Today on KTRS, in a followup to the piece I posted here last week, I discussed how the voter ID laws now in effect in 17 states will affect this year’s elections with Dr. Jon Rogowski of Washington University. He and University of Chicago’s Cathy Cohen have released a study saying as many as 700,000 minority voters under 30 may not be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote, which could affect both the presidential race and some Congressional districts, too. The study is summarized in this AP story. As for why many minorities lack ID to show at the polls, Slate has endeavored to explain.
Meanwhile, today’s NY Times had a front-page story on right-wing groups inflating the vote-fraud lie way out of proportion, despite a continuing lack of evidence that people are committing that crime. The story highlighted one organization called True The Vote which, like so many other GOP groups that are supposedly grassroots-driven, gets its funding from rich conservatives whose only agenda is to control American politics so it does their bidding:
True the Vote began working in Wisconsin in 2011, the same year it received a $35,000 grant from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which is based in Wisconsin and is a major backer of conservative causes, including Americans for Prosperity. The foundation’s president and chief executive, Michael Grebe, was Mr. Walker’s campaign chairman for his 2010 campaign and for the recall election, which he won.
The puppets of True The Vote are sure that Democrats are committing election fraud and rigging the outcome, but whenever they try to prove it, it turns out that there’s no actual evidence to support their claims:
Ms. Engelbrecht has said her goal was not to stop the recall election, which had been backed by labor unions, but to prove to those behind it “that unions cannot strong-arm America.” She said thousands of volunteers helped enter petition signatures into a database, which was then analyzed by the group’s software. Of the one million signatures, True the Vote said 63,038 were ineligible, 212,628 required further investigation and 584,489 were valid.
The accountability board concluded that about 900,000 signatures were valid and, in a memorandum reviewing True the Vote’s work, criticized its methods. For example: Mary Lee Smith signed her name Mary L. Smith and was deemed ineligible by the group. Signatures deemed “out of state” included 13 [out of a million!!] from Milwaukee and three from Madison. The group’s software would not recognize abbreviations, so Wisconsin addresses like Stevens Point were flagged if “Pt.” was used on the petition.
While the board commended the group for encouraging “a strong level of civic engagement,” it found that True the Vote’s results “were significantly less accurate, complete and reliable than the review and analysis completed by the G.A.B.”
And then there’s my favorite part of the story:
In Racine, conservative poll watchers also alleged fraud, including a claim that a busload of union members from Michigan had come to Wisconsin to vote illegally. The Racine County Sheriff’s Department determined that the accusation had been based on an anonymous call to a radio station. “There is no evidence this bus convoy existed or ever arrived in Racine County,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
As for the buses her organization saw in Wisconsin, Ms. Engelbrecht could not provide details. “It was reported to us that this had occurred,” she said. “I know these sightings were also being reported on the radio.”
Well, if someone called in to a radio station and said it, it must be real. Trust me, I’ve spent over 30 years on the radio and can tell you that you can’t trust much of what you hear from anonymous callers unless you have independent verification. You’d think a group with the word “True” in its name would have a minimum standard leaning in the direction of facts instead of rumors and inaccuracies — but you’d be wrong. And that’s the state of the Republican Party these days, basing policies on “I heard this from somebody…”
Finally, this e-mail from listener Stephen Webb:
Thanks for your discussion of voter suppression this morning. One important part of the idea that anyone can get a photo ID is that the aged, poor and economically disadvantaged don’t have the financial wherewithal to go and pay for a photo ID. I agree with you that the Dems should simply play the game as follows: Declare that photo IDs will be free to all comers; bring some kind of proof of residency. Take the voter registration/photo ID vans into the neighborhoods where getting out to get the ID would pose a problem (don’t forget that there are aged persons in retirement homes, in ‘older neighborhoods’ like the one where I live), and elsewhere. Think the ‘Bookmobile Model.’
And, one more thing: requiring an at-cost photo ID is actually a form of a poll tax in that it requires some kind of required expenditure in order to exercise one’s constitutional franchise, and that’s illegal. Remember, all this is really an effort by the OldSouth to resurrect those voter suppression rules that they formerly used to deny the vote to Blacks and immigrants. Plantation mentality couched in today’s legal fear-mongering jargon.