many of those charged by the Justice Department appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules, a review of court records and interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers show.

.... In swing states, including Ohio and Wisconsin, party leaders conducted inquiries to find people who may have voted improperly and prodded officials to act on their findings.

But the party officials and lawmakers were often disappointed. The accusations led to relatively few cases, and a significant number resulted in acquittals.

Here's the nickel summary: In 2002, DOJ changed their guidelines to make it easier to prosecute voter fraud. They made it a priority to find voter fraud cases. They appointed a clean slate of U.S. Attorneys loyal to the Republican Party. They set up training classes to help prosecutors charge and win voter fraud cases. But after all that, they managed to demonstrate fraud in a grand total of only 86 cases over four years. And even then, many of the cases of confirmed fraud were simply mistakes, while virtually none of them were actually designed to affect the outcome of an election.

So in four years of concerted effort, the Bush Justice Department managed to come up with maybe half a dozen cases of actual voter fraud. In other words, two or three per election cycle. Mostly in rural districts for low-level offices. And because of this, we're supposed to believe that it's a high priority to spend millions of dollars on voter ID laws that plainly do nothing except make it harder for poor people to vote.

Can we now please put this nonsense to rest? Can we please stop writing stories that treat voter ID laws as if they're sincerely designed to stop voter fraud? There's no longer any excuse.

POSTSCRIPT: This stuff can also ruin lives. Be sure to check out the part of the story about the guy who was deported to Pakistan because he mistakenly filled out a voter registration card while standing in line at the DMV. I'm sure the prosecutor who brought that case is proud of himself.

Kevin Drum 12:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (144)

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Comments

They are even inept at being criminals. Truly, the most disastrous bunch of clowns ever to run an American government, if not any government anywhere.

Posted by: craigie on April 11, 2007 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe, just maybe, the worm has finally turned on this bunch of Mayberry Machiavellis.

Posted by: David W. on April 11, 2007 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

Pity the NYT wasn't so zealous back in 2000.

Posted by: Billy on April 11, 2007 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

"In four years of concerted effort, the Bush Justice Department managed to come up with maybe half a dozen cases of actual voter fraud."

Yes, but for the group who couldn't find even the faintest trace of one single WMD in the whole of Iraq, this was wildly successful.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on April 11, 2007 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

"It's not that we keep losing elections, it's just that there's too many Democrats!"

Posted by: craigie on April 11, 2007 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

Just wondering how this all relates to Florida in 2000. Were we all smoking something back than, or is it OK when done by officials of the state?

Posted by: notthere on April 11, 2007 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

It is the same belief repugs have always held: if you don't vote for us- something is wrong with you!

i know an old man who still thinks the only flaw of dick nixon was that he found himself in the midst of a few disloyal underlings. it's still the same thread.

i miss the time when facists were honest about their agenda...

Posted by: not tony on April 11, 2007 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

The bigger threat is untraceable electronic voting, which is responsible for multiple "screw-ups" every election involving thousands of votes. The potential to undermine democracy on a massive scale through technology is unprecedented. Old-style voter fraud is small potatoes in comparison. Unfortunately, this has so-far affected mainly Democrats.

Posted by: Democracy on April 11, 2007 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure the prosecutor who brought that case is proud of himself.

I'm sure he was shortlisted for a US Attorney's job somewhere.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on April 11, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

While I am for some form of electronic voting, I'm also willing to admit that it might intimidate the elderly and less educated. Regardless of the fraud threat, pushing for electronic voting is another attempt to disenfranchise.

Posted by: kis on April 12, 2007 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

And when you grant a few cases of voter fraud, be sure to emphasize that these are *individuals* committing fraud -- ie, the total is like 10 votes out of tens of millions. People sometimes hear fraud and imagine large-scale fraud -- which may happen, but that's not what's going on here.

Posted by: JD on April 12, 2007 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Again I ask: Aside from appeal to experts of unknown veracity, how can we know that there's not really voter fraud? It would be trivially easy to look up registered voters, figure out who hasn't voted in many years, then give that name to the polling people. The chances of getting caught would be virtually nil. It would also be undetectable, so widespread fraud could be going on without us ever knowing. I mean, how would we?

Posted by: Al on April 12, 2007 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Al, do come on back when you find some evidence of that pipedream you just conjured. In the meantime, not incumbent upon the other side to prove a damned thing as all evidence supports that position. Any burden of proof is on you.

Thanks for playing.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 12, 2007 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

Imagine that. A conspiracy to hide Saddam's WMD and voter fraud at the same time. Let me know when they find them.

Posted by: Carl on April 12, 2007 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, really? What about Ohio:

http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/news/state/16536269.htm

And then there's the New Hampshire phone jamming case.

--Dan

Posted by: Dan on April 12, 2007 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

Oops. My bad. Those were examples of Republican transgressions.

--Dan

Posted by: Dan on April 12, 2007 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

Being a "loyal bushie" means that you're willing to ruin someone's life, even send them to prison, if it might possibly help a Republican candidate. And what will these "loyal bushie" types do if they lose political power, find themselves marginalized and frustrated, and have no qualms about hurting other people for political gain?

Posted by: bobb on April 12, 2007 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

It's pretty clear that the Republic Party hates America.

Posted by: craigie on April 12, 2007 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

Al, do come on back when you find some evidence of that pipedream you just conjured. In the meantime, not incumbent upon the other side to prove a damned thing as all evidence supports that position. Any burden of proof is on you.

Blue Girl-- That's exactly the problem. It's like trying to prove embezzlement in a company that doesn't keep any accounting books; it's nearly impossible. The correct course of action is to start keeping books (checking ID), not to criticize those who point out the system is highly vulnerable to fraud. There are virtually no safegurads against fraud. It would be nearly impossible for anybody to get caught doing it.

Posted by: Al on April 12, 2007 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

It is almost impossible for an individual to vote more than once. That kind of voter fraud would never change an election. The kind of voter fraud that works is to prevent people from voting. Republicans have done a good job doing that.

Posted by: Brojo on April 12, 2007 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

Brojo-- Yes, nearly impossible. Unless they have access to the public record (say, is that public?), has the ability to drive the five minutes to another polling place, and has all the skill it takes to give an elderly poll worker a fake name. Surely nobody-- NOBODY!!-- could do all three of those things. And if they did, they would be easily caught, if... um, hrm, well there's no way they would be caught. Good thing that nobody can do those three things!!!

Posted by: Al on April 12, 2007 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

"Again I ask: Aside from appeal to experts of unknown veracity, how can we know that there's not really voter fraud? It would be trivially easy to look up registered voters, figure out who hasn't voted in many years, then give that name to the polling people. The chances of getting caught would be virtually nil. It would also be undetectable, so widespread fraud could be going on without us ever knowing. I mean, how would we?"

So true, Al. And how do we know there's not actually a delicious jelly filling at the center of the earth? I mean, I've never been there. You've never been there. I don't have a shovel handle long enough to test for myself. Imagine that delicious jelly center, and we never even knew it was there.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on April 12, 2007 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

They looked. It's a tempest in a tea pot. The current safeguards work and the ones you advocate plainly disenfranchise the voters that vote against your position consistently. What better way to deal with them than just disenfranchise them?

If you want to talk about election fraud, lets talk about the suppression of Democratic votes on Indian reservations. Lets talk about roll scrubbing and voter intimidation. There is hard proof of that happening, and the culprits have been Republican. Are you going to denounce those tactics and demand the perpetrators be charged with a crime?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 12, 2007 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl-- Yes, those people should be tried and-- if found guilty-- sentenced.

Now, because I answered two of your questions, please answer mine

-- Could a person of average intelligence do what I propose? Again, the elements are: Ability to read public record, ability to go to multiple polling places, ability to lie to multiple polling places. If you wanted to, could you do it?
-- If somebody did what I described, how would they ever get caught? How would the 'experts' possibly catch on to it?

Posted by: Al on April 12, 2007 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

The real Al would never resort to something as weak as "discussion" or "evidence." Get this imposter out of here.

