Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, February 10, 2012 7:20 pm

The REAL voting problem — vote suppression by the GOP — by the numbers

If you’re a regular reader, you know how I feel about voting and the bogus “voter fraud” spectre being raised by the GOP. I’ve argued, to varying degrees of belief on the part of my readers, that the real problem isn’t voter fraud — that is, someone casting a vote he is not legally entitled to cast, by virtue of his not residing where he votes or by virtue (?) of his posing as  an existing eligible voter or by virtue of using an entirely fictitious identity.

Rather, I’ve argued, the real problem is that the Republican Party, apparently believing it cannot win an honest election, is doing everything it can to prevent legally eligible voters from voting, using “voter fraud” as an excuse for measures, such as requiring photo I.D. (an unconstitutional poll tax under another name, as more than one court has found), that it knows will make voting harder for certain large populations — the elderly, very young adults, racial and ethnic minorities, those who do not or cannot drive, and ex-felons — who tend to vote disproportionately for Democrats.

It’s an anti-get-out-the-vote campaign. It’s illegal and it’s unconstitutional (and arguably a federal crime), but the Republican Party and a good bit of our mainstream media are treating it as simply one more debatable notion in the era of postmodern law and politics.

Unfortunately, here in the real world, facts still matter, valid data still matter. And David Rothschild, an economist for Yahoo! Research (and, boy, doesn’t the phrase “an economist for Yahoo! Research” tell you how much the world has changed) with a Ph.D. in applied economics from the Wharton School of Business, tells us that those data show that Republicans, on this issue as on so many others, are full of crap:

Based on the most conservative estimates, then, we can estimate that voter ID laws could disenfranchise between 10,000-500,000 eligible voters for every 1-100 blocked fraudulent votes. Here’s how I get there:

It may seem like a government-issued photo ID isn’t so much to ask to cast a vote—after all, you need one to drive, get on a plane, or have a beer. The fact is that many eligible voters do not have the right documents under new or proposed laws. The right-wing Heritage Foundation trumpets a paper that claims that only 1.2% registered voters lack valid a photo ID. That may seem low, but nearly 130 million votes were cast in the 2008 presidential election, so that would translate into roughly 1,560,000 voters. The Heritage Foundation’s estimate is the lowest I could find. In 2007, the Georgia Secretary of State estimated 198,000 registered voters there did not have government issued photo IDs and in South Carolina, 200,000 registered voters do not have a photo ID that would be valid for voting under the proposed law, according to the state election commission. That translates into roughly 4-5 percent of voters for Georgia and 8-10 percent of voters for South Carolina, based on 2008 registration and vote totals.

Those eligible citizens who do not have a photo ID tend towards the more disenfranchised citizens:25% of African-Americans have no photo ID, 15% of people earning less than $35,000 have no photo ID, and 18% of the elderly have no photo ID. This represents millions of citizens in each category. Such laws also penalize college students since many of these laws require in-state photo IDs, which prevents college students from voting at their college if they attend from out-of-state.

Voter ID laws do not stop people who have fraudulently registered as themselves. The vast majority of these cases are people who believed themselves to be eligible, notably felons that do not know they are ineligible to vote in a given state. States that bar felons, such as Florida, have traditionally been so vigilant in blocking felons that thousands of eligible voters have been inadvertently purged from the voter rolls in the state’s fixation to ensure that felons do not vote. Nor would these laws stop non-citizens from voting as themselves. (Even so, investigations have found voting by non-citizens to be extremely rare; a study of 370,000 votes cast in Milwaukee from 1992-2000 showed 4 votes by non-citizens.)

The main voter fraud that photo IDs would stop, then, is that of a person voting in lieu of another registered voter; this is likely someone who has died, as it is otherwise hard to estimate when a live registered voter will not be voting. Again, studies have shown very few votes by dead people in recent election cycles; this study by the FBI showed that all 89 dead voters in a Maryland election died after they voted. Many other presumed dead voters are caused by clerical errors on death certificates.


