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On early voting, and the myth of voter fraud

Long lines are being reported at early voting stations across the state – so much so, the executive director for the State Board of Elections wants county boards to consider extending early voting times and adding more weekend days. It’s expected more than two million people will take advantage of early voting in North Carolina this year.

So what to do to pass the time, should you find yourself standing in one of those long lines waiting to cast your ballot?

You might want to check out the latest piece that journalist Jane Mayer wrote for The New Yorker magazine:

The Voter-Fraud Myth
The man who has stoked fear about impostors at the polls

It’s a lengthy, fascinating read about Hans von Spakovsky, a Republican lawyer who served in the Bush Administration, who has “had an improbably large impact” in promoting strict voter-I.D. laws across the country.

Here’s a short excerpt:

At the Heritage Foundation, von Spakovsky emphasized that his devotion to safeguarding voter integrity had nothing to do with racial discrimination or partisan gain: “I’m not in this because I’m on a team. I believe in having fair elections, and I would never be willing to do anything that would encourage or allow cheating in an election. My interest is in making sure that the person who people vote for the most wins.”

Yet many Democrats see his cause as a voter-suppression effort in disguise. Thirty-three states have passed some form of voter-I.D. law, the most severe versions of which demand government-issued cards with photographs and expiration dates. A driver’s license typically qualifies, but many students, elderly people, and poor urban residents do not have one.

According to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice, a liberal nonprofit institute at N.Y.U. Law School, eleven per cent of the voting-age population lacks the kind of I.D. cards required by the strictest states. Eighteen per cent of Americans over the age of sixty-five do not have such documentation; among African-Americans the figure is twenty-five per cent. Von Spakovsky criticized the study for focusing not on registered voters but on all Americans who are eligible to vote. He cites rival studies indicating that the number of registered voters without I.D.s is negligible.

The vast majority of the lawmakers who have pushed for voter I.D.s have been Republicans. As Bill Clinton has put it, “This is not rocket science. They are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate”—when many young and minority voters stayed home—“than the 2008 electorate.” Clinton said that the “effort to limit the franchise” was the most determined “since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim Crow burdens on voting.”

You can read the full piece here in the magazine’s current issue.

Von Spakovsky visited Raleigh in September 2011 at an event sponsored by the John Locke Foundation and the Federalist Society to promote the need for a voter photo ID law in North Carolina.

That legislation did not pass North Carolina’s General Assembly in the last short session, though legislative leaders have promised the issue will be back on their agenda in 2013.

12 Comments

  1. Sundance

    October 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm

  2. Frank Burns

    October 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    The majority of the public demands voter IDs. We need to get with the program here in NC and get this law passed as soon as possible. It is so sensible. It does make you wonder why the left is so against the use of photo IDs. What are they hiding?

  3. Jack

    October 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Once again it must be asked: Where’s the evidence from the NC Board of Elections that voter fraud is taking place? There is none and yet the very party that campaigns against big government wants to grow government to further monitor citizens.

    What is it the Republican’s want of government beside bail-out money?

  4. Frank Burns

    October 24, 2012 at 6:34 pm

  5. gregflynn

    October 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm

  6. Dave Francis

    October 24, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    In a report issued by the Conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation in June 2007, which under those conditions to pass an Immigration Reform package will cost over $2.6 Trillion dollars to taxpayers. As an addition the 50 states must follow the rulings of the court to pay for any illegal aliens medical care treatment, the education for their children to k-12, welfare payments for every child, low income housing if they have 3 or 4 extra babies, cash payments and receive without paying into the system over $2.4 Billion dollars annually for child tax credits, even if the child doesn’t reside in the U.S. This is an abomination for every hard working citizen and legal resident and now Obama has admitted a Comprehensive Immigration Reform that will devastate our ailing economy. A conservative amount paid out by just states is somewhere around $113 billion dollars, but this was the projection some years back. Every year it strains the treasuries of each state, so citizens and legal residents must ask themselves what is being taken from their pocket books for taxes to pay for this indignation. ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION drastically and financially effects all Americans—no matter who you are—Hispanic, Black, Caucasian, Asian if you are legally here, as you are paying for the illegal aliens and all those who broke into this nation.

    Be very aware that because this election is of the overriding importance to Americas future, Democrats will pull out all stops either intentional or through incompetence backed by the Liberal heavyweights to ignore non-citizens voting in the elections. Overwhelmingly—all prudent Americans voters should be vigilant of anything that looks suspicious in the voting booth or through absentee ballots. The TEA PARTY and TRUE TO THE VOTE will be out in force, to guard against odd situations. Voting illegally is a felony, which can lead to prison. Our nation must retain FAIR ELECTIONS no matter the consequences to either party. The Democrats have requested foreigners from the corrupt United Nations to monitor large metropolitan regions, when the overall majority of voter fraud is within the Democratic Party. In states as California, a liberal Sacramento stronghold with large populations of illegal aliens, which have no restrictions on who is voting? No official picture ID is needed, so anybody can easily vote even, if they are not a citizen. THIS GENERAL ELECTION WILL NEGATIVELY AFFECT ILLEGAL ALIENS, UNLESS PRESIDENT OBAMA GAINS A SECOND TERM. THE PRESIDENTS ABSOLUTE PROMISE TO PRESS FOR COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM—AMNESTY BY ANY OTHER NAME.