Posted by: craigie on April 12, 2007 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

Will there be a wider selection of troll'doeuvres tonight? It's looking a bit spare at the Washingtonmonthly/Calpundit buffet.

Posted by: anonymous on April 12, 2007 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

Craigie-- As you probably know, I'm frequently spoofed on this blog. The recent crackdown by Kevin and his mods has greatly reduced that, so it's actually possible to have a conversation. I plan to post here much more often.

Posted by: Al on April 12, 2007 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

You see, in Al's world, absence of evidence is clearly evidence of absence. Hence, we need to act now!

Al, dear, most, if not all, states require more than just showing up and providing a name. Since that's the case, the answer to your second question is obvious.

As for the answer to your first, it simply wouldn't be worth the time and effort that it would require. Nor would it yield more than a handful of illegal votes, at best, even ignoring the fact that it's just not as easy as you are pretending it is.

In short, and as usual, you got nothing.

Posted by: PaulB on April 12, 2007 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

Ah yes, that will do nicely, thank you very much!

Posted by: anonymous on April 12, 2007 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

[banned commenter]

--deleted by Tinkerbell

Posted by: American Hawk on April 12, 2007 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican strategy for electoral victory hinges on turning out their base while ensuring potential Democratic voters stay home. Perpetuating the myth of voter fraud is an essential ingredient.

For more background on the EAC report and an analysis of the two-pronged GOP strategy of base mobilization and voter suppression, see:
"Divide, Suppress and Conquer: The GOP's 25% Strategy."

Posted by: AngryOne on April 12, 2007 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

Al wrote: "It would be trivially easy to look up registered voters, figure out who hasn't voted in many years, then give that name to the polling people."

Since it's so "trivially easy," why don't you show us how it's done, Al? Go ahead, pick several states, look up their registered voters, and figure out which of them haven't voted in years. And then look up what you are required to show at the polling places, how you're going to get those documents, how many polling places you can visit in a single day, and how many illegal votes you would have thus cast. We await your report with breathless anticipation.

Posted by: PaulB on April 12, 2007 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, Al, it's drivel like this that got you spoofed in the first place.

Posted by: PaulB on April 12, 2007 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

Voter fraud only exists in elections where Democrats lose. Everything you heard last fall about voting machines, fraud, election fixing, and everything else vanished with the morning dew when the Democrats won.

Otherwise, it would still be in the courts.

Elections are just a quaint holdover of old-style democracy anyway. We have the right to run things, and if we aren't running things, it's because something is terribly wrong in the world.

Forget registration while you're at it. It discriminates against the illiterate and non-English speakers.

Posted by: dnc on April 12, 2007 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

Kurt Vonnegut died Wednesday. He was 84.

Posted by: R.L. on April 12, 2007 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

dnc, i think you missed your afternoon dose of thorazine. and nice nostalgia for the literacy test, which was one jewel in the triple crown of black disenfranchisement in the south.

Posted by: Dan-o on April 12, 2007 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Al--How do we know your not a child molester? I mean HOW DO WE KNOW!!!!????

Posted by: none on April 12, 2007 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

Kurt Vonnegut died Wednesday. He was 84.

He'll only be able to vote five times for Hillary then.

Posted by: Preemptive Wingnuttery on April 12, 2007 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Can we send Ann Coulter to Pakistan for her little voting mistake?

Posted by: mats on April 12, 2007 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

It is almost impossible for an individual to vote more than once.

Like hell it is. I voted for Clinton twice in 1996. Once by absentee ballot in Washington state, and again at the polls in Idaho.

Yeah, I broke federal election law. Good luck finding me.

Is it my fault that Washington state sent me an absentee ballot while I was temporarily living in Nampa?

Posted by: Winda Warren Terra on April 12, 2007 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

Quick Quiz - can you vote while under probation? Or under indictment? Or if you've been arrested within the past 5 years?

Remember - get it wrong, and you'll go to jail.

Posted by: Max Power on April 12, 2007 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

I voted for Clinton twice in 1996.

I voted for him six times, and, just to cover my tracks, I voted eight times for Dole and once for my dog. It's fun!

Posted by: Mr. G on April 12, 2007 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

I hate to go meta, but what's with all the postscripts today? Are these actually added after the post is written but before it has been posted, or has "Update" been stricken from the PolAn style guide?

Love and kisses,
The Corinthians

Postscript: That Eddie Izzard's great, isn't he?

Posted by: Royko on April 12, 2007 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure there are precincts where voters aren't known, but I have voted in central Illinois and in Chicago (I was living at the time where I voted and was properly registered). In all cases, even Chicago, the election workers recognized me. I'm sure precincts exist where no one knows anyone else, but if poll watchers are vigilant and have actually visited voters, they should be a safeguard against voter fraud. In Chicago, the precinct committeman was a pain in butt, he visited so often (and when I voted in the First Ward, he asked me what was taking so long, which didn't hurry me along one bit).

Where I now vote, voter fraud would be impossible. Really. The election judges know where I live, who my mother and father are, and how many goats I have at any given time.

If Republicans are really worried about voter fraud as opposed to suppressing the Democratic vote, they ought to give more money to their precinct workers.

Posted by: Lucy on April 12, 2007 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

Al: "It's like trying to prove embezzlement in a company that doesn't keep any accounting books; it's nearly impossible."

Or like trying to find out the truth from an administration that routinely "loses" key evidence.

Posted by: Tom Ames on April 12, 2007 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

You know, tomorrow when I'm at work someone could come into my house and replace everything with exact duplicates! It would be so easy. I mean, the stuff is all right there. And no one would be able to tell!

Perhaps the government should require me to put RFID tags on everything.

[With apologies to Zippy the pinhead.]

Posted by: idlemind on April 12, 2007 at 4:12 AM | PERMALINK

Seriously, though, identifying which individuals on the voter rolls aren't going to vote with 100% accuracy is unlikely. Even at 99% accuracy, we'd see at least a few slip-ups if Al's scenario were at all common. But we don't.

Posted by: idlemind on April 12, 2007 at 4:16 AM | PERMALINK

Voter fraud is much more rampant and easier through absentee ballots. Which party uses far more absentee ballots? Hint: It's not the Democratic Party.

Posted by: shnooky on April 12, 2007 at 5:25 AM | PERMALINK

Conservatives have always had a disdain for allowing everyone the right to vote. Edmund Burke, one of the forefathers of American conservatism, wrote that certain individuals lacked the "God-given ability" to discern the right candidate to vote for. Conservatives always think they have the hotline to God, don't they?

That's why I've always believed conservatism is fundamentally at odds with core American values.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on April 12, 2007 at 5:39 AM | PERMALINK

Ann Coulter committed voter fraud in Florida. Maybe a Democratic Administration will throw his bony ass in prison.
We know the Republican'ts won't.

Posted by: merlallen on April 12, 2007 at 6:08 AM | PERMALINK

Al: "Again I ask: Aside from appeal to experts of unknown veracity, how can we know that there's not really voter fraud?"

If you're so concerned about trying to disprove a negative, then I suggest that you follow up personally and investigate your own concerns, instead of asking others to do the heavy lifting for you.

Because until you provide conclusive evidence supporting your otherwise baseless assertions, I am only to happy to continue to publicly note that you're full of shit.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 12, 2007 at 6:40 AM | PERMALINK

1922-2007

“True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.”
Kurt Vonnegut

Posted by: MsNThrope on April 12, 2007 at 7:20 AM | PERMALINK

As someone who has actually counted votes in an election (Fannin Co. GA.) it's clear to me that there are some quite simple ways to commit voter fraud. Most of them rely on the absentee ballots.

There have always been a number of ballots from voters (mostly in Ohio and Michigan, there was a large outmigration of us hillfolk to those areas in the 30's-50's) who maintained residency in Fannin. I have no way of knowing if those ballots are legitimate or not.
But somehow they always seem to put the Republican candidate into the majority. Most recently, Blue Ridge (pop 1210) Mayor Robert Green, 6 term Republican, was reelected, even after a second conviction of chicken fighting here and in Kentucky. The absentee ballots made the difference (some 20 odd votes..). Of course, the city government certifies the absentee voters..
The State of Georgia is investigating this situation.

