Voter Fraud & The Inherent Corruption in Populism

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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111 Responses

  1. Avatar E.C. Gach says:

    “Since the year 2,000 there have been 2,068 documented cases of reported voter fraud throughout the United States.”

    Clarify that straight off. 2,000 cases of individual voter abuse? Because that clearly does not matter…Report

  2. Not to put too fine a point on it, of course…but it’s always possible to over lionize the past…Madison and Jefferson had no problem with voter restrictions,they just wanted to make sure they got extra credit for the people they owned.Report

  3. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    The real problem is that Republicans are just a bunch of chickenshits. They want to steal the election? Then steal the god-damn election fair and square. Just pass a law stating that the State’s electors shall be determined by a vote of the State Assembly and be done with it. Perfectly Constitutional.

    Of course they would never survive the next election cycle, but that’s what makes them a bunch of howling pussies.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Road Scholar says:

      What about Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment? Seems to me like that might require popular election of the presidential electors. Or maybe not. I guess it depends on whether cancelling the election altogether counts as denying the male inhabitants of the state the right to vote.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        We only think we’re voting for President. We actually vote for a slate of Electors to the Electoral College. Originally, this meant that the State Legislatures would choose a number of people, in whatever manner they preferred, to be Electors who would ride down to Washington, where they would deliberate, debate, speechify, and eventually vote for a President. The runner-up would be Vice.

        Technically, that’s still true (except for the last bit about the Vice; changed by Amendment). It’s just become the norm that the State Legislatures defer to the people and allow us to vote for a slate of electors pledged to vote for our choice of Pres and Vice. They don’t have to do it that way. The 2000 debacle in Florida could have, in theory at least, been decided by the Florida Legislature, and there was some talk of them doing exactly that. They were politically unwilling to do so, preferring to hide behind the robes of the Supreme Court.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Road Scholar says:

          They didn’t hide behind the robes of the Supreme Court, they just didn’t need to act after Bush v Gore. If BvG went the other way, or any other way that would have left the election results an open question, the Republican state legislature would have stepped in and awarded Bush the votes. And if *that* was contested and we had then reached the electoral college deadline, the Florida electoral votes would have been null, throwing the election to the House, where the composition of state delegations (iirc) were majority Republican. One state one vote, and the election *still* goes to Bush.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kolohe says:

            Kolohe, you’re the first person I’ve seen clear that up.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe says:

            Yes, there were lots of ways to steal that particular election once the determination was made not to count the votes accurately. Of course, if Katharine Harris hadn’t previously purged the rolls of eligible black voters, it might not have close enough to steal.Report

            • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

              Katherine Harris isn’t bright enough to steal second on a righty in a wind-up. Gore and Donna Brazile totally blew that election. I mean, could you imagine how Obama would be doing if he had the Clinton/Gore economy at his back? Gore’s presidential ambitions shouldn’t have come down to a couple of bubbes that voted for Pat Buchanan.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe says:

                It’s OK to steal an election because it shouldn’t have been close? I can’t agree.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Everyone always tries to steal close elections. Stealing elections is more American (and older) than baseball.

                So you don’t make it close. If you do, it’s your own damn fault.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe says:

                I guess that’s an ethos.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                The ethos is that incumbency has inherent advantages out the wazoo. If I were supreme overlord in charge of elections, I’d make it so that the incumbent or the incumbent party needs to win by a least full percentage (or maybe more), otherwise the other person (or just second place) wins. A razor close election for a defacto incumbent like Gore, or a de jure incumbent like, say, Norm Coleman, means a failed referendum on the status quo, and thus the status quo needs a shake up.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Every polling methodology has errors.

                You should definitely win by a margin bigger than the margin of error, or you hold a new election. This haggling over contestable ballots in court is insane.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kolohe says:

                “Gore’s presidential ambitions shouldn’t have come down to a couple of bubbes that voted for Pat Buchanan.”

                I remember similar statements about sports games and last-minute penalty calls.Report

    • Avatar Scott in reply to Road Scholar says:

      Funny, Dems never seemed to have a problem stealing elections in the past. When did they get a conscience? Let’s review a few examples: LBJ’s Senate race in 1948, Kennedy in 1960 and quite a few Chicago elections.

