Tuesday, October 21, 2008

KY Officials Fall for "Voter Fraud" Myth

As republicans across the country ramp up state efforts to use massive disinformation and intimidation to prevent newly-registered Democrats from actually exercising their right to vote, Kentucky's Attorney General and Secretary of State are off on a snipe hunt.

The Commonwealth’s chief law-enforcement official and chief elections officer came together today in the State Capitol to announce that they will once again be working together with agencies across Kentucky as part of a task force to prevent and investigate allegations of voter fraud during the November 4, 2008 general election. Attorney General Jack Conway and Secretary of State Trey Grayson discussed the importance of this year’s elections and how each office is working to protect the election from potential fraud.

Um, boys? BOYS! Listen up: "Voter Fraud" is a myth. It doesn't exist. It's a fairy tale of democratic shenanigans repeated by republicans to distract everyone from the very real and widespread election fraud perpetrated by republicans.

Or as Dahlia Lithwick in Slate puts it:

Believing in vote fraud may be dangerous to a democracy's health.

(More after the jump.)

There is no such thing as vote fraud. The think tank created to peddle the epidemic has evaporated. A handful of cases have been prosecuted. Then why is Sarah Palin shooting off e-mails contending that "we can't allow leftist groups like ACORN to steal this election?" Why is former Sen. John Danforth announcing, all statesmanlike, that the whole 2008 election "has been tainted?" Why is Ted Olson, the Republican National Lawyers Association lawyer of the year, claiming that "[ACORN] acknowledged having to get rid of a thousand people or more who were participating in voter fraud efforts." These people know the difference between registration fraud and vote fraud. Why continue to suggest they are the same thing?

Consider the fact that, as the Brennan Center reported recently, "[E]lection officials across the country are routinely striking millions of voters from the rolls through a process that is shrouded in secrecy, prone to error, and vulnerable to manipulation." Consider the recent New York Times review of state records and Social Security records, which concluded that "[t]ens of thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law." Consider the case, now on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, in which 200,000 new Ohio voters stand to be bounced off the rolls because, through no fault of their own, their names don't match error-riddled state databases. Consider the indictment this week of former Republican official James Tobin for his 2002 role in jamming Democratic get-out-the-vote calls. Consider the much-ballyhooed Republican challenge to the eligibility of 6,000 Native American and student voters in Montana that backfired first in court, then with the abrupt resignation this week of the official who spearheaded the effort.


Consider the fliers and robo-calls designed to spread false information and threats to Hispanic and African-American voters. (According to the Philadelphia Daily News, fliers in minority neighborhoods warned residents that undercover cops would be lurking around the polls on Election Day, arresting anyone with "outstanding arrest warrants or who have unpaid traffic tickets.")

There is wholly implausible vote stealing, and then there is the vote stealing that actually happens. You want to get all crazy-paranoid? I'd worry more about the people who want to rough up their fellow citizen at the polls than people who want to risk jail time for voting twice.

But it appears repug Grayson has thoroughly bamboozled Democrat Conway into ignoring repug intimidation of poor and minority Democrats trying to vote legitimately in order to beat the bushes for wholly imaginary fake voters.

Even though the same attempt to track down "voter fraud" during the primary in May and 2004 election turned up a grand total of - wait for it - zero cases.

During the primary, the Office of the Attorney General’s Election Fraud Hotline received 59 calls on election day from 28 counties. There were no complaints of vote-buying. The majority of calls dealt with informational questions or complaints about electioneering within 300 feet of polls and exit-polling violations.

The last Presidential election in 2004 resulted in 52 pre-election complaints, 123 Election Day complaints and 26 post-election complaints. Seventeen of those complaints were referred for review or investigation. There were no charges filed.

Keep your eyes peeled and ears sharp at the polls this year. Be ready to report immediately any suspicious activity, like anyone trying to prevent someone from voting by questioning their identification, or their address, or their citizenship, or anything else.

But don't bother to call the Fraud Twins Trey and Jack. Call the Kentucky Democratic Party's Election Protection Hotline staffed by attorneys an volunteers. You can call 888-4KYVOTE to learn more about your rights, report problems or get answers on Election day. If you don't get the help you need immediately, call your local television station or Page One Kentucky.

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.