Sunday, November 27, 2016

Can You Spot The Fraudulent Voter In This Picture?

A Loyola University study found only 31 alleged instances of voter fraud out of some 1 billion votes cast in U.S. elections between 2000 and 2014.  According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, "Voter fraud is so incredibly rare that it has no impact on the integrity of our elections." You are more likely to be struck by lightning, more likely to see a UFO, than to be a victim of voter fraud.  The Brennan Center study found that many reports of people allegedly voting twice or ballots being cast on behalf of dead people were largely the result of clerical errors that suggested wrongdoing when none had actually occurred.

Despite this, Donald Trump, who is on track to lose the popular election by some 2.5 million votes, claimed today that “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” 

There is absolutely no evidence to indicate that there was a significant number of people, let alone millions, who voted illegally in the election.

The idea of "voter fraud" has been haunting right-wing imaginations for years now, but the real crime is not voter fraud but voter suppression.  Trump won narrow victories in several states, and since this was the first non-incumbent election since Congress and the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act and allowed states to implement their own "safeguards" against "voter fraud," untold numbers of people, perhaps millions, found it too difficult to cast a vote this year.

For example, here in Georgia, one has to show a picture ID to vote, and the most common picture ID is a Driver's Licence. To renew my Driver's Licence this year, I had to produce 1) a certified U.S. birth certificate, a valid U.S. passport, or a certificate of naturalization, 2) a Social Security card, a W-2 form, or a pay stub showing my full Social Security number, and 3) a utility bill, a bank statement, or employer verification of address.  Obviously, all that would be difficult for those without a job, without money in the bank, or without a utility account in their name.  All for the sake of combatting a virtually non-existent problem called "voter fraud," the most vulnerable, the most unfortunate among us had quite a difficult time this year exercising their Constitutional right to vote.  I don't think anyone deludes themselves that this suppression of the vote will make the income inequality gap any better.

But speaking of delusion, Donald Trump is trying to delude his supporters that there were literally "millions" of cases of voter fraud this year, but as his audience was stupid enough to have voted for him in the first place, they're probably stupid enough to believe that, too.  

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