      Not to mention that at least one union requires picture ID’s to vote. If it is such a bad idea then why do they require it?

      http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2011/12/12/union-election-requires-photo-id-politico-fails-note-ironyReport

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Scott says:

        You know there is like, sort of a difference between a union and a government election, right? Like, kinda sorta? At least a little bit of one, no?Report

        • Avatar Scott in reply to Kazzy says:

          Yes, federal elections are important, all the more reason to ensure there is no voter fraud. Don’t you want honest elections? Or is the liberal call for honest elections just a stunt?Report

          • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to Scott says:

            “all the more reason to ensure there is no voter fraud.”

            Nope. “all the more reason to ensure eligible voters can participate.”Report

            • Avatar Scott in reply to Nevermoor says:

              Funny thing, the PA law will give folks a free ID card “to ensure eligible voters can participate.” Even the Dems say so.

              http://www.padems.com/content/voteridinfoReport

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Scott says:

                That requires you to provide documents which only people with homes or jobs would have. It’s vitally important to the health of our democracy that people who can’t manage their own affairs be given input into managing the country.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                You want to take the vote away from bankers too?Report

              • Avatar Simon K in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                The rule of law requires that if you’re going to say “everyone can vote except X”, you don’t actively try to prevent people not meeting condition X from voting. This quite clearly and obviously does that, in the name of trying to prevent something that does not in fact happen. Its voter suppression. If you’re okay with that, I’m disapppointed.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Simon K says:

                The rule of law requires that if you’re going to say “everyone can vote except X”, you don’t actively try to prevent people not meeting condition X from voting.

                They’re changing the value of X by passing a law that is not, as far as I can tell, unconstitutional.

                Moreover, the “rule of law” ship set sail a long time ago. The left can’t piss all over the Constitution for eighty years because they don’t like its restrictions on federal power and then play the “rule of law” card when someone proposes a law that isn’t even unconstitutional.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Also, I’ve been told that a law is unconstitutional only if five members of the Supreme Court vote that it is unconstitutional. As such, this law is currently in an indeterminate state, neither constitutional nor unconstitutional.Report

              • Avatar Simon K in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Right, yes of course, they’re horrible so your side can go ahead and do whatever they like. Thanks for confirming the point of Todd’s post, and for clearly identifying your own partisanship.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Brandon,

                Do you think voter suppression is constitutional?

                Do you approve of voter suppression even if it is constitutional?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                “Do you approve of voter suppression even if it is constitutional?”

                Before he answers, what’s your opinion on permitting 17-year-olds to vote?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                FWIW, I’d be okay with lowering the voting age. I’m not an expert on adolescent develop, but I’m sure there is a lower age wherein individuals can typically be expected to gain the necessary facility and agency to vote. And if there isn’t, we probably shouldn’t tax their earnings. Or anything else, for that matter. That whole “No taxation without representation” thing.Report

              • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to Scott says:

                Funny thing, even if it did that flawlessly/easily, it would still make it harder for legitimate voters to vote. Just the way the GOP likes it.Report

              • Avatar Simon K in reply to Scott says:

                To be precise, what the link says is:

                You can apply for a PennDOT Photo Identification Card by submitting form DL?54A and signing an Oath/Affirmation that you don’t have an acceptable form of ID in order to vote. Click here for more info: http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/voter/voteridlaw.shtml. When completing the application, you will need to provide:

                Your social security card, AND
                Your official birth certificate (with a raised seal), certificate of U.S. citizenship, certificate of naturalization or a valid U.S. passport, AND
                Two proofs of residency, e.g., lease agreement, mortgage documents, W?2 form, tax records or current utility bill

                Given that we are talking about older, less educated and therefore probably generally less able folk here, what exactly are the changes of their being able to do that?Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to Simon K says:

                You forgot the FREE part.

                How much will it cost me to get a Photo Identification Card in order to vote?