Posted by: MR. Bill on April 12, 2007 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

And may I add that the Georgia Republicans have put in bills that will make absentee fraud simpler, while proposing voter ID requirements that will by all accounts suppress minority votes..

Posted by: MR. Bill on April 12, 2007 at 7:57 AM | PERMALINK

But, Orwell, wasn't that the TOPIC of Kevin's post? Repub prosecutors were given the usual unlimited budget to investigate anything they felt like, and found nothing?

If your own party couldn't discover anything, with an unlimited budget and subpoena power, it's most likely because there was nothing to discover.

Of course, they stayed strictly away from tampering with electronic voting machines and spurious absentee ballots, two areas the Republicans specialize in.

Posted by: Cn on April 12, 2007 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

Al's questions are fair, for once, but the embezzlement analogy is the key: what motive would someone have to vote illegally, just once, and not as part of a conspiracy? With embezzlement, the motive is rather obvious (money). But if I go vote illegally, what do I get? A miniscule chance at affecting the election, versus a small but very real chance of getting locked up for a couple of years? I can't imagine more than a few people nationwide insane enough to think that would be worthwhile, and the chance that there are enough such people in a single district to sway an election seems highly unlikely.

Posted by: kth on April 12, 2007 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

Exactly -- voter APATHY is the real problem today, not conniving and overeager voters.

And talk about ruining lives -- what about the woman doing a year in Wisconsin for mistakenly voting when she was on probation?

Posted by: melissa on April 12, 2007 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

"And talk about ruining lives -- what about the woman doing a year in Wisconsin for mistakenly voting when she was on probation?" This is the paet that really needs to be emphasized- the criminals running (ruining) our country have no compunctions whatsoever about destroying ordinary people's lives in the service of their crooked political maneuvers. How low this once-great country has sunk.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on April 12, 2007 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

And in a weird tangential story, +75000 voter ID cards are found (with personal info) in a Dumpster at a Southwest Atlanta Tech College...http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/atlanta/stories/2007/04/11/0412metcards.html

Posted by: MR. Bill on April 12, 2007 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

I read that article this morning. A lot of resources spent chasing snipe.

I live in a big county where dead people used to vote. I honestly cannot remember whether those dead folk were Republicans or Democrats. Or even whether or not the bogus voters made the difference. But, "they" voted and it was a concerted effort to tilt whichever election was taking place.

There is always a potential for fraud with voting. I think we could all agree that minimizing fraud in voting is important, especially since elections are starting to result in such close calls that a handful of ballots can make a big difference. And there's nothing wrong with trying to establish procedures that help to eliminate it, or keep it at a squeak level. The issue is whether those procedures are fair, or whether they impose an heavier burden on one part of the population they do on another. Requesting ID, in and of itself, is not necessarily onerous. But how you go about getting the ID, what is required for the ID, can be.

Posted by: Bobbi on April 12, 2007 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

How many of the replacement US Attorneys are veterans of Rove's voter suppression efforts. Hum, off hand I can think of three; Tim Griffin in Arkansas, Brad Schlozman in Kansas City and Steve Biskupic.

Two US Attorneys who declined to go along with this bullshit, McKay and Iglesias, are two of the Gonzales 8.

The case of Kimberly Prude, 43, in Milwaukee is particularly ugly. She has been jailed for a year for making a mistake. She was sacrificed on the Rovian altar by Steve Biskupic, the same guy who brought the bogus charge against Georgia Thompson. Obviously a loyal Bushie with no sense of anything but the need to save his own sorry ass.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 12, 2007 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Biskupic isn't a replacement. He was on the block to be replaced, but somehow (obviously we now know how) wriggled off the list.

Schlozman replaced Todd Graves in KC. One of Graves' relatives was implicated in a Gov. Matt Blunt fee office scandal investigated by Bud Cummins of Arkansas. Cummins was replaced by Tim Griffin. Griffin is rumored to have been deeply involved in Florida voter suppression activities aimed at poor blacks and black service members.

Schlozman was one of the political appointees at the Civil Rights Division who was involved in overruling the efforts of the career attorneys who wanted to go after a Georgia poll tax. Thankfully, even without the help of the Bush Justice Department, that law was ruled illegal by a Federal court.

Where is Schlozman now? Well he is monitoring the voting activites of poor blacks in heavily democratic Kansas City, Missouri. That's right where Karl wants him. Don't be surprised if Schlozman uncovers lots of "voter fraud" in the run up to the 2008 elections. That is the only way Matt Blunt can hope to survive.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 12, 2007 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

BGRS,

Will you please back off Al - He is absolutely correct - More DOJ personnel should be assigned to discover if the light really goes out in the frig, when one closes the door.

Priorities, Lady, Priorities

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 12, 2007 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Hot tip for DOJ: Ann Coulter. She votes in elections outside of the district she lives in. This is a huge story. As it turns out, fully 1 out of every 87 vote fraud cases on the average in the U.S. involves Ann Coulter.

Posted by: The Fool on April 12, 2007 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Do away with the ease of absentee voting and you'd reduce fraud by at least half. Around here it's a common practice for "activists" to show up at churches or retirement homes and come out with a sheaf of ballots from the old dears who think they're voting for JFK. They then peddle them to the highest bidder--since this is a democratic area, a democrat. Outstate, it's the GOP. I very much doubt it's swung a major election for a party though--just shuffled the musical chairs.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on April 12, 2007 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

An Al wrote: I plan to post here much more often.

Gotta keep those RNC checks comin'...

Meanwhile, Al, like BGRS said: Come back when you have evidence that the scenarios you propose are anything other than a figment of a dishonest Bush Cultist's imagination.

Posted by: Gregory on April 12, 2007 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps, the persecutor, er prosecutor, was heavily influenced by watching the episode on Seinfeld of Elaine not picking up the Pakistani fellow's mail.

And the poor chap was only sent back in Our Staunchest Ally in the Global War on Terra and Fauna - What harm there???

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 12, 2007 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Al is STILL an asshole.

Posted by: Rectuma on April 12, 2007 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

And don't forget their War on Flora, as well.

Posted by: stupid git on April 12, 2007 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Are they counting Ann Coulter's voter fraud of voting in the wrong district after being told by an election worker that she was registered in a different district? Any charges filed there yet?

Posted by: VOR on April 12, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

And of course, there is the Ann Coulter case. Has she commented on any of this? I hope not, the irony would make my head explode.

Posted by: Ba'al on April 12, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Or Orwell...It is not unreasonable to think that the right side of the aisle [not isle - Gilligan] has more election fraud in their favor since Katherine Harris was tasked with "validating" the 2000 Florida votes and Kenneth Blackwell the 2004 Ohio votes - both rabid Bush partisans that guaranteed delivering their respective states to Bush.

Posted by: ckelly on April 12, 2007 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

I would suspect another reason why Bush decided to be tough on voter fraud was to justify his 2000 election.

Posted by: Guscat on April 12, 2007 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

It's not that voter fraud is impossible. It's that it is impossible to engage in voter fraud of a scale so large that it both (a) affects the outcome of an election and (b) remains undetected. Take Winda Warren Terra, who claims to have voted twice-- once by absentee in WA and once at the polls in ID in 1996. His absentee ballot was probably never even looked at.

The biggest flaw in our voting system is that we simply assume that elections will always be decisive enough that voting irregularities won't matter (both from fraud, waste, and bad counting) rather than shooting for close to 100% integrity.

Posted by: Tyro on April 12, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

So, what's the bigger problem with elections? Voter fraud, which there's no evidence of in spite of intense effort by interested parties (Ashcroft's DoJ) to find it, or voter suppression, which there's a mountain of evidence for?

This is just example #43,560 of conservatives defining themselves to be on the dishonest side of a particular issue. They keep insisting that in order to be a conservative, you have to be full of shit. They make this argument over, and over, and over again, on cable TV, radio, in print, you name it. It's constant.

