Vote, Vote, Everybody Get Up And Vote*

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With the U.S. Attorneys scandal as a starting point, the New York Times tries to debunk Republican claims that voter fraud is 1)widespread and 2)contrived to steal elections for Democrats.

Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.

Most of those charged have been Democrats, voting records show. Many of those charged by the Justice Department appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules, a review of court records and interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers show.

Cut to:

In Wisconsin, where prosecutors have lost almost twice as many cases as they won, charges were brought against voters who filled out more than one registration form and felons seemingly unaware that they were barred from voting.

That's intriguing, because Wisconsin—which allows voters to show up at the polls on election day and register to vote, if they're not already registered—is the state Republicans most often claim was flipped from Bush to Kerry by fraud. I can't find the transcript, but I heard former Wisconsin Gov. Scott McCallum say so on Fox News in 2005. (Kerry won by about 11,000 votes.) It's intriguing, too, because of this:

Kimberly Prude, 43, has been jailed in Milwaukee for more than a year after being convicted of voting while on probation, an offense that she attributes to confusion over eligibility.

The Times is too skeptical of whether or not fraud exists—it does. It doesn't much happen when parties re-register lots of the same people or get voters to use the names of dead people. More often the elections are flipped via ballot-counting—ballots get "lost" or "discovered." John Fund could tell you about that.

*Headline explanation here.

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  1. “2)concerted to steal elections for Democrats.”

    [walks away. chewing sandwich thoughtfully. the lake looks lovely today]

  2. Yeah, Diebold really worked for the Republicans in 2006!

  3. Someone’s in jail because she voted while on probation? That’s fucked up.

  4. Someone’s in jail because she voted while on probation? That’s fucked up.

    Not only is it fucked up, it ought to be the #1 reason to be against the WOD, at least from a Democrat’s perspective. As long as Dems keep supporting the WOD, which keeps enough left-leaning people out of the voting booth forever, the Dems will be losing more than they win.

  5. Speaking of Wisconsin, this story helps paint a picture of what has been going on over there as well:

    A Bush-nominated U.S. Attorney [Steven Biskupic] launches a corruption case during an election year that implicates the Democratic governor. He pushes the case, which targets an obscure state bureaucrat and obtains a conviction in June; she’s sentenced to 18 months in prison in late September. The case is featured prominently by Republicans in attack ads against the governor.

    But when the case is appealed (after the election), the circuit court, in a remarkable reversal, rejects the conviction out of hand, saying that the evidence against the bureaucrat “is beyond thin.” Says one of the three circuit judges, “I’m not sure what your actual theory in this case is.”

  6. The amusing thing is that here in academia everybody ‘knows’ that Bush lost the election and it was stolen through fraud. Most of my colleagues seem to seriously believe that.

  7. Someone’s in jail because she voted while on probation? That’s fucked up.

    Don’t forget the Pakistani (also in the NYT piece), a small business owner and 10 year legal resident of the U.S., who filled out a voter registration form because someone stuck it in front of him at the DMV. Didn’t even vote, but who cares? He was deported.

    I know I’ll sleep better tonight with the knowledge that these threats to society are behind bars/out of the country.

  8. I own that “jesse” song, albeit on a “Grandmaster Flash vs. Sugar Hill Gang” compilation from Rhino Records.

    I honestly think it might be the worst rap song ever made. WORSE than Federline’s stuff. WORSE than Allen Iverson’s dreck. WORSE than Vanilla Ice’s “Having a Roni.”

    There, I said it.

    In conclusion, I believe that Melle Mel was paid handsomely (“up the Wazoo”) in order to sabotage Reverend Jesse Jackson’s campaign. This was done for the benefit of a twenty-something Barack Obama, who desperately wanted not only to be President but the first Black President. I’m hoping that a favorable federal circuit court will rectfiy this injustice and award Rev. Jackson the presidency he so rightly deserves.

  9. The subject of the story is voter fraud, Mr. Nathan. Not election fraud, voter fraud.

  10. Ladies and gentlemen. Milt. Let’s give him a hand.

    His comedy is always welcome here.

    *golf clapping

  11. I honestly think it might be the worst rap song ever made.

    You’ve obviously never heard anything by Double Dong. Abraham Lincoln is the worst rap song, and the worst attempt at music by humans, ever.

  12. the worst attempt at music by humans, ever.

    I take it you’re not familiar with Anal Cunt. I would suggest that you stay that way. Seriously – it’s utterly unlistenable.

  13. Wow, A.C.

    Moooooooooo. Aaaarrrrrgggghhhhhhhh.

    Moooooooooooooooo. Aaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhhhh.

    (repeat X 500,0000)

  14. I’m still amazed that there’s been no investigation of Christine Gregoire’s election to Governor of Washington.

  15. I’m still amazed that there’s been no investigation of Christine Gregoire’s election to Governor of Washington.

    What makes you think there hasn’t?

