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"Show Us Your Papers"

I am way too busy these days for long political rants.

But I would be remiss if I do not at least make passing mention of how depressed, disgusted, and, yes, angry I've become as I watch the ongoing attempts at voter suppression in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, and other states where Republicans and their Teabagger allies control key seats of power.

It is one thing to attempt to win elections. But trying to do so by denying the most basic and important right of any American citizen to hundreds and thousands of people, on entirely spurious grounds... that goes beyond reprehensible. That is despicable.

It would really be nice if there were still some Republicans of conscience out there who would stand up and loudly denounce these efforts, a few men of honor and integrity for whom "win the election" does not "win the election at any cost." There were once many Republicans I admired, even I disagreed with them: men like Everett Dirksen, Clifford Case, Henry Cabot Lodge, William Scranton... yes, even Barry Goldwater, conservative as he is. I do not believe for a moment that Goldwater would have approved of this, any more than Robert A. Heinlein would have. They were conservatives, but they were not bigots, nor racists, nor corrupt. The Vote Suppressors have far more in common with Lester Maddox, George Wallace, John Stennis, and their ilk than they do with their distinguished GOP forebears.

The people behind these efforts at disenfranchising large groups of voters (the young, the old, the black, the brown) are not Republicans, since clearly they have scant regard for our republic or its values. They are oligarchs and racists clad in the skins of dead elephants.

And don't tell me they are libertarians either. No true libertarians would ever support a culture where citizens must "show their papers" to vote or travel. That's a hallmark of a police state, not a free country.

TUESDAY ADDENDUM: Okay, this has been running several days now, has been featured on HUFFINGTON POST and ABC news, referenced on Stephanie Miller, and no doubt countless other people. We have had four hundred messages, and I think everyone has had their say, and everything that needs to be said has been said. Generally eight or ten times. There are plenty of links and references in the comment threads for those who would like to know more about these voter suppression efforts. If you don't want to dig through the links, start with the Brennan Center for Justice and get the facts.

There's no sense in letting this spin on in circles forever. I am locking comments. Back to Westeros and worldcon and similar subjects, boys and girls.

Thanks for listening.



Aug. 14th, 2012 04:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Its not really a partisan thing...
For anyone who has read Mike Royko's Boss, it has an excellent bit describing how Democrats and Republicans stole elections up into the 1960s in Illinois. Republicans tended towards using a tactic called short pencilling that lead to an invalidated ballot. Democrats tended to use stuffing of ballot boxes.

The thing is that in person fraud largely disappeared with the introduction of electronic voting machines--meaning punch cards at the time. Because record keeping dramatically improved and the kind of data retrieved after counting ballots dramatically improved, it was harder to stuff ballot boxes and tampering with ballots became nearly impossible.

If you look at the last two decades in Illinois you find a small number of vote fraud cases despite

1) a public focus on it
2) a crusading US Attorney in Patrick Fitzgerald
3) heated and close elections.

In fact, in 1982 there was a Gubernatorial election much like the 2000 election and fraud was found largely not to exist.

In recent years, the worst case scenario in the form of the State of Illinois has few examples of vote fraud. Where it does occur is at registration, absentee ballots, and a tiny bit of two state voting.

Registration fraud is generally carried out by canvassers trying to make a quote, but Mickey Mouse never votes. It's a problem because it drives counties batty trying to manage their rolls, but there's no evidence of actual voting from fake registrations.

Absentee fraud is a problem in many jurisdictions, but none of the Republican initiatives address it.

Two state voting happens in communities on borders with other states. I think it was in 2008 about 10 cases were found between Missouri and Illinois and they were prosecuted. In these cases, it's more about managing the rolls because the individuals had valid ID.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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