Kuwaiti Man Gets 10 Years for Blasphemy »« Bigots Want Change in DOMA Legal Strategy

McCotter Fiasco Used to Justify Voter Purges

A Heritage Foundation representative went on MSNBC and advocate laws that purge voter rolls and make it far more difficult for people to register and to vote. When challenged to come up with examples of actual voter fraud, he could not — but he offered up Thad McCotter’s petition debacle as an excuse for them:

DARLING: And there’ve been examples of voter fraud… in Florida. Look at ACORN.

TODD: Where is this voter fraud? I mean it is not this giant…

DARLING: We’ve had recent examples.

TODD: We’re talking about one or two people here, one or two people… and we’re not even a hundred percent sure.

DARLING: We just had a Michigan Congressman [Republican Thaddeus McCotter] resign… not run for re-election because he gathered signatures… his campaign gathered signatures that couldn’t be validated.

Say what? McCotter’s problems have exactly nothing to do with voter fraud. It isn’t even voter registration fraud, for crying out loud. It was just a matter of laziness or incompetence, apparently, where the campaign only gathered 250 signatures so they photocopied the petitions over and over again to make it look like they got 2000 instead. That has nothing even remotely to do with anyone voting illegally.

Comments

  1. Stevarious says

    where the campaign only gathered 250 signatures so they photocopied the petitions over and over again to make it look like they got 2000 instead.

    I wonder how many other campaigns have gotten away with such foolishness simply because no one is checking.

  2. d cwilson says

    diddimusmantwell @#1:

    Just because the existing laws were enforced in that case doesn’t mean we don’t need new laws to address an imaginary problem that is completely unrelated.

  3. eric says

    Heritage has a good point. Since they have proven to be corrupt and untrustworthy, all incumbent politicians and their staffs should be removed from voting registration rolls immediately.

  4. erichoug says

    I’m wondering, is there one single document that can be used to prove both citizenship and residency?

    The reason being, I think that every single US citizen over the age of 18 should be registered to vote. I don’t think it should be an “opt in” system. It should be a system where the default is that you are registered. With today’s technology if you go to a polling place not in your district they should still allow you to vote using a provisional ballot.

    If we want to be a truly representative democracy then we should be trying to expand the vote, not shrink it.

  5. Randomfactor says

    If we want to be a truly representative democracy then we should be trying to expand the vote, not shrink it.

    But if the wrong people are allowed to vote, the terrorists lose!

  6. thisisaturingtest says

    If we want to be a truly representative democracy then we should be trying to expand the vote, not shrink it.

    See, there’s your problem- you’re assuming that the Republicans pushing this crap actually want representative democracy. I’m getting a feeling, stronger and stronger every day, that that is the last thing they want. They want folks to be mindless consumers of what they’re selling, not voters with a voice in it.
    (I used to scoff at such ideas as paranoid nonsense. After seeing some of the shit the far-right has successfully pulled off here lately, with little to no pushback by moderates, I’m thinking paranoia has its little points.)

  7. azportsider says

    Let me see…there was a complaint about vote fraud lodged in Florida back in 2008. The complaint named Ann Coulter as the miscreant.

  8. iknklast says

    “I wonder how many other campaigns have gotten away with such foolishness simply because no one is checking.”

    I used to date a man who collected petition signatures for a living (yes, you can make a living – not a very good one). He was very careful about asking if they were registered and if they’d signed before, because he only got paid for valid signatures – and they were checked.

    Ralph Nader did not make the ballot in Oklahoma in 2000 because the volunteers who collected signatures for the Green Party weren’t so careful, and let just anybody sign. Yes, these are checked.

  9. scienceavenger says

    I’ve been watching Faux News for the last few weeks to see just what evidence they have for voter fraud, and they’ve got jack. All they talk about is potential probems, like dead people supposedly on voter roles. They don’t seem to get that unless someone attempts to vote as said corpse, there’s no fraud.

    It’s akin to claiming your neighborhood has a mass burglary problem because many residents leave their doors unlocked.

  10. eric says

    is there one single document that can be used to prove both citizenship and residency?

    Prove? Almost certainly not. Indicate? Yes – your voter registration card. :) I’m being a bit facetious. I can’t think of one form which identifies both.

