VOTER ID LAWS: THE INCONVENIENCE OF REALITY
A FEW INCONVENIENT FACTS
Voter ID Laws
If you’ve read Al Gore’s “The Assault On Reason” you will understand how much diminished is our ability to conduct a national discussion today about our country’s important issues. Used to be that we got our information from the print media and our three national television networks – NBC, CBS and ABC. Radio played a role too. Back then we relied on the press and the media to give us information. When they gave us opinion, they said so. Today, with the plethora of media communications possibilities, one would think that access to unadultered information, i.e. facts, would be much easier. But you would be wrong. Unlike ABC, NBC and CBS of old, today no distinction is made between fact and opinion. Quite the contrary. Media outlets pride themselves on espousing the liberal, or conservative or libertarian point of view. Thus, contrary to what one might think, it’s become much more difficult to ferret out facts from all the fiction we are bombarded with every day. In fact, not five minutes ago I replied to a post on Politico from someone who said that Bush, Chaney and Rumsfeld didn’t lie about WMD’s in Iraq, but were mislead by false intelligence. It has been proven without a doubt that this is simply not the case. I.E., this assertion is simply not true. It is contrafactual. Intelligence was ignored, falsified and doctored to support the fiction that Saddam Hussein had WMD’s and that somehow 9-11 was connected to Al Qaeda. Yet, this fiction remains in the minds of some, frankly way too many, Americans.
So here’s my small attempt to dispel some of the more “popular” fictions that the right wingers, conservatives and Tea Baggers keep on nurturing.
THE CLAIM: VOTER FRAUD IS A NATIONAL PROBLEM.
Actually this one is very easy to debunk. It’s been shown time and time again that voters pretending to be someone else – the only rational justification for Voter ID’s laws - is not and has not been a “massive problem.” But thanks to Republican Governors, the right wing media, and that wonderful, totally patriotic, bipartisan organization – ALEC – 12 states have now enacted stricter Voter ID laws since 2011 and more have cut back on early voting.
But the reality of voter fraud is quite different. Here’s one of the latest pieces of research on Voter Fraud:
VOTER IMPERSONATION: 31 POSSIBLE CASES OUT OF 1 (ONE) BILLON CAST
Justin Levitt, professor of law at Loyola University Law School, researched the cases of voter fraud in general, primary, special and municipal elections between the years 2000 and 2014. He found 31 possible – yes, “possible” – instance of potential – yes, “potential” - voter fraud that the new Voter ID laws are design to stamp out. Thirty-one possible cases out of the more than 1 billion votes cast.
As for me, if any company, any government, any organization has this miniscule level of fraud, they should be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Levitt points out that the kind of fraud that actually occurs in elections doesn’t come from someone showing up at a polling place and giving false identity information – the only kind of fraud that Voter ID laws address – but comes much more from absentee ballots or vote buying, or coercion or ballot box stuffing by election officials. These, he says, are the real problem areas in fraudulent voting.
So there you have it. 31 possible, potential, cases of voters giving false identification out of 1 Billion votes cast between 2000 and 2014.
Now you will hear from the right wing: "What’s wrong with requiring photo ID’s to vote?" Frankly, nothing really on its face. But, if you go to the motive behind the new Voter ID legislation, it’s very clear that they are not intended to stamp out fraud, they are designed to stamp out as many minority and Democratic voters as possible. I mean we all knew this – it’s never been a secret even though constantly right-wingers deny it - but when you actually research the facts around voter fraud, Voter ID’s are simply not the way to do it even if your real intent is to prevent fraud. The bigger problem, as I see it, is that there is no counter to the right wing’s attack on legitimate voters, Democrats though they might be. I am firmly convinced that if we liberals had a say in this “conversation” we could have avoided the spread of this right wing, anti-democratic practice. But we don’t. We do not have the means to effectively counter the right wing media and the falsehoods it intentionally creates. And it’s not only around the issue of Voter ID’s. More about this later. Thus, as Al Gore explains, we are in the grip of the continuing diminishment of the role of the average American in having the discussion and making the decisions ourselves that affect our nation and our society.
But, hey, thank God that our nation’s Republican Governors (with the help of ALEC) are right on top of one of the biggest scams of all times in our country.
Sheeeeesh! I need to take a shower.