                Nothing. It’s free. (But getting a certified copy of your birth certificate will cost you $10 if you were born in Pennsylvania or more if you were born elsewhere.)Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Simon K says:

                Your official birth certificate (with a raised seal)…

                Not sure if the state where I was born does raised seals or not. Back when I first needed one for a passport, the state said they didn’t do raised seals, put a little yellow “sticker of authenticity” on it, and the feds accepted that. I’ve kept the passport current ever since simply because no one challenges it. I advise my 85-year-old mother to do the same.Report

              • Avatar FridayNext in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Hello from a guy who just moved to PA from another state. Yes an ID might be free, but Mr. Cain is right. My original birth certificate from 1965 does not have raised letters or seal. I have sent for a NEW official birth certificate but my home state cannot answer my queries about the raised letter issue. We’ll see. I also sent in for a Passport even though I have no plans for international travel and haven’t since 2o02. Whichever gets here first will be the one I take in to get a DL. Neither will likely be here in time for me to get local ID so I can register and vote.

                The fact is they have made it very difficult to get an ID, not matter what it says on the website. (PennDot locations are not convenient and there aren’t many) Between the tightening of regulations since 9/11, the cutting of budgets and closing of government offices, and this latest partisan nonsense even a relatively plugged in middle-class, middle-aged person with an internet connection and a wallet full of credentials has a hard time jumping through all the hoops. I can only imagine how hard this would be with no history of international travel and no access to the internet to order the right kind of birth certificate.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to FridayNext says:

                PA Voter here. Just got purged from the rolls without notice, because our asshole governor is an ass.

                I would NEVER have known that I was no longer a registered voter, before I got to the fucking poll.

                IT IS TOO LATE THEN, to vote AT ALL.

                Registered for the new precinct with motervoter and everything.Report

              • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to FridayNext says:

                I would NEVER have known that I was no longer a registered voter, before I got to the fucking poll.

                IT IS TOO LATE THEN, to vote AT ALL.

                The same thing happened in Florida in 2000.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Your official birth certificate (with a raised seal)…

                Seriously, the point is to make sure Obama can’t vote in PA?Report

          • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Scott says:

            Scott,
            sad to say, but you don’t deserve the answer to the questions you’re asking.Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy says:

    And this is why we need federal regulation of elections. Voting is not something that should be subjected to federalism.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Allow me to repeat myself:

    There are companies that spend tens of thousands of dollars and waste thousands of dollars’ worth of manhours to prevent hundreds of dollars’ worth of misappropriation of office supplies.

    This reminds me of that.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

      This? Goodness no. This reminds me of a case wherein a company spends tens of thousands of dollars on consultants to prevent a few hundred dollars worth of misuse of office supplies.

      Except the consultants are the CEO’s buddies, and nobody actually cared about the office supplies.

      I’ll have to look into the ACORN employee — the most popular examples of “voter fraud” by ACORN employees were cards turned in — helpfully bundled as “probably fradulent” — by ACORN in accordance with state law. States often have laws requiring voter registration organizations to turn in EVERY card, since it seems some groups would occasionally register a bunch of people, but only turn in the cards for those likely to “vote the right way” if you know what I mean. Since she was charged, probably not the case here. 🙂Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

      Oddly, the only people pursued for stealing office supplies are the ones trying to start a union, while no auditing is done of the executives’ expense reports.

      Now we’ve got the analogy more or less analogous.Report

  6. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    The larger problem of a national ID system hides in this debate. The REAL ID debate has been ongoing for quite a while. It’s supported and opposed by an interesting variety of groups.

    Other countries issue IDs of this sort routinely. Sweden issues everyone a number. If you check out this link, you’ll see how they deal with privacy considerations.

    I believe we probably need such a system but I’d handle it differently. I’d use a much stronger issuance mechanism via a web-of-trust mechanism, which is not without its problems, but governments wouldn’t much like it, what with the ability to utilise extremely strong encryption methods based upon that web-of-trust. Privacy advocates such as myself believe it’s possible to have the best of both worlds: a workable identity system acting as a fulcrum for much stronger levels of trust, not as an Auschwitz Tattoo.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to BlaiseP says:

      I find it endlessly fascinating how different countries approach privacy issues.

      In New Zealand it’s actually illegal for multiple government agencies to use the same unique identifier for a person or household, so every government agency has to give you a different number. In most of the Scandinavian countries they hold enough administrative data on people that instead of doing a Census, they just join up their government databases every few years and that gives them everything they want to know. The interesting part is that the residents of those countries find that approach less invasive than a conventional Census.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to James K says:

        “In New Zealand it’s actually illegal for multiple government agencies to use the same unique identifier for a person or household, so every government agency has to give you a different number. ”

        That sounds terribly cumbersome. Is it?Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James K says:

        For years, Sweden used the national church’s birth and marriage registry mechanism but that’s not done any more.