    I actually don’t think there’s anything particularly onerous or difficult about registering to vote. I think the state’s responsibility is to make it easy to access, fill out, and submit the appropriate forms. After that, its the old ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink’ issue. I can put the form in your hand. I can tell you where your voting place is. But if you throw out the form because you can’t be bothered, or you fill it out but then don’t show up on election day, I am not sure it’s the State’s responsibility to make you do those things.

    In some countries, the state does take on that responsibility. I believe Australia, for instance, makes voting mandatory and fines you if you don’t show up. But I am not sure I would go that far in the US. Besides which, we have over 10x their population, and 50 administrative states compared to their 7, so the cost and difficulties associated with creating a mandatory program would probably be a lot bigger. In terms of population, Australia is more comparable to Florida than it is to the U.S.

  11. slc1 says

    Re azportsider @ #8

    I don’t if this was the case here but apparently Coulter has been accused of lying about her age.

  12. harold says

    If we want to be a truly representative democracy then we should be trying to expand the vote, not shrink it.

    This made me laugh (not because I don’t agree with it). I guess the appearance of naivete is created by the use of the term “we”.

    Let’s review US history. Back in the Colonial days, local governments were often appointed by the King. Some people argued that local white men of substantial property should be allowed to vote for their own government. The right wing of the time opposed that idea.

    Eventually there was a revolution and local white men of substantial property were allowed to vote. Eventually the vote was extended to all adult white men, without property test requirements. The right of the time opposed that.

    Slavery proceeded apace; in fact African-Americans made up a greater percentage of the population in 1790 than they do now. Slavery was eventually officially abolished after the Civil War. There was a transient period during which African American men (but not women) in the South had strong access to voting. This triggered a nationwide backlash, and local laws were put in place to eliminate African-American voting. These laws, combined with many measures that were outright illegal even in the South but widely tolerated, were strikingly effective.

    Meanwhile, women decided that they would like to get the vote as well. After decades of controversy, ridicule, and occasional brutal violence toward activists (ridiculed as “suffragettes” because they advocated for “suffrage”), women got the vote in 1920. The right wing of the time opposed this.

    When FDR wanted to get Social Security passed, it was necessary to exclude farm workers and domestic servants from the program. This was code for excluding African-Americans.

    When official segregation was lifted in the 1950′s and 1960′s, there was, shall we say, a bit of controversy.

    Since then, efforts to restrict the vote have continued. No-one has openly campaigned on denying the vote directly on the basis of racial or gender identity. However, the idea that only property owners should vote is openly popular in some circles, right wing commentator Ann Coulter has “jokingly” suggested that women shouldn’t have the vote, and most of the current “voter fraud” vote suppression is directed firmly at ethnic minorities and poor people.

    So yes, if “we” wanted a “truly representative democracy”, we’d try to expand the vote, encourage people to vote, and so on. But “we” don’t.

  13. meg says

    I’m sure I’ve posted this here before, but here goes again.

    I don’t get how a) this is an issue, and b) how it can be so complicated.

    Here, 3 months before my 18th birthday, and Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) worker showed up at the door one weekend. We knew an election was imminent. (Dates aren’t set, but terms have limits). He was checking if all adults in the house were registered – voting is compulsory. He then asked was anyone turning 18 soon. (This may be why this was done – we had a large teenage population in the area, and I’ve not had this happen again). My mother informed him yes. I was given a form to fill out, handed over my learners permit, and the worker then signed off on everything. I was told that I would be automatically enrolled on my 18th birthday. Simple. We thought it was pretty cool – problem was solved before it had come up, and I felt pretty cool about being on the role (election was 2 days before my birthday, however!)

    When I do go to vote (always held on Saturdays) the process is even simpler. I walk up to an AEC worker, say my name. They draw a line through it. I don’t hand over id. Then, afterwards, the AEC collect all the roles from each polling place for a electorate, and collate those attendance records. Those who don’t vote will often get a fine, (council elections seem to be an exception, but I’m not 100% on that) and if your name is crossed off twice, then some sort of investigation starts. But honestly, it’s never been a problem.

    Employers MUST allow you time to vote. We don’t waste money on a ‘get out the vote’ campaign. And it seems to work. We don’t have machines or scandals. Well, recounts, sure, but nothing too major that I recall. Even when we ended up with a hung parliament, no one suggested the voting system was a fault. Just the politicians.

  14. azportsider says

    slc1: yes, I’ve heard that she lies about her age, but in this case I believe she attempted to vote at the wrong polling place.

