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Lederman on the Real Scandal:

At Balkinization, Marty Lederman makes the case that the U.S. Attorney firing scandal is really a faux "voter fraud" scandal. Brian Tamanaha's post on the rule of law (as opposed to rule by law) is worth reading too.

Ken Arromdee:
Because we all know that the only side that ever accuses the other of vote fraud is the Republicans. Have we already forgotten that people were constantly accusing Bush of having stolen the election in 2000?
5.15.2007 1:05am
Jacob (mail):
Ken- "voter fraud" as a political phrase has acquired partisan connotations by now. While intuitively the term might include that which Democrats alleged in 2000 - the disenfranchisement of eligible voters - it's usually used these days only to refer to voting by those ineligible (think Chicago in 1960). That is not what the Democrats said Republicans had done in 2000.

Someone could probably think of relatively neutral terms for what each side is accusing the other of doing (Democrats helping the ineligible vote and Republicans keeping the eligible from voting), but the ones doing the accusing get to pick their indictments. Republicans chose "voter fraud" to describe their opponents' actions, Democrats did not, and in political discussions you should not be surprised when the terms are only applied by/to one side or the other.
5.15.2007 1:33am
wuzzagrunt (mail):
[b]There is little, if any, reliable evidence of any serious problem of voter fraud in the United States.[/b]


Perhaps not on Moonbase Alpha.
5.15.2007 1:34am
Andrew MacDonald (mail):
wuzzagrunt, do you have any good evidence of any widescale voter fraud cases in the last 10 years? Or even small-scale?

Sure, there are plenty of cases of voting irregularities over the years, but little evidence that there is a large scale problem of an orchestrated attempt by large numbers (or even small numbers) of people to cast illegal ballots.

The right has a lot of chestnuts about when it happens but has provided precious little evidence of actual fraud. Almost all fraud indictments that the DOJ has brought in the last couple of years were probably honest mistakes that the USA's desperately turned into a conviction because they needed to produce numbers.
5.15.2007 1:50am
S.A. Miller (mail) (www):
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=324933


Inquiry finds evidence of fraud in election
Cast ballots outnumber voters by 4,609

Investigators said Tuesday they found clear evidence of fraud in the Nov. 2 election in Milwaukee, including more than 200 cases of felons voting illegally and more than 100 people who voted twice, used fake names or false addresses or voted in the name of a dead person.

Officials said charges will be filed in coming weeks, as individual cases are reviewed and more evidence is gathered.

Nonetheless, it is likely that many - perhaps most - of those who committed fraud won't face prosecution because city records are so sloppy that it will be difficult to establish cases that will stand up in court.

And even now, three months after the investigation, officials have not been able to close a gap of 7,000 votes, with more ballots cast than voters listed. Officials said the gap remains at 4,609.

U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic likened it to trying to prove "a bank embezzlement if the bank cannot tell how much money was there in the first place."

Biskupic announced the preliminary findings at a news conference, along with Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann, who is also overseeing the joint inquiry.

Tuesday's announcement comes after a Journal Sentinel investigation that found widespread problems with the election in the city, including that the election totals themselves were not double-checked by city and county panels charged with doing so.

Some of the problems identified by the newspaper, such as spotty compliance with procedures to verify same-day registrants, are broader and are the subject of a statewide audit approved by lawmakers.

Tuesday's announcement could breathe new life into the Republican-backed photo ID debate, which did not survive a veto from Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle and might instead eventually go to voters as a proposed constitutional amendment.

A photo ID requirement might have caught some of the problems highlighted in Tuesday's preliminary report. It notes cases of people voting in the name of a dead person or as someone else. Investigators located some people listed as voting who said they did not vote.

In other cases, according to Tuesday's report, people "registered and voted with identities and addresses that cannot in any way be linked to a real person."

Officials did not identify how many fit each category.

Investigators have focused only on the City of Milwaukee in reviewing duplicate-voting offenses. Officials said Tuesday, though, that they would expand the review of felons voting illegally to Milwaukee suburbs.

The newspaper found at least 278 felons who voted statewide, though only a partial review could be completed because of a state law that bars public access to birthdates of voters.



Kerry won Wisconsin by ~11,000 votes. This was Milwaukee alone, there is also major voter fraud in Dane County (Where Madison is located).
5.15.2007 5:12am
S.A. Miller (mail) (www):
By way of personal experience let me say this:

I lived in Milwaukee in 2004. The house I lived in I shared with two other roommates, all three of us were registered to vote prior to the 2004 election. On election day I went to the poll and showed them my ID, and was told to put it away. All they wanted to know was my name and street address. My name as a well as seven other people were registered to vote at my address. (Milwaukee housing law says no more than three unrelated people live at one residence!) Had I wanted, I could have just come back in later and said I was one of the other people registered at that address. No proof required, I could have just gone to a different poll worker, or waited until they changed shifts. The lists of who are registered at what addresses are also not a secret, in fact the rolls are given to campaign workers to 'get people to the polls'. Campaign workers can simply tell what name to give to the poll worker and fraudulently send in people to vote. Add to this that a very large percentage of the registrations are fake (i.e. dead people, non existence addresses, etc.), submitted by campaign workers, voter fraud is wide spread.

Now unless you get someone to confess to this, it is all very hard to prove. But doesn't mean there is no voter fraud.

The Wisconsin State Legislature passed a law requiring a photo ID at the poll, which would stop all this nonsese. The Democrat Governor vetoed it saying it was a poll tax, so the Legislature repassed it and set aside money for every person in the state to get a free State ID. The Governor vetoed it again.
5.15.2007 5:32am
Daniel Dover (mail):
Sure, there are plenty of cases of voting irregularities over the years, but little evidence that there is a large scale problem of an orchestrated attempt by large numbers (or even small numbers) of people to cast illegal ballots.


Irrelevant. Even if there is no wide spread "conspiracy" to pull the wool over the voter's eyes and sneak in whatever candidate you want, the appearance of a fradulent system breeds mistrust. Mistrust breeds conflict.

Sure, there's always going to be sore losers who claim conspiracies, but let's not give them fuel for their flamaes, hmmm?