        A friend of mine is doing health statistical work in Sweden. Fascinating how simple it all is, compared to the messes I face doing many of the same tasks within an insurance firm.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to BlaiseP says:

          And another reference point in the ‘US government has dossiers on everyone’ debate.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Kolohe says:

            Heh. There’s a hellish project, every gummint contractor in the country knows about it. It’s been through at least seven failed iterations. It’s called HRIS and the FBI simply can’t get it to work. Accenture’s just picked it up again.

            You know that old truism about Afghanistan, “it’s where empires go to die”. HRIS is where consultants go to die.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to BlaiseP says:

              What’s the “why” behind the failures? Granted that dossiers on 310 million people is a sizable undertaking, and extracting data from a thousand and one existing databases into some consistent form is tedious, but it doesn’t seem that impossible. Or perhaps it is. A few years back I had the opportunity to see the post-mortem analyses for some failed software projects in my state’s government. My initial reaction was that the state seemed unable to write requirements worth a damn, even to no more sophisticated level than what I learned 25 years earlier. What data goes in the system and how are the data conceptually related? What external systems/users does it have to communicate with? Using what protocols? Later I was even more dismayed to find that no one in the government actually knew the answers to those questions — they depended on consultants to know. And they had a run of projects where the low-bid consultant didn’t know, and it was only when it came time to hook the system up and try it out that the state discovered it didn’t do certain critical things.

              Government doesn’t have a monopoly on major software project screw-ups, of course. I watched a Fortune 100 company pour something over $100M into a billing system project that produced exactly zero lines of usable code. Of course, their screw-up wasn’t subject to open records requests :^)Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Not having any knowledge on the subject, just my own personal experience in IT…

                The data is in a variety of format, with a variety of different bits of data considered ‘key’. Nobody wants to EVER give up their database or allow a full, constantly updated copy to be created. Nobody even wants to give up the details of their database.

                Which means that verifying the data and making sure you’d actually matching Joe Smith from database 1 to the proper Joe Smith in database 3, 6, 15 is very difficult even if everyone was cooperating.

                Which, as noted, they are not.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Michael Cain says:

                A working system emulates the real world. We don’t have a national ID system. We have some working datasets for drivers’ licenses, passports and other such identification systems. There’s the SSN but that’s always been a troublesome approach. We’ve got some aspects of the federal and state prison systems online but really, without a proper key to identify everyone, the system is doomed to failure.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to BlaiseP says:

                It’s not doomed if you were willing to create a giant honking database and accept there’d be tons of mismatches. And then iron it out, bit by painful bit.

                But that’d require dozens — if not hundreds — of various groups give up control over the databases they paid for and use. And control. Crossing not just bureacratic lines, but between states and the Fed as well.

                Even then, you’d have to get 95% of the managers past the “Just because the computer says so, doesn’t make it right. GIGO, right?” stage.

                We had enough problems ironing out three databases holding very similiar data utilizing almost, but not quite, identical keys. We controlled two of the three, and still ended up having to settle for a web service on the third that we set up automated queries on to refresh on our own (local) copy that we merged together.

                Took forever and a day, and we considered the third party ‘nice’ in that they gave us SOME sort of access (and the schemas) without a nasty slapfight. (Admittedly, we’d have preffered practically anything other than an automated request for a giant chunk of XML data, but we took what we could get).Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Morat20 says:

                Just so, Morat. I really should write up something about how we could approach this problem mathematically.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Ugh….the mathematics behind databases is why I barely passed the required classes. I realize it’s possible to prove, oh, a given change to a schema is lossless, or that one query is more efficient than another…

                I just can’t do it without three books in front of me, and a lot of booze for after. And even then I probably got it wrong.

                Thankfully my true love — evolutionary programming — requires minimal database use (the way I do it), so it doesn’t matter how efficient my schema or queries are, unless I’m hitting it during a critical part of the process. Which I generally don’t.

                RAM is cheap. 🙂 I query the relevant data in large chunks and let it evolve, and only write results to the database at the end of a given cycle.Report

  7. Avatar greginak says:

    You didnn’t mention what this guy said:
    Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) said that the voter ID law passed by the legislature would help deliver the state for Mitt Romney in November.

