Voter registration and ID req'ts address non-problem

Monday, October 30, 2006 at 11:17 AM

Although quite happy to ignore the real possibility of massive electoral fraud via manipulation of electronic voting and vote-counting machines, not to mention the disqualification of eligible voters via bogus "scrub" lists, conservatives have been up in arms over claimed armies of ineligible voters casting ballots.  In fact, several states have "tightened" registration and/or ID requirements for voters.  And the tighter the requirements, the fewer eligible people vote.

Now comes a bipartisan report to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission which finds "little evidence" of this type of vote fraud.

According to the USA Today article linked above:

At least 11 states have approved new rules for independent voter-registration drives or requirements that voters produce specific forms of photo ID at polling places. Several of those laws have been blocked in court, most recently in Arizona last week. The House of Representatives last month approved a photo-ID law, now pending in the Senate.

The bipartisan report by two consultants to the election commission casts doubt on the problem those laws are intended to address. "There is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling-place fraud, or at least much less than is claimed, including voter impersonation, 'dead' voters, non-citizen voting and felon voters," the report says.

The report, prepared by Tova Wang, an elections expert at the Century Foundation think tank, and Job Serebrov, an Arkansas attorney, says most fraud occurs in the absentee ballot process, such as through coercion or forgery. Wang declined to comment on the report, and Serebrov could not be reached for comment.

Others who reviewed the report for the election commission differ on its findings. Jon Greenbaum of the liberal Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law says it was convincing. The committee wrote to the commission Friday seeking its release.

Conservatives dispute the research and conclusions. Thor Hearne, counsel to the American Center for Voting Rights, notes that the Justice Department has sued Missouri for having ineligible voters registered, while dead people have turned up on the registration rolls in Michigan. "It is just wrong to say that this isn't a problem," he says.

The report was actually given to the Election Commission in May, but in 21st century America, of course, objections by conservatives mean the Commission decided not to make the report public.

USA Today did obtain a copy, however, and has made it available here.

It's amazing how consistent the conservative wing of the Republican Party is.  Is there a real, verifiable problem that is hurting the country--like job losses, a poorly conceived foreign war, outrageous health care costs, growing poverty? Then ignore it or try to argue it out of existence.

Is there an emotional concern over an issue that has little to no real effect on the country--like gay marriage, the absurdly named "death tax," or the "theft of Christmas?"  Then mobilize the troops nationally, collect millions or billions of dollars and wage a take-no-prisoners campaign to fix what isn't broken.

That alone dictates that we rid the federal legislature of these clowns, in order to start addressing the myriad problems that threaten to choke this country into submission and render it incapable of anything but subservience to the wealthy and the powerful.