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PORTSIDE  February 2012, Week 3

PORTSIDE February 2012, Week 3

Subject:

The Real Fraud Behind Photo ID The Real Fraud Behind Photo ID

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Fri, 17 Feb 2012 21:54:43 -0500

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The Real Fraud Behind Photo ID

By Lee Rowland
02/13/12
The Brennan Center for Justice
http://www.brennancenter.org/blog/archives/the_real_fraud_behind_photo_id/

Photo ID supporters routinely cry "fraud" as the reason
for supporting new restrictions on access to the ballot.
But the real fraud is in the repeated use of inaccurate,
or just plain manufactured, claims about voter fraud
that just aren't happening. The reality? Voter fraud is
as likely to happen as getting struck by lightning. But
if you listen to photo ID supporters, you'd think every
rain drop represents a stolen vote.

Take last week's quiet unearthing of fraud in South
Carolina, where ID supporters cited evidence that
hundreds of dead voters had voted in the state's
elections as a critical argument for passing a photo ID
law in 2011. The South Carolina Election Commission
announced it had painstakingly reviewed a quarter of the
supposed "dead voters." Sure enough, they found fraud -
just not the type you'd expect. The commission
discovered there is in fact no evidence that any
fraudulent votes were cast. Yet, sadly, these
nonexistent dead voters were Exhibit A used to dupe
voters into passing a law that risks disenfranchising
eligible voters.

Then there's James O'Keefe, a vocal photo ID supporter,
who has been in the news twice recently for "uncovering"
fraud in New Hampshire and Minnesota. O'Keefe released
video footage of New Hampshire polling locations during
the Republican primary, purporting to show him and
others posing as deceased voters and receiving ballots.
The problem for O'Keefe is that his video itself might
be evidence of fraud: committed by O'Keefe and his
cronies. In fact, the New Hampshire State Attorney
General's Office has launched an investigation into
O'Keefe's conduct for a handful of possible criminal
violations, including voter impersonation fraud.

The investigation hasn't deterred him - he resurfaced
again in Minnesota last week. The day before the
Minnesota Republican caucus, O'Keefe registered several
fake individuals to vote in order to receive absentee
ballots. His video was leaked to drum up outrage about
possible voter fraud. But there's simply no evidence
that - before O'Keefe rolled into town, anyway -
Minnesota has any voter fraud problem whatsoever.

What do Minnesota and New Hampshire have in common?
Unsurprisingly, there are photo ID bills before both
states' legislatures in 2012. Activists like O'Keefe
will point to these videos as proof that our election
systems lack integrity. But folks should flat-out refuse
to take marching orders on election "integrity" from a
gentleman who clearly doesn't have much.

Voters in those states should refuse to be taken in by
these fraudulent claims of voter fraud. There were no
dead voters in South Carolina, and there aren't in
Minnesota or New Hampshire either. Instead, there's just
O'Keefe and others like him - who will do anything it
takes to provide "proof" that photo ID laws are
necessary. There's zero percent truth to any of these
highly-publicized claims. But they unfortunately can
lead to passage of laws requiring a photo ID that 11
percent of eligible American voters do not have.

When you scratch beneath the surface, you see that
O'Keefe and others who make a living crying "fraud!"
resort to manufacturing evidence of voter fraud that
doesn't otherwise exist - and potentially commit fraud
in the process. If those who support photo ID are
willing to commit fraud in the name of preventing it,
maybe it's time to stop taking these claims at face
value. Like fool's gold, the claims of widespread voter
fraud are fast, cheap, and shiny - and collapse under
close inspection.

___________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

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