Elections should be as open and trustworthy as reasonably possible, and investigations into these matters should be welcome, whatever your political stance.
5.15.2007 8:06am
Will Collier (mail) (www):
Lederman has obviously never heard of Greene County in Alabama (or St. Louis, or Milwaukee, or Lyndon Johnson, or...). He should also look up the case of former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Sonny Hornsby and his last election.
5.15.2007 8:11am
a knight (mail) (www):
Reference Note:
Congressional Research Service
RL33889 - February 22, 2007
"U.S. Attorneys Who Have Served Less than Full Four-year Terms, 1981-2006"
Open CRS download page

From the summary:
At least 54 U.S. attorneys appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate left office before completion of a four-year term between 1981 and 2006 (not counting those whose tenure was interrupted by a change in presidential administration). Of those 54, 17 left to become Article III federal judges, one left to become a federal magistrate judge, six left to serve in other positions in the executive branch, four sought elective office, two left to serve in state government, one died, and 15 left to enter or return to private practice. Of the remaining eight U.S. attorneys who left before completing a four-year term without a change in presidential administration, two were apparently dismissed by the President, and three apparently resigned after news reports indicated they had engaged in questionable personal actions. No information was available on the three remaining U.S. attorneys who resigned.
5.15.2007 8:25am
Farix (mail):
MacDonald,

There is more then just illegal ballots that constitute voter fraud. Within the last few years, there has been a significant vote buying scandal in a couple of heavily Democratic counties in West Virginia and has been under investigation by the US Attorney. Several individuals, including a county sheriff, has already when to jail over this scandal. I also wouldn't put it pass some counties to still engage in ballet stuffing or the dead are still voting. Again, in a couple counties, there where more people registered to vote then there were legal residence based on census data.
5.15.2007 8:33am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Did I see an ex-USA saying he wouldn't investigate unless he had evidence beyond a reasonable doubt? Looks like it. One of the cites in the comments to the Lederman piece. Is that the standard?
I also see not-clever lawyering. An allegation is not "deep-sixed" because it shows up too late in the election cycle. It is merely set aside. Thus, claim the lawyers, there must be nothing to it.
That there are more registered voters than residents is not a problem because a judge said so. I imsgine that would satisfy when it's your own side losing.
There was a blog by a guy named Sharkansky who followed the Washington state elections assiduously. I believe that election was referred to and ignored by the USA. Sharkansky, if he is to be believed, had the goods.

To put it another way: Only lawyers can think that, because another lawyer said he couldn't get to it before the election the rest of us are supposed to believe there was no problem. Lederman's commenters seem to think they are arguing a weak case before a sleepy jury.

IMO, nothing beats the DNC sending several hundred lawyers to Florida with the specific instruction to disenfranchise military voters.
5.15.2007 8:43am
Jim Hu:
Regarding fraud in New Mexico, I noticed this in the earlier coverage of the firings:
Culling through about 100 tips about fraud, investigators found only a handful that had some merit, and "only one where we had a real shot," Mr. Iglesias said.

That inquiry focused on the woman who had submitted the registration applications in the names of the teenagers and at least two dozen others. Mr. Iglesias said she had worked for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn, which had paid her and others in part based on how many applications they turned in.

He said that when the F.B.I. interviewed her, she did not make any clear admission of guilt. And under federal election law, Mr. Iglesisas said, prosecutors would have had to prove that the woman, who had been fired for other reasons, had falsified the applications with the intent of influencing the election. Mr. Iglesias said "it appeared she was just doing it for the money."

More thoughts on Balkin's assertion here. Shorter version: does Balkin's assertion hinge on what he considers a serious problem?
5.15.2007 9:13am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: All
RE: Voter Fraud?

I've got a signed statement by a Democrat precinct chair in our county that says she was accosted, at her door, by people passing out absentee ballots requests AND absentee ballots.

And that they seemed to only be going to houses where Democrats lived, in her neighborhood.

No such thing as 'voter fraud', eh?

Regards,

Chuck Pelto
[Voter fraud. It's more than the dead folk voting.]
5.15.2007 9:52am
Henry Bowman:
John Fund's book ('Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy') describes a number of instances of out-and-out voter fraud, as well as the problems and uncertainties that come with the use of electronic voting machines, especially those with no paper trail. He does a good job of describing the often-poor organization of people entrusted to provide honest and accurate elections. Typically there is no malice, but merely a combination of poorly-understood laws, poor organization, incompetence, and over-worked poll workers.

His book was published immediately prior to the 2004 general election, but I think is still quite valuable still. Most of the out-and-out voter fraud is conducted in cities. At present, cities are dominated by Democrats, and so they are the culprits. It seems clear that if the Republicans dominated the cities, similar results would transpire.
5.15.2007 9:53am
markm (mail):
There are plenty of indicators of widespread voting fraud - districts that turned in more votes than they have residents, spot checks of voter rolls that turn up a significant percentage of registrations that are out of date if not fraudulent and did vote in the last election, etc. Not to mention ballot box pieces found floating in San Francisco bay one time... There is little proof because most voting places don't even check photo ID's. If you block the only practical way to detect fraudulent voters in urban areas, you aren't entitled to blather about "no proof".

As for FL in 2000: Was there even one case verified where a qualified voter was turned away from the polls? That is something that should be easy to verify: somebody says they were turned away, they are registered and meet all requirements, and it's likely someone will remember them being turned away, but AFAIK, not one single case has checked out. There was the great butterfly ballot foul-up, but that was a foul-up, not a deliberate fraud - and it was perpetrated by a Democratic-dominated local elections board. The one thing I did find scandalous was that quite clearly neither Bush nor Gore wanted a complete recount!
5.15.2007 9:57am
Lively:
Andrew MacDonald:

do you have any good evidence of any widescale voter fraud cases in the last 10 years? Or even small-scale?


Miami mayoral race in 1998. Mayor-elect had to concede the race because there had been voter fraud.
5.15.2007 10:06am
TDPerkins (mail):
There is no conceivable excuse by which a failure to require a unique photo ID, provided at the state's expense to the poor, is a failure which can generally be excused.

Certainly, persons without a photo ID should be able to cast a provisional ballot, and in the event an automatic challenge is survived, that ballot should be counted.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
5.15.2007 10:09am
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
There were also the slashed tires on the Republican voter transportation vehicles the morning of the election in Milwaukee. Is that "vote fraud?" I suppose not, but it is a clear attempt to reduce the number of one party's voters, with a little intimidation thrown in as well.

Is it "vote fraud" when immigrants are hurried through to citizenship in violation of federal law just before an election? I suppose not - it is citizenship fraud, but there would be nothing people at the polls could do to prevent it. But it is again, a clear attempt to illegally influence who votes in an election.

Jacob's point is well taken. Neutral terms would serve us better and make things clearer, alas.