Posted by: DH Walker on April 12, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Priorities, Pilgrims, Priorities.

Is it not better to stop the "widespread Voter fraud" or try to waste time and resources on stopping bombs from going off in the cafeteria of the Iraqi Parliament INSIDE THE GREEN ZONE?

Oh, yes, we have already wasted precious time and resources in "securing" that locale.

And McCain could have been there "safely" sipping green tea.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 12, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect one of the other reasons Republicans made "vote fraud" a central issue of theirs was because Democrats and liberal activists were demanding voting machine integrity, which would have hurt a lot of Republican interest groups. To ensure that "voting integrity" didn't become the Democrats' signature issue, Rove thought it woul dbe a good strategy to preempt the Democrats by turning all discussion about voting integrity to voter fraud, reframing the debate and stealing the issue away from the Democrats.

I'm actually stunned that it didn't work, but it is an indication about how for Republicans, reality can serve as a wall up against which even Republican talking points can't penetrate.

Posted by: Tyro on April 12, 2007 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure why BushCo is so concerned about faux voter fraud anyway. After 6+ grueling years, it has become quite evident that they don't care much for democracy.

Posted by: ckelly on April 12, 2007 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

There's only one foolproof way to prevent voter fraud:

Purple fingers, baby...

Posted by: lampwick on April 12, 2007 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Orwell: It is not unreasonable to think that the left side of the isle has more voter fraud...

Well, let's ask our own Donald if it's reasonable. Donald, are more people in Makaha than in Honolulu fraudulently voting? No? I thought not.

Posted by: shortstop on April 12, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

What ever happened with the Ann Coulter voter fraud case?

Posted by: enough on April 12, 2007 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Is that related to Macaca?

Posted by: craigie on April 12, 2007 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

A study showed that most voter fraud came through absentee ballots and guess which party has more voters doing that? Yet, the DOJ hasn't bothered to investigate.

Posted by: lou on April 12, 2007 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure this will get a few flames, but I'm gonna lay it out there for y'all. This issue is a winner for Republicans, and they know it. Why? Because the idea of requiring voters to present some form of ID just makes sense to Joe Average. I know, because I'm Joe Average. You can't beat an idea that appeals so strongly to common sense, even if it's solving a problem that doesn't really exist. The best the Dems can hope for here is issuing free state IDs to citizens without drivers licenses.

Posted by: Shag on April 12, 2007 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Orwell:It is not unreasonable to think that the left side of the isle has more voter fraud

That's actually true. The left has a significant proportion of all of the non-existant voter fraud. The right, on the other hand, has a significant proportion of the actual, very real voter suppression efforts.

What happened to all those charges of voter fraud coming from the people here before the 2006 election? Gone. Vanished. Non-existant. The election turned out in favor of the Democrats so then "Let's drop it because we won."

Yes, the Democrats won with a wide enough margin that even Republican dirty tricks couldn't affect the outcomes. As far as the left "dropping" their concerns (about, say, Diebold and Republican voter roll purges, phone jamming, etc) - the fact that this thread even exists proves that no one on the left has "dropped" this as an issue. You simply have no idea what you're talking about.

Hypocrites.

Clueless morons.

Posted by: DH Walker on April 12, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Former Chief Justice Renquist was active in the efforts to suppress votes in AZ before becoming chief justice.

We don't hear much about that, but having a person elevated to the SC after a disgusting history of suppressing votes is very awful.

Posted by: POed Lib on April 12, 2007 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Lampwick makes a good point.

Instead of all this nonsense about 17 forms of expensive ID, if we're so worried about people voting multiple times, why don't we just do a purple finger? Problem solved.

But more seriously, trying to steal an election by having people vote multiple times in-person is like trying to steal a million bucks from a bank in nickels.

However, trying to steal an election by making lines so long in your opponents' key precincts that people go home? Trying to steal an election by intimidating poor people and threatening them with jail if they make innocent mistakes during the voting process? Trying to steal an election by making it impossible for election workers to process people quickly and efficiently because your poll watchers are making baseless and time-consuming challenges? It's like shutting down a bank by calling in a bomb threat from a payphone.

Very effective.

Posted by: anonymous on April 12, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

It's like shutting down a bank by calling in a bomb threat from a payphone.

don't give them any ideas.

Posted by: craigie on April 12, 2007 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Neil Boortz is among the rightwing blovators who regularly suggests that large numbers of people (mostly those who derive a living from the government, i.e. the poor) be disenfranchised. His talkers suggest a property ownership requirement. And they don't include, say, the military or defense contractors, or subsidized farmers, in that affected class.

So of course, the Right has a segment of the population who has no trouble with making it hard to vote, and making it easy to cheat.

Posted by: MR. Bill on April 12, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

So what's the status of Coulter's little voter fraud mistake? Ahhh, she doesn't match the criteria - minority, poor, Democrat.

Posted by: Candyce on April 12, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

"It would be trivially easy to look up registered voters, figure out who hasn't voted in many years, then give that name to the polling people."

I think Al's premise is false. It wouldn't be trivially easy. It would require access to records (at least in the jurisdictions I know of) that, while available to the public, are supervised by people who would likely become suspicious of someone doing what Al suggests. Reporters occasionally look into the list to see if a candidate or office holder has voted, but nobody else does. Moreover, nobody legitimate would hang around and copy out complete lists or return repeatedly to take names down. Pulling Al's stunt would be riskier than lots of other types of fraud, since it would quickly be apparent that something was up if people were copying out hundreds of names (assuming there were hundreds) of non-voters to impersonate.

Anyway, Al's hypothesis is just stupid since the likelihood it would even effect an election is nil. (As anonymous so trenchantly put it: "trying to steal an election by having people vote multiple times in-person is like trying to steal a million bucks from a bank in nickels.") The only kind of "voter fraud" that has any consequence is, and historically always has been, ballot stuffing or its equivalent. You've gotta do it wholesale, not retail, if you want to win, and that has always been the method of Richard Daley and other machine pols. The only other wholesale method is favored by Rove, as demonstrated by New Hampshire and Florida: interfering with the rights of voters to have access the polls (jamming the phones, messing up machines in the opponent's districts, etc.) or disenfranchising voters (the "felon" purge of everyone with the same name as a felon). Of course, the latter are pretty exclusively Republican tricks, so Al's not interested.

Posted by: David in NY on April 12, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure the prosecutor who deported the Pakistani is proud of himself. He probably brags about it to his kids.

Posted by: Bob on April 12, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Be sure to check out the part of the story about the guy who was deported to Pakistan because he mistakenly filled out a voter registration card while standing in line at the DMV. I'm sure the prosecutor who brought that case is proud of himself."

The prosecutor who did that likely has a personality disorder found in the DSM-IV.

Really, we must stop cutting Robert Frost-ian slack, projecting our own liberal sensibilities on the other side. All it does is make the other side chuckle.

You want to prevent the kind of damage we've tallied in the past 6 years? Slap yourself in the face and realize conservatism simply does not possess a liberal conscience, and sometimes possesses no conscience at all.

Most liberals understand that RW rantings are simply projection, that character attacks by the Limbaughs of the world are based on what they'd do were the roles reversed. BUT, we don't internalize this fundamental dynamic.

When the RW regularly called Clinton a sociopath, we blew it off as hyperbole. But it wasn't. They perceived Clinton's acts as lacking conscience, because that's what they relate to, stunted empathy, and stunted conscience.

Posted by: Pacific John on April 12, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Requesting ID, in and of itself, is not necessarily onerous. But how you go about getting the ID, what is required for the ID, can be.

Posted by: Bobbi

Nonsense. It's not onerous for middle class people with lots of time in places like New York with polls open for 15 hours on election day. But for poor people in places like Indiana where polls close at 6 p.m. (a Republican system), it's a vote robber. In this last election, I read several news stories about actual candidates turned away from the polls for lack of identification. They, of course, had their the time or resources to get the ID and come back. But other people work and have family responsibilities on election day and they don't come back.

In New York, you sign your name under a copy of your signature as registered. Anyone can challenge your identity, if there's doubt about it. Then you'll show ID or vote by affidavit, subject to later ruling. What's so terrible about that?

