Thursday, December 13, 2007

lake county voter fraud: the whole story

right-wingers are crowing about this news story out of lake county. it turns out that indiana attorney general steve carter has been winning a lot of voter fraud cases. out of 53 cases filed, he already has 38 convictions.

hoosier access declares that "it would appear that the state Democrats have no leg to stand on when it comes to crying about Indiana's Voter I.D. law and the 'lack of proof'". buzzcut proclaims that "Those of you downstate, take some time to learn the details of this case. This is exactly why we need the ID to vote law. It puts a stop to this kind of nonsense."

fair enough. let's learn the details of this case, shall we? oh, what's this here at the end of the story?

"You're talking about average people, men and women, and they were manipulated. And it was fear of losing their jobs or fear of their family members losing their jobs," Bernard Carter said. "These people didn't just wake up and say, 'I'm going to vote absentee in East Chicago.'"

vote absentee, you say? indiana's voter ID law doesn't apply to absentee ballots. so not only is this not evidence that the voter ID law prevents fraud—which it doesn't—but it actually demonstrates that prosecutors don't need the voter ID law to prosecute voter fraud, because steve carter is doing a pretty good job without it.

as i've said before, the main problem with indiana's voter ID law is that it's a fix for a nonexistent problem: fraud at the polling place. the vast majority of voter fraud that takes place these days is absentee voting fraud. absentee fraud is easy: get a bunch of ballots, fill them out, forge or otherwise acquire the proper signatures, and mail 'em in.

fraud at the polling place is much more difficult, despite what some of my commenters might think, which is why people don't really do it anymore. the days when you could vote, shave your beard into a moustache, vote again, then shave off the moustache and vote a third time are long gone. on those rare occasions when actual fraud at the polling place is found, it is typically done by mistake by people who don't know better.

every so often, the right will grab onto another story of voter fraud prosecutions and jump up and down hooting and hollering about how it proves them right; how democrats are stupid, naive, corrupt, or worse. yet, without fail, it always turns out that these stories involve absentee voter fraud, which is not covered by their beloved voter ID law.

so if indiana's voter ID law doesn't address the true source of voter fraud—absentee ballots—then what is the point?

update: while i was writing this post, thomas at blue indiana was writing something very similar. great minds, or something.


Wilson46201 said...

...or blind pigs & acorns.

(that was a pre-emptive inoculation against the wingnuts attack)

varangianguard said...

Pigeon aside, I agree that absentee ballots are a key to the whole argument.

Unfortunately, as I have mentioned previously in a couple of places, those in charge of challenging Indiana's voter I.D. law have overlooked this in favor of harping incessantly on unverified disenfranchisement allegations.
Disappointing, considering that the ACLU has put one of their own top litigators in front of the Supreme Court to argue.

Chris Hedges said...

Voter ID can stop fraud in areas where new subdivisions are popping up and lots of new people are showing up at the polls, but it won't stop the Lake County trick of some guy giving some other guy a trunk load of pre-filled absentee ballots to hold in case things are tight and some guy is threatening the status quo.

Of course, voter ID isn't a problem either because when there is a will there is a way.

From the NWI Times back in 1995:

Or, for $65, you can go to Rudy's ID International and get a card that looks identical to the official state identification card.

What do you get for the $61 difference? For starters, at Rudy's, they are a lot less picky about your date of birth. In fact, they merely take the word of
the customer, said business owner Rudy Clay Jr.