Because the last thing we want is for Juan Peron to beat both Romney and Obama

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.

Related Post Roulette

259 Responses

  1. I will be so very happy when this election is over.

    *nods, while reaching for bottle of gin*Report

  2. Nob Akimoto says:

    Anyone who thinks the UN is a body that’s “dedicated to diminishing American influence” needs a fucking history book and a remedial course in world history since 1900.Report

  3. Kazzy says:


    With all due respect, is it really fair to assume that there doesn’t exist a competent individual from any of those countries who can oversee an election? There seems to be an undertone of, “They’re from stupid countries so they’re stupid and they’re going to come over here and stupidly stupid the stupid.”Report

    • Rtod in reply to Kazzy says:

      No, this is not my point. My point is Americans will not take seriously any incidents that these people report.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Rtod says:

        It depends. I think that we totally could see some serious finger-pointing one way or the other. Send a couple of people from Norway to Detroit or Harlem or Atlanta. Let them mention a discrepency that is totally to be expected in any city in any country in the world, no matter how established.

        Watch what happens.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Rtod says:

        Which is a fair point to make. And if there reason for not taking them seriously is, accurate or not, because of where they come from, there is room for a conversation there. But it seems, at least to me, that you are making that point by saying YOU won’t take them seriously because of where they come from. Did I get that properly?Report

  4. Nob Akimoto says:

    What Kazzy said…

    …besides, there’s that old saw about the best gamekeeper being a reformed poacher. Nazarbayev is a fucking pro compared to these rank amateurs in the state GOPs. It’s like getting a major league umpire to watch a little league game.Report

    • Rtod in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      See above.

      In fact, I was in fact arguing that this is the kind of thing that will actually appeal to people like you and Kazzy – who are already on board – while making others that might potentially be willing to condemn shenanigans dismiss them out of hand.Report

      • Nob Akimoto in reply to Rtod says:

        Honestly, I just wanted an excuse to type out “Nazarbayev.”Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Rtod says:

        I’m a little lost. What am I on board with?Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kazzy says:

          Pardon my Wiki, but the current chair of the OSCE is Kazakhstan. If the League of Women Voters has anything to do with this travesty, it’s time they are moved to the fringes of American life; they have forfeited their place in the mainstream.

          As part of its democratization activities, the OSCE carries out election assistance projects in the run-up to, during, and following elections. However, the effectiveness of such assistance is arguable- Kazakhstan, for example, despite being the current chair of the OSCE, is considered by many to be one of the least democratic countries in the world. Report

        • Rtod in reply to Kazzy says:

          The destruction of America and our way of life. And baby seals.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Rtod says:

            Oh. Yea. In that case… of course!

            For the record, I am not “on board” with this plan. Not because of where the overseers hail from, but primarily because I rarely think that the best people to oversee a system are those who are unfamiliar with it. It is also unclear what authority they have.

            So, no, I’m not really on board with this plan. I just found your particular approach here a bit troubling.Report

            • Pierre Corneille in reply to Kazzy says:

              “Not because of where the overseers hail from, but primarily because I rarely think that the best people to oversee a system are those who are unfamiliar with it.”

              This might actually be a mark in favor of observers. People unfamiliar with what is to be expected might find real problems that those unfamiliar might think are “just the way things are.”

              In college, one of the shift managers at the fast food restaurant I worked at was a business major. For a class project, she had to go to a place of business and take notes on any gender / race bias she might observe. She was specifically forbidden from using her own place of work. So she went to a different fast food restaurant and noted how the women tended to be given the cashiers’ jobs and the men the jobs in the back, which was pretty much the way it was at our restaurant. Her takeaway: maybe her restaurant engaged in some sort of gender bias that she didn’t notice because she was too close to it.

              (I’m not commenting on the good / bad of cashiering or working in the back. Personally, I’m shy enough that I prefer not to deal with customers, so I didn’t mind working in the back.)Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Pierre Corneille says:


                That’s a great point. Too much familiarity can make it easy to miss stuff. But a complete lack of familiarity can do the same. I’d prefer to see people from similar enough countries to us, both culturally and structurally, overseeing our elections (if we do concede that oversight is necessary, something I’m not sure of).Report

    • Serious question: are the monitors just random UN employees who happen to be from certain countries and likely disapprove of their countries’ concept of “democracy” or are they appointed representatives of certain countries who happen to be working for the UN?

      I think most people naturally assume the latter. And if it actually IS the latter, then it strikes me as not dissimilar from having Tim Donaghy referee a game in which his son is playing.Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    Just keep the UN watchdogs away from the day care centers and maybe we’ll be able to say “at least nothing bad happened”.Report

  6. Dan Miller says:

    Are you sure that the OSCE is here at the request of the NAACP et al? After all, they’ve been doing this since 2002 (the timing suggests to me that this may have something to do with the Help America Vote Act that was passed in the wake of Florida, but I’ve been unable to confirm this). My reading of the article is that the observers were coming anyway, as they always do, and the groups merely sent them a letter saying “Hey guys, since you’re here, these are the things you should watch out for”. I could be wrong, however, so contradict me if you think differently.

    Secondly, there’s a note of false equivalence. The GOP really is attempting to shade the odds in their favor by suppressing votes; the Dems complain, and the result is a pox-on-both-your-houses blog post? These observers probably won’t do much good; but if the GOP wasn’t completely unreasonable, they wouldn’t be doing any harm either. To hold the Dems as to blame when the GOP issues irrational objections isn’t right, even if you’re sick of the election.

    I think the best way to think of it is this–if you have something nice, you want to show it off to the world. I ordinarily don’t hold with the “if you’ve got nothing to hide, you won’t mind prying” argument, but it’s much more apt when applied to an official government function that’s designed to be open and public.Report

    • Rtod in reply to Dan Miller says:

      “I think the best way to think of it is this–if you have something nice, you want to show it off to the world. I ordinarily don’t hold with the “if you’ve got nothing to hide, you won’t mind prying” argument, but it’s much more apt when applied to an official government function that’s designed to be open and public.”

      I actually agree with this completely.

      I have no problem with anyone coming and observing our elections.

      I have a problem with the Right using it to drum up jingoism for all the obvious reasons.

      I have a problem with the Left making a public show of requesting it because it is a strategy that plays to the base while allowing the Right to discredit legitimate concerns too easily (for those that are *not* in the base).Report

    • Vertov in reply to Dan Miller says:

      The GOP really is attempting to shade the odds in their favor by suppressing votes; the Dems complain, and the result is a pox-on-both-your-houses blog post?

      This is pretty much the same “both sides do it!” feeling I got from this post, never mind that when countries on the American shitlist hold elections without international monitors, we think the results are fishy. The best the author has is that the monitors come from countries with funny-sounding names. Really!Report

      • Mark Thompson in reply to Vertov says:

        Kazakhstan is not merely a “country with a funny sounding name.”. The words”Kazakhstan” and “democratic elections” are not exactly words that should be used in the same sentence anytime soon. Say what you will about the state of American democracy, there is no equivalence with Kazakhstan.Report

        • MarkT, I recognize no higher legal authority than the US Supreme Court. As for moral authority, not the UN, that’s for blasted sure.Report

          • Kim in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            shoot albatrosses often?
            Or will you defer to the protected maritime torts under the Law of the Sea and GATT?Report

              • I don’t get the LOTS pushback.

                As near as I can tell, none of the territories that are under the U.S. flag are open for dispute from the “unaccountable international body” that the anti-LOTS people are freaked out about.

                This is really going to apply in the waters around the South China Sea. So how does formalized negotiation process(es) concerning island disputes between Asian nations have any effect whatsoever on how we do our business? If China and Japan (or China and Indonesia, or Indonesia and Thailand) all sign the thing and it makes the disputes in the area easier to resolve, is this not a win?

                Over at Heritage, I can see a bunch of anti-LOST stuff but nothing that takes a systemic approach to explaining a coherent argument against it.

                Well, except for the fact that apparently somebody is drilling somewhere under a U.S. drilling license wherein the LOTS provisions would require them to pay into a fund for the purposes of something, which Heritage is against but isn’t really keen on describing entirely, but is very keen on describing with really broad sweeping terms.

                Membership in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) would alter U.S. law and current practice for the worse. If the United States joined the convention, it would be required to transfer a portion of the royalty revenue generated on the U.S. extended continental shelf (the shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from shore) to the International Seabed Authority in Kingston, Jamaica. The Authority is empowered to distribute those funds—considered “international royalties”—to developing and landlocked nations, including some that are corrupt, undemocratic, or even state sponsors of terrorism.

                Given the potentially massive mineral wealth on the U.S. extended continental shelf, U.S. accession to UNCLOS would likely have significant financial implications. Congress, particularly the Senate, needs to fully consider the potential wealth transfer that would result from joining UNCLOS. To this end, the U.S. Task Force on the Extended Continental Shelf needs to complete its work so that the Senate and the rest of the U.S. government will have a better estimate of the royalty revenue at stake.

