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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:27 pm 
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I don't see what can be done about it. Our government is so dysfunctional and divided right now. Republican legislatures certainly won't step in to help, and even if they did, lawsuits could be brought, and after eight years of Bush appointments (on top of the stalling that was done to keep Clinton from appointing judges), the prospects in the courts do not look good.

I don't know the history of the 'Help America Vote Act', but I wonder if this is what they had in mind all along.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:33 pm 
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Did anyone catch that Joe the Plumber's voter registration (Republican) does not match the exact spelling of his last name? This would be enough to throw out his registration, apparently, in Ohio and other swing states.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/ ... ml?showall

Is this serving democracy?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:40 pm 
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Thanks so much for that link, Ellienor. It should be useful in publicizing this problem, because the Republicans seem to think McCain made hay last night in the debate using this person as an example, and he has become quite celebrated since last night.

This shows people very straightforwardly exactly what the terrible 'voter fraud' is that Republicans are feigning such umbrage over.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:41 pm 
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Why aren't provisional ballots counted? They wouldn't ignore them if there were enough to alter the outcome, would they?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:42 pm 
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They don't count them at a high rate, Dave. I forget the figure I read, but I think it was around 50% that just get thrown in the trash. IIRC, there were around 200,000 provisional ballots from Ohio in 2004 that were never counted as votes.

edit


Btw, I just read the other day, can't remember source, that it's about 50-50 for absentee ballots, too, and this person recommended not voting by mail.

There's so much opportunity for mischief in our system. It's unbelievable, really. We make a banana republic look good when it comes to voting.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:28 pm 
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Speaking of voter fraud ...... as the Republican media machine attempts to rachet up into high gear to make us all believe the election is going to stolen right ut from under us, one of their organs - thedrudgereport.com has done something interesting today.

If you go to the site you will see one of their main stories all by itself says FBI INVESTIGATES ACORN FOR VOTER FRAUD. Now I had assumed that this was misleading and the article would actually point to voter registration fraud, so I clicked on the link. Surprise, surprise - it went to a story about the FBI investigating Congressman Mahoney in a sex scandal. No voter fraud story. No voter registration fraud story. No ACORN story.

Elsewhere on their story page is a link to the Mahoney story. Figuring they may have got their wires switched, I click on that one. The Mahone story pops up again.

hmmmm.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:41 pm 
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That probably is just an innocent mistake; it's one they seem to make a lot, though, especially when linking to Breitbart (which is affiliated).


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:18 am 
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This Slate article puts 'voter fraud', suppression and ACORN into perspective. Excerpt below, emphasis added:

link


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Last week, media attention focused on a "raid" on ACORN offices in Las Vegas in which voter registration documents that had mostly been voluntarily turned over were dramatically seized by force. Right-wing screeching over nefarious doings in Ohio (where Freddie Johnson of Cleveland testified that ACORN encouraged him to sign 73 voter-registration forms—all in his own name) overlooks the fact that all 73 registrations would still have allowed Freddie to vote just once. The connection between wrongful voter registration and actual polling-place vote fraud is the stuff of GOP mythology. As Rick Hasen has demonstrated, here at Slate and elsewhere, even if Mr. Mouse is registered to vote, he still needs to show up at his polling place, provide a fake ID, and risk a felony conviction to do so.

Large-scale, coordinated vote stealing doesn't happen. The incentives—unlike the incentives for registration fraud—just aren't there. In an interview this week with Salon, Lorraine Minnite of Barnard College, who has studied vote fraud systematically, noted that "between 2002 to 2005 only one person was found guilty of registration fraud. Twenty others were found guilty of voting while ineligible and five were guilty of voting more than once. That's 26 criminal voters." Twenty-six criminal voters despite the fact that U.S. attorneys, like David Iglesias in New Mexico, were fired for searching high and low for vote-fraud cases to prosecute and coming up empty. Twenty-six criminal voters despite the fact that five days before the 2006 election, then-interim U.S. Attorney Bradley Schlozman exuberantly (and futilely) indicted four ACORN workers, even when Justice Department policy barred such prosecutions in the days before elections. RNC General Counsel Sean Cairncross has said he is unaware of a single improper vote cast because of bad cards submitted in the course of a voter-registration effort. Republican campaign consultant Royal Masset says, "[I]n-person voter fraud is nonexistent. It doesn't happen, and ... makes no sense because who's going to take the risk of going to jail on something so blatant that maybe changes one vote?"