    Accentuated enforcement: In 1986, the U.S. approved amnesty to some three million illegal immigrants as a quid pro quo for an exclusion on the future hiring of illegal immigrants. The amnesty was granted, but the prohibition on the future hiring of illegal immigrants was never enforced as it is seemingly today. This would repeat the same mistake; mass amnesty if it should be permitted, however the border and employment enforcement provisions of the act would be as likely hollow and will probably never be enforced. In fact funding was cut off to enforce these laws, so that businesses were not held accountable for hiring unauthorized labor. To avoid repeating the mistakes of 1986, enforcement must come first.

    Do not grant amnesty: Amnesty is unjust and would be very expensive. Obama Proponents will dispute that there is no feasible alternative to giving citizenship to all the illegal immigrants in the U.S. But serious, phased enforcement of a ban on hiring illegal immigrants would cause many, if not most, illegal immigrants to voluntarily leave the U.S. and return to their native countries. This would definitely be the “Cause and Effect” of the “LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT” nationally known to the public as mandatory E-Verify to minimize economic interference. It could be possible to give some current illegal immigrants temporary work visas, especially in the field of farming, but carefully regulated and with the unequivocal stipulation that they must return home when these visas run out. Such temporary visas would not grant access to welfare, Social Security, Medicare, or citizenship. The farmers should be wholly responsible and not the U.S. taxpayer? If necessary, the exiting illegal workers could be replaced by legitimate temporary workers or by permanent immigrants who have never violated U.S. laws and have been inspected by agents of the government. For the record an estimate of a million legal immigrants are admitted each year, but we should recognize in this global market we should allow a steady stream of the paramount top list of Scientists, Technology, Engineering and mathematicians (STEM WORKERS) who would be highly beneficial to Americas future. What we don’t need are more people with no qualification, no education and adding to our own poverty.

    Close the “BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP ” loophole: Under current law, when U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants turn 21, they can petition the government to grant their illegal immigrant parents legal permanent residence, thereby conferring an automatic path to welfare entitlements and citizenship upon the parents (hence the term “anchor baby”). The popular concept of “birthright citizenship”-that anyone born in the United States is automatically a U.S. citizen-is historically and legally imprecise and ought to be corrected by Congress. Despite the consequences, this backdoor path to citizenship for illegal immigrant parents should be closed as this original law was protect slaves after the Civil War. Pregnant mothers, who smuggle their own children into the United States, are the instigators of what has become President Obama’s “Dream Act.” Then again, it’s not the children’s fault, the blame falls like a ton of bricks on the parents as they have caused the massive monetary problems for decades. Learn everything you want to know about the outrageous costs to Taxpayers, the cycle of illegal immigration that never ends and what you the taxpayer voter can restrain this silent invasion at NumbersUSA, Tea Party.org, American Patrol and Judicial Watch.org.

  7. david esmay

    October 25, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Wow, Dave Francis, that’s a huge pile of bovine scatology. The DOJ spent five years during the administration of George the Dullard investigating voter fraud, the results, 10 instances in over 600 million votes cast, the major one being when five white guys in black robes elected a President. This GOP witch hunt is the creation of Republican lawyer Hans Von Spakovsky who worked in the Bush administration and now works for the Koch brothers at the Heritage foundation. Using the morons who make up the Tea party and True the Vote, Von Spakovksy and the Koch brothers will stop at nothing in their efforts to suppress voter rights and misinform or intimidate American citizens from exercising their Constitutional rights.

  8. david esmay

    October 25, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Heritage and WND, to sources of information with absolutely no credibility, unless you’re a Right-Wing conspiracy nut living in a conservative fever swamp.

  9. david esmay

    October 25, 2012 at 10:40 am

    We will continue to see voter suppression from the Right, words and actions from desperate fearful men. The realization that women, minorities, and the poor are increasingly exercising their constitutional rights, and have discovered the great leveler against those who subjugate and oppose the will of the people, scares the hell out of them. The Constitution’s a bitch, ain’t it, and parading around in tri-corner tin foil hats isn’t getting the results right-wing nuts expected.

  10. Frank Burns

    October 25, 2012 at 11:42 am

    David, you missed the boat as usual. It’s the right that is wanting to protect the constitution and the left who keeps telling us that it’s “evolving”. You also forget that it is your own Jimmy Carter who chaired the US Commission on Election Reform who recognized the threat of voter fraud and recommended the use of Photo IDs.

    http://www1.american.edu/ia/cfer/

    Oops.

  11. chris hoffman

    October 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    So when you say that voters will be disenfranchised, who do you mean? Do you mean the segment of the population that:
    Has no driver’s license AND
    Has no state issued ID AND
    Has no bank account (you need ID to open a bank account) AND
    Receives no government assistance (need ID to cash a check or a bank account to deposit it into) AND
    Doesn’t fly (need ID to get on an airplane) AND
    Isn’t a student (need ID to go to college/register for classes) AND
    Is legally eligible to vote AND
    Isn’t in the military?

    Yes, I’d imagine that that 0.0001% of the population would be very angry. Lets not do it. Let’s not protect the integrity of that very basic American right.

  12. Frank Burns

    October 25, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Excellent point Chris, that would be a very small group of people indeed.