                So what I want to understand is what’s going on > 200 nautical miles out to sea that is going to be affected by this treaty? Here’s the map:


                What’s going on out there? Specifically? I grant, okay, maybe there’s a reason not to sign this thing, but “we may have to pay billions of royalty money for something” is riding really hard on the word “may”, there.Report

    • “These observers probably won’t do much good; but if the GOP wasn’t completely unreasonable, they wouldn’t be doing any harm either”

      I’ll add that even if the GOP wasn’t being unreasonable, they wouldn’t be doing much harm. I understood a measure of false equivalence from this post, too, although I mean no offense to Tod. The GOP plan will disfranchise some who ought not be disfranchised (again, a sympathizer might say it’s a regrettable cost to gain a good benefit, but it’s still a cost). The plan of the liberals or whoever promoted the observers will likely prevent no one from voting, save for a few patriots who are expecting to see black helicopters come in on the horizon at any time and are preparing for the day of reckoning.Report

      • “I’ll add that even if the GOP wasn’t being unreasonable,”

        ….err, I meant that “even if the GOP were being reasonable”Report

      • Man, this isn’t fair to you Pierre; yours just happens to be the comment posted right before I decided to make this rant.


        I really can’t stand this whole “false equivalence” meme the left always drags out. It’s like this all-purpose catch phrase that they feel gives them a pass from criticism or self-examination of any kind.

        Republicans over the past four years have been largely bat-shit crazy in a way the Dems have not been, but that doesn’t mean any and all criticism of left-wing policy, strategy, or corruption should be summarily dismissed because there isn’t an exact equivalence between the two parties. I mean, in this post I make the points that:

        1. The GOP ID laws are cynical, immoral and should be struck down
        2. A few liberal organizations devised a strategy to combat said terrible laws, but they are more likely to backfire and get Americans to support these laws (or, more precisely, dismiss real accounts of illegal intimidation that should be investigated)
        3. Because this strategy will most likely have the opposite effect than intended, it’s not a very good one

        And the response from liberals here is “False Equivalence!,” as if that’s an actual counter-argument and not just some handy phrase to use as a Get Out of Jail card. I write about White House corruption, “False Equivalence!” I write about a poor Obama campaign strategy, “False Equivalence!” I write about how the HRC bill needs to be tweaked because it doesn’t solve the financial issues, “False Equivalence!”

        You know arguments “False Equivalence!” is a great counter to? Arguments that say “These two things are exactly equal.” You know what arguments “False Equivalence!” is a terrible counter to? All the other ones.


        • Well, thanks for clarifying your argument, which I apparently misread. And I agree with points one and two, and probably most of point 3. (Any disagreement I have with point 3 would have to do with the extent we are talking about backlash from conservatives and the extent to which in some situations an independent observation might actually a good thing).

          Do liberals like me tend to appeal too quickly to “false equivalence”? Probably,. and therefore I don’t believe you are dismantling a straw man. I will say that I, personally, resort to that argument only rarely and when I believe the argument is actually resting on an equivalence, or “but both sides do it too,” argument.

          As an apologia pro culpa mea, I’ll explain where I was coming from in this case. I believed the equivalence argument was implicit int he contrast the original post draws between the voter ID laws and the recourse to observers. In particular, I had this quotation in mind: “This seems like one of those situations where political foes take opposite and ridiculous grandstanding positions that obfuscate rather than bring light to important issues.” I should have, however, read the next two paragraphs more closely, and I should have given due consideration to this:

          Bringing in the OSCE doesn’t strike me as a way to solve a problem; it strikes me as a way to fire up your base at the possible expense of making it worse. If I had to think of one word to describe it, it would be “Rovian.”

          (I’m not sure it rises (or descends?) to the level of Rovianism, if only because it’s probably less effective than a truly Rovian tactic. But I think your point that it’s the same ballpark is food for thought.)

          At any rate, I apologize for misreading your argument.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          If you’re saying: on the one hand, the GOP is trying to manipulate elections by passing voter ID laws in order to tip elections their way, while on the Dems are engaging in a politically dubious exercise to prevent election fraud that might backfire on them …

          then you’re making a false equivalence.Report

          • Tod Kelly in reply to Stillwater says:


          • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

            From the OP in reference to the liberal part of your post:

            If I had to think of one word to describe it, it would be “Rovian.”

            That phrase in intended to equate the tactics employed by both sides, no?Report

            • James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

              I’m not persuaded Tod’s use of the phrase “Rovian” was either felicitous or quite accurate, but are you suggesting that Democrats are never Rovian?

              You’re not, are you? Are you?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

                Oh sure. But not in this context. Here, I think he was … reaching … for a false equivalence.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

                No, just an inaccurate description, I think. And I’m inclined to agree with him that you’re using that phrase to avoid dealing with the issue of whether the Democrats calling in electoral observers from Kazakhstan is a move likely to backfire on him. Once you say false equivalence, the whole issue can be safely shoved in the closet–“no, the Dems didn’t make a bad move, that claim is just false equivalence.” But whether it’s false equivalence or not has exactly zero to do with whether it’s a bad move. So why are you focusing on the side issue instead of the more substantive issue?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

                I think that confuses the obligation – if I can use that word with propriety – the order of things. Just because Tod writes a story about two different topics and attempts to equate them according to one relevant metric doesn’t mean that I have to answer any challenges at all. I can comfortably disagree that the equivalence obtains.

                It might be the case that his point about the liberal challence has some merit, tho, and … doesn’t that deserve an answer? That’s your response, yes? At that point my response is that Tod’s speculation that it might backfire is just that … speculation. It has nothing to do with a similarity to, or the actuality of, GOP attempts to Rovaneer of election outcomes.

                It’s just speculation. It has just as much merit as my speculation that your aggressive argument is caused by the Tiger’s having been smoked by Giants in games 1 and 2.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                Lots of typos. Too much football.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

                Are you a CU fan?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                I should also add, as a differently directed substantive response, that I’m led to believe that the presence of outside election officials is part of a long term agreement with one of those international institutions that conservatives hate. {{I’ll see if I can find a cite for that.}}Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                Are you a CU fan?

                They’re doing their best. To make me not want to root for them.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

                Heh, they’re lucky Chip Kelly doesn’t run up the score. Stopping at 70 points was mercy.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

                And finding equivalence in the monopolistic duopoly that controls American politics is an important part of being a self-identified non-partisan!Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          The whole “that’s not fair!” argument is one that quickly, efficiently, and remorselessly turns on anyone who uses it.

          Is it fair that people might be able to vote twice?
          Is it fair that you have to show your ID while people from the other party are arguing that it’s too much of a burden for people who vote for them to have to show their ID?
          Is it fair that I heard that my cousin’s friend’s brother told everybody about a poll worker’s car that had ballot boxes *FULL* of uncounted votes from a county that was mostly from our party?

          Is voter fraud *FAIR*???Report

          • KatherineMW in reply to Jaybird says:

            Is if fair for one party to deliberately disenfranchise poor and minority voters?
            Is it consistent with democracy for them to be able to do this?
            Does their doing so ring any unpleasant historical bells?Report

            • Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW says:

              The disenfranchisement is *NOT* deliberate. It’s incidental.Report

              • Creon Critic in reply to Jaybird says:

                Incidental disenfranchisement? (emphasis mine, WashPo)

                … [Pennsylvania] state House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) saying, at a gathering of Pennsylvania Republicans the previous weekend, that the law would help them carry the state at the presidential level. “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania: done,” Turzai said while listing his party’s accomplishments. This was a problem because the GOP says they are necessary to prevent voter fraud — not for partisan political gain. Democrats pounce on Turzai’s comment as proof of the actual motivation behind the law.


              • Jaybird in reply to Creon Critic says:

                If the assumption is that voter fraud happens primarily on one side of the aisle, then a Voter ID law would, in fact, change the game for the people on the other side of the aisle.

                I admit: it is my fervent belief that if the Democrats were helped by this law and Republicans hurt by it, we’d see the sides exchange arguments.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                It’s like all civil rights arguments. It’s only the people helped by it directly that are in favor of it. You know, the way libertarians are only against the war on drugs because fewer people in prison will lower their taxes.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                and depress wages by creating a larger labor pool. (Monocles don’t polish themselves you know)Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Hmm. I don’t think that answers Mike’s comment.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

                JB, I agree with this 100%. I do not see, however, how this is proof that there are not very specific political outcomes being attempted by those drafting the laws.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                And, like very specific political outcomes these days tend to do, these very specific political outcomes are incidental.

                Asking someone to show his driver’s license will be seen by fewer and fewer and fewer elites/high-information voters as an onerous requirement with every election. I’m surprised it still creates as much controversy as it does… except, of course, for the benefits that democrats get by not requiring things that Republicans tend to take for granted that they’d have to show.Report

              • Mlke Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                And if you don’t have a driver’s license, get out! We don’t need your kind dirtying up our polling place. Next thing, you’ll be scaring away the right kind of voters by looking like that.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Personally, I’m of the opinion that “if you live here then you should have a vote”. At that point, the issue becomes one of “how do you make sure that people don’t vote multiple times?” and I very much like the purple finger thing that they had going on in Iraq.

                I’m sure that there’s someone out there who will ask “but what about meningitis from multiple people using the same finger ink? What about Hepatitis C???”

                I’m sure that there’s *SOMETHING* that we could work out.

                That said, if we’re not going to institute the “if you live here, you can vote” plan, I understand that many will find it necessary to do the whole “you need to register to vote” thing. And, from there, it’s it’s only a handful of Perfectly Reasonable Arguments to get to showing a driver’s license before you vote.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                As long as I can dip my middle finger in the purple ink, so when somebody asks me if I voted I can give them the appropriate response.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Heh. That’s funny, James. It’s an entirely appropriate response to the candidates you “have” to choose from.