There is also a confusion between the premises "is there evidence of fraud" and "do we have enough to prosecute an identified person." If a person is murdered but no one is identified who can be prosecuted, none of us would say "oh well, no murder took place, then."
5.15.2007 10:12am
triticale (mail) (www):
Another anecdote from Milwaukee. After the aldermanic primary in the spring of 2000, the incumbent in our district sent out "thank you for voting" postcards. I wish I'd saved the one which came to our house addressed to someone I'd never heard of.
5.15.2007 10:15am
alkali (mail) (www):
S.A Miller points out this May 11, 2005 article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Inquiry finds evidence of fraud in election

... but omits to note the December 6, 2005 article in that same paper:

No vote fraud plot found; Inquiry leads to isolated cases

In general, the following are not proof that there is a serious "voter fraud" problem:

1) Announcements of inquiries into voter fraud

2) Observations that voter fraud might be possible if someone were motivated to commit it

3) Stories about get-out-the-vote organizations who are defrauded by the workers that they pay to register new voters, unless there is some reason to think that someone actually will vote based on the fraudulent registration

4) Small and unsystematic anomalies in election records that can readily be explained by errors in recordkeeping

5) Stories about ballot box tampering and similar wrongdoing by election officials, which is a separate problem that cannot be addressed by imposing ballot access restrictions
5.15.2007 10:16am
alkali (mail) (www):
BB: Without commenting on the merit of the allegation to which you link, see my point #5 above.
5.15.2007 10:31am
Gabriel Sutherland (mail):
I'll toss out the "Motor Voter" program. I can't say if the program produced fraud or even massive, widespread fraud, but I can provide evidence that it was a colossal failure in states like Illinois.

State employees at the DMV were responsible for ensuring that when one renewed their license or obtained their license for the first time, they would be registered to vote in Federal elections. I can't excuse my own submission to trust the DMV with my voter registration, but I was pretty young and naive when it came to political corruption. But anyone that's anyone knows that the DMV is a dumpster for political employment.
5.15.2007 10:42am
wuzzagrunt (mail):
As for FL in 2000: Was there even one case verified where a qualified voter was turned away from the polls?


Doncha remember? There was that case where the Sheriff's Dept. parked a cruiser a couple of blocks from the polling site? It has been alleged that prospective voters were force to walk right past it. Damned chilling if you ask me.
5.15.2007 10:44am
Some Guy (mail):
Funny, I was wondering how long it would take Democrats to blame Karl Rove for...unethically withholding prosecution of Democratic polticians! Democrat U.S. Attorney get caught holding up the prosecutions of fellow Democrats until after a vital election, so as to help their party. They get called on it, and they are rightfully fired for their willingness to abuse their office for political purposes. And Democrats realize how bad they would look if someone rightfully pointed out that this new "ethical" Congress came into being by such unethical behavior.

It seems like there isn't anything they aren't willing to spin as a noble move. And blame Bush.

These U.S. Attorneys shouldn't be bravely marching up to the Hill to tell congressman how mean those Republicans were to ask why they were deliberately withholding indictments. They should be facing ethics charges.

Oh well, it's a small town, and we have long memories.


(BTW, as I recall, I was working the 2000 election in Philly, and some local Dem candidate got caught walking out the back door with boxes of blank absentee ballots. I think he actually did time. Not really an outlier, just stands out in my mind because he actually got caught. It's hard to believe, I know, but local machine politicians are usually of the D-flavor and have their own, unique ethics. I blame Bush.)
5.15.2007 10:44am
A.S.:
There is plenty of evidence of voter fraud. But you can't get a conviction because the recordkeeping laws are so lax that you can't prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt.

And, of course, any attempt to improve the recordkeeping resulting in cries of discrimination, all of which are the real fraud here.
5.15.2007 11:16am
Wonderland (mail):
Let's not lose sight of the forest through the trees, here. The allegation is that the White House's political office arranged for the firing of a number of otherwise perfectly qualified and adequately performing US Attys because they were unwilling to let partisan political considerations trump their professional judgment. It would have helped NM Republicans for Iglesias to announce indictments of prominent Democrats prior to Nov 2, 2006. He did not. His name was placed on the firing list literally on election day (according to AG's recent testimony in the House). It would have helped Republicans for Graves to sign off an and lodge a civil suit against MO that, if successful, would have required MO to scrub its voter roles -- elmiinating some bogus or old names, sure, but also certainly removing eligible voters, too. Graves was replaced by Schlozman -- the guy who is now under investigation for illegal partisan hiring practices of career DOJ lawyers -- who not only lodged the (frivolous and ultimately dismissed) civil suit rejected by Graves, but also prosecuted four ACORN employees for fraud in the weeks leading up to Nov 2, 2006, in direct violation of DOJ guidelines mean to prevent exactly this kind of partisan tampering right before an election. (DOJ later said that Schlozman acted pursuant to "an unwritten exception" to the rules -- I am not kidding.) McKay in Seattle was fired because, after an exhaustive investigation, he concluded that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges of voter fraud in connection with WA's disputed 2004 gubinatorial election. That, apparently, was not good enough for the White House's political office -- certainly someone with more partisan credentials would have found someone to indict, and McKay got the ax.

Remember: these are all Republican appointees. They have no incentive to "deep six" valid allegations of voter fraud. Nor do they have incentive to lie about their motivations in not bringing certain cases, or about the (highly questionable) circumstances of their respective terminations. So the idea that a few hundred felons in WI voted, or that a Miami mayoral race was stolen, or that pieces of a ballot box were found in San Francisco Bay is, ultimately, irrelevant to the question of malfeasance in the White House and DOJ relative to the removal of these US Attys -- and the unprecedented and possibly illegal politicization of federal law enforcement.

Commenters on this website, of all places, should appreciate the seriousness of this issue.
5.15.2007 11:19am
Fran (mail) (www):
Lots of talk about 'voter fraud'.

Is this justification for the politicization of the DOJ?

If there was/is prosecutable evidence of voter fraud I believe it should be pursued in fair manner according to existing DOJ rules. That said; if this was so obvious to Rove and the political arm of the WH, why wasn't this done in the open? Why can't anyone remember who submitted names for the removal list? The insertion and subsequent choice not to use the vacancy appointment provision in the Patriot Act reauthorization.

As stated below for the opposite reason:
There is also a confusion between the premises "is there evidence of WH complicity in the USA replacement scandal" and "do we have enough to prosecute an identified person from the WH or the DOJ."

Assistant Village Idiot said:
"There is also a confusion between the premises "is there evidence of fraud" and "do we have enough to prosecute an identified person." If a person is murdered but no one is identified who can be prosecuted, none of us would say "oh well, no murder took place, then."
5.15.2007 11:31am
SIG357:
A MacDonald


Sure, there are plenty of cases of voting irregularities over the years, but little evidence that there is a large scale problem of an orchestrated attempt by large numbers (or even small numbers) of people to cast illegal ballots.


