Thursday, April 28, 2011

The "vote fraud" two-step

With a tip of the hat to my friend Tom "illy-T" Foley, check out these dance moves from the Prosser camp:

With a recount in the race now under way, this is an effort to fact-check those claims, which have come in e-mails, blog postings and a press release last week by the Republican National Lawyers Association, which blasted the recount requested by Kloppenburg and called instead for an investigation into “potentially massive fraud that occurred in Dane County.”
Yes, it's the vote fraud two-step.  There's never any fraud when we win, but there's always voter fraud on the other side, even when they lose.  You have to kind of admire that kind of doublethink.  I wouldn't imagine it's easy training one's mind to be so dissonant, er, flexible.

But why bother?  Well, in an unrelated post, Jeff Simpson from Blogging Blue draws attention to this piece from the New York Times on the efforts of Republicans to curtail voting.
Spreading fear of a nonexistent flood of voter fraud, they are demanding that citizens be required to show a government-issued identification before they are allowed to vote. Republicans have been pushing these changes for years, but now more than two-thirds of the states have adopted or are considering such laws. The Advancement Project, an advocacy group of civil rights lawyers, correctly describes the push as “the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights in a century.”
Anyone who has stood on the long lines at a motor vehicle office knows that it isn’t easy to get such documents. For working people, it could mean giving up a day’s wages.
A survey by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law found that 11 percent of citizens, 21 million people, do not have a current photo ID. That fraction increases to 15 percent of low-income voting-age citizens, 18 percent of young eligible voters and 25 percent of black eligible voters. Those demographic groups tend to vote Democratic, and Republicans are imposing requirements that they know many will be unable to meet.
Isn't that convenient?  Make a lot of noise about vote fraud even when your side wins and the potential payoff is a law that keeps the other side's voters away from the polls permanently.  Combine this with Governor Walker's anti-union moves, which are clearly designed to destroy that base of Democratic power, and they can conceivably make it impossible for the Democrats to win.  In theory.

Besides the obvious potential for backlash, I have real doubts about the legality and even political wisdom of any "voter ID" law.  Consider: If the state requires any voter to obtain a special photo ID in order to vote, is there any way to construe that as anything other than a functional poll tax?  Bear in mind, poll taxes are outlawed at all times and in all places under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The only remedy would be for the state to eat the cost, which would amount to many millions of dollars.  Does Scott Walker really think that in the midst of his slashes to education and services, that the voters want the state to throw good money after bad to install an unnecessary voter ID system?  Fiscal conservatism, that is not.

Then again, what's the point of principles if you can't use your time in power to destroy the opposition?

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