                But would things be different in James-topia? There would still be voting, right? (Or not?) And that means there’d still be the same preening and lying and obfuscation and crazy bullshit in the candidates we “have” to vote for, yes?

                So I wonder – and I’d be interested in hearing what Kolohe has to say about this too, since I think his views on these issues mirror your own to a great extent – how would your view of voting change even if libertopia were realized?

                Or am I confused in thinking that they would?Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Well, really I was just thinking that it’s nobody’s fishing business if I voted or not.

                But in my fantasy world, in libertopia the things government’s allowed to do are so limited that government is no longer attractive to the busybodies and and those with a lust for power. So voting would be a process of selecting between candidates who are proposing purely pragmatic programs.

                In my real world, I don’t believe in libertopia and fishing hate it when people ask about it. All I really want to do is get the goddam moralists–left and right–to leave me the hell alone.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                I do think that if it is anyone’s business that you voted, it’d be the person who hands you a ballot at the voting place. I’d be interested in hearing the argument that they don’t have the right to know whether or not you’ve voted.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                All I really want to do is get the goddam moralists–left and right–to leave me the hell alone.

                Hmmm. That’s what I was wondering about. It seems like an intractable problem. It won’t go away so long as there’s voting. Some people are moralists, and they live right next door to you.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                JB, if you return the ballot to slotted box (or whatever) you’ve voted for all legal purposes, yes?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Then you’re earlier question makes no sense.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:


                Those folks can ask, no problem. I’m talking about all the goddam busybodies with their “I voted, have you” stickers and their smug faces asking me if I’m as good as them.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                In fact, whether I vote or not I might just smear ink all over my middle finger anyway.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Oh, so long as we’re not talking about NOBODY nobody, I’ve got no problem with the statement.

                (Still: Which my are earlier question?)Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Some people are moralists, and they live right next door to you.

                To the left and across the street; the dude to the right’s cool, though.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                This one: I do think that if it is anyone’s business that you voted, it’d be the person who hands you a ballot at the voting place. I’d be interested in hearing the argument that they don’t have the right to know whether or not you’ve voted.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                James, can you buy houses in your area with only neighbors to the right? That might be something worth looking into, ya know?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                I don’t believe that a person should receive a second ballot and I do believe that they should receive a first…Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Ahh. I see the picture you’re painting.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:


                In my town, I’m lucky to have found any neighbors that aren’t to the right.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

            Apparently many Judges who decide challenges to voter ID legislation have a different concept of fair than you do, one that isn’t purely partisan. Crazy, right?Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

              “Many”, and “many” do not. There are some legislatures that will be argue that “fair” means “following the law that applies to black and white, rich or poor… in its majestic equality.”

              Perhaps we could have gone with something like “fundamental rights that ought not be infringed in a silly quest for a zephyrous concept like ‘fair'”… but, of course, that wouldn’t be fair.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                The exercise of rights requires that they be … well … enforced and applied fairly, right? I don’t know how you can escape a concept of fairness in a system of laws and practices.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Wouldn’t protecting my right to vote entail making sure that you can’t vote three times for every time that I do?

                Wouldn’t protecting my right to vote make sure that if you’re casting votes in Wyoming that you can’t also cast votes in Colorado?

                Wouldn’t protecting my right to vote make sure that my votes are cast alongside other people who also have the right to vote rather than alongside people who are not citizens, or are not yet 18, or do not meet some other requirement (such as certain states not allowing felons to vote)?

                And so on. And so forth.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jaybird, you should take a Libertarian attitude about all this. It doesn’t matter that someone else can vote lots of times, so long as you are guaranteed the chance to vote at least once.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                So you’re arguing from fairness. You’re saying, in effect, “that’s not fair”. Which is what you were ridiculing earlier.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                As more time goes on, it will require more and more contortions on the part of the democrats to explain why expecting people to be able to produce their papers is an unfair expectation.

                To be honest, I’m surprised that the Republicans haven’t attempted to link voting and Selective Service.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                I don’t know what any of that means.

                Except that it reaffirms libertarianism, acourse.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                See it as my own personal “you’d think libertarians would be okay with sexual harassment”.

                You’d think democrats would be okay with asking people to show their papers whenever the authorities requested them whenever citizens wanted to participate in civil society.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                Libertarians: always good at pointing out other people’s failings and never seeing their own.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

                Good lord, Stillwater. That has to win the award for most ironic comment of the day.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                Thanks! It’s always good to get recognized. Especially with an award!Report

              • Nob Akimoto in reply to Jaybird says:

                Isn’t the onus of solving a problem on the people saying it’s a problem in the first place? That is, aren’t you obliged to prove that there is in fact, systemic and widespread vote fraud before suggesting new onerous regulations to add them? I keep hearing this about everything from pollution to financial services, but not about voter ID laws that needlessly disenfranchise people.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Nob Akimoto says:


                I don’t really have any problem with ID requirements myself, in the abstract. But given the overwhelming failure of Republicans to prove that there is a widespread problem of people being disenfranchised by others stealing their votes, I just can’t see what the actual gains from these laws are. A cost-benefit analysis really seems to favor the status quo, not these new laws.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                This, on top of the this.

                But then you said: I just can’t see what the actual gains from these laws are.

                as if the gains aren’t entirely apparent. That has me a bit puzzled…Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                I meant gains in deterring voter fraud, not electoral gains.Report


                Interestingly, more onerous voter identification laws don’t seem to actually change public opinion vis-a-vis perceptions of voter fraud. That is to say: They don’t seem to actually work in their stated goal of increasing confidence in the system.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                That is to say: They don’t seem to actually work in their stated goal of increasing confidence in the system.

                There’s a libertarian argument embedded in there somewhere. One of the good ones…Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                There was one thing that someone (Trumwill?) pointed out a while back that struck me as more troubling than not: most of the voting fraud out there involves someone who has passed away but the government wasn’t told and someone still in the household is collecting SS checks. Going in and having the deceased “vote” is an indicator that they’re still alive… and isn’t voting fraud as much as SS fraud.Report

  7. Michael Drew says:

    My question is this: is there any reason to trust state government vote-counting authorities in states where the incumbent administrations pushed and passed ballot-access restrictions since 2010 on November 6th? At all?Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Michael Drew says:

      Well, how confident are you in your own state right now?Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to James Hanley says:

        I assume you mean Wisconsin. Somewhat, but diminished. Wisconsin has a tradition of clean elections & all that blah blah blah… I also don’t think Walker would try much of anything given the two years he’s had and ongoing John Doe investigation.

        If everyone wants to give me assurances based on first-hand experience in the various states, that would be lovely.Report

        • James Hanley in reply to Michael Drew says:

          Heh, Republicans embezzling funds intended for the families of soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Love that party.

          But anyway, the answer to your question then is, “some reason, in at least one state.” (Not that I don’t share your doubt.)Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to James Hanley says:

            Kathy Nikolaus remains the Clerk of Waukesha County as well, so that doesn’t help. Though it’s coordinated manipulation at the state level that is most concerning. And it’s not that a lack of trust ids a belief that that’s gonna be happening in these place. Just: is there reason to trust.

            And you’re right, there is some reason, probably everywhere. I guess the question could be how much reason do we have, though that’s a little hard to determine. Maybe, Do we have as much reason to trust vote counting where ballot access has been restricted for reasons not related to any presentment of significant fraud and the people who pushed those restrictions remain in charge fo the vote counting apparatus as we did before those steps were taken?Report

      • James,

        I know the question is directed at Michael Drew, but I’ll answer.

        I don’t trust Illinois, and Chicago specifically. It’s probably mostly me being paranoid, but I don’t think the Chicagocrats will tolerate non-Democratic votes. That is one, albeit minor, reason I wouldn’t vote in a Republican primary here (the primaries are more or less open, you declare on the polling date), because I don’t want signal any untoward allegiances. (The major reasons, of course, are that I’m paranoid and that I find little to nothing to support in the GOP, probably in descending order of importance.)

        A counterargument to my paranoia is that a lot of Chicago’s ethnic neighborhoods probably trend Republican on social conservative issues and GOP-version national security issues, you might get a non-trivial share of Romney Democrats. (Of course, Obama will probably win in Illinois, so it doesn’t matter.)Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

      The important point here, I want to say, is that the justification that proponents of ballot access restriction offer in the absence of concrete examples of fraud is that it is a legitimate aim of government to try to increase public trust in the fairness of election processes. But in the absence of a clear threat to such trust, where such measures will have an impact on who the eligible electorate turns out to be that might/will benefit the party pushing them, is it actually plausible that such measures can have that effect on net? Is there any way to determine whether they do? Do they even need to actually have the effect, or is the mere statement of that aim as the justification for the restrictions on ballot access itself sufficient justification for the restrictions? And if that’s the case, and it also turns out to be the case that the restrictions as applied benefit the party that proposed them, does the whole matter at the end of the day amount to anything other than farce that happens also to be a political power play?

      If not, I suppose it wouldn’t be the first.Report

    • Kim in reply to Michael Drew says:

      I was stripped of my right to vote, illegally, simply because I had moved. Registered via motor voter too. Had to yell at them (but first had to know there was a problem)Report

  8. Kolohe says:

    “Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe”

    1) Isn’t this completely redundant with the existence of the EU and NATO?