  15. Stevarious says

    He was checking if all adults in the house were registered – voting is compulsory.

    Compulsory? Really?

    I really like this idea. I’ve been looking for a place to move to. How’s your immigration law?

  16. meg says

    @Stevarious – depends. How’s your English? Don’t come by boat.

    I always assumed everywhere was the same. Took me a while to work out what ‘voter turnout’ meant. I think we’re the only western democratic country that enforces it – apparently Greece has it, but doesn’t enforce it. Not sure about the rest of Europe.

    For the record, I think we’re a prime example of the fact that more voter turnout /= a ‘left wing’ (Democratic, Labor) victory. As I mentioned, we currently have a hung parliament. Which has been . . . .interesting. (Both major parties lead by the most disliked politicians we’ve had in a while.)

  17. Stevarious says

    @meg

    Actually, my English is pretty good.

    And I don’t mean “Aym an Americuhn and we ahll speek thuh best!” kind of good. I can recognize many different American accents and notice when I slip back into mine (usually when I’m stressed).

    (A while back I thought it would be cool to be able to do impressions. Learning to recognize my own accent came as quite a surprise!)

    Can’t leave for six years yet, though. Gonna have to ride it out for two more presidential elections. I imagine by then we’ll know how this all is really going to turn out. (Though Wisconsin yesterday I think was a major turning point for the worse.)

  18. says

    @meg: In Queensland voting is compulsory in local council elections.

    A visitor from the US on an Aussie TV program was informed that voting was compulsory (this was in 2008) and when he asked what the penalty for not voting was, he was told “George Bush”.

    You left out the bit about optional preferential voting. To mark the ballot paper to make a formal vote you need to put a number in a box (1) and number preferences for the rest of the candidates. None of this run-off or primary rubbish, as the choice of preference if your number one preferred candidate does not get a majority of votes. As an example, when Ralph Nader ran as a candidate, if the US had preferential voting it is a good bet that the Democrat would have won due to the distribution of preferences. A ballot that has no identifiable choice (ie blank or someone drew a cartoon on it etc) it is classed as an informal vote, and not counted.

    Little known fact: In Queensland the electoral roll is also used for working out jury duty. As everyone over 18 is enrolled, it makes a good database for such things.

    Another even littler known fact: If something like 75% of the votes in an electorate are informal, the election in that seat has to be run again, and none of the candidates on the original ballot are allowed to run again.*

    * Caveat to that: it is illegal to advertise or campaign for the electors in a seat to vote informal.

  19. meg says

    @Rixaeton

    Yep, I believe NSW use the electoral role for jury duty as well.

    Council elections are compulsory here as well – but I missed one once as I was away, and wasn’t fined – so that’s what I’m basing that on.

    I didn’t want to confuse anyone with preferential voting. I didn’t know about the 75% informal though. Do you know if that’s ever happened?

  20. says

    According to this AEC report (pdf) the highest number of informal votes ever recorded in Australia was in 1984, with a national average of 6.34%. I don’t remember a follow-up byelection that year due to informals that year, so I don’t think the informal provision has ever been used.

    BTW: if anyone wants a rather wonkful report on Optional Preferential Voting, try this Queensland Govt report (pdf)

  21. greg1466 says

    Funny how the one specific case of ‘voter fraud’ he can sight was fraud perpetrated by a party/campaign and not voters. Actually, it seems that most of the actual cases that can be sighted had nothing to do with ‘voters’. Yes, I’m looking at you Florida.

  22. says

    “But I am not sure I would go that far in the US. Besides which, we have over 10x their population, and 50 administrative states compared to their 7, so the cost and difficulties associated with creating a mandatory program would probably be a lot bigger.”

    Social Security. Drivers licenses. Automobile registration. All nationally integrated or nationally run programs. All have problems with fraud, inaccuracy and inefficiency. Nobody’s suggesting getting rid of them, afaia.

    The conversation on another thread last week made it fairly clear that registering to vote, or obtain voter ID’s IS, at least for some folks (old, black, poor–with some overlap) an onerous task.

  23. christophburschka says

    Hey look, we’re committing voter fraud, so we need to be trusted with purging voter rolls to prevent voter fraud.

  24. naturalcynic says

    Awwwwww. Fuck it, just repeal the 24th Amendment. A $50,000 dollar Poll Tax will keep the riff-raff from voting and might make a dent in the National Debt.

Leave a Reply