    “Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done,” Turzai said at this weekend’s Republican State Committee meeting.
    That a high figure in the Penn gov saying this will win the state for R’s.

    Oh and at a the recent trial over this law in Penn, the Penn gov pushing this law stipulated there has been no evidence of actual vote fraud in Penn.

    I don’t disagree with your take on populism necessarily, but i think you are just overlooking straight out corruption and belief it is okay to win at all costs. This is more then just populism its a lack of belief in how democracy is supposed to work.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to greginak says:

      It does seem a cart before the horse argument, doesn’t it?

      Let’s face it — the GOP set out to disenfranchise people who voted ‘for the wrong sort’. This has a pretty long history in the US and isn’t exactly anything new. To give themselves cover for it, they’ve spent the last decade screaming “VOTER FRAUD” about, well, everything.

      This isn’t populism. This is politicians creating a populist wave from nothing to cover their agenda. It’s an excellent example of what lefties call the “Right Wing Noise Machine” — insofar as voter fraud went from basically an afterthought in 2000 (it wasn’t a national GOP issue, it was scattered politicians pushing back and forth for local reasons) to basically a driving drumbeat for the whole party.

      And it didn’t start at the grassroots — it started at the top and was pushed downwards.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to greginak says:

      “You didnn’t mention what this guy said:”

      I did, and I linked to a story about it. I said what his party did and that he admitted to them doing it; I just didn’t quote him directly.

      I agree about corruption in general, but I think that populism is what allows corruption to be allowed to operate outside of the shadows. Ironically I think that both what happened in Penn and Ohio are, by just about any definition, actual voter fraud. I mean, what’s the moral difference between your party purposefully “losing” stacks of votes from a district that votes overwhelmingly for their opponent and what these guys did?

      I’d argue that ten years ago most GOP voters in those states would have had serious second thoughts about allowing such a thing, and so if it was ever done it was done in the shadows. But with the flames of populism being fanned, it’s different now. It’s not just our side cheating, it’s our side doing what it has to to defeat this usurper that has stolen our very country from us! If you just lose an election, you gear up for the next round. But if an election is stolen by a guy that’s going to become a dictator if we don’t defeat him right now, well, what’s a little ethics bending here and there? After all, it’s the future of the human race that’s at stake, yes?Report

      • Avatar Michelle in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I still have a problem with referring to Republican attempts at voter suppression as populism. These are calculated efforts, orchestrated from the top down, then justified by faux outrage generated by the likes of Faux News and media elites. It’s not any kind of bottom-up movement, which is what has generally characterized populist movements, for better or worse, in this country.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Michelle says:

          Yes, but that is the danger of populism – it is always easily co-opted by the corrupt.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Is it populism when it takes a 10-year PR effort to create it? And in general the public still doesn’t care?

            Offhand, is there any state in the US where voters put “voter fraud” in their top 5 or top 10 list of “things for government to address”?

            I think you’re mistaken about it being ‘populism’. Just because the GOP has gotten behind it and shouted their talking points in lock-step, doesn’t actually mean there’s angry citizens storming the statehouse demanding ID requirements.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

              Maybe the thesis should be that populism can be both coopted and created by the corrupt.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Stillwater says:

                In which case it’s not populism. Fooling the masses isn’t populism. Especially when, even now, the masses aren’t demanding wide-scale voter ID laws. It’s not even on their top ten lists.

                The “populism” is entirely artifical. It’s astroturf.

                There’s lots and lots and LOTS of things to be worried about populism and the tyranny of the masses and groupthink.

                But a 10-year PR program by the elites of a single party is pretty much the opposite of populism.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        <i.I’d argue that ten years ago most GOP voters in those states would have had serious second thoughts about allowing such a thing,

        And I’d say you’re wrong. Florida was as close as it was in 2000 because of voter suppression, and no one did a goddamned thing about it. This isn’t about racism. The is about the self-righteous, power-crazed, unadulterated evil that is today’s Republican Parry.Report

  8. Avatar MattE says:

    My friend worked for the Republicans in Washington State reviewing the results of one of the nail-biter gubernatorial races between Rossi and Gregoire. They were scraping for every vote they could find or disqualify to help the cause. He reached a conclusion that I have not heard discussed elsewhere: Election fraud is really about committing fraud, not influencing elections. For example, when dead people vote, it is because someone is collecting their social security checks and wants to put up a good front.Report

  9. Avatar James K says:

    Voter fraud has been a huge topic of concern in the past several years, and not entirely without reason. Since the year 2000 there have been 2,068 documented cases of reported voter fraud throughout the United States.