Posted by: David in NY on April 12, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Actually there are two very distinct types of voter fraud that the Republicans seem concerned with. The first is massive fraudulent registrations by non-citizens, such as "B1 Bob" Dornan complained of in his defeat. Second is Al's serial voter fraud. The non-citizen registration issue has been studied carefully and found to be a non-issue. To a certain extent the serial voter issue has been an on-going time honored method of fixing local elections, but there have been few, if any serious allegations of this type of fraud affecting national, or even statewide elections. Probably the most serious allegations on the national level were the allegations against Daly in Chicago in the 1960 Presidential election. Nixon chose not to contest, implying he did it for the good of the country, but most people believe it is because he realized that any serious investigation would have revealed just as many ghost voters on the Republican side of the ledger downstate in the Republican strongholds, so that the end result would have been a wash. By leaving it alone he allowed the legend to grow instead of killing it off with counter claims of Republican fraud.

Even if you accept that the serial voter fraud is not a problem in larger elections, because both sides engage in it over large areas and, essentially cancel out each other's efforts, there is still the problem of local elections, where a few hundred votes really will tip the balance and only one party has enough power to pull it off. What to do about it? Requiring ID is pretty stupid since ID can usually be faked and those elderly polling officials that Al disparaged above would be incapable of sniffing out the bad ones. Tamper proof IDs with embedded biometrics would be ideal, but very expensive. Why not go the developing nation/low tech route? Each time a person votes his right (or left) index finger is dipped in indelible ink. It will wear off in a couple of days, but for at least 24 hours it will mark the individual as someone who has voted and cannot be allowed to vote again. Simple and probably very effective. If people don't want to be stained inks that only show up in black light can be used. So, I ask again, why not? I can't say for sure, but I think I know the answer. That solution won't solve the problem that the people who rail against voter fraud really want to solve, keeping people from voting Democratic.

Posted by: majun on April 12, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Unless only the right people vote, and vote Republican, voter fraud will always exist in the eyes of Republicans.

Republican voter suppression efforts

Funded by the RNC

It is not unreasonable to think that the left side of the isle has more voter fraud in their favor … Orwell at 7:10 AM

Well, yes it is unreasonable. Thanks anyway/

Posted by: Mike on April 12, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Good post, majun.

Posted by: shortstop on April 12, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Al ('pologies for having stuff to do before this mess), a suggestion: spend a few elections as a poll worker.

LEARN about your speculation, before you offer it again.

Folks who actually run our elections, the guys who work watching the actual voting, know that it isn't anywhere as easy as Al suggests to engage in a criminal conspiracy like this.

First you have to look for the names of registered voters who never, ever show up to vote (yet somehow are never, ever taken off the rolls: where does this happen? tell me the precincts), and then hire imposters to vote under those names in different places. Even without any other trigger, just one or two real voters showing up to cast their honest ballots, only to find that someone else had already done it, would instantly unravel the conspiracy: I've seen it happen, Al.

Have you? (Local elections, where dozens of votes can decide the winner, are especially vulnerable to voting tricks: the most effective usually involve not fraud but absentee ballots. You don't vote dead people or imposters, you vote nursing homes. But there simply aren't enough such votes in any elections larger than a few hundred votes cast to make a difference: do the math.)

Do you have a CLUE how big and visible a conspiracy like you suggest would be, Al?

First, you'd have to have a party that wants to do it. Who did you have in mind, al-Qaeda? The motive would be to elect candidates who are ON THE BALLOT.

They would have to:

1) identify sufficient #s of registered voters who don't vote (which means obtaining at least two lists and cross checking 'em - publicly available, but the request would be what cops call a clue: I suggest you acquire a few),

2) identifying the polling places where such imposter voting would make a difference (which is a politically sophisticated thing to do: another clue for investigators). To sprinkle on enough votes in a state like Ohio or Florida would involve thousands of imposter votes and dozens of conspirators.

3) recruit imposters to do the voting (a whole series of clues, including low-level crooks who could be turned into witnesses for the prosecution when caught), AND best of all

4) an easily verified pattern of imposter votes: "Gee, Mrs. Murgatroyd, you say you didn't vote last fall?"

Sounds like the kind of garden-variety conspiracy that cops roll up all the time, like Ponzi schemes and phone card fraud. Be a good thing to stop -- if it existed, because it would be SO easy to find.

And, guess what? Millions of your tax dollars were spent to investigate and prosecute these cases over the past few years...

... and they found shit. (Possibly they looked between your ears, Al.)

Posted by: theAmericanist on April 12, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Coulter, she also reportedly has the wrong age on her driver's license, which I'm pretty sure is a federal crime...

As for why the Dems didn't complain about voter fraud in 2006, it's the "no (or little) harm, no foul" principle. They won despite the usual Repuglican dirty tricks. And can you imagine how the wingnuts would have accused them of piling on if they'd won back both the house and senate and then complained they would've gotten MORE votes without fraud?

On a related topic, why isn't a law demanding mandatory paper ballot printouts for all electronic voting machines at the top of the Democrats' priority list? Bills to this effect were held hostage in committee for years; when are they going to see the house and senate floor? Especially now that the Bushies seem so concerned about voter fraud! You can do a lot more defrauding by pushing the vote-count mechanisms back or ahead than you can by registering in two different voting precincts.

Posted by: sullijan on April 12, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

"Edmund Burke, one of the forefathers of American conservatism, wrote that certain individuals lacked the "God-given ability" to discern the right candidate to vote for."

Well, except for the "God-given" part, I sort of agree that roughly 50% of the American electorate demonstrated that they can't discern the right candidate to vote for twice recently, in 2000 and in 2004. ANYBODY who voted for Bush in 2004 should be banned from the public mandate for life.

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 12, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't read all of the posts on this thread, but I'm surprised that the "smokes for votes" issue in Milwaukee in 2000 didn't come up. This has achieved near-mythic status in right-wing fantasy world. Apparently in November of 2000 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin someone handed out packs of cigarettes to homeless men, urging them to vote for Democratic candidates. The right-wing chat rooms and bulletin boards (e.g. NewsMax Forum and FreeRepublic, to name two) went nuts and claimed this was the greatest voting fraud scandal in American history. An investigation ensued (Republicans always get their way when it comes to investigations, don't they?) and it turned out that:
(1) Maybe, at the outside, 20 men voted who might not have otherwise.
(2) All had a legal right to vote (i.e. none were felons, etc.)
(3) There was not a shred of evidence that any of the 20 homeless men who may have voted after they received a pack of cigarettes, (a) even did bother to go vote, or (b) voted differently than they would have otherwise.

Yet, you still hear right-wingers referring to the "smokes for votes" scandal in Wisconsin to this day. Of course, these same outraged people don't want to hear about the 50,000 people in Florida (mainly black and Democratic) who were wrongly and intentionally purged from voting rolls by Jeb Bush and the GOP-controlled ChoicePoint Company in 2000.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on April 12, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

As I recall wasn't Ann Coulter investigated in Florida for voting in the wrong precinct. Sounds to me like the Feds should get involved in her case!

Posted by: Stuart Shiffman on April 12, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Cal Gal: ANYBODY who voted for Bush in 2004 should be banned from the public mandate for life.

I sympathize, but can't agree, with your position. Disenfranchisement is not the answer. Instead, they should be made to wear a scarlet "B" on their left shoulders at all times. It's the human version of belling a cat.

Posted by: shortstop on April 12, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Re: majun on April 12, 2007 at 12:42 PM

Excellent post. A blacklight ink sounds like a workable solution to me. I think anything that increases confidence in the electoral process is a good thing for all parties. I suspect many who don't show up at all instinctively distrust a system they can't conceptually audit.

Anyway, my worry is less with the voters being fraudulent that the politicians they elect.

Posted by: jdwill on April 12, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

majun, I, too, endorse your black ink idea.

