A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Category: Voter ID

“The Law Works, So Let’s Get Rid of It”: The Right’s New One-Size-Fits-All Argument

by evanmcmurry

Pierce spots a winner in the argument against abortion clinic buffer zones, in which the fact that the buffer zones have prevented the incidents they were meant to prevent is evidence that they’re clearly not necessary:

Mark Rienzi, the Catholic University law professor who represents the protesters, said there has not been a documented case of violence at a Massachusetts clinic since the 1994 killings. “The idea that someone like that will be deterred by a painted line on the ground is nonsensical,” he said. “In the meantime, you shouldn’t be able to use that to stop women from being offered these other options. As a practical matter, that’s what happens.”

“The law works, so we should get rid of it” argument is identical to the one trudged before the Supreme Court against Sections Four and Five of the VRA—an argument SCOTUS bought. Here’s John Roberts, cashing in his ACA-is-a-tax chit:

Nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically. Largely because of the Voting Rights Act, “[v]oter turnout and registration rates” in covered jurisdictions “now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.” Northwest Austin, supra, at 202. The tests and devices that blocked ballot access have been forbidden nationwide for over 40 years. Yet the Act has not eased [its] restrictions or narrowed the scope of [the formula that determines which parts of the country that are covered]. Instead those extraordinary and unprecedented features have been reauthorized as if nothing has changed, and they have grown even stronger.

This is becoming a Thing on the right. Julia Ioffe caught Rand Paul doing the same backflip last summer, as he wondered at the necessity of environmental regulations when the air had gotten so much cleaner over the last century—thanks, you know, to those very same regulations:

In case you didn’t follow that: Government regulation of coal is bad and useless, and environmentalists talking about smoke stacks polluting the air are hysterical. The reason the former is bad and useless is that the air has been getting cleaner. The air has been getting cleaner because of government rules, which, so bad and useless otherwise, have here produced a result—cleaner air that gets increasingly more clean with time—which, again, is what makes the liberals and environmentalists look crazy. Which all, somehow, proves to Paul that regulation now, to deal with a different but similar problem—global warming or drowning polar bears—is not the answer, because regulation doesn’t work. Which is why the environmentalists are crazy for wanting it. Get it?

It’s no wonder this argument is attractive, as a) it’s portable, and b) it dovetails with a rational conservative view that government becomes <spooky>Big Government</spooky> somewhat via inertia. The state doesn’t just overreach through unnecessary laws, but through necessary laws that outlast their necessity.

But that falls apart pretty quickly. Voting, pollution, and clinic harassment are iterative issues. They don’t get “solved” or “cured.” If anything, the very people declaring these laws expired draw attention to the exact events—voter ID proposals, chemical spills in West Virginia or exploding plants in West, Texas—that demonstrate the danger awaiting a slackening of enforcement, let alone repeal.

While You Were On SCOTUSBlog…

by evanmcmurry

…Virginia signed into law Voter ID, and North Dakota signed into law the most restrictive abortion measure yet. Not actually a very good day, all heartwarming profile pics aside.

Florida Declines To Involve Itself In GOP’s Vote Tampering Scheme. Florida!

by evanmcmurry

You can tell how extreme the GOP’s recent electoral college moves are by the fact that Florida is the voice of reason in all this. Steve Benen argues that the Florida GOP is only leaving the issue alone because they believe they still have a chance to win America’s Wang in future presidential elections and take all of its electoral votes, and thus have no reason to rig the system—unlike, say, Pennsylvania, where GOP margins are slipping and a proportionate allocation will give them a huge election-day boost.

But, still. When Florida doesn’t want any part of your vote tampering scheme…

George Will: Voting Is For Nazis

by evanmcmurry

The headline pretty much says it all. Also, this nugget:

“Sleep is an opinion.” So is nonvoting. Remember this as the Obama administration mounts a drive to federalize voter registration, a step toward making voting mandatory.

Skip over the high brow Obama conspiracy theory; Will seems to be—implicitly and accidentally, I think—recommending non-voting as a means of protest against Democratic administrations. I highly, highly support this endeavor.

UnSkewed Election Results

by evanmcmurry

I’ve been giving UnSkewed Polls guy credit these past couple weeks for acknowledging reality, admitting he was wrong, and moving on. That’ll learn me.

The Best Way To Spot Voter Fraud Is To Be A Fraud Yourself

by evanmcmurry

There’s an old saw that censors have the dirtiest minds. Perhaps we can now create the voter-fraud-paranoia corollary to that: those who scour the earth for the voter fraud have the most fraudulent practices.

Here’s Weigel:

And add something else—the absence of any presence from True the Vote, the independent, conservative, poll-watching organization that grew out of the Tea Party.

Before I got to the polls, True the Vote had an announcement: It was going to have trouble policing Ohio’s Franklin County. In order to watch the polls and potentially challenge voters, you have to either 1) be a member of a major party or 2) get five possible watchers to sign a form saying they can do it. True the Vote filled out the forms, but the Franklin County Board of Elections rejected them, explaining that the documents might have been falsified.