    But even if all of those cases of fraud happened in the same election for the same candidate it’s still very unlikely that it actually changed the election result. Even if these laws could eliminate all voter fraud, it still too small a problem to be worth worrying about, especially if the proposed solutions have unfortunate side effects.Report

  10. If the USDA only found 2000 cases of bad meat, you wouldn’t abolish it. The judge in the case properly pointed out that the state has a compelling interest in reassuring the populace the elections are honest.

    But even if all of those cases of fraud happened in the same election for the same candidate it’s still very unlikely that it actually changed the election result.

    Florida 2000? Dino Rossi in 2 different elections in Oregon. Senator Al Franken? I’m like WTF over here, sorry.Report

    • Avatar Michelle in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      Rossi was Washington and he was never able to win a statewide election. What’s interesting about Washington is that all voting is done by mail–no polls. If a system was ripe for fraud, it would be Washington’s. Likewise, it seems voting by absentee ballot would pose similar problems.

      Mostly though, I think this is an imaginary problem.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Michelle says:

        University of Oregon Political Science Professor Priscilla Southwell (full disclosure, one of my former profs) did some research after Oregon went to vote-by-mail (before Washington, of course, since Oregon’s in all ways superior to the Husky state), and found no evidence of fraud from vote-by-mail. There were fears of people being pressured by spouses, friends, churches, etc. to vote particular ways, since there is potential for someone else to verify your actual vote, but none of that seems to have really occurred.Report

    • Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      If that were the real concern, I think the issue would have been approached in a different way altogether. A bill to create a universal “citizens” ID could have been promulgated, with autmatic opt-out issuance to each citizen, followed four or five years later by increased identification requirements at the polling place.

      What we see instead are these periodically sloppy attempts to purge Democratic constituencies from the voter rolls, on election years, and–most particularly–in areas that are closely split between Democrat and Republican. The analyses that I’ve seen suggest that 50,000 legitimate voters will be disenfranchised for every actual potential case of voter mis- self-identification that could occur. But the fight for justice often requires injustice…

      Interestingly, the greatest opportunity for voting fraud is in absentee ballots: they can be diverted easily, and we have no proof who filled them out. However, since absentee ballots are more inclined than the general electorate to vote Republican, I don’t expect to see the fight against voter fraud extend into that arena.Report

      • True dat. I’m down on mail ballots.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

        Easiest vector is electronic voting.

        Real election fraud — the sort that MATTERS (the kind that can actually change results, rather than maybe swing a ridiculously close one-in-a thousand election)– requires access to the machinery or the tabulators.

        Any “voter fraud” that requires actual warm bodies to show up at a polling place? It’s BS stupidity, and anyone pushing it as a problem is flatly a moron or a con-man trying to sell you something.

        To swing elections, you’ve got to rig machines or input false votes wholesale. The “Dead voting” methods don’t involve legions of people committing felonies at a polling place. It involves the dead voting when the votes are counted.

        Voter ID laws are absolutely pointless. The only type of “voter fraud” they can stop is the sort that wouldn’t matter even if it DID happen. All it does is discourage people from voting who lack the requisite IDs.

        Stuffing the boxes, rigging the machines, and altering the counts — that’s how you steal an election for any office bigger than local dogcatcher. Nothing else can actually work in the real world.

        Which is why there’s basically a dozen examples in the last decade of people casting false ballots in person. Not only is it a felony, it’s a STUPID and POINTLESS felony.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Morat20 says:

          > Any “voter fraud” that requires actual warm bodies
          > to show up at a polling place? It’s BS stupidity, and
          > anyone pushing it as a problem is flatly a moron
          > or a con-man trying to sell you something.

          Well, uncharitably put, but on essence I agree with the underlying principle. Voter fraud typically occurs at a stage other than someone walking in and putting a vote in a box. Even historically, all the big cases are cases of switching boxes, or “losing” them when they come from a primarily-not-our-team district, or whatever.