This strikes me is being more than a little disingenuous. Why don't you begin by describing exactly what it is you would consider voter fraud? It looks like it would be "an orchestrated attempt by large numbers (or even small numbers) of people to cast illegal ballots". But nobody is alleging that the people in question are orchestrating their actions. And its odd to make this a requirement for voter fraud. It seems that if 50% of the votes cast in a district election were fraudulently cast, you would not conisder it a problem unless all those people were coordinating their actions. That is a novel definition of voter fraud, and one not found in law.

More chestnuts for you.

"People working the polls don't ask for ID," says Jimmy Tayoun, a former city councilman who went to prison in the 1990s for corruption. "You can flood a lot of phony names on phony addresses, and there's no way they're going to check." In 1993, a federal judge had to overturn a special state Senate election in which Democratic precinct workers had gone door to door with absentee ballot forms and "helped" voters fill them out. Gov. Ed Rendell, then Philadelphia's mayor, explained away the irregularities by saying, "I don't think it's anything that's immoral or grievous, but it clearly violates the election code."


That would seem to sum up the Democratic attitude to voter fraud. It may technically violate the election code, but its not immoral or anything.

There are probably 30-40 million people in this country not eligible to vote. (Illegal aliens, green card holders, people on student visas.) How many of them vote? It is impossible to say, because no mechanism for detecting it even exists. Since all that is needed to vote in most areas is a utility check, there is no impediment at all to them voting, other than whatever sense of honesty they feel. In the case of the illegals, that would not seem to be much.
5.15.2007 11:34am
Tully (mail) (www):
Let's not forget the forcible exclusion of poll watchers from polling places by Democratic poll workers in Philadelphia.

Or the folks who routinely vote twice.

Or the vote-buying convictions in East St. Louis. Hell, vote fraud is a way of life (er, death, er..)in Missouri, where in 2000 the Democrats had a dead man file suit alleging he was not allowed to vote. The dead regularly re-register to vote in St. Louis.

And St Louis is likely not the worst spot.

Does vote fraud occur? You bet. And voter registration fraud is even more widespread. Nice report here in PDF.
5.15.2007 11:35am
Montie (mail):

Observations that voter fraud might be possible and often relatively easy and virtually untraceable if someone were motivated to commit it


I also suspect that voter fraud would be even easier in areas that are thoroughly dominated by a specific political party...assuming that party benefits from the fraud.

Back in 2004, the international election monitors made the following observations:

The United States is also nearly unique in lacking a unified voter registration system or national identity card, Gould said, adding that he would ideally require U.S. voters to dip a finger in an ink bowl or have a cuticle stained black after voting.

"In El Salvador, Namibia and so many other elections, the ink was extremely important in preventing challenges to multiple voting," Gould said.


It definitely sounds like the international monitors were concerned about voter fraud in the U.S.
5.15.2007 11:36am
Keyes:
I love some of the stuff people have written — especially the posters who refer to "our Democrat Governor" or "a Democrat election official". 'Cause then I know something good's coming after that.

Like the Wisconsin resident who says he could have voted more often without any showing of ID by saying he was one of the other residents in the house he shared. Of course he didn't. But because he could have, that's why we have CONCLUSIVE PROOF of voter fraud by Democrat[] voters.

And that's why we need Govt-issued Photo ID laws. To keep the people from voting once about whom we have no evidence they voted at all let alone more than once.

I love Republicans. They're so, umm, ahead of the curve on committing fraud.

Democrats are so gutless in comparison. Can you imagine the next Democrat[] president gutting the DOJ of all the Goodling selectees by assigning them to go out into the field and prosecute criminal violations on federal land . . . such as drunk-driving cases at Hoover Dam.
5.15.2007 11:40am
SIG357:
So the idea that a few hundred felons in WI voted, or that a Miami mayoral race was stolen, or that pieces of a ballot box were found in San Francisco Bay is, ultimately, irrelevant to the question of malfeasance in the White House and DOJ relative to the removal of these US Attys -- and the unprecedented and possibly illegal politicization of federal law enforcement.

Don't be absurd. The US Attornys are political appointees. They can be fired and replaced at any time for political reasons, as Bill Clinton did.

"irrelevant to the question of malfeasance in the White House"'

Translation - "Lets not talk about the bad things Democrats have unquestionably done, lets change the subject to what some theorize the White House may have done, and suggest that if done, it was illegal, even though it was not and could not be".
5.15.2007 11:42am
SIG357:

And that's why we need Govt-issued Photo ID laws. To keep the people from voting once about whom we have no evidence they voted at all let alone more than once.


Their are multiple instances of more ballots being cast than voters are registered, and more voters being registered than live in a district. What would constitute evidence to you of vote fraud, if this does not?
5.15.2007 11:45am
Connie (mail):
S.A. Miller (and others wanting photo ID at the polls): you are also in favor of showing ID to procure an absentee ballot, right? And exactly what is the problem with enforcing absentee ballot laws against people in the military? They are defending our country so election laws don't apply to them?
5.15.2007 11:54am
plunge (mail):
"Their are multiple instances of more ballots being cast than voters are registered, and more voters being registered than live in a district. What would constitute evidence to you of vote fraud, if this does not?"

Many of these cases, upon examination, turn out to have the numbers wrong on things like, well, number of residents or the registrations. Again, cases where there is claimed smoke, but upon examination, no actual smoke, let alone a fire.

"They can be fired and replaced at any time for political reasons, as Bill Clinton did."

I guess you didn't get the memo: the wingnut brigade abandoned this bizarre dodge a month ago when it failed to fool anyone. Yes: Presidents can and often do replace the USAtts with their own slate of people. What's unprecedented in this case, however, was a President doing it in the second half of his second term. But that itself isn't the scandal: that's just the very odd thing that make people look up and go "hunh?" The scandal came out of that: looking at the reasons for the firings, many of which now appear to be obstructions of justice and partisan meddling in the actual selection of cases for partisan purposes, which is a HUGE corruption of the system. Patronage is one thing, but after you reward your pals with sweet DOJ jobs, they aren't then supposed to reciprocate by generating stories to order to help you win elections, or nixing investigations of your buddies.
5.15.2007 11:55am
K Parker (mail):
Regarding Washington state, take a look through the archives at Sound Politics to get an idea of the scope of the problems here--mostly in King County (Seattle) but also in other parts of the state.
5.15.2007 11:57am
JB:
SIG357: As Bill Clinton did at the beginning of his term. Regime apologists always leave that one out.
5.15.2007 12:05pm
Jimmy in Texas (mail):
Whenever a liberal treatise contains the words, "increasingly evident" and "Karl Rove;" I pretty much quit taking the article seriously.