  16. Wow, Bob, are you trying to be ironic?

    Just so happens John McKay, a (former) US attorney for Washington state, did look into the election, and found absolutely no evidence of voter fraud. Maybe you can guess what happened to him? I’ll give you a hint– it’s been in the news a bit lately.

    On a more general note, what is it you’re trying to say here David? What, in your opinion, is the significance of the 200 odd voter fraud cases that were prosecuted in Wisconsin? It seems obvious from the cases cited that the US attorney erred on the side of being overly aggressive in weeding this vast problem out, and still came up about 10,800 votes short of the number needed to have actually made a difference in one of the most closely contested states in the US. There were about 2 million votes cast in WI in last year’s election, making these dastardly and evil fraudsters about one one-hundredth of a percent (.0001) of the total.

    And yet still, these cases are held up by Republicans as evidence of the vast injustice and fraud going on, and used as examples for why we should risk disenfranchising as many minorities and seniors as possible until we’ve stamped out every last parolee who doesn’t know the rules.

  17. Investigation by whom? The Secretary of State (a Republican) looked into it and found no problems. The local US Attorney (a Republican) investigated and found nothing to prosecute, as a consequence of which he was fired. The RNC sued to overturn the results (in the friendly Repub venue of Chelan county), but was unable to produce any evidence of fraud that the judge found impressive.
    Seems like there has been plenty of motivated people looking. They just haven’t found anything.

  18. Bob,

    I believe there was an investigation. IIRC, enough of the votes that went to her were bogus, that it’s fair to say she lost the election by a very small amount.

    Slightly off topic, I am still amazed that people believe that the official vote counts shown at the end of the election represent the actual number of legitimate votes cast –they don’t. They are merely the offical count.
    Of course, unless the election is very close, it makes no difference. But in a very close election, like Washington’s last gubernatorial, it’s just a tossup as to whether the right person gets into office.

    The only way out of this is to use a computer to count the votes, but that’s another discussion . . . 🙂

  19. Matthew, methinks you do not recall correctly. The RNC sued because they assumed that, with a margin that narrow, they must be able to find enough bogus votes to overturn the election. But they couldn’t. In fact, the court actually increased to total for Gregoire by four votes, because it turned out that when they actually put on the stand all the ex-felons they could find who voted, more of them voted for Rossi than voted for Gregoire. (Turns out the WOD doesn’t just send poor urban blacks to prison–it sends poor rural whites to prison too!)

  20. Bwahahaha! Don’t tell me there isn’t massive voter fraud. I live in Chicago.

    There was a college student who was quoted in the media bragging how often he had voted. Guess what happened to him? Nada.

  21. “making these dastardly and evil fraudsters about one one-hundredth of a percent (.0001) of the total.”

    See, here’s the problem with that: that’s the number that were CAUGHT.

    Sit down sometime and compare the number of rapes, robberies, etc., that are reported versus the number that actually result in arrests, let alone convictions. Then consider how much harder it is to find and prove vote fraud.

  22. TallDave,

    “Guess what happened to him?”

    You mean the Marquette student?

    It turned out he was a Republican activist, and upon further questioning, he admitted that he had made it up as a way to draw attention to the massive voter fraud he JUST KNEW was really occurring all around him.

    http://www2.jsonline.com/election2000/nov00/fraud16111500.asp

    You know why myths survive, TallDave?

    Because people WANT to believe in something.

  23. Ah, TallDave, you mean to say that the complete lack of evidence for widespread voter fraud just means that all those thousands upon thousands of fraudsters are too devious to be caught! Brilliant!

    But it does beg the question– without any evidence at all, and despite an obviously zealous attempt to track them down by the WI USA– how are you so sure that these untold masses of Democrat-leaning perps exist?

    Of course, I know it’s politically expedient for some to believe they are out there in force, since it allows them to propose measures to stifle legal voters who typically vote against them. But “wouldn’t it be grand” wishes of political convenience don’t usually count as a good empirical foundation.

  24. Ach! Don’t get me started on this. You can’t talk to a conservative Cheese-head for 2 minutes before they start ranting about how Governor Jim Doyle “bought the election with Indian Casino money,” and that Milwaukee/Madison “spics” and “niggers” get to “vote two or even three times.”

    Not just sore losers, but racist sore losers to boot.

  25. Since when did the Republicans have a problem with Indian Casino money? Ain’t that right Mr. Abrhamhoff, Jack stand up and take a bow.

  26. I can’t help to wonder if using the U.S. Attorneys to influence the result of questionable elections was part of Rove’s plan for the Republican, and that part of the reason Rove was so wrong about the outcomes of 2006 was because these guys didn’t do their part to help so they were fired.

    Just wondering.

  27. The Times “tries to debunk,” Dave? Since the Republicans have had full control of the U.S. Justice Department for the past 6 years, I’d say it’s the Republicans who have debunked themselves. I hate to be mean, but your links were lame.

  28. Since when did the Republicans have a problem with Indian Casino money?

    When THEY are not getting it, TickyVic.

  29. Akira, one could note that neither party has a problem with voter fraud unless the other party is doing it.

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