Proven cases of “voter fraud” are astonishingly rare: only about 0.0004% of ballots cast. But the TGOP “solution” is to suppress whole classes of voters, based largely on skin color. That’s like reviewing every white male’s financial records to make sure we get the Wall Street speculators who crashed our economy. (More)

Fraudian Slip, Part II – Their “Solution”

This week Morning Feature considers “voter fraud” or, more correctly, the Republican Tea Party’s perennial voter suppression campaign. Yesterday we looked at myths and facts about “voter fraud.” Today we consider real cases of voter suppression. Tomorrow we’ll talk about Democrats’ efforts to enable voters, and how you can help.

If I say “Wall Street speculator,” you may imagine a white male. Some probably were, but there were also probably women and non-whites playing Wall Street banks as if they were casinos. And of course not all white males were involved. Only an absurdly tiny percentage of Americans had a direct hand in the banking fiascoes. Let’s say it was 60,000 people total: some bankers, some mortgage brokers, derivative traders, bond rating agency insiders, etc. That’s about 0.0004% of U.S. adults.

If anyone proposed probing the financial records of every white male to ensure we catch all 60,000 Wall Street speculators, the howl of outrage would be both immediate and entirely justified. Such a sweeping dragnet would be ridiculously out of scale to the number of people involved. It would also be blatant discrimination, based on two false assumptions: (a) that every Wall Street speculator was a white male; and, (b) that every white male American may have been involved.

That’s a good analogy for the TGOP response to “voter fraud.” They assume that every fraudulent voter is a minority, and that every minority voter may be fraudulent. Not coincidentally, minorities are also more likely to vote for Democrats. So the TGOP try to stop minorities from voting. We discussed the voter suppression tactics of the King Street Patriots in Harris County, Texas yesterday. Here are some other examples:

In Wisconsin:

This audio recording was obtained by One Wisconsin Now. OWN also obtained internal documents detailing the voter suppression plan, which included the illegal strategy of mailing non-forwardable “ping” postcards to “suspect” voters – usually minorities and students – then contacting local registrars to change those voters’ status to inactive if the postcard is returned as non-deliverable.

On the surface that sounds reasonable: if a voter no longer lives at the registered address, shouldn’t he/she be taken off the rolls? Actually no. The voter may well have moved to another house on the same street, or from student housing to an apartment just off-campus. The voter should update his/her voter registration information, but many forget or just don’t bother if they’re staying in the same precinct. And by law, they are still eligible voters.

The Wisconsin voter suppression campaign targets minorities and students, two groups whose members are more likely to move within the same precinct … and who are also more likely to vote for Democrats. They want to force these voters to file provisional ballots, for which they may not have the required documents when they show up to vote. They know that many would-be voters won’t bother or don’t have time to go home, find the required documents, and come back to vote. They also want to create longer lines at the polls in those precincts, so other voters will give up and leave without voting.

The Wisconsin voter suppression group was organized through the state Republican Party, and received funding from Americans for Prosperity.

In Minnesota:

MN voter fraud adProfessor of Bathtublueberrywhisperology addisnana found this on the Minneapolis-St.Paul Star-Tribune staff blog yesterday. The campaign offers a $500 reward for anyone reporting a voter who is convicted of fraud, and is funded by the self-styled Minnesota Majority – a conservative group – and the North Star Tea Party Patriots.

The Minnesota Majority claims 341 cases of “voter fraud” in the 2008 Senate election won by Democrat Al Franken. But Ramsey County officials charged only 28 such cases, and are reviewing 180 others. As for the one already confirmed voter fraud case: convicted felon Eric Willems illegally voted in the 2008 race … for TGOP candidate Norm Coleman.

But mere facts won’t stop the Minnesota Majority and the North Star Tea Party Patriots. Like the Wisconsin group, they hope the prospect of a $500 reward will prompt other Minnesotans to question and challenge “suspect” voters – minorities and students – and thus make voting difficult for people who favor Democrats.

In Nevada:

In perhaps the most visibly racial voter suppression campaign this year, TGOP consultant Robert de Posada made this TV ad in Nevada (English-language version):

The ad is actually running in Spanish, and it encourages Hispanics to not vote this year in Congressional races … like the Nevada Senate race, where Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid leads TGOP candidate Sharron Angle.

While de Posada says he is disappointed that Democrats haven’t delivered on their promises of immigration reform, the changes his “Latinos For Reform” favors are not supported by most Latinos: heightened border security, increased drug enforcement, employee immigration status verification, and a temporary worker program with no path to citizenship. Oh, and deport anyone not legally in the U.S., but give waivers for businesses who hire illegal workers “until an effective verification system is in place.”

It’s not a platform likely to win votes among Nevada’s Hispanic community … so they shouldn’t vote at all. And while his group’s website lists a P.O. Box address owned by Swift Boater Susan Arceneaux, that’s just a mistake. The laws for creating a group were confusing, de Posada said, so he hired a political compliance company to handle the reporting and accounting. Maybe such complex laws are why he supports amnesty for businesses who hire illegal workers.

And that brings us back to my analogy. No one would dare probe the financial records of every white male in the U.S., just to make sure we catch the maybe 0.0004% whose actions caused the financial meltdown. But in case a handful of minorities or students might vote improperly … the TGOP want to challenge all of them.

Can we spell P-R-I-V-I-L-E-G-E?


Freefall onto your speeding Kossascopes in today’s Campus Chatter.

Happy Friday!