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 5:01 am 
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Cerin wrote:
This Slate article puts 'voter fraud', suppression and ACORN into perspective.


No, what it does is give the left-wing perspective on the issue, which is just as slanted as the right-wing perspective.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:26 pm 
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You've said that before, Voronwë, but you haven't offered any information to back it up. Perhaps you'd like to share statistics about actual cases of voter fraud that have been prosecuted and won, or anything that would lend credence to the idea that the Republican charge of voter fraud is anything but a myth.

That methodical, systematic voter suppression of eligible voters has been engaged in by the GOP is an indisputable fact. That illegal political hiring practices were used in the Bush Justice Department is a fact. That U.S. attorneys were fired because they refused to bring cases of 'voter fraud' that they believed to be bogus is fact. What evidence do you have that the Democratic party has systematically and methodically engaged in comparable activities in order to influence the outcome of elections?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:00 pm 
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It sounds as though the US Supreme Court has overruled the Ohio appeals court:
Breitbart

i.e. the state of Ohio is not required to provide officials with a list of registrations that contain spelling errors, etc. Democrats alleged the GOP would use this list to purge eligible voters from the rolls.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:04 pm 
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Thank goodness for that!

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:36 pm 
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Dave_LF wrote:
It sounds as though the US Supreme Court has overruled the Ohio appeals court:
Breitbart

I wonder how much Joe the Plumber case influenced their decision? He wouldn't be able to vote if not for this rule, as his last name was misspelled in the voter database.
If that is the case, Joe could've backfired for GOP campaign in even more ways.

I do agree that voter suppression appears to be more wide-spread and systematic - as there are still very few (if any) known cases of the same person voting twice because of fake registrations.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:41 pm 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
Cerin wrote:
This Slate article puts 'voter fraud', suppression and ACORN into perspective.


No, what it does is give the left-wing perspective on the issue, which is just as slanted as the right-wing perspective.


This sort of a generic comment does not serve to promote a serious discussion. If Voronwë were here, he would have advised you to back your point with facts and figures that contradict those Cerin has posted.

Oh, wait...

And in case you are wondering, V, I am not being sarcastic. It really is becoming difficult to know how to post in this forum.

Edit - on topic.

While it is true that registration fraud may lead to voter fraud, that would require a well-organized conspiracy that registers people under fictitious names, provides them with fake IDs and sends them out to the polls. I have seen no evidence that ACORN's efforts have actually lead to voter fraud. In fact, as many news sources pointed out, ACORN packaged and labeled suspicious ballots, which they were required to submit under law. In particular, I have seen no evidence that Obama 13 years ago, or McCain 2 years ago, were aware of any wrong-doing on the part of ACORN.

And the latest possibly relevant news:

Boston police investigate burglary at ACORN office

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:47 pm 
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John Conyers, Chair, Judiciary Committee wrote:
Dear Mr. Attorney General and Director Mueller:

It is with shock and disappointment that I read today's Associated Press report that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened and leaked an investigation into whether ACORN, a longstanding and well regarded organization that fights for the poor and working class, is involved in nationwide voter fraud.

As an initial matter, it is simply unacceptable that such information would be leaked during the very peak of the election season. Such leaks of information about ongoing criminal investigation matters are always inappropriate, and likely violate the provisions of the U.S. Attorney manual governing release of information about ongoing investigations (and which, in any event, would require approval from the responsible U.S. Attorney or Department division before release1). More significant in this case, however, they also run afoul of valuable Department traditions regarding the need for cautious and sensitive handling of election-related matters during the run up to voting (or, as here, while early voting is underway). Indeed, I note with dismay that this sort of release likely would have violated the traditional principles stated in the Department's Election Crimes Manual, such as the requirement that prosecutors "must refrain from any conduct which has the possibility of affecting the election itself," and that "most, if not all, investigation of an alleged election crime must await the end of the election to which the allegation relates," but those provisions were removed by the Department in May 2007 as the U.S. Attorney controversy was unfolding and it was learned that former U.S. Attorney Brad Schlozman had apparently improperly brought enforcement action against ACORN volunteers during the run up to the 2006 national elections.


