Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Just Stay Home"

Yesterday, I posted on both parties' efforts to get their supporters out to vote next Tuesday. GOTV is an important part of any campaign and one that is traditionally difficult, especially during midterm elections. Today, the NY Times has an article on the flip side of that coin: vote suppression. Some elements are busy trying to intimidate voters into just staying home on election day.

Tea Party members have started challenging voter registration applications and have announced plans to question individual voters at the polls whom they suspect of being ineligible.

In response, liberal groups and voting rights advocates are sounding an alarm, claiming that such strategies are scare tactics intended to suppress minority and poor voters.

In St. Paul, organizers from the Tea Party and related groups announced this week that they were offering a $500 reward for anyone who turned in someone who was successfully prosecuted for voter fraud.

The group is also organizing volunteer “surveillance squads” to photograph and videotape what it suspects are irregularities, and in some cases to follow buses that take voters to the polls.

And it's not just the Tea Partiers who are engaged in the voter suppression efforts. More traditional party activists on the right are also smearing anyone remotely related to voter registration drives in order to keep poor and minority people from getting engaged in this basic part of the democratic process, as the article makes clear.

Is voter fraud that rampant?

Of course not. The days of the Chicago Machine's "vote early and often" have long past. While voter registration lists are outdated, complicated further by the turmoil caused by the current foreclosure mess, actual voter fraud is actually minuscule:

While many states have voter registration records riddled with names of dead people, out-of-date addresses and other erroneous information, there is little evidence that such errors lead to fraudulent votes, many experts note.

A report by the public-integrity section of the Justice Department found that from October 2002 to September 2005, the department charged 95 people with “election fraud”; 55 were convicted.

Among those, fewer than 20 people were convicted of casting fraudulent ballots, and only 5 were convicted of registration fraud. Most of the rest were charged with other voting violations, including a scheme meant to help Republicans by blocking the phone lines used by two voting groups that were arranging rides to get voters to the polls.
[Emphasis added]

55 convictions of voter fraud over three years nation-wide doesn't even qualify as a drop in the election bucket. No, the groups we're talking about here aren't interested in the fraud aspect; they're objecting to the participation of those who aren't rich enough or white enough to qualify for citizenship in their Aryan Utopia.

And that is horrifically shameful.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home