Thursday, April 12, 2007

The great Republican diversion: voter fraud

Despite Karl Rove's best efforts to create the impression that there is widespread voter fraud in the U.S. - code for minorities voting illegally, who largely support Democrats to the detriment of Republicans - it appears not to be the case: "In 5-Year Effort, Scant Evidence of Voter Fraud."

There have been selective prosecutions of handfuls of voters here and there, but nothing of the magnitude that would justify Rove's repeated raising of the issue and incitement of U.S. attorneys to pursue such charges. Further, the Times report today says that the Republicans are targeting individuals who have made innocent mistakes in filling out registration cards or mistakenly believed they could vote when actually not permitted to do so. It is apparently unprecedented to have the Justice Department being instructed to pursue such cases, particularly when the standard of proof requires that intent to commit fraud be proven. Prosecutors like David Iglesias and John McKay, two of the U.S. attorneys who were fired, refused to play along with the directives due to the intent standard and the lack of evidence that they were finding. They were fired.

What a travesty that this Bush administration has made it its mission to prosecute individuals and support onerous voter identification laws where the poor are suppressed from voting due to the money needed to buy the ID's. You'd think the U.S. government would rather clean up their electoral system, enable people who want to vote to do so without overly burdensome fees and ensure its integrity in the wake of the 2000 debacle. You'd think.