Moreover, this news is all the more troubling in light of the proven wrongdoing at the Justice Department in the United States Attorneys scandal. As you are aware, there is extensive evidence that political operatives improperly pressured United States Attorneys to investigate and prosecute spurious claims of vote fraud in close proximity to an election. When some did not, they were terminated. Thus, one must view the timing of this extraordinary leak with added suspicion, given that it comes less than 24 hours after the Republican Presidential candidate raised these allegations in a nationally televised debate.


I know that it has become a right-wing cottage industry to cry wolf over alleged "voter fraud" during an election season (only to have such claims evaporate after the election has concluded). Indeed, using superlatives that would make P.T. Barnum blush, Senator John McCain, the Republican Presidential candidate, said in the debate last night, that ACORN "is now on the verge of maybe perpetuating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy." One would hope the Justice Department and FBI would more skeptically examine such sensational accusations than some cable news outlets. And this is particularly true where the allegations, even given their fullest reading, simply do not support such alarmist and unreasonable claims.


The facts as I understand them are these. A longstanding and well regarded organization that fights for the poor and working class has come under partisan fire for its voter registration acitvities. This organization has registered more than one million voters. There are allegations that some paid workers essentially cheated ACORN by filling out registration forms with bogus names and incorrect information. This of course would have harmed ACORN since ACORN pays to register potential voters, not phantoms, but - critically - does not deprive any person of their own right to vote or result in any unauthorized or fraudulent votes being cast. As one expert in this field has explained, "Mickey Mouse may show up on a registration list, but he's not likely to vote."


Furthermore, despite a long partisan campaign to stir up fears regarding so-called "voter fraud," they have been unable to produce any credible examples of meaningful fraudulent voting that could have a tangible impact on any election. Just this week, in fact, the Republican Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, said - with respect to his state - that such allegations are "less than is being discussed" and ascribed these types of allegations to "some who enjoy chaos." Similarly, the Republican Secretary of State has indicated that he does not believe that ACORN is engaged in systematic voting fraud. Indeed, such allegations repeatedly dissolve under fair scrutiny.2


At the same time, numerous allegations have emerged that political operatives are engaged in supression of eligible voters and this activity has apparently failed to receive the intense attention that the federal government is now reportedly devoting to ACORN. For example, there are reports that the chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County, Michigan, a key swing county in a key swing state, has planned to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP's effort to challenge some voters on Election Day. Additionally, the Columbus Dispatch reports that the Ohio GOP in Franklin County, "has not ruled out challenging voters before the election due to foreclosure-related address issues."3


Accordingly, I condemn the leak of this sensitive information and remind you both of your and your agencies' obligations to handle election-related matters in an appropriate and non-political matter as the election season proceeds. In addition, please let me know no later than Thursday, October 23, 2008, if the release of information and all other actions taken regarding this investigation are consistent with the US Attorneys Manual and the Election Crimes Manual and, if not, what action has been taken in response. Please direct your response to the Judiciary Committee Office at XXXXXXXX (tel: XXXXXXXXXX, fax: XXXXXXXXXX).


Sincerely,

John Conyers, Jr.

Chairman


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 5:48 pm 
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Frelga wrote:
Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
Cerin wrote:
This Slate article puts 'voter fraud', suppression and ACORN into perspective.


No, what it does is give the left-wing perspective on the issue, which is just as slanted as the right-wing perspective.


This sort of a generic comment does not serve to promote a serious discussion. If Voronwë were here, he would have advised you to back your point with facts and figures that contradict those Cerin has posted.

Oh, wait...

And in case you are wondering, V, I am not being sarcastic. It really is becoming difficult to know how to post in this forum.


You are missing the point entirely, Frelga, as is Cerin. I'm not talking about facts and figures, I'm talking about the language and tone of the article that Cerin posted, which comes from a liberal site, which is obvious from the face of it. An article that talks about "right-wing screeching" and "GOP mythology" is obviously written from a left-wing slant. That is so obvious to me that I am amazed that I have to point it out. It makes the "facts and figures" that are included in it immediately suspect.

The problem with this type of voter registration fraud is it virtually impossible to determine whether it causes voter fraud or not. Obviously the gross examples of the Mickey Mouse registrations and such aren't going to, nor are any of the ones that are caught. But if the voter registration issues are not caught, it is virtually impossible to catch it at the voting stage. Thus someone who successfully registers in more than one county could vote in more than one county. And in most places, someone who is registered under different names could easily vote under different names, because most states do not have any voter identication requirements. The pattern of abuses with ACORN is significant enough, and has been going on long enough, to infer that what we have seen may be only the tip of the iceburg.

