Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.That didn't stop the "voter fraud" fraudsters. Indeed, they have doubled their efforts and are now in the process of defrauding the voter rolls themselves:
Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.
Most of those charged have been Democrats, voting records show. Many of those charged by the Justice Department appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules, a review of court records and interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers show.
In Miami, an assistant United States attorney said many cases there involved what were apparently mistakes by immigrants, not fraud.
In Wisconsin, where prosecutors have lost almost twice as many cases as they won, charges were brought against voters who filled out more than one registration form and felons seemingly unaware that they were barred from voting.
One ex-convict was so unfamiliar with the rules that he provided his prison-issued identification card, stamped “Offender,” when he registered just before voting.
A handful of convictions involved people who voted twice. More than 30 were linked to small vote-buying schemes in which candidates generally in sheriff’s or judge’s races paid voters for their support.
Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) has ordered the state to purge all “non-citizens” from the voting rolls prior to November’s election. But that list compiled by the Scott administration is so riddled with errors that, in Miami-Dade County alone, hundreds of U.S. citizens are being told they are ineligible to vote, ThinkProgress has learned exlusively.So, as Think Progress points out, at least 20% of the voters flagged in this purge are actually eligible.
According to data from the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections obtained by ThinkProgress:- 1638 people in Miami-Dade County were flagged by the state as “non-citizens” and sent letters informing them that they were ineligible to vote.
- Of that group, 359 people have subsquently provided the county with proof of citizenship.
- Another 26 people were identified as U.S. citizens directly by the county.
- The bulk of the remaining 1200 people have simply not responded yet to a letter sent to them by the Supervisor of Elections.
The "vote fraud" fantasies are tinged by deeply right-wing racial and anti-urban panics. I've talked to many conservative who seem to consider the idea of mass non-white participation in the duties of citizenship is inherently suspicious. It's an idea all decent Americans should consider abhorrent. It is also, however, a very old conservative obsession--one that goes back to the beginnings of the right-wing takeover of the Republican Party itself.
Let me show you. Read this report from 1964, running down all the ways how Barry Goldwater's Republican Party was working overtime to keep minorities from voting. The document can be found in the LBJ Library, where I researched my book Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus
John M Baley, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, charged today that "under the guise of setting up an apparatus to protect the sanctity of the ballot, the Republicans are actually creating the machinery for a carefully organized campaign to intimidate voters and to frighten members of minority groups from casing their ballots on November 3rd.
"'Let's get this straight,' Bailey added, 'the Democratic Party is just as much opposed to vote frauds as is the Republican party. We will settle for giving all legally registered voters an opportunity to make their choice on November 3rd. We have enough faith in our Party to be confident that the outcome will be a vote of confience in President Johnson and a mandate for the President and his running mate, Hubert Humphrey, to continue the programs of the Johnson-Kennedy Administration.
"'But we have evidence that the Republican program is not really what it purports to be. It is an organized effort to prevent the foreign born, to prevent Negroes, to prevent members of ethnic minorities from casting their votes by frightening and intimidating them at the polling place.
"'We intend to see to it that the rights of these people are protected. We will have our people at the polling places--not to frighten or threaten anyone--but to protect the right of any eligible voter to cast a secret ballot without threats or intimidation.'