          Voter ID laws are putting barriers up where there are no cows straying, and the real problem (if there is one, which I personally doubt… really a whole bunches) occurs between the polling place and the Secretary of State’s office.Report

  11. Avatar Lyle says:

    The real question is the statistics about who does not have it. Reportedly one poll was sponsored by the folks that are suing to have the laws overturned. Reportedly no one has yet been able to testify in court that they are denied to vote because of ID. Note of course these folks are also unbanked since you can’t get a bank account without ID after 9/11. Of course you do real stories of folks getting tripped up by lost birth certificates on the real id issue. Many states put an exemption on those over 70 from the law to solve the problem of seniors.Report

  12. Avatar wardsmith says:

    The poor seem to do quite well conjuring up the photo ID required to collect food stamps or even visit a soup kitchen, so it is questionable whether coming up with same to vote will be the hardship the Democrats claim it is.
    The 2068 number is wrong, because it isn’t counting false votes so much as false vote episodes. Also I went to their site and actually looked at the massive volume of no-responses from states’ agencies. The information isn’t indexed, isn’t properly databased and the records are poorly maintained. Bottom line, it is like looking for accidental shootings by police on a national level, these are numbers no one likes to keep track of.

    Gregoire would NEVER have been governor of Washington State if it weren’t for the thousands of invalid (fraudulent) votes cast in that election. The (democrat appointed) judges admitted as much, they just set the burden of proof bar on the Republicans at infinity plus one to make sure Rossi couldn’t prevail. Essentially they said, “Yes there are thousands of fraudulent votes including more votes in some counties than voters, but you Republicans must prove that EACH AND EVERY VOTE went to Gregoire”. Since the votes are of course anonymous that is of course impossible. Franken wouldn’t be Senator today without fraudulent votes, one hell of a lot more than the specious 2068, but admittedly when you’re stuffing ballot boxes, you want to do what the (democrats) did in King County and have drawers full of them. Ostensibly they were there for the “homeless”, what they were really there for was to keep democratic party-appointed operatives employed in their cushy bureaucratic positions. When we see the /exact/ same thing in the former Soviet Union, the current Russia, China and North Korea, we say, “Tsk tsk, those shameless communists”.

    I’m on record as being more than a little suspicious of BOTH parties, they don’t exist to serve us the people but themselves – the professional politicians and their entrenched bureaucrats. It is a fact that the only time voter ID laws come to the forefront is when states have Republican majorities and the obvious answer is fraudulent votes invariably swing in the Democrats’ favor, statistically. Spin it however you want but that’s the crux of the issue. Only Delaware bucked the party loyalty trend with the Democrats making it into law against the DNC’s express wishes.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to wardsmith says:

      You, sir, are a foolish partisan knave, and I’m certain the farts from your ass have you in low earth orbit.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

      > It is a fact that the only time voter ID laws come to
      > the forefront is when states have Republican
      > majorities and the obvious answer is fraudulent
      > votes invariably swing in the Democrats’ favor,
      > statistically.

      By my read, Ward has something of a point here.

      There is a cart-and-horse problem, of course of course. However…

      State-by-state requirements as of March 2012

      The statuses as of March 2012 of the 50 states regarding the required showing of ID at the polling place are as follows:[21]

      Strict photo ID (voter must show photo ID at polling place): Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Tennessee. In addition, South Carolina and Texas have strict photo ID laws that must receive, but have not received, approval from the federal Justice Department; pending such approval, they require non-photo ID.

      Photo ID or alternative (voters at polling place must either show photo ID or meet another state-specific requirement, such as answering personal questions correctly or being vouched for by another voter who has voter ID): Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan and South Dakota.

      Non-photo ID (state-specific list of acceptable forms of polling place ID, including a non-photo form): Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington.

      No ID required at polling place: all other (20) states.

      End quote.