    2) Since when are the Stans in Europe? This is the worst naming travesty since the Big 10. (and the Big 12 for that matter).Report

    • Nob Akimoto in reply to Kolohe says:

      OSCE was essentially a piece of east-west detante collaboration that propped up during the cold war then stuck around for the de-sovietification of eastern europe. OSCE is also terribly named given who is part of it, it has something like 60 state members,a bunch of which are ostensibly in central asia.Report

  9. DensityDuck says:

    The whole thing seems less like actual concern and more like the equivalent of a woman getting a restraining order against her separated husband to make him look bad at the upcoming divorce proceedings.Report

  10. Roger says:

    The voter ID requirements amuse me. ( I just reread your voter ID post from August)

    Our nation is absolutely full of countless absurd regulations with obviously adverse impacts. Yet the left seems to just ignore them. But this one threatens their success at assuming the helm of this regulatory beast. So it is a bad regulation. Makes sense I guess.

    But what is really funny is how both parties are implicitly agreeing that the group of social misfits that are unable to come up with ID in modern American society constitute an important sub segment of the Democratic base. Makes sense I guess.

    My take on it is that the more time both parties waste on this topic the less energy they will have to mismanage everything else they mess with.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Roger says:

      Do you believe that the ability to vote is a fundamental right in this country?

      If so, replace “doesn’t allow [some segment of society] to vote” with “doesn’t allow [some segment of society] to worship their faith,” or “doesn’t allow [some segment of society] to criticize the President without being punished,” or “doesn’t allow [some segment of society] a right to a trial before being sentenced to prison.” Should we mock the people that are against such actions?

      I find the argument conflating regulations designed to disenfranchise legal voters with, say, regulations designed to increase industrial safety an odd one.Report

      • Roger in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I believe the ability to vote once can reasonably be deemed a “right” for legal residents. Showing proof of your identity seems like about the least onerous regulatory burden I can think of. Are you suggesting that it is too difficult for a sub segment of people to get ID? And why is this segment considered an essential core of the left?

        My point on regulations was that I just find it ironic that the party of “let’s regulate everything” carves out an exception for regulating voting because it obviously hurts their base turnout of people unable to secure ID.Report

        • Pierre Corneille in reply to Roger says:

          I know this isn’t your main point, but a lesser onerous regulatory burden is to require a match of signatures, which is what has been done in all the localities I’ve voted in.Report

          • Another way of putting this is the denial of voting rights to convicted felons. It sounds probably like an okay thing, if you think disfranchisement to be a good punishment for a really bad crime. But you also get the following situations:

            1. People who are not convicted felons being told they are on a list of felons and therefore ineligible to vote. After the dust settles and maybe a few lawsuits, such people probably get justice (potentially), but the election has happened and hasn’t been and won’t be invalidated.

            2. People who commit felonies such as the one an acquaintance of mine in college committed. He and a friend were exploding dry ice bombs outside the dorms for kicks. It was a stupid thing to do and it’s good thing they were stopped. But they pled guilty to a felony and now cannot vote in at least some jurisdictions (at least if I understand correctly the terms of the plea deal and the way restrictions against felons voting.)

            No. 2, it doesn’t seem right, but I admit, they shouldn’t have done what they did. No. 1, well, it was a “mistake” (honest or not), and those persons didn’t get to vote.

            Of course, we have intermediate steps, at least in some states, with “provisional ballots” that are designed to correct for these types of errors, and perhaps some remedy could be devised to prevent mishaps with ID’s. Say, someone has changed their address, but didn’t update their ID, or there’s a misspelling in the middle name. Maybe the law forbids denials on such trivialities, but the polling captains might make executive decisions right then and there (and we don’t even have to assume bad faith) that deny people their vote.

            That’s what worries me, the implementation.Report

      • Teresa Rice in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        “I find the argument conflating regulations designed to disenfranchise legal voters with, say, regulations designed to increase industrial safety an odd one.”

        I don’t see this as jingoism when a U.N. treaty is in direct conflict with our constitutional rights. The U.N. should have no influence or authority over what the people vote on here in the U.S. The U.N. has way too much power and is useless as far as peacekeeping goes. It needs to be disbanded just like the League of Nations was.Report

        • Irrespective of the merits or demerits of the UN, I’ll suggest that UN observers is not exercising influence or authority in any meaningful way by simply observing. What’s wrong with observing?Report

        • The UN can’t simultaneously be uber-reaching and incompetent.

          I personally lean towards incompetent, but that’s largely an engineered incompetency.

          As a side note: they have no legal authority here. The worst thing they can do is write a memo.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Pat Cahalan says:

            “The UN can’t simultaneously be uber-reaching and incompetent.”

            I don’t see why not; this is exactly the central critique (even among the non-libertarian left) of the United States federal government under the most recent Republican administration.

            Katrina – incompetent
            No Child Left Behind – uber-reaching
            Iraq – uber-reaching *and* incompetent

            • Pat Cahalan in reply to Kolohe says:

              One could argue that NCLB and Iraq were just broad-ranging incompetence.

              The thing about the UN is that anti-UN people harp on how ineffective it is at doing anything, and then turn around and talk about it as if it’s a shadow organization hell-bent on reducing America’s influence in the world.

              It can’t be both. It can be intelligently malign, or it can be ineffective. In the first case, you’re a crank, and in the second, you’re just stating the obvious.

              The UN was never built to solve anything. It was built to give people a place to play politics that didn’t involve immediately going to “sink a ship of theirs to show we mean business”. It’s a minor deterrent to bombing the crap out of people, and it’s not even particularly good at that.

              If it’s ineffective, who cares if there are election observers here? There were election observers in Russia, did that change anything about how Russia ran its elections? Did Putin blink his shark eyes at these guys? No. They’re going to write a memo.

              Really, this is something deserving of outrage?Report

            • BlaiseP in reply to Kolohe says:

              Katrina was severe enough to warrant far more federal intervention than was given.

              No Child Left Behind: Ted Kennedy’s old bill, with the covers and funding sections torn out like an old remaindered book, with “George Bush” scrawled in crayon on the flyleaf.

              Iraq: waged on the basis of a pack of lies. After Saddam, the Provisional Authority in the Emerald City was staffed by platoons of GOP functionaries, who told even more lies.

              The UN is a waste of time and money, especially as regards refugee relief: they spend more than half on themselves and not on the refugees. United Nations is a contradiction in terms. Nations are sovereign entities: if the UN has done nothing about recent conflicts, we may thank Russia and China who have obstructed the UN exactly as the USA has consistently obstructed the UN when it comes to Israel’s many disgusting faux pas.

              If the UN wants to send election observers, this is really nothing more than a nice tourist junket for the UN functionaries. Our Congress does the same all the time only they call them Fact Finding Missions. A waste of money.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

              Yes. Maybe something like this is going on: there’s a correlation between a) an individual’s commitment to their preferred ideology and b) the degree to which they believe people implementing other ideologies are both recklessly incompetent and uber-reaching. There’s a way of viewing it as almost logically necessary consequence of being an ideologue, it seems to me. Since an ideologue thinks his preferred policies are both obvious and true, anyone who implements opposing policies must be either monumentally stupid (ie., incompetent) or power-hungry zealots (ie., uber-reaching).Report

    • Pierre Corneille in reply to Roger says:

      “But what is really funny is how both parties are implicitly agreeing that the group of social misfits that are unable to come up with ID in modern American society constitute an important sub segment of the Democratic base. ”

      Some of those misfits, I imagine, are just people who are having a rough go of things and maybe haven’t kept their ID’s up to date or for whatever reason are displaced. [I assume expired ID’s are not accepted, but I could be wrong of course.]

      Please don’t take this as a defense of the Democrats. Also, I realize your point is more about the heightened importance assigned to what is probably a small portion of the voting population.Report

      • Roger in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        Again, why is it we are all so sure that people that misplace their ID or can’t manage to keep it current correlates with people on the left? We all pretty much know this is the case. What does this imply?Report

        • Kim in reply to Roger says:

          Judging by the people at the DMV, AFTER the law has been “displaced” out of this election, they skew to the right.
          They’re also convinced that the DMV employees who are trying to tell them they don’t need the id (because they don’t this year), are members of ACORN who are trying to disenfranchise them.

          This is in the middle of a fucking city, not out in ass-end of nowhere.Report

        • Pierre Corneille in reply to Roger says:


          My problem with the laws isn’t so much the people who find it so difficult to get ID’s….I actually don’t know how hard it is for a person, with say a month’s notice, to get a sufficient ID. My problem is more with the extra hurdle that it imposes: it’s one more reason to deny otherwise eligible people who show up to vote. I assume that’s behind the potential 9% disfranchisement that Tod cited in his post.

          Of course, we have to draw some lines some how, and maybe that’s where we need to draw it, my problems with it notwithstanding.

          But as to what the alleged correlation between “people that misplace their ID or can’t manage to keep it current” and “the left” implies, I’ll state what you did not state explicitly: It implies that they are stupid and/or irresponsible. I’ll add that is also implies that they tend to be people of more modest means, with less of a stake in getting or keeping current or carrying an ID. Or if “less of a stake” is too much, then they tend to be people who have more immediate survival concerns than keeping the ID current.

