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“Crying Fraud, Then Creating It”: Republicans, The Villains Of Their Own Conspiracy Theories

For once, the Republicans were right.

They have been obsessively claiming that voter-suppression measures are necessary because of widespread “ballot fraud.” However extensive investigations by the mainstream media have shown that ballot-fraud is a convenient myth.

Even the Bush administration, in an extensive five-year search, turned up no evidence of the kind of voting fraud—fake IDs, voting in the name of dead people, folks being bribed to vote—that the Republicans routinely allege. Republicans, evoking the tactics of the pre-civil rights segregationist South, simply want to make it more difficult for people who might support Democrats to exercise their right to vote. Some five million people, mostly minorities and the poor, are at risk of being denied their right to vote in 19 states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures, according to a report from the Brennan Center. Happily, the courts have struck down the most extreme of these measures, in Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, and most recently Pennsylvania.

Now, however, Republicans can claim some vindication. Serious voter fraud has emerged in Florida. But the ballot fraud is being perpetrated by Republicans!

The Florida GOP had hired a firm with a very sketchy record, called Strategic Allied Consulting. And guess what? The firm tried to register dead people! It also refused to register live people who tried to register as a Democrat or an independent.

An embarrassed party turned over evidence to state prosecutors and fired the firm.

But, hey, the Republicans should be pleased. They’ve now demonstrated, at long last, that ballot fraud does exist. Of course, the remedy is not suppression of legitimate voting, but prosecution of fraudsters. They seem to exist only on the Republican side.

 

By: Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect, October 3, 2012

October 4, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How States Are Rigging The 2012 Election

An attack on the right to vote is underway across the country through laws designed to make it more difficult to cast a ballot. If this were happening in an emerging democracy, we’d condemn it as election-rigging. But it’s happening here, so there’s barely a whimper.

The laws are being passed in the name of preventing “voter fraud.” But study after study has shown that fraud by voters is not a major problem — and is less of a problem than how hard many states make it for people to vote in the first place. Some of the new laws, notably those limiting the number of days for early voting, have little plausible connection to battling fraud.

These statutes are not neutral. Their greatest impact will be to reduce turnout among African Americans, Latinos and the young. It is no accident that these groups were key to Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 — or that the laws in question are being enacted in states where Republicans control state governments.

Again, think of what this would look like to a dispassionate observer. A party wins an election, as the GOP did in 2010. Then it changes the election laws in ways that benefit itself. In a democracy, the electorate is supposed to pick the politicians. With these laws, politicians are shaping their electorates.

Paradoxically, the rank partisanship of these measures is discouraging the media from reporting plainly on what’s going on. Voter suppression so clearly benefits the Republicans that the media typically report this through a partisan lens, knowing that accounts making clear whom these laws disenfranchise would be labeled as biased by the right. But the media should not fear telling the truth or standing up for the rights of the poor or the young.

The laws in question include requiring voter identification cards at the polls, limiting the time of early voting, ending same-day registration and making it difficult for groups to register new voters.

Sometimes the partisan motivation is so clear that if Stephen Colbert reported on what’s transpiring, his audience would assume he was making it up. In Texas, for example, the law allows concealed handgun licenses as identification but not student IDs. And guess what? Nationwide exit polls show that John McCain carried households in which someone owned a gun by 25 percentage points but lost voters in households without a gun by 32 points.

Besides Texas, states that enacted voter ID laws this year include Kansas, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Tennessee. Indiana and Georgia already had such requirements. The Maine Legislature voted to end same-day voter registration. Florida seems determined to go back to the chaos of the 2000 election. It shortened the early voting period, effectively ended the ability of registered voters to correct their address at the polls and imposed onerousrestrictions on organized voter-registration drives.

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court, by 6 to 3, upheld Indiana’s voter ID statute. So seeking judicial relief may be difficult. Nonetheless, the Justice Department should vigorously challenge these laws, particularly in states covered by the Voting Rights Act. And the court should be asked to review the issue again in light of new evidence that these laws have a real impact in restricting the rights of particular voter groups.

“This requirement is just a poll tax by another name,” state Sen. Wendy Davis declared when Texas was debating its ID law early this year. In the bad old days, poll taxes, now outlawed by the 24th Amendment, were used to keep African Americans from voting. Even if the Supreme Court didn’t see things her way, Davis is right. This is the civil rights issue of our moment.

In part because of a surge of voters who had not cast ballots before, the United States elected its first African American president in 2008. Are we now going to witness a subtle return of Jim Crow voting laws?

Whether or not these laws can be rolled back, their existence should unleash a great civic campaign akin to the voter-registration drives of the civil rights years. The poor, the young and people of color should get their IDs, flock to the polls and insist on their right to vote in 2012.

If voter suppression is to occur, let it happen for all to see. The whole world, which watched us with admiration and respect in 2008, will be watching again.