I also like the rest of your post, but would tweak it a bit. You're quite correct that, though stories about 1960 Illinois have become frozen in the public mind as "Daley stole it for Kennedy", everyone I knew in Chicago in the eraly 70s long proclaimed that the Dems only stole enough in Chicago to offset what the GOP stole downstate.

As regards Nixon not contesting, however...I was surprised to find that that, too, is a bit of an urban myth. Nixon always SAID he chose not to, but Salon published an article shortly after the 2000 debacle pretty seriously debunking the contention. They documented searches by the Nixon team -- in IL, TX and HI -- well into December of '60; their problem was, they didn't find anything.

(I know it's lazy of me not to provide links to think, but I'm at work and busy. It was, as I say, in Salon quite shortly after Election Day in 2000)

Posted by: demtom on April 12, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of voter fraud, what ever happened to the Ann Coulter case, where she voted at the wrong place or etc?

Posted by: Neil B. on April 12, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

A bit surprised no one has mentioned voter fraud in Washington State - pretty well documented and not followed up by the AG there.

Remember the Florida snowbirds, many thousands simultaneously registered to vote in Florida and their home states up North - enough to change the 2000 election.

Numerous cases of college kids registered at their home county and college county and voting multiple times

St. Louis cases come to mind with fraudulent voter registration drives. Remember the kids convicted of tire slashing the fleet of cars that were to drive voters to the polls?

Then, there was the case phone bank jamming in New England.

It's a matter that goes to the heart of democracy and it stinks that so many seem so eager to dismiss it. A better approach would be a bipartisan effort to reduce fraud wherever it has been suspected - be it doubts about voter machines or collecting them dumping absentee ballots.

If we are sincere in our efforts, it would go a long way to rebuilding trust. As it is, neither side believes or the other is acting in good faith.

Cheers

Posted by: Mike from San Francisco on April 12, 2007 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK
scarlet "B" on their left shoulders shortstop at 2:02 PM
How about a scarlet highlight on their blue buttocks so they look even more like these guys? Posted by: Mike on April 12, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Mike from San Francisco wrote: "A bit surprised no one has mentioned voter fraud in Washington State - pretty well documented and not followed up by the AG there."

I live in Seattle. You're wrong on two counts. The first is that there simply was not much voter fraud in the election of which you're speaking. The state Republican Party spent millions investigating, advertising, and litigating -- taking the case to court in a hand-picked county with a hand-picked judge. That judge reviewed the evidence and, realizing that there was nothing there, pretty much threw it out.

Second, the Republican Secretary of State and the Republican U.S. attorney, picked by the Bush administration, both investigated the claims, in cooperation with the FBI. End result? They agreed with the judge -- there was nothing there.

Posted by: PaulB on April 12, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

But after spending millions of dollars, months on investigations and two weeks in trial, the net result for the Republicans today was that Rossi lost four votes from his total, pushing Gregoire's margin to 133.

"The court concludes that the election contest petition should be dismissed and the certification of Miss Gregoire as governor confirmed," Judge John Bridges said in formally announcing his ruling against the GOP.

...

Bridges turned back the GOP challenge on several fronts. He said the Republicans' claims of fraud were not supported by any evidence. He rebuffed their statistical proposal for subtracting invalid votes from the candidates, calling it scientifically inadequate. And he rejected their suggested interpretations of state laws and previous court rulings on election challenges.

Posted by: PaulB on April 12, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

The C.D. wrote: "Yet, you still hear right-wingers referring to the 'smokes for votes' scandal in Wisconsin to this day."

Yup, just look at Mike from San Francisco's list above. In the case of Washington State, he's flatly incorrect. In most of the others, I'm reasonably certain that there's nothing there, either. But still the incidents live on, as urban legends and propaganda.

The St. Louis incident he cites, for example, took place in Milwaukee, and while the incident definitely happened and five people were charged, there is absolutely no evidence that anyone was denied an opportunity to vote as a result.

Posted by: PaulB on April 12, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

I agree most of the corruption these days is with absentee ballots. I would support any bipartisan/nonpartisan commission that would look into these problems and advocate fixes - like the black light idea mentioned above. But with all your tut-tutting, your primary argument just does not pass the smell test with the average voter. These proposals are so reasonable only a fanatic nutroots activist would oppose them. If you are so disorganized you cannot keep track of a free State ID or other picture ID needed to participate in American life on any level you are too disorganized to cancel out my well considered vote -- thats the difference between a democracy and a republic and a Democrat and a Republican.

Posted by: minion on April 12, 2007 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

More from the Seattle PI on the Washington state election:

So that left direct evidence as the only indication of how illegal votes were cast. The Republicans didn't submit any [emphasis added], rejecting the idea of interviewing felons about how they voted. But the Democrats filed statements and supporting documentation from five felons on the GOP list who are registered in pro-Gregoire precincts: Four said they voted for Rossi, and one said he voted for Libertarian Ruth Bennett.
Bridges found that evidence credible, so he deducted those votes from Rossi and Bennett.

The Republican Party could not find any real evidence to support their claims. What they had asked the judge to do instead was one of two things:

1. Declare the election invalid because of various clerical issues, including how the provisional ballots were counted, poll book discrepancies, overlooked ballots, and so on. The Republican Party insisted that "the blunders were so egregious that [Judge Bridges] should apply a standard allowed in fraudulent elections, in which the results can be thrown out simply on the grounds that the number of clouded votes casts doubt on the outcome."

2. Apply a mathematical formula to subtract votes from the candidates' totals in proportion to the overall percentage of the vote each candidates received in the affected precinct, without any evidence for whom the bungled and/or illegal votes were cast.

Bridges rejected both approaches. Interestingly, had he accepted one or the other, it would have been a rare true instance of an "activist judge," as Bridges himself noted:

An election such as this should not be overturned because one judge picks a number and applies a proportional deduction analysis," he said. "To do so would constitute the ultimate of judicial egotism and activism."
Posted by: PaulB on April 12, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

I am too lazy and don't have enough time to look up specific details about the Washington State election - but the blog Sound Politics covered it extensively.

By no means was it a clean election - the most egregious offenses seem to have been perpetrated by the election commission in King County - such as delaying their recount to see how many votes they would have to 'manufacture' in order to swing the outcome their way.

Don't you remember the 'missing' ballots that kept mysteriously turning up, over and over again? How about the fraudulent registrations, the out of state (and foreigners) still on the voter rolls.

It was a mess and went on for months and months. I don't think it can be so easily dismissed as an urban legend and there are many people who still believe this was tainted.

Cheers

Posted by: Mike from San Francisco on April 12, 2007 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Given that it was fully litigated and given that you have provided no evidence that contradicts the court records and given that the Republican USA looked into this and found nothing, I think the board can easily dismiss this as nothing more than an urban legend.

Posted by: heavy on April 12, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

As regards Nixon not contesting, however...I was surprised to find that that, too, is a bit of an urban myth. Nixon always SAID he chose not to, but Salon published an article shortly after the 2000 debacle pretty seriously debunking the contention. They documented searches by the Nixon team -- in IL, TX and HI -- well into December of '60; their problem was, they didn't find anything.

(I know it's lazy of me not to provide links to think, but I'm at work and busy. It was, as I say, in Salon quite shortly after Election Day in 2000)

Posted by: demtom on April 12, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

If you read my post carefully, I never said that Nixon didn't consider challenging the vote in Illinois (and Texas too for that matter), but that, in the end, he chose not to. I also stated that he always implied that the decision was based on his concept of what was best for the country, but (and I've actually heard this from someone in Nixon's inner circle at the time) in the end he was convinced that in Illinois they would find that just as many ballot boxes were stuffed for him downstate as for Kennedy in Chicago. In Texas, they just figured that Johnson had Kennedy's back there and there wasn't nothing they could do about it.

Say what you want about Nixon (and I do hope it is negative), but he was about as pragmatic as they come when it came to electoral politics. There is little doubt that he chose not to contest the close states in 1960 because his advisors convinced him he couldn't win.

Posted by: majun on April 12, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

sullijan wrote this: On a related topic, why isn't a law demanding mandatory paper ballot printouts for all electronic voting machines at the top of the Democrats' priority list? Bills to this effect were held hostage in committee for years; when are they going to see the house and senate floor? Especially now that the Bushies seem so concerned about voter fraud!