That’s right: the group dedicated to exposing voter fraud falsified documents to get the credentials to expose voter fraud. Well, how else were they going to know what it looks like?

Judicial Activism Meets Voter Fraud In Conservative Matrix Dealie

by evanmcmurry

Here’s Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, on SCOTUS’ one-line decision* to deny his attempt to suppress Democratic voting by curtailing early voting in Ohio:

Husted, the state’s top elections official, called the 6th Circuit’s decision an unprecedented intrusion by federal judges into state elections that was illegal and impractical.

“Despite the court’s decision today to deny our request for a stay, I firmly believe Ohio and its elected legislature should set the rules with respect to elections in Ohio, and not the federal court system,” Husted said in a statement. “However, the time has come to set aside the issue for this election.” (via)

Just so we’re clear, that’s judicial activism—which doesn’t exist—abetting voter fraud—which also doesn’t exist. This existential conspiracy goes all the way to the non-top. But what if Husted is just a brain in a vat?

* You can tell Scalia wasn’t involved, as otherwise there would have been an 8,000 word dissent.

Voter Fraud: Now In New, Republican Flavors

by evanmcmurry

Republicans are so desperate for an actual example of voter fraud that they’re now qualifying disgraced Republican congressmen for the job. From the National Review:

This month, four staffers for former Michigan congressman Thad McCotter were indicted for forging signatures on petitions to place him on the ballot.

[…] Now, the Detroit Free Press reports that McCotter, Inc. had apparently been forging petitions for years, and he didn’t actually qualify for the ballot in at least the 2008, 2010, and 2012 elections. The Free Press reports that data archivists found that “in 2008, at least 67 of the 177 petition pages submitted were either copies or had been doctored by cutting and pasting dates from other documents onto the petitions.”

[…] The McCotter scandal should remind all of us that voter fraud is serious business and can be bipartisan. The laws and safeguards against it protect all of us.

Because it’s NRO, the writer goes on to spin this incident as a perfect example of why we need the slew of Voter ID laws Republicans are pushing in various states, all of which disproportionately disenfranchise minorities, i.e. Democratic voters.

Thad McCotter, NRO somehow fails to mention, is a Republican. This “voter fraud is bipartisan” stuff is nonsense, as the only people who ever claimed it wasn’t was the GOP, who swear without evidence that ACORN and illegals are throwing elections; having imagined Democratic cases of fraud on one side and real cases of Republican fraud on the other doesn’t make anything bipartisan. And, as alicublog points out, what McCotter committed was election fraud, not voter fraud, so it’s hard to see how the proposed Voter ID laws would prevent it. “The laws and safeguards against it protect all of us” part is pure bull: the right is misrepresenting the crimes of their own members to pass bills that would disenfranchise Democratic voters. That’s extraordinarily cynical.

It’s also working. The sad thing is the truest part of the National Review‘s post may be its first line: “A new Washington Post poll found that 74 percent of Americans support having voters show ID at the polls, and a full 81 percent think voter fraud is a problem.”  The right not only has people jumping at shadows, they have people jumping the shadows they themselves are casting.

Hiding In Plan Sight, Voter ID Edition

by evanmcmurry

A Pennsylvania judge has allowed the state’s Voter ID bill—the one the state has admitted will not actually stop any of the voting fraud that doesn’t actually exist—to go forward, potentially disenfranchising tens of thousands of voters, most of them (coincidentally!) Democrats.

But what about that guy who claimed the law would elect Mitt Romney, thereby showing the hand of PA’s Voter ID law as not intended to crack down on voter fraud but merely to inconvenience Obama voters? Dave Weigel pulled out the relevant quote:

So, you can now proclaim the partisan motives for a bill to disenfranchise your opponent’s supports, do so loudly, on record, on a microphone, and on video, so long as the room kinda looks empty. (It probably helps if your state isn’t covered under Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, so Texas, don’t try this anytime soon.)

Obviously a judge can’t strike down a law on the basis of what Some Dude said in a speech. But in the absence of of any compelling reason to pass the law aside from keeping Democrats from voting, the “partisan interests may have provided one motivation for the votes of individual legislators” line seems overly credulous. Can the judge name, perhaps, another motivation? At all?

The Smoking Gun Of Voter ID Bills Just Gave A Deposition

by evanmcmurry

Former Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer spilled the beans in a 630-page deposition that included the term “Whack-a-dos” to describe Republicans and tea partiers, not once but twice.

Go read the thing for yourself—most of it is about what Wayland Smithers would call “misappropriation.” But here’s the money part if you’re into more than just shadenfreude:

On voter suppression, Greer said he had just completed a December 2009 meeting with party general counsel Jason Gonzalez, political consultant Jim Rimes and Eric Eikenberg, Crist’s chief of staff, when questions arose about fundraising.

“I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting. It had been one of those days,” he said.

Yup, just one of those cloudy, minority-disenfranchising days.

Greer’s deposition came as part of a lawsuit against the party over $130,000 of severance pay, so Republicans will almost certainly dismiss anything he says as stemming from animosity over being stiffed. Still. If the above can be in any way verified, it’ll be the smoking gun of Voter ID legislation.