By: E. J. Dionne, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, June 19, 2011

June 26, 2011 Posted by | Class Warfare, Conservatives, Constitution, Democracy, Elections, Equal Rights, GOP, Governors, Guns, Ideologues, Ideology, Journalists, Lawmakers, Media, Politics, Press, Pundits, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, Supreme Court | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wisconsin Republicans On The Ropes

Christian Schneider, a fellow at a right-wing Wisconsin think-tank, has been writing regular dispatches for National Review, in which he channels the view of the state GOP. This latest one makes Wisconsin Republicans facing a recall sound pretty desperate:

If both Hopper and Kapanke lose, that leaves only one more seat Democrats have to pick up to retake the Senate. In order to delay recall elections, the GOP has planned to run fake Democratic primary candidates against the GOP challengers, which would push the elections back another month. That would give Republicans an extra month’s worth of distance from the collective-bargaining imbroglio that got them in this situation, and would allow more time to campaign.

Yet this will almost certainly be seen as a “dirty trick” by media and some voters. It certainly appears like an admission that Republicans are struggling. And while it can be argued that the recall elections in themselves are merely dirty tricks, enough of a double standard exists that this ploy could backfire.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says the same thing. Fake candidates are needed in order to give them “another month.” And it’s justified because a recall is also unfair — (“I think the cynicism comes from the recalls. Recalling senators for taking a tough vote is just wrong.”)

It’s a great glimpse into the process of rationalization. Fake candidates might be a dirty trick, but so is… petitioning to recall elected officials under Wisconsin law for enacting changes they didn’t campaign on that offend their constituents!

The more interesting thing to emerge here is that Republicans just want to drag things out as long as possible because they understand that right now they’re losing. You don’t try to buy time if you think you’re winning. It’s like Homer Simpson’s strategy to get through a test he knows he can’t pass — “I’ve been working on a plan.  During the exam, I’ll hide under some coats, and hope that somehow everything will work out.” If you don’t have any particular reason to think more time will help other than “something could happen,” then delay is a mark of real desperation.

What happens if Democrats win a net of three recall campaigns? Obviously it will be a shot against the bow of the most aggressively partisan Republican governors across the country. And note also that Wisconsin Republicans were planning to protect Paul Ryan from electoral challenge by making his district more Republican. But if they lose the state Senate, they’ll need to agree on a bipartisan redistricting plan, and they may not be able to pull it off.

 

By: Jonathan Chait, The New Republic, June 8, 2011

 

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June 8, 2011 Posted by | Collective Bargaining, Conservatives, Democracy, GOP, Gov Scott Walker, Government, Governors, Ideologues, Ideology, Media, Politics, Public Employees, Rep Paul Ryan, Republicans, Right Wing, Union Busting, Unions, Voters, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wisconsin Dems 6. Wisconsin Republicans 0.

Conservatives and some political observers are making a big deal out of the fact that the Dem candidate in the closely watched state Supreme Court race in Wisconsin finally conceded defeat today, as had long been expected.

But surely it’s also a big deal that we now know for certain that six Wisconsin Republican state senators will officially face recall elections, while a grand total of zero Democrats may face the same?

Today the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board announced that they have now approved the signatures required for recall elections against the following six GOP senators: Rob Cowles, Alberta Darling, Sheila Harsdorf, Randy Hopper, Dan Kapanke, and Luther Olsen. That means these six elections are definitely moving forward.

Meanwhile, the board has also announced that they are not prepared to approve the signatures gathered by Republicans for the recall of their three Democratic targets. Dems have alleged that the signature gathering by Republicans is fraudulent, and now the board has explicitly claimed that their reason for not approving the recall elections against Dems is that the signatures “have raised numerous factual and legal issues which need to be investigated and analyzed.”

Translation: The fraud allegations just may have something to them.

What this means: While Dems only need to net three recall elections to take back the state senate, it is now within the realm of possibility that even as twice that number of Republicans face recall elections, no Dems will. That’s a pretty sizable advantage for Dems.

To be clear, it is possible that the board will ultimately approve some or all three of the recall elections against Dems. But even if that happens, Dems still retain a significant advantage. Either way, it is clearly an important development that we now know for a fact that six recalls against Republicans will definitely proceed.

One other tidbit: The Government Accountability Board has also asked the Wisconsin state legislature for an additional $40,000 to help evaluate the signatures and facilitate the recall elections. But a Board spokesman, Reid Magney, confirms to me that the legislature has not responded to the request. “We have not gotten an answer from them,” Magney tells me.

Guess who controls the state legislature? Wisconsin Republicans. Indeed, the

senate side of the relevant committee that would make those funds available is stacked with GOP recall targets. Go figure!

By: Greg Sargent, The Plum Line, The Washington Post, May 31, 2011

May 31, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Democracy, Gov Scott Walker, Ideologues, Ideology, Lawmakers, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States, Union Busting, Unions, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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