Such a law, such a policy, would be good. Democrats and Republicans ought to cooperate to reduce all kinds of suspected vote fraud. On this, I support the Republican proposal to require ID cards, and the Democratic proposal to require printed ballots.

Vote fraud has a low incidence because people are alert to try to prevent it. Those two measures would reduce the level of suspicion, and probably also reduce actual voter fraud.

Posted by: spider on April 12, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

To Heavy:

Given that the 2000 Election in Florida was fully litigated and given that no one has provided evidence that contradicts the court records and given that the Democrats looked into this and found nothing, I think the board can easily dismiss these claims as nothing more than an urban legend as well.

Not very helpful, is it.

Cheers

Posted by: Mike from San Francisco on April 12, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, you're gonna have to do better than THAT.

The Florida recount was a matter for the FLORIDA courts to decide. Before they had their opportunity to finish those deliberations, the US Supreme Court determined that they would intervene.

Get your facts first, then distort 'em as you please. (For one thing, it was a Republican appointee who decided the election was over, before the courts had finished their job.)

Posted by: theAmericanist on April 12, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

To: The Americanist

Don't be so literal. The point I was trying to make is that for someone to say "But the courts decided" isn't very satisfying if there are still unanswered questions.

I know many people are dissatisfied with the 2000 Election decision. But many people were also dissatisfied with the Washington State election. A couple of posters seem to be saying 'But you are not justified in thinking this, since it went through the courts'.

If we worked together to clean up elections and vigorously investigated suspected fraud - regardless of who's behind it, it would be good for the country. Can't you agree with that statement?

Cheers.

Posted by: Mike from San Francisco on April 12, 2007 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, the New Hampshire phone jamming scandal was strictly a Republican project.

You really are a lazy S.O.B., aren't you? Not to mention pitifully ignorant.

Posted by: vetiver on April 12, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Hi Vetiver:

Yes, I know it was the Republicans - I was being bipartisan and showing examples from both parties. I figured you would all know that without saying.

So, the ad hominum attacks begin, not just lazy, but a lazy S.O.B - and pitifully ignorant as well. Was that really necessary? Shame on you for lowering the discussion to name calling.

Why does it seem so difficult to work with the other side? Does your post move the discussion forward?

Cheers.

Posted by: Mike from San Francisco on April 12, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - this article wasn't a geniune act of public service. It was a genuine act of the media actually doing is goddamn job for a change.

You're confused because it's just such a rare occurance.

Posted by: EM on April 12, 2007 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Mike, you are wrong on the facts in Florida as well. The United States Supreme Court spoke and said "don't bother us with the facts, Bush won." That's not fully litigated, that's having a bunch of unelected Republicans hand the election over to another Republican and telling the nation to fuck off (you do remember they said their bizarre interpretation of the equal protection clause was a one time only thing, right).

You are also wrong as to the question of facts brought out after the litigation. Under every scenario that counted all the votes the newspapers discovered that Gore won. The only way to get a Bush win with all of the votes was to take votes that asked for both Bush and Cheney and declare them not to be valid at all - directly contravening Florida State Law circa November 2000. All of the claims you made were tested in a court of law.

In other words, there's no comparison. In Washington State every possible rock was overturned and the results were indisputable. You are welcome to an informed opinion - you are not welcome to create your own facts.

Posted by: heavy on April 12, 2007 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Hi Heavy:

That is not as I remember it - as I recall, the scenarios under which Gore would have won were the less plausible ones.

In any case, you are missing the point. You seem to be arguing that only the Dems have valid grievances regarding voter fraud - I am arguing that it is a universal problem and that everyone should get together and work together to investigate and solve problems, for the common good.

We won't get anywhere if we can't even agree that it is a bipartisan issue, and so far, no one on this thread has said, "OK Mike, you are right - let's work together and fix it".

I leave here shrugging and saying, I guess we are all on our own. Too bad.

Cheers.

Posted by: Mike from San Francisco on April 12, 2007 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Mike,

But you miss the point -- there is no "bipartisan" issue here. The kind of fraud the Republicans talk about, and that does not actually exist, they want to "prevent" by making it harder for people to vote. The kind of fraud in New Hampshire, which is perpetrated by Republicans, also constitutes attempts to prevent people from voting. There is simply no justification for either form of the Republican effort to keep people from exercising their right to vote.

Posted by: David in NY on April 12, 2007 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Your memory is apparently not very reliable since you got both the recent and not-so-recent cases wrong. We can't work together because your examples don't demonstrate a bi-partisan problem. In fact, once the facts are added to your examples it is clear that all of your examples demonstrate bad behavior on the part of Republicans. In other words, I didn't miss the point - your failure to present evidence made your point moot.

As was already explained to you, retail voting fraud is pretty much impossible because it requires too many people be in on the fraud. Wholesale (as in ballot stuffing) of the kind you keep pretending happened in Washington is possible, but the evidence clearly showed, to the Republican Secretary of State and the Republican judge in the case and anyone concerned more with facts than creating a false sense of balance, that it did not happen there.

What we are left with is a technique that benefits only Republicans, voter suppression. This has the benefit (to those criminally minded enough to engage in it) that it is hard to prove and is usually couched in such "why can't we all get along and agree to stop this massive retail voting fraud" nonsense that lies at the heart of your whining.

Well, we can't get along because the biggest threats to voting integrity aren't the kinds of things you mention. Instead, black box voting that can be hacked by a marginally talented high-school student with a janitor's key, secret counting software generated by politically aligned companies, and the aforementioned voter suppression techniques are the the real threats. But those simply haven't been bi-partisan scandals.

Posted by: heavy on April 12, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

"I am too lazy and don't have enough time to look up specific details about the Washington State election - but the blog Sound Politics covered it extensively."

I live in Seattle. I watched it unfold. I followed it closely.

"By no means was it a clean election"

So the Republican Party tried to claim. They failed, dismally, after spending millions of dollars with a net result of a loss of four votes. They were unable to prove any voter fraud.

"the most egregious offenses seem to have been perpetrated by the election commission in King County - such as delaying their recount to see how many votes they would have to 'manufacture' in order to swing the outcome their way."

Complete and total bullshit. You know nothing of the case and your continued attempts at making shit up are just embarrassing you and hurting whatever point you are trying to make.

"Don't you remember the 'missing' ballots that kept mysteriously turning up, over and over again?"

Since that is not, by any reasonable description, what happened, forgive me if I don't "remember" what did not, in fact, occur.

"How about the fraudulent registrations, the out of state (and foreigners) still on the voter rolls."

When you can show that any of those people voted and that their votes actually swung the election, you might have a point. You cannot and you do not.

"It was a mess and went on for months and months."

Yes, because there were two statewide recounts, the latter a hand recount. That takes time. And that's all it was, aside from the usual chaos surrounding any statewide election. The various individuals wanted to make damn sure they got it right. And the election was certified by the Republican Secretary of State.

"I don't think it can be so easily dismissed as an urban legend and there are many people who still believe this was tainted."

Lots of people believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and that the world is flat. I don't take them any more seriously than I take you.

"That is not as I remember it - as I recall, the scenarios under which Gore would have won were the less plausible ones."

Your memory is incorrect. Gore won every single scenario where determining the will of the voter was the most important criteria -- in fact, the majority of the scenarios.

Posted by: PaulB on April 12, 2007 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Your biggest problem, Mike, is that you fail to distinguish between deliberate attempts to sway the election, widespread voter fraud, the occasional incompetence of election officials, and the normal "noise" of any massive project of this nature, where thousands of officials and tens of millions of votes are involved. So long as you continue to try to muddy the water in this way, any point you think you are making will be completely lost, particularly when you cannot get even the basic facts straight.