          Of course, we’ve all known ditzy leftists who can’t keep their papers straight, but I suggest that that maybe there is more to the alleged correlation than what I see as your implied suggestion.

          Now, I dispute the correlation at least to some degree. I admit that I believe that voter ID laws will affect people disproportionately who vote for Obama than those who do not. But I can imagine a lot of off-the-grid types who might trend conservative (or at least pro-GOP this time around), who also have trouble getting or keeping their ID’s. Also, the “Left” does not have a monopoly on people of modest means. I suspect these will also be denied by the law(s).Report

          • Genuine question for Tod, you, or anyone else… some conservative Facebookers I know have linked to some studies saying that in places where Voter ID laws have been instituted there hasn’t been any of the expected dropoff. Is the 9% figure speculative, or based on competing studies? Perhaps looking at less onerous Voter ID laws?Report

            • I don’t know the data, but I do suspect that 9% is pretty much on the high end. However, if that’s an admission by the supporters, then it strikes me as a declaration against interest, although I admit it could just as well be a “declaration taken out of context.”

              Let’s assume those studies are accurate. Inasmuch as the number of otherwise eligible voters retain their access to the ballot, the less of a problem I’m inclined to have with the laws. Therefore, if those are correct, my objection is lessened.

              I am also concerned, however, how the voter ID laws in question might create a mechanism for future abuse (say, by an overzealous scrutiny of someone’s ID in a close election because that person probably will vote for the wrong candidate.

              This allegedly happened in Florida in 2000, with the restriction against felons voting, a restriction that on the surface and granting some assumptions might seem unobjectionable. But–again, allegedly, all I know is what I’ve heard–these restriction may have been a way to deny the vote to black voters otherwise eligible.

              I’ll admit that no system of verification is without the potential for abuse, one way or another. So perhaps I am demanding the impossible: a good law with a guarantee of conscientious implementation.Report

              • I am only in favor of Voter ID laws insofar as they provide a vehicle for getting ID’s in the hands of more Americans. If they help us do that, or make that politically possible where it otherwise wouldn’t be, I think the pros outweigh the cons.

                But as a method of securing the integrity of our elections, I would like to see a demonstrated problem first. I’m more worried about mail voter fraud or vote-count fraud than that.

                Back on the first hand, though, it’s not something I am a pretty non-energetic opponent even if it doesn’t help with ID distribution.Report

              • I’m inclined to suspect voter fraud here in Chicago, although I have no evidence (i.e., it’s not “demonstrated”).

                I actually–and I mean this partly facetiously but only “”partly” facetiously–wouldn’t particularly mind UN observers here.Report

          • Roger in reply to Pierre Corneille says:


            I think your intuition on my implication is not too far off the mark. Let’s face it. There are irresponsible people in the world. There are people that are basically incapable of managing their own lives due to skewed time horizons and or low intelligence. For these folks, things like tieing your shoes, opening a bank account, or getting a photo ID are a burden.

            For the record, I agree with those on the left that they should have the right to vote. I agree with those on the left and the right that this is a small but core constituency of the left. I agree with those on the right that we should keep our elections fair and honest. I agree with those on the left that the right will try to disenfranchise these people if they can get away with it. I agree with the right that the left would get unqualified people to vote if they could get away with it.

            Both parties are legitimately claiming high ground on at least one dimension as they take the low road on the other. It’s almost enough to make me want to be an independent.Report

            • Pierre Corneille in reply to Roger says:

              Thanks for your response (and thanks for being so courteous after I was so punchy).

              I think our primary disagreement is that I’m a bit more reluctant to morally judge the “misfits,” perhaps because being ID challenged is so remote from my experience* and because I like to think of myself as one who doesn’t rush to judgment, although I do, in fact, rush to judgment all the time, just on different issues and with different people and for sillier reasons than yours. (For example, I don’t like Eric Clapton because he sounds like an down home middle-American when he sings but when he speaks, it’s with a British accent.) Obviously (to me), this is something we might have to agree to disagree on.

              That said, I agree with the rest of your comment.

              *For the record, I’m pretty rear-end retentive when it comes to getting my papers in order. Within a few months of moving to Chicago from Colorado, I had changed over my drivers license to Illinois, registered to vote, took care of my last Colorado income tax return, and done everything else I needed to.Report

          • DensityDuck in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

            As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s hilarious that the people telling us that voter ID laws are equivalent to suppression because it’s so difficult to get a government-issued ID are the same people telling us that the government should get more tax money because it can solve problems better than private industry.Report

            • BlaiseP in reply to DensityDuck says:

              The pissybabies who are so concerned about Voter Fraud are the very people who would really like nothing better than to let moneyed types run this country. It’s the most undemocratic of sentiments, this notion that Voter Fraud is such a terrible issue.

              We have seen other attempts to restrict voting with literacy tests and other such measures to impair the franchise of the poor and especially black people. In those days they were the Democrats, now those people have migrated to the Republican Party. That we should hear the same crap from the same people shouldn’t surprise anyone.Report

              • Roger in reply to BlaiseP says:

                The pissybabies who are so concerned about Fair and honest elections are the very people who would really like nothing better than to let the government bureaucrats and nanny state run this country. It’s the most undemocratic of sentiments, this notion that Voter Fraud is such a terrible issue.

                We have seen other attempts to undermine the sanctity of democracy throughout history. From the crooked, moneyed politicians of Athens and Rome, now those people have migrated to the Democratic Party. That we should hear the same crap from the same people shouldn’t surprise anyone.

                That wasn’t helpful to the discussion either, was it?Report

              • Pissybaby in reply to Roger says:

                Get the government out of my elections!Report

              • Roger in reply to Pissybaby says:

                Get Pissybaby out of our discussion!Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Roger says:

                (roars of laughter) That’s not exactly a denial of what’s happening in Arizona or Ohio, now is it?

                As for Rome and Athens, the elites of those societies rose and fell on the basis of popular support. The closer one got to the hub of power, the crazier things became. But with the Roman empire, long after the emperors had lapsed into madness, murdering each other off with increasing rapidity, the provinces went on as they always had for a thousand years. Their bureaucracy worked. And that’s what you lot would like nothing better than to destroy.

                The state is nobody’s nanny and never was, not once throughout history. Government is the exercise of power through authority structures, from the humblest Decider in Chief in some New Guinea village to the emperor Tiberius.

                Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit. == Nor [should you] listen to those who say the voice of the people is the voice of the gods, for the tumult of the ordinary people is very near to madness. (translation mine)

                That’s Alcuin of York, a scholar in the court of Charlemagne, a very wise ruler. Mankind will have rulers. What sort of rulers they might be and whose ends they serve, that’s the question before us even today. The state is not a nanny. The state can use its power to its own ends, both good and evil. Your problem with the Nanny State is that it cares for people you don’t particularly like.Report

              • Roger in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I love taking you into history. Your comments are always a blast. Do you know Latin?

                No, I do not want to establish an exploitative empire/Reich that lasts a thousand years.

                You are correct that I do not approve of a nanny state which attempts to create a permanent suckling class that depends upon the power of the elites to extend her teat. Vote for me and you vote for my teat.

                There are other ways to care for the poor and downtrodden that don’t require dependency.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Roger says:

                Yes, I read Latin, though I tend more to Jerome’s Vulgate and the New Latin of Erasmus than highfalutin’ Cicero.

                Of course you don’t want a Reich which lasts a thousand years. You wouldn’t get it anyway, were your dreams to come true. You would get the later emperors of Rome who rose and fall with their popularity with the legions. The country would self-destruct.

                I’m not sure you’ve met very many poor people. I know a great many of them. They all want jobs.

                Life puts me in strange places: I’m staying in a national chain hotel, nothing fancy mind you. It’s full of refugees from Braithwaite, the Isaac disaster. One swallow doesn’t make a spring or one story a trend, but I was out drinking beer with four of them, leaning up against a pickup truck. What follows is a story told to me by one of them.

                Back after the Katrina disaster, this man had five FEMA trailers on his property. They had a sewage tank on the property, everyone would pitch in to have it hauled off periodically. One couple living there made no effort to repair their own home, get back on their feet as everyone else was doing. The man would sit on a chair in front of his trailer and — as you say — enjoy the benefits of the suckling class. But it was not a teat he was suckling upon, but rather Budweiser beer bottles. Finally, he ran afoul of the other people who lived there and was told to leave. His girlfriend was the storyteller’s sister: she would be allowed to stay if she wished but he would have to leave. They both left and nobody’s heard from them since.

                Those people rebuilt, only to be flooded out again. The Government Teat put them up in this hotel. If you have a problem with that, know this for a fact: those people are solid working class people who needed some help.

                These are salt of the earth people, people of colour and proud. How dare you say the Nanny State which paid their hotel bills is only encouraging them to shiftlessness and dependency. These are American citizens who’ve worked all their lives.