      Now, I see:

      Georgia (strict voter ID, completely in the bag for the GOP)
      Indiana (strict voter ID, fairly in the bag for the GOP)
      Kansas (strict voter ID, completely in the bag for the GOP)
      Mississippi (strict voter ID, completely in the bag for the GOP)
      Pennsylvania (strict voter ID, fairly in the bag for the Dems)
      Tennessee (strict voter ID, completely in the bag for the GOP)
      South Carolina (strict voter ID, completely in the bag for the GOP)
      Texas (strict voter ID, completely in the bag for the GOP)
      Alabama (photo ID or alternate, completely in the bag for the GOP)
      Florida (photo ID or alternate, mostly in the bag for the GOP)
      Hawaii (photo ID or alternate, completely in the bag for the Dems)
      Idaho (photo ID or alternate, completely in the bag for the GOP)
      Louisiana (photo ID or alternate, mostly in the bag for the GOP)
      Michigan (photo ID or alternate, actual toss-up)
      South Dakota (photo ID or alternate, completely in the bag for the GOP)

      Personally, I think the voter ID debate is overblown.

      That doesn’t change the fact that voter ID laws are completely stupid and ineffectual, but hey.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        I think you’re just looking at presidential.
        PA is a naked power grab, to keep the republican swing going, at state level.
        FL is pretty mixed, from what I understand (Nate has pres leaning Dem)
        Mich is marked deep blue(by nate) but is actually getting advertizing.

        Agree with you on:
        South Dakota
        Louisiana (depopulation)
        Idaho
        Alabama
        South Carolina
        and Mississippi

        Most of the other states have either “turning blue” or “have elected democrats that this is likely to affect” (yes, we know SC elects the Dem Whip — I don’t expect his district to be affected).Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Kimmi says:

          Granted, you live in PA and I don’t, so.

          That said, the specific dynamics of the local elections in PA is not necessarily generalizeable outside of PA. Whatever actual reasons (or not) for the voter ID laws there, there are voter ID laws in a lot of states where… to be honest… disenfranchising a percentage of the poor may not have any effect whatsoever (given may or may not actually skew more Dem… in those particular states, which is something that I can’t assert, although it’s true nationally).

          In any event, “Raghr! PA GOP members are specifically doing this so that they can control the state legislature” is a different problem than, “The GOP is pursuing voter ID laws in a systemic nationwide attempt to break democracy because they’re racists!”

          Not that you’ve made the second claim, but it’s all over my Facebook feed.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

      Oh, uh, Ward?

      The courts typically like to sit out these sorts of arguments. It’s got a rather famous incident for the other side, too.

      I don’t recall you every complaining in *that* case. But that might be my error.Report

      • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        The SCOTUS decision wasn’t wrapped around obvious voter fraud. In point of fact the DNC wanted to cherry-pick only strong Democratic strongholds for the recount, something SCOTUS didn’t allow. They were right not to do that. Now if it had been Washington or Minnesota, new votes would have “miraculously” appeared in the ballot boxes. Now I ask you, do ‘new’ votes suddenly appearing that weren’t there before constitute fraud and ballot stuffing?Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to wardsmith says:

      It is a fact that the only time voter ID laws come to the forefront is when states have Republican majorities and the obvious answer is fraudulent votes invariably swing in the Democrats’ favor, statistically.

      There’s nothing obvious about that answer at all. From a formal logic perspective, it’s not a necessary conclusion. From a less formal perspective, it’s not even the most plausible conclusion.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to James Hanley says:

        How long have

        Georgia (strict voter ID, completely in the bag for the GOP)
        Indiana (strict voter ID, fairly in the bag for the GOP)
        Kansas (strict voter ID, completely in the bag for the GOP)
        Mississippi (strict voter ID, completely in the bag for the GOP)
        Pennsylvania (strict voter ID, fairly in the bag for the Dems)
        Tennessee (strict voter ID, completely in the bag for the GOP)
        South Carolina (strict voter ID, completely in the bag for the GOP)
        Texas (strict voter ID, completely in the bag for the GOP)
        Alabama (photo ID or alternate, completely in the bag for the GOP)
        Florida (photo ID or alternate, mostly in the bag for the GOP)
        Hawaii (photo ID or alternate, completely in the bag for the Dems)
        Idaho (photo ID or alternate, completely in the bag for the GOP)
        Louisiana (photo ID or alternate, mostly in the bag for the GOP)
        Michigan (photo ID or alternate, actual toss-up)
        South Dakota (photo ID or alternate, completely in the bag for the GOP)

        Had their photo ID laws, and has their been any significant correlation with margins of victory for either party?

        I’m going to guess the answer to the second question is “no”. That *is* just a guess, though.Report

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