I do have a question, though.

How would requiring a voter to prove their identity, citizenship, and eligibility to vote suppress only Democratic voters? Indeed, why would such requirements suppress any legal voter's ability to cast a ballot?
5.15.2007 12:06pm
A.S.:
As Bill Clinton did at the beginning of his term.

Which is utterly irrelevant.

Clinton fired all the US Attorneys for purely political reasons: because he wanted Democrats, not Republicans, in those positions.

There is zero difference between what Clinton did and what Bush did. Only the far left would claim the bogus distinction that the beginning of the term or the middle of the term makes a difference.
5.15.2007 12:20pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Captains Wonderful, Charming, and Polite,

For all articles you can find about some guy who saw a ballot box under the golden gate bridge or some stoner whose buddy thinks he could have used his fake id to get a second shot at the lever, there have been under 5 successful prosecutions of voter fraud (and I think only 2, actually). 5. That should be the end of the discussion. 5. The response to that is not "sloppy record keeping," because the tactic to address that problem would be to, ya know, keep better records - not pull AGs off of other prosecutions to prosecute the cases with the shitty records. 5.
5.15.2007 12:22pm
A.S.:
How would requiring a voter to prove their identity, citizenship, and eligibility to vote suppress only Democratic voters?

I don't know about "only" Democrats. But obviously the reason the Democrats are up in arms about it is that they believe (with good reason, I'd bet) that most people who vote while being ineligible are Democrats.
5.15.2007 12:22pm
Andrew MacDonald (mail):

This strikes me is being more than a little disingenuous. Why don't you begin by describing exactly what it is you would consider voter fraud?


I'd say an organized (no matter how small) attempt to swing the election for political purposes rises to the level where I want all the USAs to spend their time looking for these conspiracies instead of going after terrorists, etc.

In 2006, after spending likely tens of millions of dollars, the most the USAs managed to find were a couple of cases of an individual committing fraud and a handful of likely honest mistakes - registering in the wrong place because of confusion, etc.

The fact is most 'voter fraud' cases that Fund mentions are actually due to poor record keeping by county officials. Especially in big cities, voter rolls are rarely purged; requests from other counties to transfer voters once they move are processed at glacial speed. Believe me, if you've ever moved from big city to big city within the same state and try to get them to transfer your voter registration information, it's a huge pain. I wouldn't blame people in that situation for registering twice (although, obviously, they should only vote once). Probably many more people in big cities are denied the right to vote because of said poor record keeping than there would be the opportunity to exploit this if you even knew how it worked.

So, yes, this is a sign that city and county governments are poorly run and terrible at keeping up-to-date information. What a shocker.

And yes, historically there have been plenty of fixed elections. But that's historically. I see Fund has cited one election in 2000 where there is any real 'evidence' of fraud (although it isn't clear at all that these people voted for democrats or what their motivations were exactly; in any case any election worker thinking that 50 or so votes will swing the elections is pretty stupid). The other case he mentions in your article is that an election took place in Philadelphia and that it would be theoretically possible to have voter fraud there.

By way of contrast, The USA in Wisconsin investigated all the tips he received in 2004 elections for voter fraud. He found that claims of a dead person voting were false (turned out in several cases the son had the same name as the dad; only one of the two voted), claims of people with multiple registrations were false (one county had failed to transfer voter records in a timely manner but requests were pending), and that non-U

I expect that this is how most claims of voter fraud break down, with a handful here and there that may actually be illegal but are probably mistakes in determining eligibility (i.e. no intent to commit fraud). This is a far cry from organized voter fraud to swing an election, which is what most Republicans seem to impute as a motive to Democrats. There just isn't any evidence of this because it isn't happening.
5.15.2007 12:30pm
Anon-----:
As has already been explained, the middle-of-the-term nature of the firings is just what caught people's attention. Clinton did not remove USAs in order to obstruct ongoing investigations or because they were refusing to push bogus indictments against his political opponents. You can argue the merits of indiscriminately firing USAs as a house-cleaning measure, but it's not even in the neighborhood of what it is now clear that Rove and Sampson did with the tacit approval of both the President and the Attorney General.
5.15.2007 12:31pm
Kovarsky (mail):
A.S.,

But obviously the reason the Democrats are up in arms about it is that they believe (with good reason, I'd bet) that most people who vote while being ineligible are Democrats.

Along with the "these firings are totally normal" talking point, this is exhibit A in the "if we just say it enough times it will become true" category. Either you have not read about the reason Democrats are up in arms, which indicts your familiarity with the subject matter, or you have chosen to ignore it, which indicts your honesty.
5.15.2007 12:32pm
Oren (mail):

There is no conceivable excuse by which a failure to require a unique photo ID, provided at the state's expense to the poor, is a failure which can generally be excused.


If by "state's expense" you mean 4-12 hours of a paralegal's time hunting down a wayward birth certificate and/or social security card. Granted, not every case will require that much work but a few certainly will - not all folks are as organized as VC posters apparently are and, last I checked, the constitution does not specify attention to personal affairs as a qualification to vote.

A quick question for the majority of posters - if you had to come up with a sort of "Blackstone's formulation" for voting qualification, what would it be? Fill in the blank (or start from scratch)

Better that ____ illegitimate ballots are cast than ___ eligible voters are turned away
5.15.2007 12:33pm
badger (mail):

Clinton fired all the US Attorneys for purely political reasons: because he wanted Democrats, not Republicans, in those positions.

God, are Republicans still trotting out this bull? Did Clinton remove everyone in the cabinet for "purely political" reasons too? Presidents who return their party to power always remove virtually all political appointees and replace them with candidates more to their liking who can implement their policies. Reagan did it and GWB did it when he first came into power and I'd challenge anyone to come up with an example of one prominent who objected to the move.


There is zero difference between what Clinton did and what Bush did.

Difference 1: Clinton removed prosecutors at the beginning of his first term; GWB removed them in the middle of his second.
Difference 2: Clinton removed all USAs, regardless of who they were investigating or their independence; GWB fired a select group of USAs, selected by still unknown persons by still unknown criteria.
Difference 3: Clinton removed USAs appointed by Reagan or GHWB; GWB removed USAs appointed by himself.
Difference 4: Clinton's move was precedented by Reagan's removal of Carter's USAs. GWB's move was completely unprecedented.

It's okay that you want to keep lying to yourself A.S., but quit lying to us.
5.15.2007 12:37pm
Oren (mail):
To clarify my formulation above, the voter-eligibility decision making process has two modes of failure: false-positive, when an ineligible voter is allowed to vote and false-negative where an eligible voter is denied the vote. Everybody supports reforms that decrease the one failure without increasing the other (supposing they believed that was the empirical result of the reform).

