Monday, May 15, 2017

Snipe Hunt That You Can Pay For

So the President of the United States lied to the American people.  I know what you are asking, "which time?"  Well the one to sooth his own ego because he lost the popular vote and it hurts him badly.  So he said there was wide spread voter fraud and that it was particular in numbers that would mean he won the popular vote too.  He has appointed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to help lead this snipe hunt.  Yeah that Kris Kobach who claimed wide spread voter fraud in his state and 4 times tried to pass laws that the courts found to be more voter suppression than voter fraud.  The issue is simple.  There is virtually no in-person voter fraud in this country.  There are in fact incidences of it happening.  Including a woman who voted twice for President Trump in the last election.  Another a Tea Party leader and head of Colorado's GOP who forged his wife's signature and voted for her.  But back to the commission.  It is looking at something that is not a problem.

Close elections have happened.  However for voter fraud to work at a state wide level it would require a great deal of work on the part of someone organizing 100s or 1000s of people to vote more than once and under an assumed name.  In Florida, in 2000, the initial numbers suggested that George W Bush won the state by around 1000 votes.  When the Supreme Court halted the hand recount he was up by about 600 votes.  If voter fraud were to sway that election, somewhere between 500-1000 votes in the state of Florida would have had to been cast illegally without getting caught.  Think about that, a system would have to be in place that either had people register in two places, vote in both places and not get caught voting in both places when the election results are reviewed.  Or there would have to be a team of people identifying non-voters (lazy or dead) who are on the registry, send someone to the polls as them, assume no one will question the signature line and any of them.  All to see if you can overcome enough votes to sway the election.  Oh I did I say if caught it is a federal crime that carries prison time.  How is this possible?

Laws have been developed to try to add more layers of necessary identification to vote to combat the non-existent issue of in-person voter fraud.  Members of the newly appointed commission are among the worst at putting barriers to certain constituencies when it comes to voting.  There have always been identification requirements for voting.  These laws found ways to make it harder for people to vote and that is not right.  Unless there is real evidence of in-person voter fraud what is the point of these laws beyond, what some have said, to make it easier for Republicans to get elected.

Now I know that registration fraud is an issue.  Both with people registering that shouldn't, or fake registrations being sent in or dead people remaining on the roles, or people moving and not re-registering.  People registering who shouldn't is not a common thing.  The big argument is that people in the country illegally vote.  They don't.  In fact they avoid official situations where they have to give information to government officials.  You see, they are always in fear of being deported.  As for non-citizen residence, well it happens, usually because the people doing the registering are not skilled at helping people know if they can vote or not.  In most cases they tend to be found out in the process.  As for fake registrations, well that is a problem of how community groups pay people to sign people up.  There is an incentive to file as many registrations as possible as many have been paid by form filled in.  The law requires anyone doing voter registration drives to send all applications in even if known to be fraudulent.  ACORN did that in 2008 and got attacked for it.  In fact it was officials in some ACORN offices that tipped off the government officials to bad registrations that they were required to turn in.  But the facts are overwhelmed by the story and thus the GOP used it as a lever by the GOP to destroy ACORN.  In Indiana there was a raid on a community group registering African Americans and other underrepresented minorities in several counties.  Big news about raid, by January there was still no public report and in fact it was another example of people creating fake voter registrations not to sway an election but to get paid.  But registration fraud has not been proven to relate to any fake cast votes on any major scale.

What is amazing is that the President is using information he doesn't understand from a study that showed voter rolls are not updated enough.  It found people registered in two places, or registered in the wrong place as well as out of date registrations.  Funny when mentioned it was found that many of the inner circle of Trump's advisers had bad registrations.  This is not nefarious this is the failure of bureaucracy.

In-person voter fraud is not an issue in our country.  The President's claim of 3-5 million illegal votes cast in the last election has been refuted by members of both major parities including by those officials in charge of elections for their state.  But even if there was an effort to do it, the mass scale it would take is staggering in its scope and the potential benefits versus the risks makes it not worth it.  In fact 10 years ago when the justice department looked into this they found virtually nothing.  This is a waste of time, money and energy when it comes to voter fraud.  However, if the goal is to stop minorities and the elderly from voting it could have a pay off for the GOP.  Is this what you want?

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