What’s the Matter With Wisconsin…and Half of America

Voter suppression is making news in Wisconsin.

Now in its second week, the first trial challenging the voter ID law in the state of Wisconsin highlights what appears to be a growing trend across the nation to hamper the voting process. The federal lawsuit, brought by civil rights group Advancement Project with co-counsel Arnold & Porter, brings to light the restrictive nature of the state’s law.
D.L. Chandler, Wisconsin Voter ID Trial Reveals Barriers For People of Color, Seniors, Nov 15., 2103, NewsOne.com

To those who believe that in-person voter fraud is rampant, I respectfully ask that you please produce the evidence. Arrest and conviction records would be best. If you can’t locate those, links to news reports – not claims, I’m talking actual news reports about arrests and convictions for in-person voter fraud – will do so long as they are from recognized and reputable sources.

If in-person voter fraud is the huge and rampant problem it’s claimed to be, then the reasonable expectation is that there is plenty of evidence in public records, right?

According to the Census Bureau, 132,948,000 Americans voted in 2012. Let’s set the bar low. Show me 133 arrests – just arrests – for in-person voter fraud in 2012. That’s 0.0001% of the total. In fact, feel free to pick any year you like and apply the same percentage.

Let me save you the trouble. That research has already been done by News21, “a national investigative reporting project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.” It’s been fact-checked by PolitiFact.

There is no in-person voter fraud. Period. Full stop.

To continue to claim that there is demonstrates either a lack of awareness of the facts or an intentional unwillingness to accept them.

This is about politics, and everyone knows it. Actually, let’s be accurate. Voter ID laws are all about Republican politics.

I live in Pennsylvania where Republican Governor Corbett has so far failed to get his voter suppression bill approved by the courts. Meanwhile, his State Department felt compelled to spend $1million dollars on an ad campaign about IDs during the lead up to this past election. To what end? The law has not been enacted.

He and Republicans everywhere understand that they stand a better chance of being elected in all but the tea-partiest of places only if they can suppress certain voters.

He, along with so many other Republicans, appear to me to be well on their way out the door in 2014. They have mostly themselves to blame. Despite it’s many failings and shortcomings, I expect Pennsylvanians and lots of Americans everywhere – even those trapped inside gerrymandered red districts – to come to their senses, to get to their polling places in big numbers, and to vote Democratic in 2014, 2015, 2016, and on and on and on.

I expect that kind of voting behavior from well-informed citizens which, unfortunately, excludes our fellow Americans still under the spell of the tea party, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, The Drudge Report, Redstate.com, The Cato Institute, The Heritage Foundation, and their bought-and-paid-for lackies in the GOP.

Those Americans – and, happily, the trend is for fewer and fewer of them – seem to insist on voting against their own self-interests by voting for Republicans in general. Alas, that’s their right. They, like everyone else, shouldn’t have to go through the trouble and expense of doing anything differently from what has always been the norm in this country when it comes to voting.

Register. Show up. Cast your vote.
(Or for our friends in more progressive and modern states, mail in your ballot.)

Let’s save the photo IDs for the really important things in life. You know, like buying pseudoephedrine from the grocery store pharmacist.

—–

Additional Reading

See this Washington Post piece commenting on an October 30, 2013 report, Alien Abduction and Voter Impersonation in the 2012 US General Election evidence from a survey list experiment by John S. Ahlquist, Kenneth R. Mayery, and Simon Jackmanz which includes this:

To summarize our findings: using a nationally representative Internet sample we find no significant indicators of voter impersonation in the 2012 US general election. We find no evidence of voter impersonation or vote buying in contested states or among low income voters, subsets where vote fraud is alleged to be most common. Most importantly from a policy perspective, we find no difference between states with and without same day voter registration (where fraud is again alleged to be easiest) and no difference between states with and without strict voter ID requirements (where it should be hardest).

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