The difficult part is, of course, in the real world all decision-making systems are subject to the rule that decreasing one failure mode tends to increase the others - especially when you have agents actively trying to corrupt the system. We cannot, however, make any decisions about fixing the system until we answer the normative question about what the system is about - hence Blackstone's formulation and my attempted equivalent here.
5.15.2007 12:43pm
DJ (mail):
Lederman's post is, I think, embarrassing. Note how he simply defines away voter fraud by using terms like "widespread" and "systemic" and the like. What he seems to miss is that, after 2000, the margin of victories in too many states have become so slim, <i></i>non-systemic<i></i> fraud can change the outcome of the election. Look, for example, at the 2004 Washington governor's race. The handful of instances of felons illegally voting and of double voting are well documented. Was this "systemic" or "widespread" fraud. Nope. But it probably flipped the election.

Marty also appears to assume that the apparent absence of evidence of widespread voter fraud is a good enough reason to support "enfranchisement" reforms. I don't get it. People oppose registration liberalization because of the risk that it will increase fraud--not because of any ongoing "systemic" fraud.

I expect better of Marty Lederman.
5.15.2007 12:46pm
Al Maviva (mail) (www):
Nobody gives a flying burrito about vote fraud this unless it's their ox that's gored.

For my part, I support ID requirements, especially if the states make ID's available cheaply.

But then somebody voted my absentee ballot in 2000 - it was mailed but never got to me, yet showed up as a cast ballot. So I guess you can count me as one of the people who got disenfranchised by one of those 'isolated incidents.' I am the gored ox, as far as I'm concerned. Moooo.
5.15.2007 12:46pm
Montie (mail):

If by "state's expense" you mean 4-12 hours of a paralegal's time hunting down a wayward birth certificate and/or social security card. Granted, not every case will require that much work but a few certainly will - not all folks are as organized as VC posters apparently are and, last I checked, the constitution does not specify attention to personal affairs as a qualification to vote.


Correct me if I am wrong but you seem to be saying it is better to have a very high level of illegitimate ballots cast than one voter turned away.

In addition, the Constitution does not specify that people that pay no attention to personal affairs must be allowed to vote. If it did, consider the implication: An individual can be sent to prison for inattention to persional affairs (e.g., not paying taxes). However, such a person must never be denied the right to vote.
5.15.2007 12:55pm
Brett Bellmore:

Clinton did not remove USAs in order to obstruct ongoing investigations


Clinton didn't have to wait until mid-term to fire USAs in order to obstruct ongoing investigations: He was the subject of investigations before he ever took office.
5.15.2007 12:56pm
Gabriel Sutherland (mail):
Jimmy in Texas: Let's ask the Baker-Carter Commission dissent. Over to Professor Spencer Overton, GWU Law.


Here's more from Professor Overton.


As far as I know, Professor Overton is the legal point man on opposing voter ID laws.
5.15.2007 12:57pm
A.S.:
Did Clinton remove everyone in the cabinet for "purely political" reasons too?

Yes, he did.

Presidents who return their party to power always remove virtually all political appointees and replace them with candidates more to their liking who can implement their policies.

Correct. Reagan did it. GHWBush did it. Clinton did it. And what GWBush did was the same: remove political appointees and replace them with candidates more to his liking who can implement his policies. This applies both at the beginning of the term and the middle.

Difference 1: Clinton removed prosecutors at the beginning of his first term; GWB removed them in the middle of his second.

As I pointed out above, this is a distinction without a difference. Presidents can fire political appointees at the beginning of the term, in the middle, or the end. No difference. You might as well be saying that the crucial difference is that Clinton fired the US Attorneys on a Friday whereas Bush fired them on a Tuesday.

Difference 2: Clinton removed all USAs, regardless of who they were investigating or their independence; GWB fired a select group of USAs, selected by still unknown persons by still unknown criteria.

This is misleading on two fronts. One of the reasons Clinton got rid of the US Attorney in Arkansas was because the guy was investigating Clinton's cronies. Secondly, the criteria in Bush's case is known - performance.

Difference 3: Clinton removed USAs appointed by Reagan or GHWB; GWB removed USAs appointed by himself.

Again, this is a distinction without a difference. Presidents are entitled to fire political appointees whether they were appointed by himself or any other President.

Difference 4: Clinton's move was precedented by Reagan's removal of Carter's USAs. GWB's move was completely unprecedented.

As I pointed out above, GWBush's firings are "precedented" by Clinton's firings, Reagan's firings, and every other firing of a US Attorney.
5.15.2007 12:57pm
Shake-N-Bake:
Al, people steal mail all the time. One time I received an empty envelope from a relative that was supposed to contain my birthday gift. I can't imagine this wouldn't happen with absentee ballots too, and I doubt there would be necessarily any partisan pattern to the people who intercept absentee ballots.

There is no requirement in the world that would solve the problem of intercepted absentee ballots as long as we mail them.
5.15.2007 1:03pm
Montie (mail):

If by "state's expense" you mean 4-12 hours of a paralegal's time hunting down a wayward birth certificate and/or social security card.


I should add that the state does not have to check every person who shows up with insufficient documentation. Rather, they could randomly audit those who do not have full documentation. Any cheaters would be prosecuted. Prosecution would be easier than prosecuting voter fraud because there would be signed documents and photographs to prove that the person was trying to cheat.
5.15.2007 1:06pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
As Bill Clinton did at the beginning of his term.

Hilarious.
So you're saying no, zero, USA's were removed after this during the Clinton Admin?

Further, you do realize USA's have 4 year terms in office, right?

GWB removed them in the middle of his second.

Wait, you obviously didn't get the memo, they put one of them on the "fired list" on election day, don't you know!?
5.15.2007 1:06pm
Thief (mail) (www):

In general, the following are not proof that there is a serious "voter fraud" problem:

2) Observations that voter fraud might be possible if someone were motivated to commit it


Stop right there. In both IT and financial accounting, if a potential security vulnerability is discovered, nobody in their right mind waits for the vulnerability to be exploited before taking action to close the hole. (That is, unless they want their system to be cracked and/or large quantities of cash to go missing, and then have to deal with the auditors, insurance investigators, and certain very anal-retentive government agencies.) Why is voting any less important? Why should voting systems, both technological and human, not be held to the same stringent security and accounting standards that are regularly imposed by such laws as HIPAA, FERPA, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc. etc. ad nauseum?