Posted by: PaulB on April 12, 2007 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

heavy wrote: "once the facts are added to your examples it is clear that all of your examples demonstrate bad behavior on the part of Republicans"

Not quite. The Milwaukee case (that Mike said was in St. Louis) was, in fact, bad behavior on the part of, I think, five Democrats who did, indeed, slash the tires on some vans that the Milwaukee Republican Party had assembled to carry poll watchers and voters to the polls. They were caught and, I believe, punished appropriately.

I was simply making the point that in that case, the Republican Party had plenty of other vans available, and no story, to my knowledge, documented that anything happened to the Milwaukee vote as a result of that malicious attack.

The "Florida snowbirds" and the "college kids" are the usual urban legends. While there may well be some who have engaged in such activity, it is exceedingly rare, as every investigation of such things have found. It's all anecdotal and, as far as I know, there hasn't been a single instance where any such behavior was determined to be widespread or where such behavior affected an election. I'm quite certain that the "Florida snowbirds" did not affect the 2000 election, contrary to Mike's casual assertion above.

Posted by: PaulB on April 12, 2007 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Your biggest memory lapse, Mike, is that the Republican Party had access to, and scoured assiduously, every single vote cast in King County, including those votes that had been misplaced. They spent millions of dollars and countless hours reviewing those votes, paying close attention to those, in particular. That's just one of the reasons that the recount process dragged on so long.

If those votes were fraudulent or had been cast by "college kids" or dead voters or "foreigners" or "out of state" voters, they would have been discovered, the perpetrators would have been caught, and the news would have been trumpeted far and wide. Regrettably for the Republican Party, the votes were legitimate, which was why they simply had no case when they went before their hand-picked, Republican judge and lost.

Posted by: PaulB on April 12, 2007 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry PaulB, I was talking about the two cases (Florida and Washington) and had forgotten about the tire slashing. My mistake.

Of course that example does show Democrats acting badly (as they sometimes do), but it does not show the Democratic Party acting badly (which may happen, but is not exemplified by any of the three cases we are talking about) - unless I am mistaken again and there is no evidence that the Democratic Party organized this, as the Republican Party organized the phone jamming scam.

Posted by: heavy on April 12, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

mike cook = on vacation in San Francisco.

Just funnin' witcha.

Posted by: shortstop on April 13, 2007 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

Mike from SF asks: "If we worked together to clean up elections and vigorously investigated suspected fraud - regardless of who's behind it, it would be good for the country. Can't you agree with that statement?"

Of course -- so, where is the SLIGHTEST evidence the Republican Party wants to help "the country" on these matters?

As others have pointed out, your memory is flat-out wrong about Florida.

I've seen voter abuse cases up close, doing ground level political work, e.g., driving voters to the polls. (I remember one classic example, when a lawyer/campaign manager beat the rap thusly: a candidate I worked for got a good tip that there would be illegally-handled absentee ballots, so she and a state cop with a warrant waited around the corner. They watched the lawyer walk up to a mailbox carrying a paper grocery bag, and dump it out. The cop served the warrant on the mailbox, and of the 49 pieces of mail IN it, 48 were absentee ballots filled out improperly -- and not one had the lawyer's fingerprints on it.)

Mike from SF (among others): you're basically insisting that because good Americans cannot prove their innocence, we should keep challenging their right to vote -- DESPITE millions of dollars spent failing to find any evidence 'tall of the vast conspiracy you hallucinate must exist.

And yet -- with abundant evidence of REAL abuse right under your nose, e.g., the Florida case, New Hampshire, etc., you see nothing at all.

Do tell us more about your commitment to 'the good of the country.'

Posted by: theAmericanist on April 13, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

There is another aspect of the Republican claims for voter fraud al la Al which if it weren't tragic, the irony would be amusing. The voter fraud claims, such as Als are that people are coming to voting places and voting time after time. There is another problem with this theory beyond what has been discussed here. A problem which the Bush administration and the Republican party have made quite severe. I have done poll watching in an urban voting place and the lines are long, very long. This past election the lines never got shorter than 20 minutes, all day, and were an hour or longer for most of the day. You can't come in an vote many times. On the other hand, in the suburban district where I live and vote, lines are short and you could quickly get in, vote and get out. So the kind of voter fraud that Al protests might work in suburban REPUBLICAN districts, it really isn't practical downtown.

Posted by: MSR on April 13, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder how many people with vacation homes are registered to vote in both places, and how many of those actually vote in both places. Especially with early voting and absentee voting rules being so relaxed. Speaking of absentee voting, it seems to be area most likely to involve significant voter fraud, yet the Repulic Party seems to have not interest in applying safeguards to that process.

Posted by: coopert9 on April 13, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

And as long as we're picking on the bad guys, let's not forget the way the GOP printed ballots that were deliberating misleading about Michael Steele, and bussed in homeless folks to hand them out because they couldn't find African American voters FROM MARYLAND who supported him. (www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/12/AR2006111201084.html)

I trust Al and Mike from SF will show us the letters they wrote calling for the Justice Department to investigate?

Posted by: theAmericanist on April 13, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I guess I shouldn't be surprised by all your comments - more disappointed.

It's been interesting chatting with you. I conclude the chances of working together on this are slim to none. Suffice it to say, we see the world and events extremely differently. Let's leave it at that.

Good luck to you all.

Signing off
Mike

Posted by: Mike from San Francisco on April 13, 2007 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Mike writes: "Suffice it to say, we see the world and events extremely differently.."

Yeah, we use facts.

"Let's leave it at that."

No, we won't, because WE do and YOU don't.

This is OUR country, Mike. You don't get to make up bullshit about widespread voter fraud and then shrug off being shown what utter shit it is.

Ya know what bullshit is, Mike? It's indifference to what is true or false.

That's you, dude.

Posted by: theAmericanist on April 14, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Mike: We should call the fire department, the house is burning down.

WM: What are you talking about? You mean the burner on the stove? That doesn't constitute a house fire, especially since the burner is electric.

Mike: I can see there's no way we can work together to put out this towering inferno.

Posted by: heavy on April 14, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

I suggest that everyone try to find a recent article written by Lee Iacocca about the mess our country is in. There are so many people that are delusional about what is going on that they would laugh about the findings of voter fraud by the New York Times. You knew it all along - so what are you and everyone else going to do about??? We have the most incompetent admin

Posted by: Phyllia on April 14, 2007 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

I suggest that everyone try to find a recent article written by Lee Iacocca about the mess our country is in. There are so many people that are delusional about what is going on that they would laugh about the findings of voter fraud by the New York Times. You knew it all along - so what are you and everyone else going to do about??? We have the most incompetent administration in the history of our country. Is anyone about to tell us just what all these people are trying to accomplish? It's one thing to say they're idiots; it's something else to say there must be another agenda and they aren't telling us. Why are they doing it?? Is anyone going to tell us the truth?

Posted by: Phyllia on April 14, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

"It is not unreasonable to think that the left side of the isle has more voter fraud in their favor since every request for voter ID brings charges of racism and voter intimidation."

In the last election cycle in Aurora and Elgin, Illinois, there were problems with electronic voting machines. There was a hotly contested election involving the Kane County Sheriff's office for a slot that was competitive for the first time in years. Because of the problems getting the electronic voting machines working in a timely manner, the election judges decided to keep the polls open for about two hours after they were normally supposed to close.

Emergency injunctions were filed by both sides over this issue. Both were claiming disenfranchisement and unfairness.

Both sides of the aisle can be a little hyper on this issues. Sometimes, one side appears to have more cause than the other. Still, the Republicans seem to have more cases of highly sensationalized investigations which turn out to be cases that are crap.

Posted by: Laura M on April 15, 2007 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Greetings from Albuquerque. Where I go to school there is this GOP Butt Boy Scott Darnell, who cuts and pastes RNC Talking Points into His "News" Column every week. He worked for Bush Cheney 04, Pete Dominici was the NM Chairmen for Bush Cheney 04, Karl Rove's Deputy Scott Jennings was the NM Director of the Campaign. They are all screaming VOTE FRAUD, but Bush and Heather Wilson only won NM by a few hundred votes. The Attorney Scandal is all about 2008!!!

Fluff up the feather pillows, heat up the tar!

Posted by: Post American on April 15, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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