Voter fraud doesn't exist

Like hell it doesn't.

But the astonishing assertion that voter fraud doesn't exist found it's way onto this blog in response to my Aug. 8 post that "Voter ID law does not suppress election turnout."

Well, I knew that a favorite progressive/liberal/Democrat trope is that Republicans/conservatives and fellow traveling meanies are trying by all kinds of shabby measures to " suppress" minority voting. Yet little did I expect the flat out, absolutist,  unqualified assertion that voter fraud does not exist.  Such hell-bent certitude. Especially when such assertions are issued from Chicago--where voter fraud had been raised to a fine art--and from savvy observers whom I thought would know better.

Such certitude in the face of reality can only be explained by blind, partisan ideology.

The "proof" that voter fraud doesn't exist  is allegedly found in social science and "scholarly" studies, never mind that so many are notorious for their biases and methodological limits. They are presented as far superior to mere "anecdotal evidence," as if eye witness accounts didn't count.

As a longtime reporter in Chicago, I have first-hand evidence of voter fraud. Including the time when I personally visited homes of people who were listed as registered and voting, but--alas--found people who said, "Yes, that's my name, but I didn't vote. Did someone vote in my place?" Chicago didn't get the reputation of a city where people  "vote early and often" for nothing.

People being paid to vote the for the "right" candidate; election judges joining "handicapped" voters in the election booth; tampering with voting machine results after the polls close; trooping skid row bums to polling places to vote under someone else's name; and so on and so on and so on.

You don't have to look far for current evidence of vote fraud. The Better Government Assn. keeps some tabs on it here and here, for example. In New York, the city's Department of Investigations demonstrated how easy and almost undetectable vote fraud is.

DOI undercover agents showed up at 63 polling places last fall and pretended to be voters who should have been turned away by election officials; the agents assumed the names of individuals who had died or moved out of town, or who were sitting in jail. In 61 instances, or 97 percent of the time, the testers were allowed to vote. Those who did vote cast only a write-in vote for a “John Test” so as to not affect the outcome of any contest. DOI published its findings two weeks ago in a searing 70-page report accusing the city’s Board of Elections of incompetence, waste, nepotism, and lax procedures.

The stories about voter fraud is as common as robins in spring. Go here, here, here, here, here and here. To mention just a few of huge number of stories found on line.

Voter fraud, or election fraud, or whatever you want to call it, is not partisan; examples can be found over the years committed by both parties. But here's the irony: By fighting so hard against reasonable safeguards against vote fraud, liberals/progressives/Democrats are demonstrating that they believe most of it is committed by their base: poor, minorities, big city machines and so forth.

Most unreasonable is the fevered opposition to the idea that anyone voting should be able to document that he is whoever he says he is. The question of voter identification has taken on such a frenzy that it has eclipsed rational discussion.

Underlying the argument is the assumption that poor people are so incapacitated and ignorant that they cannot figure out how to summon up the energy and smarts to go through the process. Yet, somehow, they are able to manage the application process for, say, food stamps.

Take a look at what it takes to qualify for food stamps in Illinois.

The application process begins the day your DHS office receives your signed application. You will be asked to come to the office for an interview or participate by phone if you are unable to come to the office.

You will be asked for various types of documents such as:

  • proof of your identity
  • proof of your residence
  • proof of Social Security numbers for all people on your application
  • other types of documents depending on your circumstances.

The DHS caseworker will tell you what you need to bring.

Is that too complicated? Too inconvenient? Were the people who created these requirements mean? Racist? Trying to starve the poor? By the logic of the no-ID voter advocates, should hungry people seeking food stamps be unburdened of these requirements?

Obviously not. But if you can ascribe selfish political reasons for Republicans wanting voter ID, why can't liberals/progressives/Democrats be accused of  wanting wide-open voting because it will facilitate voter fraud that will favor them?

The answer is: Republicans and conservatives are cruel and racist. Liberals/progressives/Democrats are pure of heart and always, always have the highest motives.

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  • Great post.

  • But your blog was about voter ID laws, Dennis. Such laws requiring state-issued IDs would at best address only one form of vote fraud, in-person voter impersonation. I know you like President Obama even less than you like empirical evidence, but he raised a point you should address:

    "One recent study found only 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation in 12 years. Another analysis found that out of 197 million votes cast for federal elections from 2002 to 2005 only 40 voters out of 197 million were indicted for fraud…. Now for those of you who are math majors… the percentage is 0.00002 percent."

    As for your comparison of voting with food stamps, I don't have a constitutional right to food stamps. I do have a constitutional right to vote.

    Given the scope of the in-person voter impersonation problem, it becomes clear that voter ID laws are more directly designed to solve a political issue, not a criminal one.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    You also have a constitutional right to bear arms, so your argument says one not need an ID for gun ownership.

    And you never answered the moral question. If you believed a group were issuing food stamp to buy votes, would you say issuing food stamps is wrong?

    Given the scope that 1 in 6 people have been on food stamps for the last 4 years, double that prior to the Obama administration, it becomes clear that the Progressive food stamp policy is more directly designed to solve a political issue, not hunger.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    Your argument comparing voting to food stamps is one of apples and oranges--false equivalents.

    As to your argument that regulations on the right to bear arms disprove my argument against voter ID laws, you have overstated my point. I acknowledge that even constitutional rights may be subject to regulation. However, the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that when fundamental constitutional rights are regulated such regulations are subject to "strict scrutiny." To pass muster they must protect a compelling government interest, be narrowly tailored and be the least restrictive possible.

    Using this test, voter ID laws will likely fail.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    It is not a false equivalent, part of your argument was proper ID was wrong because of the Republicans 'intention'. I simply argued that you would not think that giving out food stamps was wrong if the 'intention' was vote buying. It's similar to the argument that an act is only good based it's consequences.

    'To pass muster they must protect a compelling government interest'...This is exactly what we're arguing, I think it protects a compelling government interest. And the argument that Progressive rhetoric will once again win out over common sense isn't really moving the the shock meter.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    With credit to Aquinas Wired....Deontological ethics or deontology (from Greek δέον, deon, "obligation, duty") is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules. It is sometimes described as "duty-" or "obligation-" or "rule-" based ethics, because rules "bind you to your duty."

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to jnorto:

    You ignored the main purpose of the food stamp comment which was to counter the idea that expecting poor people to get an ID is an onerous task.

  • In reply to Wayne Driscoll:

    But your argument ignores the difference between constitutional rights and government benefits. Could the government require you to show a government-issued photo ID to attend church? After all, it is not an "onerous task."

  • Is that a serious question?

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Yes. Requiring the showing of a photo ID may deter a deadly attack on a house of worship by a terrorist, a racist or a religious hater somewhere or sometime. That would serve a legitimate governmental interest, wouldn't it? And the burden it imposes is not onerous.

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