The idea that this is "okay" because it isn't really going to cause any harm is a false panacea, in my opinion. Even worse -- to me -- is to respond to something like this by saying "well, what the other side does is worse, so we shouldn't worry about this as much." These practices are wrong, and should be thoroughly and completely addressed.

Frelga wrote:
In particular, I have seen no evidence that Obama 13 years ago, or McCain 2 years ago, were aware of any wrong-doing on the part of ACORN.


I have already stated that I don't think it has anything to do with Obama or McCain.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:10 pm 
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I can see you taking an issue with the tone of the article, and it would be nicer if the partisan comments were snipped out of the quote. However, it took me about 1 minute to link at least one of the highlighted facts to the NPR site.

Supreme Court Weighs Voter ID Requirements

Quote:
Royal Masset, a consultant who by his own estimate has been involved in some 5,000 Republican campaigns in Texas, agrees.

"My experience is that in-person voter fraud is nonexistent," he says. "It doesn't happen, and if you really analyze it, it makes no sense because who's going to take the risk of going to jail on something so blatant that maybe changes one vote?"


The article goes on to say:

Quote:
In the most recent mayoral election in Indianapolis, the city documented 34 cases of voters who had voted repeatedly and consistently in past years and whose signatures matched their registrations, but who had to cast provisional votes because they did not have the proper ID. Only two of those 34 voters went back within the required 10-day period after the election with the appropriate ID so their votes would be counted.

Quote:
The League of Women Voters has filed a brief with concrete examples. One of those examples is the case of Kim Tillman of Indianapolis, a stay-at-home wife of a janitor and mother of seven children ages 1 to 11. In order to get the free voter ID card, she had to get her birth certificate from out of state, a process that she said would have cost as much as $50. And that was money she needed for household bills. Not being able to vote, she says, made her feel like she wasn't a citizen.

[...]

The state contends that Tillman could have voted if she had gone to the state offices within the 29 days before an election and sworn out an affidavit saying she is indigent, a process she would have to repeat before each election. There is no indigency affidavit provided on Election Day at the polls.


Quote:
But the Census Bureau and the Federal Highway Administration estimate that 11 percent of voting-age citizens, some 21 million Americans, lack any form of current government-issued photo ID. The ubiquitous driver's license doesn't exist for many city dwellers who use public transportation, or for those too poor to own a car, or for senior citizens who no longer drive.


And speaking of missing the point - the point is that while the registration fraud IS a concern I have not seen a single piece of evidence that ACORN's effort led to any fraudulent votes being cast. If I missed anything like that, please point me in the right direction. The point is that ACORN does serve as a red herring, while all over the country, in the states with the closest races thousands of voters are purged off the rolls.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:14 pm 
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A suggestion I would make, and something I try to do myself, in linking to news stories: Most political blogs provide links to original news sources for the facts of what they're talking about. If you click through to those, and link to those, you can present your facts while avoiding the problem of the surrounding ideological slant.

And there have been times when I've clicked through like that and found that the facts didn't quite match what the blog presented. :P

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:16 pm 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
A suggestion I would make, and something I try to do myself, in linking to news stories: Most political blogs provide links to original news sources for the facts of what they're talking about. If you click through to those, and link to those, you can present your facts while avoiding the problem of the surrounding ideological slant.

And there have been times when I've clicked through like that and found that the facts didn't quite match what the blog presented. :P


That's what I try to do, Prim.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:23 pm 
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Amazing. In responding to my post, you did exactly what I complained of - stating "this is not a problem because what the other side does is worse." Isn't it possible to talk about this issue without demonizing the other side? Moreover, the quotes that you cite all come from Indiana, one of the states that does have voter id laws. Ironically, it was the same people that are defending ACORN now (I'm speaking generically, not specifically the people here) that were most upset about the Supreme Court decision upholding Indiana's voter ID law. I myself disagreed with that decision at the time, but I quickly changing my mind. It appears that there IS a need for verification of voter's identies after all. But most states don't have such laws (link), and in those states registration fraud can easily enable fraudulent votes to be cast, without there ever being any evidence of it.

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