Sunday, October 26, 2008

Underdog

The Republicans have been making a lot of noise lately about voter fraud.  The Reupblicans party of Ohio is suing the Secretary of State.  McCain tried to hammer Obama with ACORN in the last debate. It has become clear to me that this noise is really a smoke screen for a systematic effort to disenfranchise new voters, poor voters, and minority voters who overwhelming support Obama. 

Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are doing some great reporting on the subject in Rolling Stone, on public radio, and on their own site Steal Back Your Vote

Some alarming claims:

  • On Super Tuesday, one in nine Democrats who tried to cast ballots in New Mexico found their names missing from the registration lists. [RS]
  • In Florida, GOP officials created "match" rules that rejected more than 15,000 new registrants in 2006 and 2007 — nearly three-fourths of them Hispanic and black voters [RS]
  • Colorado holds the record: Donetta Davidson, the Republican secretary of state, and her GOP successor oversaw the elimination of nearly one of every six of their state's voters. Bush has since appointed Davidson to the Election Assistance Commission, the federal agency created by HAVA, which provides guidance to the states on "list maintenance" methods. [RS]

What this means to me is that no matter how much Obama is ahead, he is going to need to carry a huge vote cushion on election day in order to win.  As Sly and the Family Stone said back in 1967, "you're the underdog and you've gotta be twice as good."

2 comments:

  1. I read that RS article last night. Very scary stuff. On the other hand, though, I was rather confused when I voted on Friday and I handed the person my voter registration card and my ID, and she said, "I don't need to see your ID if you have your card." I could have stolen anyone's card and voted for them. I don't think a simple check to make sure a picture ID matches the name on your card is a bad idea. However, I was a little nervous that they wouldn't let me vote because I have a different address on each. But I technically do reside at both. And moreover, if they're going to start checking my ballot against other government documents, then my vote probably won't count if they use whatever company it was that had me listed as Kitamore.

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  2. The problem of in-person inpersonation voter fraud is very low. There are two reasons, as far as I can tell:

    1. It's hard. How hard is it to steal someone's registration card? And even if one is stolen, what happens if the owner reports it stolen? It seems like that would cause the polling place to apply added scrutiny to whomever shows up to vote with a card which is reported stolen. It's the same thing with credit cards - the vast majority of credit card purchases do not require ID (and many internet purchases don't even require the card.) Once a card is reported stolen, they can arrest the next person who tries to use it.

    2. It's inefficient. Even if you had a reliable way to steal registration cards, you could still only steal one vote at a time. The article gives six ways to alter voting outcomes that are more efficient.

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