A lot of people seem to assume that the health of a country's democracy and civil society can be increased by having as many people as possible registered to vote, and that any such increase in the number of potential voters is automatically good, or even an end in itself. It's not. The good achieved ultimately depends on the processes used to achieve it. If a lax process is used for ideological reasons, and government resists changing it in the face of public opposition, confidence in the system is ultimately destroyed. If there is no confidence, people won't vote, or they'll move and vote only in jurisdictions controlled by people of the same ideology or party or faction because they believe it's the only way their votes will count, or they'll demand increasingly extreme action to change the process. (I see the same assumption and dynamic at work in the immigration debate.)
5.15.2007 1:24pm
Fran (mail) (www):
Borrowed from Ray McGovern and Rumsfeld:

Apply the Rumsfeld dictum: "The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
5.15.2007 1:25pm
Oren (mail):

Correct me if I am wrong but you seem to be saying it is better to have a very high level of illegitimate ballots cast than one voter turned away.


Obviously there's got to be some balance. I only meant to say that reforms that will decrease voter fraud are also going to suppress some legitimate voters and that care should be taken to balance these competing (and both manifestly worthy) goals. The tone of a lot of comments on the board seem to suggest that we need to eradicate voter fraud and to hell with the consequences for disenfranchised (poor) voters.


An individual can be sent to prison for inattention to persional affairs (e.g., not paying taxes). However, such a person must never be denied the right to vote.


Most working class folk have all their taxes withheld from their paychecks - it's much easier for everyone involved to do it this way. At any rate, your example is disingenuous - the worst the IRS will do is levy a fine + back interest.
5.15.2007 1:30pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
And exactly what is the problem with enforcing absentee ballot laws against people in the military? They are defending our country so election laws don't apply to them?


Whoa! Democrats like Charlie Rangel are always claiming that minorities are over represented in the military, and that the econonomically underpriviledged are way over represented. Neither is true, but absence of truth never stopped CR from saying anything. So now Democrats are OK with supressing the votes of minorities and the poor, based on the merest technicality?

Memo to DNC:

It has come to our attention that the precinct captains are finding it increasingly difficult to keep the various logical falacies organized. We recommend that you dispense with arguing issues on the merits and stick to the old-reliable appeals to emotion and accusations of (Republican) racism.

Sincerely,
Cheatham, Cummin &Goeing Inc. Political Consultants
5.15.2007 1:33pm
markm (mail):

Al, people steal mail all the time. ...

There is no requirement in the world that would solve the problem of intercepted absentee ballots as long as we mail them.

Send them by registered mail only, make postal employees check ID when you sign for them, vigorously follow up any discrepancies and prosecute those responsible. Of course, require this and you'll soon find out the real value that the people who are supposed to serve us place on honest elections - a few dollars per absentee voter will suddenly turn out to be way too costly, even though the people elected through these procedures proceed to extract thousands of dollars from each of us.
5.15.2007 1:44pm
Kazinski:
Where Lederman misses the mark is his contention that because there is no evidence of systematic voter fraud then it is not worth cleaning up. The remedies proposed by the GOP that Lederman criticizes, cleaning up voter roles and requiring IDs, would clean up widespread retail vote fraud, that perpetrated by individuals or small groups.

It was retail vote fraud that tipped the 2004 Washington Governors election to the Democratic candidate. Just because it isn't a large widespread conspiracy doesn't mean it should be tolerated.
5.15.2007 1:47pm
Montie (mail):

Most working class folk have all their taxes withheld from their paychecks - it's much easier for everyone involved to do it this way. At any rate, your example is disingenuous - the worst the IRS will do is levy a fine + back interest.


I will take your word about the IRS (but I do note the fine). However, my example applies more generally than the IRS. What about jury duty? A person can be fined and even thrown in jail if they don't pay attention to the summons, or they can be thrown into jail if they don't show up to court proceedings in which they are involved.

If given time, I can list off several examples in which personal inattention can cost an individual their property and/or their freedom. Now, I am no expert on the Constitution, but I think that the Constitution places the right to property and liberty as more fundamental than the right to vote.
5.15.2007 1:47pm
badger (mail):

Wait, you obviously didn't get the memo, they put one of them on the "fired list" on election day, don't you know!?

Yeah, election day 2006. Christ Ace, if you're going to nitpick, at least have the courtesy to be right about it.


So you're saying no, zero, USA's were removed after this during the Clinton Admin?

As I recall, Clinton removed one or two USAs for gross misconduct while in office (one of them got arrested after making a scene at a strip club, or something). These sort of firings are routine. Firing 8 or 9 at once, for reasons that change from week-to-week is not.
5.15.2007 1:47pm
Orielbean (mail):
BB, you used a rense.com paper as a proof. You have got to be kidding me. Have you ever been to the main site? Also they have proof of the jewish banking conspiracy to take over the world. Rense is right up there with Time Cube.
5.15.2007 1:54pm
alkali (mail) (www):
Thief writes:

In both IT and financial accounting, if a potential security vulnerability is discovered, nobody in their right mind waits for the vulnerability to be exploited before taking action to close the hole. (That is, unless they want their system to be cracked and/or large quantities of cash to go missing, and then have to deal with the auditors, insurance investigators, and certain very anal-retentive government agencies.) Why is voting any less important? Why should voting systems, both technological and human, not be held to the same stringent security and accounting standards that are regularly imposed by such laws as HIPAA, FERPA, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc. etc. ad nauseum?

In accounting and auditing we have (i) the concept of "materiality" and (ii) the notion that financial statements may be "fairly presented" even if they may contain material errors. Those are relative standards, often expressed in rules of thumb as single-digit percentage point errors. If Sarbanes Oxley required the CEO of GE to certify that every single dollar of GE's assets and liabilities were accounted for correctly, it wouldn't be workable. (Indeed, I have no idea what the materiality threshold is at GE but I would guess that it's significantly in excess of a million dollars.)

You cannot import those kinds of standards into the realm of voting unless you are willing to admit some concept of materality. Which is to say, I cannot imagine a workable system of voting that would entirely exclude the possibilities (i) that the occasional person would manage to vote in the wrong precinct (or even the wrong state), (ii) that a person ineligible to vote for whatever reason would cast a ballot, or (iii) that some demented person would find a way to vote more than once. The question is whether our current system actually falls meaningfully short of what can be realistically expected.
5.15.2007 1:58pm
Kovarsky (mail):
the question about the firings isn't whether mid-term removals are legal. they clearly are. nor is the question, in the abstract, how close prior patterns of behavior come to setting a precedent for them.

the issue is an evidentiary one - what does the fact that these are the first mass mid-term removals (whether "precedented" by prior administrations or not) say about the likely motivation for them.
5.15.2007 1:59pm
AK (mail):
There is little, if any, reliable evidence of any serious problem of voter fraud in the United States.