                May the fates in their inscrutable logic never bring disaster upon you and yours, that you may never need such help and continue in this selfish and cruel delusion.Report

              • Roger in reply to Roger says:


                There is a huge difference between providing aid and promoting dependency. By disguising the latter to look like the former, those pursuing power at others expense can cloak their actions with a pretense of compassion. It behooves us to recognize the difference.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Roger says:

                Oh really? Where is this Culture of Dependency of which you speak? If our current aid system has fostered any of this Teat Suckling of which you speak, we ought to include the well-connected pigs who shamelessly suckle at it, wriggling their way to those benefits through the process of campaign donations. There is no better ROI on any investment in the world than a campaign donation: a ten thousand dollar donation which results in a hundred million dollar contract is par for the course, especially when one of the current candidates seems intent upon spending two trillion more dollars on the military. Perhaps those dollars will fall from heaven like manna. Nobody else knows where they’ll come from.

                We’ve already dispensed with any semblance of the virtue of Compassion in your argument. Don’t trouble me with any further cavilling or whining on this subject. The poor do not want the meagre handouts of government. These are our citizens. Pretence my ass, your positions would reduce these people to beggars in the street.Report

              • Roger in reply to Roger says:

                Gee, I wonder where this subculture of dependency is? Hmmm, I wonder…

                Yes, parasites come from all angles. My point is that one type of parasite is the dealer of dependency.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Roger says:

                Wonder away. Gosh, for a moment, I wonder where those poor and downtrodden from your comment @156 went? You’re big on Other Ways to solve problems like systematic disenfranchisement and nanny states. Except you’re as short on actual solutions as you are on evidence of the dependent poor and downtrodden.

                It’s all bullshit, from top to bottom. Self-Responsibility is a contradiction in terms. You’re either responsible to someone or you’re responsible to nobody. This myth-making about Welfare Mamas: the very idea that the poor have more leisure time than the employed tells me you don’t know any poor people. Poor people work two or three jobs.

                We are interdependent as a species and a nation: what happens to one happens to us all. In a working nation, beggars on the street are a disgrace and turning away the sick from medical care an ethical failing. You’ve already been given the Bum’s Rush off your position about disaster relief, likewise Self-Responsibility. What’s left of your argument? Nothing I can see. Reduced to questions without answers, that’s where you are.Report

              • Roger in reply to Roger says:

                I’ve written as much on actual solutions for poverty as any commenter on this site. If you want to start that thread again I am game.

                “Self-Responsibility is a contradiction in terms.”

                Well that pretty much gets to the core of our differences doesn’t it? One of us believes personal responsibility is critical and the other believes it is a myth.

                ” the very idea that the poor have more leisure time than the employed tells me you don’t know any poor people.  Poor people work two or three jobs. ”

                I have the data on the poor, Blaise, but will refrain from embarrassing your bluster until I give you time to google it. There is a difference between the set of the poor and the smaller subset of the working poor. Google away.

                I know it makes you feel high and mighty to suggest I am “turning away” the sick and poor. Again, there is a big difference between helping someone and promoting helplessness. The former is good and the latter is rotten. Which are you?Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Roger says:

                Google doth make geniuses of us all. Maybe you oughta get out there and get to know a few poor people. That’s the real difference between us: I know poor people. It’s part of my moral structure to help the poor, believing as I do in following the path of Jesus Christ.

                Gandhi once said “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Maybe that’s the more fundamental difference between us, that I view the poor and disenfranchised as fellow-travellers. I am no saint. I’m just someone who believes God sees the world through the eyes of the refugees, through the eyes of the poor. And I will have no truck with the self-aggrandising cant of the Self-Made Man. I was made in the image of God and his love extends to all mankind.Report

              • Roger in reply to Roger says:

                Google is just a search engine. It is facts that make the argument. You know nothing of me and your “I know more poor people than you” argument from personal anecdote is presumptuous.

                As for the Gandhi quote, it reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Gandhi impression from the first episode of season three.Report

              • Chris in reply to Roger says:

                Roger, for your income and leisure time correlation, you’re relying on Aguiar an Hurst, I assume?Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Roger says:

                Whinging, eh, Roger? I don’t know you? That’s true. I don’t. And I wouldn’t want to know you, based on your belief that google-fu is a valid substitute for personal contact with the poor.

                Nec si miserum Fortuna Sinonem finxit,
                vanum etiam, mendacemque improba finget

                Though Fortune had made Sinon miserable
                She could not make of him untrue nor yet a liar.Report

              • Roger in reply to Roger says:


                Well that was mean. I still would like to know you. Indeed, you seem fascinating.Report

              • Roger in reply to Roger says:


                No, I wa referring to old data from Rector and Hederman. The data from A and H was fascinating though.

                The data reveals that those families in the lowest quintile work an average of 13 hours a week compared to 74 hours per week per family in top quintile. Poor tend to be unemployed, retired or working part time and have fewer adults of working age.Report

              • Roger in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I will add though that the methodology both sets of researchers used specifically and intentionally excluded the subset of people known in sociological circles as “Friends of Blaise” (FOB).Report

              • Kim in reply to Roger says:

                the people actually concerned about fair and honest elections have landed some very nasty people in jail. You can be thankful that some liberals are willing to act outside the government.Report

    • Creon Critic in reply to Roger says:

      the group of social misfits that are unable to come up with ID in modern American society

      What an extraordinary insight into how those possessing privilege see the underprivileged – a gaze lacking in compassion and empathy. Let alone those people who have ID problems for reasons out of their control, their mother gave birth at home, the hospital burned down and their birth certificate with it, they’re caught in a bizarre bureaucratic loop where you need ID number 1 to get ID number 2 and you need ID number 2 to get ID number 1, etc, etc.

      One would think the United States’ substantial history of denying, through law and extralegal violence, the right to vote of millions would raise a few antennae. Enfranchisement represents a great deal more than the run-of-the-mill tradeoffs presented by issues like the minimum wage. Your voice in how this society runs is bound up in whether or not you have a say in selecting elected officials. Disenfranchising hundreds of thousands for the sake of a handful or voter fraud cases per state per election cycle, and what’s more, with evidence that the proponents of these voter ID laws advocacy is rooted in delivering states to their preferred candidate – that’s a bit more than an absurd regulation – the word sinister comes to mind. It hits at a fundamental right in a way that the latest consumer protection bureau regulation does not.Report

      • Roger in reply to Creon Critic says:


        Seriously? You think having ID in America qualifies as being privileged?

        I am sure there are a few individuals who happened to get their wallet stolen immediately prior to the election and find their hospital burned down, and that their dog ate their birth certificate. I am sure a state could handle this with a provisional vote process. Furthermore, I hope the regulators spend the next four years squabbling over it so they do less harm on anything else they plan on screwing with.Report

        • Creon Critic in reply to Roger says:

          Let’s say you belong to the class of people possessing a variety of current IDs; IDs newly required to vote in some jurisdictions. There is out there a class of people without those requisite IDs. Their lack of possession of these IDs means they are “social mitfits” according to you, underprivileged according to me.

          Let’s hypothesize some characteristics of the category of people without IDs: maybe they have less money than you, less access to transportation than you, less access to the time required to get an ID than you, altogether less access to the social capital that goes along with those currently possessing IDs. Yes, in relation to them you are privileged and they possess less privilege.Report

          • Roger in reply to Creon Critic says:

            How much money, time, effort does it take to get an ID? Then compare this to the benefits of having an ID in a modern economy. There is something really “special” about people that weigh the long term costs and benefits and come down on the side of not bothering to get the ID. Is social misfit the right word? Maybe not. But underprivileged certainly isn’t

            First, we all have the same 24 hours per day. Second, the unemployed have considerably more liesure than the employed.

            More importantly though, access to money, transportation, and so forth require something. They require entering human society and figuring out what it takes to look for a job (and you need ID to LOOK for a job), get a friend with a car, get a bike, get some way to interact with others. What we are describing here is not the absence of privilege. It is something very, very different. Indeed calling it an absence of privilege makes these people seem like puppets on a string. Like victims.

            Do victims lean left?

            And for the record I am not for or against ID at voting booth. I am pretty much infifferent. I am all for the left and right wasting time arguing over it.Report

            • Creon Critic in reply to Roger says:

              I can’t help but laugh when I think of the patient’s advocates, social workers, public interest attorneys saying to the people they serve: “get a friend with a car, get a bike, get some way to interact with others.” I wish America’s problems were so easily solved – or even narrowing it down to the voter ID question, if only the answers were that simple. In addition to calling the absence of privilege underprivileged, I think I’d use the notion of vulnerable populations from public health literature (Health Affairs),

              Vulnerability, the susceptibility to harm, results from an interaction between the resources available to individuals and communities and the life challenges they face. Vulnerability results from developmental problems, personal incapacities, disadvantaged social status, inadequacy of interpersonal networks and supports, degraded neighborhoods and environments, and the complex interactions of these factors over the life course. The priority given to varying vulnerabilities, or their neglect, reflects social values. Vulnerability may arise from individual, community, or larger population challenges and requires different types of policy interventions—from social and economic development of neighborhoods and communities, and educational and income policies, to individual medical interventions….

