A couple of nights ago I blogged a despicable case of racist voter fraud charges in Georgia that were being used to challenge the registrations of almost every eligible Hispanic voter in Atkinson County. I'm happy to report that the creeps who forced a public hearing on the legitimacy of these voters have been told that "The challenges ... are legally insufficient because they are based solely on race."
In my post on the Georgia story, I linked to Prometheus 6 on why Republican voter fraud charges are usually not to be taken seriously. If you're following the news on voting problems, you know that Republican cries of voter fraud are getting louder and more numerous as we get closer to Nov. 2. Today, Rivka over at Respectful For Otters takes apart the "evidence" supplied in many of the Republican charges.
People are registering at addresses where they don't live, as evidenced by returned mail.At the end of her post, Rivka links to the DLC's New Donkey on the tactical underpinnings of Republican voter challenges in Ohio.
The Republican Party of Ohio sent registered letters to tens of thousands of newly registered voters. A lot of those letters came back as undeliverable, which the Republicans claim is prima facie evidence that those voters don't exist at those addresses.
But what happens when someone tries to deliver a registered letter, and you aren't home? Around here, the mail carrier leaves a little slip inviting you to pick up the letter at the post office. And my carrier always notes who the letter is from.
Now imagine that you're a Democrat, and you get a registered letter from the Republican Party. Why on earth would you go all the way down to the post office and wait in line to pick it up? What could the Republican Party possibly have to say that you'd be interested in reading? Most likely, you ignore the letter. Eventually, the post office returns it to the sender as "undeliverable." [snip]
There are more registered voters than eligible voters in some Ohio cities.
What happens when you move, and have to re-register to vote at your new address? You fill out a voter registration card and send it in. The elections board adds you to the rolls for your new precinct and notifies your old precinct that you're no longer registered there. Eventually, your old precinct takes you off the rolls. But that process isn't instantaneous. There's nothing unusual or improper about voters temporarily appearing on the rolls twice, while the bureaucracy grinds through the process of removing them from their previous precinct of record. In particular, it's not surprising that, as voter registration deadlines approach, elections boards are more concerned about adding people to the rolls than they are about removing them from the rolls.
None of this adds up to fraud until a voter actually votes twice. And none of it is under the control of individual voters or organizations conducting voter registration drives. When I moved from the suburbs to the city, it wasn't up to me to tell my suburban precinct not to let me vote there anymore. It was up to the elections board. Did my name appear on the rolls of my suburban precinct for the primary election, when I voted in the city? I have no idea. I didn't try to vote there. So even if my name were on the rolls twice, no fraud was committed.
People have been submitting voter registrations under names like "Mary Poppins" and "Mickey Mouse."
That's what happens when you pay your voter registration workers by the completed form, instead of by the hour. This is perfectly well known, which is why most legitimate voter registration organizations don't give employees or volunteers incentives to forge registrations. Sure, it's fraud on the part of the guy standing outside the supermarket with a clipboard - but is it really going to lead to voter fraud? Could it really be part of a Democratic scheme to stuff the ballot box? I can't see how.
Let's try to imagine how that scenario would play out, shall we?
Someone shows up at the polls in a swing state and tells a pollworker, "My name is Mickey Mouse."
And the pollworker says... "Okay, Mr. Mouse, here's your ballot." The pollwatchers on hand from either party look on, sipping their coffee in unsuspecting bliss. . . .
The latest political news from Ohio is important and instructive. A federal judge in Columbus blocked Republican efforts to force county election boards to review tens of thousands of new voter registrations. Before the ink was dry on the judge's order, the Ohio GOP's top lawyer said the action meant the GOP would challenge such voters at the polls on November 2. "We wanted to have all these questions resolved this week," said attorney Mark Weaver. "Now they won't be resolved until Tuesday, when all of these people are trying to vote. It can't help but create chaos, longer lines and frustration."For certain the Republican strategy is to suppress minority votes at all costs. The viscous and dogged persistence of the Republicans in their efforts belies their shameless intent to steal another election. As I will discuss in my next post, the Republican tactics are also part of a broader, deeply alarming agenda to redefine federal protections for voting rights.
In other words, the GOP is using the demise of one prong of its voter suppression strategy to pre-justify the other. And I wouldn't be surprised if that's exactly the way they planned it. Now they can can get their "volunteers" out to "create chaos, longer lines and frustration" in minority polling places and sadly say that an "activist judge" who didn't care about voter fraud left them no choice.