Dispatches from the war against vote fraud
To the extent that anything resembling a logical argument against common-sense voter ID requirements exists at all, it’s predicated on the idea that vote fraud hardly ever happens. The idea that we should indulge relatively rare crimes by making things easy for the criminals is novel; I can’t think of too many other examples. And really, the “vote fraud is incredibly rare” mantra is only a minor sideshow act Democrats perform to make themselves look reasonable. The main strategic thrust of the war against voter ID is to use it as an excuse to smear its proponents as racist vote suppressors, while keeping a certain level of dubious ballots on standby for close races.
Out there in the real world, even the most cursory investigations are constantly uncovering all sorts of voter fraud. The latest story you’re not supposed to pay attention to comes from Florida, and it’s basically a rerun of a story from the last election. In 2012, local election authorities had a simple idea that evidently never occurred to anyone before: they compared the list of people who begged out of jury duty by claiming to be non-citizens against the voter registration list. Quite a few names appeared on both. Why the high-tech Information Age governments of every state don’t perform such tests in real time remains a mystery. No one should remain a registered voter for a single day after declining jury duty on citizenship grounds.
But that’s just one of many signs that vote fraud is deliberately tolerated by the system. People in power go out of their way to make things easy for dubious voters, in ways that would never be tolerated at the security checkpoint of an airport, or even the checkout counter of a liquor store. A local news station in Florida decided to run the same jury duty vs. voter registration integrity test last month… and easily discovered yet another large group of invalid voters… several of whom illegally voted in past elections. Remember, every liberal hack in the land will tell you this never, ever happens:
One of the fraudsters caught by this news team illegally voted in at least six prior elections, but that’s nothing compared to vote fraud queen bee Melowese Richardson of Ohio, convicted of four counts of felony vote fraud last year. Claims that she was merely making honest mistakes were difficult to square with the fact that she was a poll worker. Her crime spree stretched back as far as the 2008 elections. She was sentenced to five years in prison, but was released early because she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, thanks to the diligent efforts of her George Soros-funded legal team.
Good news, honest voters of Ohio: she’s evidently eligible to vote again, and even get another job as a poll worker, under Ohio law. Maybe she can even get another job at the EPA-funded environmentalist group she used to sit on the board of.
Naturally, Richardson doesn’t have to worry about prosecution by the federal authorities nominally charged with protecting ballot integrity, even though her fraudulent votes for President Obama constitute a federal offense, which she has admitted to on-camera. And her severe mental condition somehow didn’t prevent her from popping up at a big rally last weekend, where the convicted felon received a hero’s welcome and a hug from Al Sharpton before speaking out against the voter ID laws that would prevent crimes like hers.
What message does all this send to fraudsters? (Rhetorical question – it couldn’t be more clear if it was printed on billboards.) Tell me again how we shouldn’t be using the standard identification technologies of our age to secure the ballot, liberals.
We have a big problem with the vast, murky swamp of “kinda-sorta laws” Americans are compelled to plod through. It works both ways, as many of us come under both official and unofficial assault for activities which are not technically criminal, such as earning “too much” money. Meanwhile, laws on the books are routinely waived or ignored by our political class. Vote fraud most certainly should not fall into this swamp. Either deliberate vote fraud is a crime, or it is not. If it is not, then you don’t live in a democratic republic any more. If it is, then it should be prevented and prosecuted vigorously. Not only does this thwart determined actors, it sends a potent warning to would-be miscreants. Criminal activity is generally a rational transaction, in which costs are weighted against benefits. This is especially true of ballot box theft, which is hardly a crime of passion – it’s deliberate, and in some cases, organized. When the benefits from such activity are great, while the costs are low, it will occur more often.
It’s absurd that our society is expected to leave itself open to such attack by deliberately avoiding the standard identification techniques we use in countless other walks of life. Voter ID is not about creating some bizarre new security system that would make TSA agents blush. It’s about refusing to keep ourselves mired in 1960s procedures until we’re halfway through the new century, if not the new millennium. Instead of debating exactly how commonplace these offenses are – already a losing proposition for the opponents of voter ID, who find themselves with a lot of news stories needing a flush down the Memory Hole – let’s just make them non-existent and be done with it.
For all the race-baiting performed by the anti-ID crowd, there are a lot of polls that show heavy majorities in various minority communities agreeing with that proposition, and despite all the horror stories about vote suppression, that’s never what actually happens when these sensible ID laws are implemented. Demonstrable examples of vote suppression due to tighter ID laws are much harder to cite than examples of vote fraud, aren’t they? But the left-wing side of this discussion carries on as if the reverse were true.
Last week brought a very positive development, as a federal judge ruled that the federal government must modify national voter registration forms to accommodate proof-of-citizenship requirements lawfully passed in Kansas and Arizona. The Associated Press reports:
Both [Kansas and Arizona] require new voters to provide a birth certificate, passport or other documentation to prove their U.S. citizenship to election officials. The federal registration form requires only that prospective voters sign a statement declaring they are citizens.
Kansas and Arizona asked the federal agency for state-specific modifications, but it refused. The states and their top elected officials — Secretaries of State Kris Kobach of Kansas and Ken Bennett of Arizona, both conservative Republicans — sued the agency last year.
Most voters in both states register with state forms, but their officials said the availability of the federal form created a loophole in enforcement of proof-of-citizenship requirements. Supporters argue the requirements preclude voter fraud by preventing noncitizens from voting, particularly those in the country illegally.
“This is a really big victory, not just for Kansas and Arizona but for all 50 states,” Kobach told The Associated Press. “Kansas has paved the way for all states to enact proof-of-citizenship requirements.”
And they should. In fact, the citizens of the United States should insist on tough federal requirements for voter identification, particularly in national elections where fraud from one state is nullifying legitimate voters in others. But a simple and uniform set of standards for all elections would be easier for people to understand, and frankly effortless for the vast majority of them to meet. Instead of wasting vast sums on turgid legal dramas to resist the inevitable, we could set some resources aside to assist every valid voter who needs help securing a proper ID.
It’s beyond bizarre that our government thinks nothing about throwing billions of dollars into stupid money-pit programs, but acts like the virtually negligible expense of assisting the tiny number of people who have trouble complying with ID laws would be some unthinkable budget-busting expense. For that matter, private groups would probably be happy to step in and help, as they have done with a few high-profile hard cases over the last couple of years, with voters who had difficulty making the trip to the local elections office. Most of the other hard cases boil down to bureaucratic snafus that kept valid voters from meeting the identification requirements; the solution to those problems is to fix the damn bureaucracy, not force the rest of America to put up with ballot theft.
Most of the silly “controversy” over voter ID laws is a last-gasp effort by liberals to keep a useful hot-button issue alive, even as the technological clock runs out on them. Are we still going to pretend that voter ID is impossible when retail stores are performing biometric scans on customers and presenting them with real-time personalized advertising, a la “Minority Report?” The Surveillance State is cheerfully amassing terabytes of information on every American, but we still indulge the pretense that properly identifying voters is a Herculean task, undertaken only by racists. Ballot protection is an area where “progressives” don’t seem very interested in progress.