So here’s the question: if the most conservative estimates are correct and 10,000 eligible voters are disenfranchised so that 100 non-eligible votes can be stopped, do you think that that is a fair deal for democracy?

That’s a good question. Let’s rephrase it:

So here’s the question: if the most conservative estimates are correct and 10,000 innocent people are executed so that 100 murderers can be stopped from getting off scot-free, do you think that that is a fair deal for democracy?

But wait, you say, voting and murder aren’t the same thing, and not getting to vote isn’t like being wrongly executed!

In terms of the consequences, of course, that’s absolutely correct.

But in America, we consider the right to life, absent due judicial process, to be fundamental and absolute. Guess what? We think exactly the same thing of the right to vote. Just as Americans have died over the centuries to protect their fellow citizens’ lives, so, too, have Americans died — and not just in the Jim Crow South — to protect the rights of their fellow citizens to vote. The right to vote is a Big Damn Deal and the closest thing to settled law, outside the realm of life and death, that this country has. Indeed, given our constitutional transgressions post-9/11, you could argue it is the most settled point of constitutional law.

So why are the Republicans doing what they’re doing, besides the tactical fact that if everyone who is eligible to vote does so, they’re going to lose a lot more than they’re going to win?

Because, philosophically, Republicans who support these voter-suppression efforts do not believe that every citizen has the right to vote.  And whatever else you want to call that belief, you need to call it what it is: un-American.


  1. You are getting almost as obsessive on this subject as Cone who keeps rattling on and on about the evils of fracking..

    Voter suppression is plainly a left wing fairy tale … a boogie man.

    “Voter Suppression”—Obama Regime Code For “Resisting American Dispossession”

    “The Democrats, the NAACP, ACLU, the SPLC ($PLC to, and the rest of the usual suspects are trying to get America lathered up about “voter suppression.”

    And what a marvelous tool is that phrase: “voter suppression”! It brings to mind all sorts of horrific images: of men in white sheets and hoods with shotguns and on horseback or in Model Ts circling the homes of innocent black families who have tried to exercise their right to vote; of rigged elections in the old Iron Curtain countries, where voting booths open to public view permitted Party officials to see how ballots were cast.

    Yes, “voter suppression” is a term that must make the blood boil in any good, decent, clear thinking believer in democracy.”


    “So whatcha gonna do if you’re a Democrat who wants ineligible voters to swing elections?

    Why, you simply look to Chicago as your model, and make sure that everybody else’s elections are as corrupt as those.

    Bill Clinton laid the groundwork for nationwide Chicagoizing of elections with the Motor Voter Act in 1993. We see the fruits of that effort in all parts of the Nation as “progressive” outfits effectively organize to help ineligible voters sign up and vote.

    Recognizing that the integrity of their electoral systems was under coordinated attack, nearly forty States have responded with legislation that would require that voters actually be citizens of the United States and that a person voting is really the person he or she claims to be. In most cases this is accomplished by requiring voters to obtain and show photo ID.

    Since the Dems and allies can’t come right out and admit they want corrupt elections they have to claim these efforts to protect the integrity of the vote were really the dreaded “voter suppression.”

    The first method of attacking these laws was to claim that some people couldn’t afford to obtain proof of citizenship or photo ID and thus the poor, would be prevented from voting.

    In response, supporters of clean elections added provisions to waive costs and even bring mobile photo units to those unable to afford a bus to the DMV.

    But count on the Left to never quit: NYU Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice noted that opponents of a Nebraska voter ID bill claimed that forcing voters to prove indigence before voting could be subject to constitutional challenge and that all IDs should be free. (The reference was made in a pro-corrupt voting “study” by the Center which is funded in part by Soros, the Tides Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, etc.). The Brennan Center for Corrupt Elections made numerous other equally specious arguments against election integrity.[See Without Proof: The Unpersuasive Case Against Voter Identification By Hans von Spakovsky and Alex Ingram, Heritage, August 24, 2011]

    But the Left has a problem. The US Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of voter ID laws.

