Thursday, July 28, 2011

Voting Reform

A column in the Washington Post by Katrina vanden Heuvel insists that there is no such thing as voter fraud and that Republicans are really engaged in disenfranchising citizens likely to vote Democrat. I will agree that the people most affected are likely to vote Democrat but I take issue with the rest of her column.

Is this a problem? vanden Heuvel quotes a report by the Brennan Center for Justice saying that it is not. She failed to mention that the Brennan Center is not apolitical. It receives funding from George Soros, a major supporter of the left. Their report assures us that voter fraud is extremely rare without revealing the methodology behind these statements.

One problem with evaluating voter fraud is trying to detect it. Often states only require proof of residency and that can be as simple as a utility bill. Notice that this does not establish citizenship.

My congressional district is a great example of why this is important. I live in the Ohio 15th. This include tens of thousands of (legal) immigrants who are not eligible to vote. It also includes tens of thousands of students who may also be voting absentee from their parents' residence.

The 2006 and 2008 elections in the 15th have been close. The 2006 election was settled by 1,054 votes out of over 200,000. The 2008 election was settled by 2,311. The 2000 presidential election was settled by slightly over 500 votes. Given these stakes, legitimate voters have the right to be assured that elections are not decided by people ineligible to vote.

Keep in mind that Democrats have their own history with unfounded problems. After the 2000 election, Congress tried to modernize voting machines. This hit a snag when Democrats insisted that the machines keep an auditable record of votes. The voting machine companies had to go back and redesign their machines.

During the 2004 campaign the founder of a voting machine company referred to doing whatever it takes to reelect George W. Bush. He said it at a fundraiser and obviously was referring to fund-raising but many Democrats took him literally. They assumed that the voting machines were programmed to shift votes to the Republicans. They took Bush's win as proof of this and spent the next several weeks looking for evidence. Ironically, they discovered that counties with older punch card readers were more likely to vote for Bush. They simply took this as proof that the conspiracy went back decades. Their new demand was that all voting machines be crapped in favor of optical mark paper ballots which would be tabulated at a central location. Minnesota followed these recommendations. The senate race was close enough to force a recount which drug on for months as both sides argued over what constituted a valid vote.

When arguing against voter id laws, the Democrats usually insist that certain groups do not have identification. This is hard to believe in the modern world. You have to have a suitable id to cash a check, open a bank account, rent an apartment, or even to buy liquor and cigarettes. Just exactly how do these people live without ids?

The truth is that the Democrats have a vested interest in getting non-citizens to vote and the Republicans have an interest in limiting voting to citizens. Any comparisons to Jim Crown laws are slanderous.

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