Al Franken and the felon vote
On Monday, Byron York of the Washington Examiner called attention to a new book on vote fraud, Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk, which includes a chapter on the highly contentious 2008 Minnesota Senate race. After a bitter legal struggle, this saw Democrat Al Franken declared the winner by a mere 312 votes.
There were a lot of irregularities in that race, where a blizzard of magically appearing Franken ballots put the old notion of squeaky-clean Minnesota elections to rest forever. But one specific data point has become inarguable, thanks to the work of authors John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky: the number of outright illegal votes cast by felons in the election far exceeds Franken’s margin of victory.
To date, 1099 felon votes have been identified, and 177 people have actually been convicted of voting illegally, with 66 more awaiting trial. This is all the more remarkable because a simple claim of ignorance is good enough to avoid conviction – as York puts it, “the accused can get off by claiming not to have known they did anything wrong.” Furthermore, it took quite a bit of shoe leather for conservative group Minnesota Majority to find state prosecutors willing to work the vote-fraud cases.
As York points out, this is all very contrary to the argument peddled by vote fraud defenders, who like to claim sensible voter ID measures are unnecessary because fraud is relatively rare. In this case, the significance of the fraudulent vote is exceptionally clear. It’s not noted which candidate these felons voted for, but it’s highly unlikely that most of them voted for the Republican. And Franken wound up being the 60th vote in favor of inflicting ObamaCare upon the nation.
Where are the cries of “disenfranchisement” we hear so often from opponents of voter ID laws? No matter who these felons voted for, we have evidence of at least 1099 legitimate voters “disenfranchised” In Minnesota. Of course, those who insist on honest elections don’t have camera-ready individuals with heart-tugging tales of disenfranchisement to parade in front of reporters. Is that the only reason no one on the Left seems to care about these nullified franchises? How about if we recruit 1099 minority voters from Minnesota and say they’re the ones who got their votes erased by the felons?
Vote fraud is all too easily swept under the rug as a “victimless” crime. It’s difficult to detect, especially since serious efforts at detection are immediately denounced as racism. It’s rarely punished – the conviction rate in these Minnesota cases is astoundingly high. And the effects of fraudulent votes endure long after the crime is committed. Once the election is over, the prize is firmly in hand, and everything that follows is something of a sideshow. Al Franken’s not likely to be stripped of his Senate seat, and even if he were, the damage he did by voting for ObamaCare would remain. With such a comparison of risk and reward, fraudsters have every reason to keep hitting our archaic election systems, everywhere they can.