Last week found Blumner, as she typically does, spouting the Democratic company line on voter fraud, though of course with some Bush-bashing mixed in.
With the presidential election already dominating the news, it is worth considering how the Bush administration has tried to put its thumb on the scale of the nation's elections.Got that? Great.
Figuring out inventive ways to reduce the number of minority and low-income voters who tend to lean Democratic has been great sport for the loyal Bushies in the Justice Department and they've done a yeoman's job.By bringing renewed focus to prosecuting voter fraud? Do tell, Ms. Blumner.
You probably know that some of the U.S. attorneys who lost their jobs in the purge did so in part because they failed to bring weak voter fraud cases.How would we know that, when the White House can fire the attorneys it appoints for any reason? Blumner doesn't say. Apparently we can convict on little to no evidence when it comes to blaming Bush.
Republican officials like to claim that legions of people are trying to game the system by voting illegally. This allows them to justify tough voting identification measures that tend to throw up barriers for low-income and minority voters.Is it true or not that legions of people game the system by voting illegally?
In the 2000 election, by some estimates, as many as 5,600 felons voted illegally in Florida. That's about one legion right there, and the final margin of victory was far smaller than 5,000 votes. Illegal votes could easily have affected the outcome of the 2000 election. For Blumner, restricting the ability of felons to vote probably amounts to throwing up barriers for low-income and minority voters. Seriously.
It might even be a good idea to set up polling booths in prisons, so that prisoners can vote for soft-on-crime candidates.
But back to the Blumnerian rant:
The problem is, the Republicans are making it up. Just ask Lorraine Minnite, assistant professor in the political science department of Barnard College, who did a six-year comprehensive study on voter fraud. Her findings are that it "is rare, and the cure is worse than the disease."
Minnite based her findings on voter fraud prosecutions. Prepare to be unimpressed as you view her testimony before Congress (I don't know if this represents the whole of it):
Minnite's study, "An Analysis of Voter Fraud in the U.S." was a project of Demos, an organization that received $75,000 from George Soros. That is not to say that the study, which you can read here (.pdf), is devoid of useful information. But it appears to skip issues of voter fraud that stem from conditions that remain difficult to police, such as persons with dual residence who exercise their voting privilege in more than one location.
Minnite's argument appears to amount to the assertion that if individual voter fraud is not found out it does not exist sufficiently to pose a problem.
Back to the real fraud (Blumner):
According to Minnite's recent testimony before Congress, the Justice Department found only a handful of individual offenders; and those who got snagged were people like Derek Little of Wisconsin, who didn't know that as an ex-felon on probation he couldn't legally vote.Perhaps the above claim by Blumner is supposed to reflect the gist of this portion of Minnite's testimony:
The government won convictions or guilty pleas against 70 of the 95 defendants, a 76 percent conviction rate. However, if we dig into the data, we find that only 40 of these people were voters, the others were government officials, party or campaign workers, or election workers. Of the 40 voters charged, only 26 were convicted or pleaded guilty, yielding an average of eight to nine people a year, and a conviction rate of 65 percent. The convicted included: one person for registration fraud, resulting in the defendant’s deportation to Pakistan; five people for multiple or double voting; and 20 people for voting while ineligible to vote, including 15 non-citizens and five citizens with felony convictions who had not yet had their civil rights restored.Your guess is as good as mine which of the above numbers is the "handful" to which Blumner refers.
Blumner used the Little example gratuitously. Charges against Little were dropped, while Minnite noted that prosecution succeeded in over 60 percent of the cases brought by the Justice Department. Saying that the cases were "like" that of Little is therefore misleading.
Blumner goes on to blast the career of John Tanner, who supported Georgia's voter ID law and encouraged ("pressured") states to scour voters who improperly appeared on their voting rolls. Tanner, according to Blumner, resigned after the politization of his office came to light.
I expect it will not have occurred to Blumner that the opinion of career DoJ employees is a political view. The career employees do not want to prosecute voter fraud because they possess the (political) view that it is more important for more people to vote than it is to prevent illegal votes.
But Blumner isn't done. She also asserts the politization of the DoJ because it no longer enforces laws intended to encourage minority voting. The kicker here is that Blumner's expert, like Minnite, is affilitated with Demos. But at least Blumner mentioned it this time.
This editorial column brought to you by the "non-profit" (forget about George Soros) Demos.