              Why some vulnerable populations might lean left, now there’s a question worth reflecting upon.Report

              • Roger in reply to Creon Critic says:

                Seriously, my phrase “social misfits” was less demeaning than this paragraph, Creon. It sounds totally dehumanizing to me. Like we have a population of total incompetents that are incapable of providing even the basic necessities for themselves. Compassion is great. But taken too far, and it just creates a victim class.Report

              • Mark Thompson in reply to Roger says:

                I think terming a photo ID a basic necessity for life ignores the fact that it’s anything but. One needs a photo ID to drive a car, sure. But do you have any idea how completely unnecesary and indeed luxurious a car can be if you’re taking the bus to work every day?Report

              • Creon Critic in reply to Roger says:

                The piece I linked to discusses some fairly straightforward sociological points about our society. I don’t understand how you found it dehumanizing. Access to a certain set of resources confers advantages, lack of access confers disadvantages. Those resources can be money, transportation, or even a current photo ID. Privilege does not have to be merely whether you can globetrot in a Gulfstream IV. Privilege can mean something as simple as whether you speak to dominant language in the community in which you reside. Recognizing the suite of accumulated advantages that some classes possess and others lack doesn’t create a victim class. The disparity long predates the recognition.Report

              • Roger in reply to Creon Critic says:


                We really are hitting on a fundamental difference in philosophical temperament.

                I am well aware that we all have different advantages and disadvantages. Some of us are healthy and young and good looking and have parents that love us and have a resistance to addiction, and live in a safe neighborhood, and so on. Others of us are sick, old, ugly, neglected, impulsive and are surrounded by much the same.

                My belief is that the absolute best cure for these is to start with self responsibility. From there we extend to responsibility to your family then your friends then your neighbors and associates until we extend our scope to humanity or life in general. But the key is the duty each of us has to first start with ourselves and work outward. As a society it is our duty to ensure our fellows feel this same duty too.

                It is essential that in our caring for others that we never, ever undermine their sense of responsibility. If they lack it, we owe it to them to not just teach them to fish, but to stress that they have always been capable of fishing, and that it is totally unacceptable to think otherwise. To do so would be to let down themselves and us.

                After this is said and done, some will fail. Some will be really unlucky, or really hurt by others, or get really sick or so forth. We should come to their aid, but in a way which does not undermine their ability to get back on their own two feet. Those that refuse to try (and that could if they did) should be disciplined via social ostracism. Failure to discourage free riders breeds free riders. It would be great if this wasn’t so, but history, anthropology and game theory all prove otherwise.

                That said, the article you recommended, though worded carefully, seems to me to come from the opposite direction. It assumes there is a victim class that the enlightened ones can save through their moral, intellectual and divine superiority.

                I find it subtly degrading, and my sense is that it either actively seeks to create a victim class or does so unintentionally. It also elevates itself as the protector-of -victims class. Strangely it reminds me of the modern day version of feudalism, but with compassionate lords fretting over their poor, stupid, compulsive, weak serfs.

                I am sure you disagree, or find me cruel. I just believe that other than in extreme cases the best way to save a neighborhood is to either let it save itself, or at most enable it to save itself.Report

            • Michael Drew in reply to Roger says:

              Couldn’t we just take this opportunity to stop trying to make the right assumptions about people who (for whatever reason) don’t have the requisite documentation to be able to vote where they live, and just go back to agreeing that this is a dumb government regulation?Report

              • Roger in reply to Michael Drew says:

                Michael and Mark,

                Taking action to verify the integrity of the one-person one-vote concept is “dumb”?

                Again, I could go on all year about dumb regulations propagated by both parties. And I am sure that both parties can manage to screw up voter requirements too. But you guys are glossing over Jaybird’s obviously correct points.

                If we are to depend upon elections, we need to have rules in place to keep them fair and legitimate. One such set of rules is designed to ensure that qualified citizens are voting. An ID is just one such way to do so.

                Of course both parties know that the “special” class of people that are so removed from society that they cannot manage to get an ID are a core democratic constituency. So they turn it into a political football. One side takes the high road of protecting democracy from the evil left. The other party takes the high road of protecting the disenfranchisement of the “underprivileged” from the evil right.

                Both have legitimate arguments. A dilemma! I think both sides should get off their high horses and work out a legitimate solution.

                I repeat again. I am not for or against voter ID. I am for fair and honest elections where all people that deserve to vote get to vote. Aren’t we all?Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Roger says:


                Indeed we are. But voter ID laws do not address this.

                The vast preponderance of voter fraud in this country comes from eliminating ballots that have already been legally cast; to a much lesser degree “false” ballots can be an issue, but these cases are issues of a small number of people within the system taking large numbers of blank ballots and filling them out in the hopes of swaying an election.

                Since you said you read my first piece, I am assuming you know that in over a decade there have only been 10 individual cases – in all elections throughout the country – the ID laws would have even addressed. Also, the lawyers that defended the one in Penn admitted in court that ID fraud didn’t really exist; the guy that championed and passed it admitted that the reason they did so was to bring down the number of Dem voters and give Romney an advantage. And they only appear to be worried enough about fraud in swing states.

                Assuming that you are not a partisan hack (and I am well aware that you are not, Roger), I am perplexed as to how you justify the GOP doing such a thing – regardless of how ridiculous you think the people they are disenfranchising are.Report

              • Teresa Rice in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Sorry, Tod, I don’t buy that there is more voter disenfranchisement from the GOP versus voter fraud (multiple votes by one person) by the Democratic Party. There were quite a few accounts of voter fraud committed during the 2008 campaign season. I honestly think the voter disenfranchisement is a red herring for the most part since most everyone in our country (if not all) has I.D.’s because they are a requirement for so much that we do nowadays.

                The question then becomes whose responsibility is it for the less fortunate voters to be able to get to vote as far as transportation goes? Is it the voters? Either party’s?

                The issue of voter fraud sounds like a good post.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Teresa Rice says:

                Buy this: in Ottawa County, Ohio and Maricopa County, Arizona, two documented instances this year alone, Republicans published false voting dates. The Maricopa County case was especially egregious: the correct date was published in English and the wrong date in Spanish.

                We must buy what’s on offer in the marketplace. Rhetorical questions are one thing, facts another.Report

              • Rtod in reply to Teresa Rice says:

                Theresa – I’m not saying there are more cases of disenfranchisement than voter fraud. I’m saying there are more case than voter fraud that would be addressed by voter ID laws. And since those that had to defend such a law in court said that was in fact the case, it seems reasonable to make such a conclusion.

                Are there other sources you can direct me to that say otherwise? I would be happy to look at them.Report

              • Roger in reply to Tod Kelly says:


                I’m not sure where the disagreement is between us. I’ve repeatedly said I am not for or against any particular voter ID laws. I am for fair and honest elections that do not disenfranchise people. And for the record, ridiculous people have a right to vote too.

                I am sure you are right that the biggest problem with voter fraud is that taken by people within the system.

                I am sure that you are right that some politicians on the right would love to disenfranchise a block of core democrats if they could get away with it, especially if they can claim the high road.

                I am also sure that some of those politiians on the left would love to allow those that are not eligible to vote to vote as they oddly always lean left.

                I am sure the number of proven cases of voter fraud is low. I am not sure this is because fraud is low, or because it is so easy to get away with though.

                In other words, I see both parties as taking the high road and the low. Do you? If not, who is the partisan?Report

              • Teresa Rice in reply to Roger says:


                What I said is that there isn’t more voter disenfranchisement that voter fraud. I didn’t say that there wasn’t any voter disenfranchisement. With the vast amount of voter fraud that occurred during both the Democratic Primary and general election in 08′ I still stand by what I said.

                There are bad apples everywhere. But with saying that I think sometimes people make false assumptions when mistakes occur. That goes for both parties.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Roger says:

                In other words, the facts about voter disfranchisement are of equal weight with the myths and hypotheses about voter fraud.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Roger says:

                I have always hated that particular caveat, that there are always bad apples in every barrel. Apples aren’t put in barrels except to make applejack. The weight of the apples always crushes the apples on the bottom.

                The Republican Party has shown its true colours by making much of this Voter Fraud issue. They have opposed very single effort to enfranchise the poor through Motor Voter or any other scheme. Now I would not for all the world and its pomps say you’re such a person, but in your downplaying of the scope and magnitude of the GOP’s efforts to keep voters from voting, I cannot help but see a trend here.Report

              • Roger in reply to Roger says:

                It is sad that there are too few conservatives here. Tom spends all his energy defending against the left, so he pretty much ignores the libertarians, and we pretty much leave him alone even when we disagree with him as his hands are always full.

                That said, libertarians give a pretty lackluster defense of the voter ID regulation. What kind of libertarian lobbies for more government regulation? What kind of libertarian doesn’t recognize that the right is playing games to suppress the victim class?

                All I will say is that the left is equally disingenuous. I’m just glad they finally recognized a real life example of unintended consequences.

                I’m with Teresa. If both sides wanted to come up with ways which ensure fair and honest elections and not disenfranchise special needs people, they could. But they don’t want to. They want to demonize the other side and pretend that they and they alone hold the high ground and that the other party is full of evil blood sucking vampires.Report

              • Creon Critic in reply to Roger says:

                All I will say is that the left is equally disingenuous. I’m just glad they finally recognized a real life example of unintended consequences.

                I don’t see how the left is “equally disingenuous”. Because the left disagrees with you on the scope and importance of adverse impacts of certain kinds of regulations in some domains that automatically disqualifies people on the left from raising objections to the real adverse consequences of this regulation in this domain? You’re presenting a false choice, assessing regulations and their consequences need not be an all or nothing game. The adverse consequences in this instance outweigh the alleged voter fraud problem (e.g. ProPublica, “Just how well-founded are fears of voter fraud?”).Report

              • Roger in reply to Roger says:


                I wasn’t suggesting that anyone should be disqualified from raising objections. My broader point is that both sides are claiming the moral high ground on one dimension and dismissing the other side as taking the low. Both sides are half wrong.