    This of course did not prevent Attorney General Holder, representing the Chicago school of voting standards, from recently blocking enforcement of South Carolina’s new voter ID law. (One cannot of course ignore Holder’s dismissing of charges, already admitted to by the New Black Panthers, of voter intimidation with billy clubs in Philadelphia. Nor can we but marvel that the same Administration so dedicated to fighting voter suppression favors “card check” i.e. open voting in union elections.)

    Led by the Democrats and the current mob in the White House, the ACLU, Soros, Tides, ACORN (or its successors) will continue trying to corrupt American elections.

    “Voter suppression” is as much a myth as the “nation of Aztlan”.

    But the 20th century shows that extremists’ ability to create and exploit such lies has subverted the stability and democratic institutions of many nations.

    The Chicago School of voting represents a clear and continuing threat to our Nation.”

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Friday, February 10, 2012 8:20 pm @ 8:20 pm

  2. So the unsupported assertion “‘Voter suppression’ is a much a myth as the ‘nation of Aztlan'”is your response to data, research and logic.

    Sorry, but no. We’re going to give the reality-based community a chance now.

    Comment by Lex — Friday, February 10, 2012 8:24 pm @ 8:24 pm

  3. Nope..It’s not dead.. Very much alive. “Mugsy: Daly and Rham are back at the helm in Chicago. And their allies , “Son of Acorn ” are going pandemic. Timeless corruption

    It is windy, indeed.

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Sunday, February 12, 2012 12:54 am @ 12:54 am

  4. I’m not arguing, nor is Rothschild, that voter fraud does not exist. We are arguing, rather, that 1) it is vanishingly rare, and 2) illegal vote suppression is more common by what appears to be about a half-dozen orders of magnitude. But we’re not allocating our resources and efforts accordingly, and that failure redounds to the illegal electoral benefit of Republicans.

    And ACORN? That would be the ACORN that was, you know, exonerated? Please. Next you’re going to tell me that Adam Clayton Powell is back from the dead and busily trying to sell us out to Iran.

    Comment by Lex — Sunday, February 12, 2012 12:30 pm @ 12:30 pm

    • No Lex it would be these Acorns. The non-profit ones receiveing my tax dollars,

      Rotten Acorn Map


      This one

      Comment by Fred Gregory — Sunday, February 12, 2012 12:58 pm @ 12:58 pm

  5. Once again, Fred, a couple of anecdotes != data. Refute Rothschild’s calculations, if you can.

    Comment by Lex — Sunday, February 12, 2012 1:08 pm @ 1:08 pm

  6. Anecdote? I don’t think so ?

    More Democrat Vote Fraud-In E. St. Louis

    “Workers Are Sentenced in Vote Fraud Case

    By JIM SUHR, Associated Press Writer

    EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. Jan 30, 2006 — A former Democratic election worker in this impoverished city was sentenced Monday to a year and a half in federal prison for scheming to buy votes in the November 2004 election. A City Hall volunteer also accused in the scheme was given probation.

    U.S. District Judge G. Patrick Murphy said the case reflected an American election process “under attack” by fraud.”

    Your Honor: Dat true !

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Sunday, February 12, 2012 3:43 pm @ 3:43 pm

  7. And how many fraudulent votes were actually cast, again? What’s that? They didn’t say? They didn’t estimate? They didn’t even pull a number out of their butts? Wonder why?

    To refute Rothschild, you have to show where his data or analysts are inaccurate. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

    Comment by Lex — Sunday, February 12, 2012 6:27 pm @ 6:27 pm

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    Pingback by Vote suppression by the GOP — by the numbers | votebeam — Friday, March 9, 2012 2:40 am @ 2:40 am

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