                This is a two dimensional problem and requires a two dimensional solution. Failure to acknowledge this reflects that both parties are being disingenuous and partisan. But that’s no surprise, is it?Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Roger says:

                Dr. Blaise has reached a diagnosis of Bicameral Poxosis. The GOP’s been hard at work enacting laws to eliminate people you have already summed up as a Natural Democratic Constituency (with more pejorative adjectives such as Ridiculous and Ineligible ) from the rolls on a variety of fronts. One party erects barriers, the other seeks to pull them down.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Roger says:

                Well, Roger, I thought you said these were dumb government regulations, so I thought we could agree about that.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

                …And yes, obviously we are all for “fair and honest elections where all people that (sic) deserve [tho I’d add: not just who deserve to, but who are eligible] to vote get to vote.” That’s why the discussion does come down to whether we think particular regulations are smart, dumb, necessary, disenfranchising, etc. That’s where the discussion already was, because the agreement you enunciate was already established.Report

              • Roger in reply to Michael Drew says:

                That said, I believe there are better solutions than requiring ID to vote.Report

    • Kim in reply to Roger says:

      Yes. Such obvious social misfits. Like college students.

      These laws are poorly written and stupid. A local government is unable to issue an ID to anyone, but a nursing home can issue an id to anyone they damn well please (including the homeless). And then the homeless person can vote.Report

      • Roger in reply to Kim says:

        Of course they are poorly written and stupid. They are government rules. You made my point for me.Report

        • Kim in reply to Roger says:

          Less rules please?
          Brin had a “plan” for how to reduce the income tax loopholes/deductions snarl…Report

        • Pierre Corneille in reply to Roger says:

          “Of course they are poorly written and stupid. They are government rules. You made my point for me.”

          And yet, if there is going to be voting, there are going to be rules about who is eligible to vote, unless there is no “rules,” and then “no rules” will be the rules.

          We can’t escape the conundrum simply by assuming the can opener. Sometimes we have a choice of dealing with life as it is or remaining virtuous and pure (but in such a way that implicitly endorses a system that leads to certain real-life outcomes).Report

  11. Teresa Rice says:

    This link is about voter fraud within the Democratic Primary in 2008. It seems that voter fraud was ripe in both the primary and general election.

    Even if some of the poorer people don’t have licenses a majority of them have state I.D.’s because they are an essential part of life for banking, use at grocery store if one writes and check and so forth. This doesn’t seem like a high hurdle to climb especially if we want to make sure the people who are voting are in fact eligible to vote.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Teresa Rice says:

      The cases in MN are certainly legitimate instances of voter fraud, but they are unrelated to voter ID issues.

      The cases described in the blog you link to are cases where people convicted of felonies attempted to vote, despite the fact that they are not allowed to under MN law. Some might claim that people who have been convicted of felonies should be allowed to vote, but that’s a separate argument – in 2008 they were certainly not legally eligible.

      However, since these people all voted under their leal names – not fictitious ones – I’m not getting how voter ID laws would curb this type of fraud.Report

  12. Teresa Rice says:

    “As many of you know, Minnesota leads the nation in voter fraud convictions with over 200 people being convicted following the 2008 election. That is the highest number since 1936!”

    And that was just in Minnesota.Report

  13. Teresa Rice says:


    I think having a Voter I.D. mobile station come out to the areas where the less fortunate live so they could make I.D.’s for them would be a good way to solve the problem of voter disenfranchisement or ensure that eligible voters are able to attain I.D.’s. Or at least given ample opportunity and assistance to get an I.D. The mobile I.D. center could also help citizens attain the documents necessary to get an I.D. if they are missing a document.Report

  14. Teresa Rice says:

    “The vast preponderance of voter fraud in this country comes from eliminating ballots that have already been legally cast; to a much lesser degree “false” ballots can be an issue, but these cases are issues of a small number of people within the system taking large numbers of blank ballots and filling them out in the hopes of swaying an election.”

    I guess that I misunderstood what you were saying in this paragraph. But it looks to me like you stated that eliminating ballots that have already been cast constitutes the majority of voter fraud cases while there is only a small number of cases where people have voted more than once or filled out large numbers of blank ballots.

    In Minnesota alone there were at least 200 people convicted of voter fraud, voting more than once or having people vote more than once.

    ” I’m saying there are more case than voter fraud that would be addressed by voter ID laws. ”

    I do agree with what you’re saying there.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Teresa Rice says:

      “I do agree with what you’re saying there.”

      That’s cool. But know that you’re also disagreeing with the GOP lawyers who defended the law in Pennsylvania.Report

      • Roger in reply to Tod Kelly says:


        Your argument doesn’t hold as much water as you imply.

        I am totally sure that the nefarious GOP is using this issue for partisan reasons.

        I am sure that they will push for voter ID even if they are 100% unaware of any case of voter fraud anywhere.

        That does not prove that there is no voter fraud. Nor does it prove that democracy would be better served by making voting less restrictive. Both questions are open, and I am sure Tom has examples of the left being just as nefarious.Report

        • greginak in reply to Roger says:

          Well of course the Left has been just as nefarious. We have tried to open up voting to as many people as possible. Especially all those who were denied a voice. That is clearly equal to trying to disenfranchise people.

          You know how you prove voter fraud. It usually involves cops and courts and stuff like that. Shame there isn’t all that evidence of all the eviiiill voter fraud.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Teresa Rice says:

      In Minnesota alone there were at least 200 people convicted of voter fraud, voting more than once or having people vote more than once.

      False. The overwhelming majority of those were felons who voted once. The issue of whether anyone should be permanently stripped of their right to vote for having committed a felony is an interesting discussion in its own right, but a felon voting does not deprive someone else of their right to vote, nor does it mean they cast multiple votes.Report

  15. Nob Akimoto says:

    So…would a national identification card for everyone be a good idea? Something issued at birth…how about maybe we use DNA identification, a huge national database… fingerprints, too…it would ensure free and fair elections, and even get rid of the pesky voter registration stuff. If you’re in the database, you’re eligible…that sounds great, right?…right? Hello~?Report

  16. LWA (Lib With Attitude) says:

    Voter fraud is sort of like one of these 9-11 truther conspiracies.

    At first blush it sounds semi-plausible – (“What if Bush planted explosives inside the towers….”/ “What if people were to vote twice, or four times!”)

    But then you begin to construct how this would actually work, and it never does.
    How did Bush plant the explosives? When would he have done this? After Jan 20, 2001 and before Sep 11, 2001? Wouldn’t there be hundreds of office tower workers, y’know, noticing that there werre these weird cuts and patches in the drywall column surrounds? Wouldn’t any of the hundreds of people involved ever blab?

    So how would a devious party win elections with voter fraud? Tipping elections- even small local ones- would have to change hundreds, thousands of votes even in a single precinct.

    How would you mobilize thousands of voters to vote multiple times, and never talk? How would you keep the poll workers in the dark?How would you scale this up to a national scale, involving tens of millions of people, all of whom would have to be sworn to some sort of omerta blood oath?

    Wouldn’t it, at the end of the day, be a helluva lot easier to just to hire buses and phone banks to get out the vote?Report

  17. Kolohe says:

    Well, at least I’m glad to see that the precautionary principle is no longer a thing in left-leaning circles.Report

  18. Pat Cahalan says:

    Will said, ‘way upthread:

    “Genuine question for Tod, you, or anyone else… some conservative Facebookers I know have linked to some studies saying that in places where Voter ID laws have been instituted there hasn’t been any of the expected dropoff.”

    This is correct. The impediments to voting – when you are poor – vastly outweigh the additional burden that VoterID laws put on you.

    It’s like that old observation about how Presidents can’t fix the economy, because our GDP growth depends so much more on other nations’ collective GDP growth that anything a President does is a drop in a bucket.

    To be clear: VoterID laws are utterly stupid and ineffective. But they’re not going to disenfranchise a statistically significant number of voters in a national election (might have an effect on regional elections, but I doubt that too).

    If we really, actually cared about people being able to vote, Election Day would be a mandatory national holiday, with limited public services available only to the extend that they enable people to get to the polls (public transportation) with hours restricted so that the workers could also get to the polls.

    If we really, actually cared about election integrity, we would not allow mail in ballots. We would not allow early voting. Not from anybody outside the military (the U.S. military would have to come up with a way to allow troops to vote in person, with the ballots sealed and shipped to the U.S. for counting, if you wanted to be really sure).

    If we really, actually cared about election integrity, any statistically significant discrepancy between ballots issued and ballots counted would require a do-over. If someone “loses” a box of ballots, and the winner won by less than a box’s worth of ballots, you chuck them all and start over again.

    Indeed, if we really, actually cared about election integrity each state would assess a margin of error for its polling methodologies and if the election result was within the margin of error, they’d have to do a do-over. If 2% of your ballots are mis-marked routinely, the margin of victory needs to be bigger than 2% or you can’t say for certain that anybody won.

    Nobody gives a shit about real elections.Report

  19. Damon says:

    The election monitors are really here to see how to Americans conduct voter fraud. We do it right!Report