You can stop reading right there, because the rest of the argument hinges on what Lederman believes constitutes a "serious" problem. And I get the feeling that no amount of demonstrated voter fraud would ever rise to Lederman's definition of "serious."
5.15.2007 2:00pm
Thomas S (mail):
Allow me to decode / untwist.

Democrat operatives decided that Democrat political prospects would be immeasurably improved if they would only repeat, as often as possible, the unsupported claim that Voter ID legislation has the effect of suppressing [Democrat] votes. The usual suspects (NYT et cetera) are all doing their part.

All of which has the side benefit of allowing voter fraud to continue... which also tends to support Democrats... and the continuing absurd debate over the issue makes it quite clear to anyone, not drinking the cool aid, that committing voter fraud is easy. While we debate whether someone should need a serious ID... well, we are in fact advertising you don't need much of an ID...

The the faux "U.S. Attorney Scandal" is a continuation of the Democrats plan to play up that there is not voter fraud and that valid Voter ID laws are not needed... by claiming the Republicans are pushing the false meme.... they intend to push their own.
5.15.2007 2:03pm
A.S.:
And I get the feeling that no amount of demonstrated voter fraud would ever rise to Lederman's definition of "serious."

Oh, I don't know about that.

"Serious" voter fraud would be any fraud that would cause an election to go to a Republican. Any voter fraud that would cause an election to go to a Democrat, like that in Washington, can safely be classified as "Non-Serious".

Similarly, with measures that might cause "disenfranchisement". And such measure that might cause elections to go to Republicans is a problem. Otherwise, no problem!
5.15.2007 2:07pm
Some Guy (mail):

Let's not lose sight of the forest through the trees, here. The allegation is that the White House's political office arranged for the firing of a number of otherwise perfectly qualified and adequately performing US Attys because they were unwilling to let partisan political considerations trump their professional judgment.


Um, no, try again.

The allegation is that U.S. Attorneys withheld prosecutions of Democratic politicians until after a vital election for the express purpose of benefitting their party.

When those prosecutors were later fired for...cough...ethical creativity, they went crying to the new majority on the Hill that had benefitted from their wrongdoing. The press dutifully picked up the DNC releases and now Dems are heartily spinning these prosecutor's complete lack of ethics as somehow the fault of BOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSHHHHHHH. Like I said, spin it all you want, you are defending U.S. Attorneys' decisions to forego prosecution for political purposes.

That door swings both ways, and every spin move the Dems make now will come back to haunt them. Of course, that's assuming a party that is so ethically challenged as to defend this sort of prosecutorial misconduct will ever be trusted by the American people to staff the Executive, again.
5.15.2007 2:09pm
jjag (mail):
I have a resident alien friend who was registered to vote ten years ago when they applied for a driver's license under the "Motor Voter" registration scheme.

They could still be voting today. Who's going to take their hispanic name off the list? To even inquire would be "racism", no?

As someone noted above, in Boston you don't have to provide an id, just state your address and name. Someone with access to a database, with a little effort, could likely find a way to vote a dozen times using hispanic "voters" on various lists. Who'd question them? Who'd ask for an id? Who wants to be charged with a federal civil rights violation?

Massive opportunity for fraud.
5.15.2007 2:18pm
AK (mail):
There is little, if any, reliable evidence of any serious problem of voter fraud in the United States.

There is also little, if any, reliable evidence that requiring voters to show photo identification before voting creates a serious problem of voter intimidation, but that doesn't stop the Democrats from insisting that it does.
5.15.2007 2:20pm
AK (mail):
We came so close - so achingly close! - to having the Democrats care about voter fraud. But then the investigation into Ann Coulter voting in the wrong precinct wrapped up without an indictment.
5.15.2007 2:25pm
Jimmy in Texas (mail):
Okay, let's start with the 26th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. I'm no Constitutional expert or anything but, it appears to me this language:

"The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age,"

establishes a couple of things; voting is a right afforded U. S. citizens who are 18 years of age or older; and, that right shall not be denied or abridged on account of age. Since it specifies age, isn't it presumptive there are other conditions under which this right could be denied or abridged?

Also, why would it be unreasonable to require a person, wanting to cast a ballot, to prove they meet the eligibility criteria set out in this amendment of being a U. S. Citizen and age 18 or older?

Now, let's wind our way back to the 19th amendment:

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

Now, while Bill Clinton fans may take this the totally wrong way, it actually refers to the sex of the voter -- not their sexuality. But, more importantly, it establishes there can be no discrimination at the poll based on a person's sex -- thus, eliminating the uncomfortable confirmatory strip searches of those Joan-of-Arc/Mulan-type voters who would pretend to be men so they could vote. Beyond that, it really doesn't address any more than does the 26th amendment.

It certainly doesn't prohibit the federal government or the States from verifying voter eligibility. In fact, both amendments have identical language that would tend to encourage Congressional insinuation into voter qualification:

"Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Yeah, I know, there are a bunch of lawyers and constitutional experts that read this blog and will be quick to point out "him v. them" or "this v. that," wherein case law prohibits things such as poll taxes, literacy tests, and other such superfluous, racist, or unnecessarily discriminatory voter qualification but, are there any prohibitions against confirming a person meets the Constitutional eligibility requirements?

I don't think so.
5.15.2007 2:48pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
Yeah, election day 2006. Christ Ace, if you're going to nitpick, at least have the courtesy to be right about it.

Uh, election day 2006 isn't "half way through" the 2nd term. Clown.

Further, since you're wallowing in ignornance, let me clear it up for you:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales acknowledged Thursday there was a "great deal of concern" in some quarters about former U.S. Attorney John McKay's handling of election fraud allegations during the 2004 election in Washington state. But he said he doesn't know if that's why McKay was placed on a list of U.S. attorneys to be fired in March 2005.




Firing 8 or 9 at once, for reasons that change from week-to-week is not.

And then what?

That makes it "bad" because you say so, right?
5.15.2007 2:56pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
^ "ignorance"
5.15.2007 3:03pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Some Guy writes:

The allegation is that U.S. Attorneys withheld prosecutions of Democratic politicians until after a vital election for the express purpose of benefitting their party.

The rest of your post indicates that you believe "their party" = Democratic Party (and as an aside, didn't some of you other posters get the memo? -- even Bush is trying not to say "Democrat Party" anymore)

As to the substance, the fired U.S. Attorneys were Republicans, appointed by Bush in the first place. So the idea that they made decisions about prosecutions expressly to benefit Democrats is a bit hard to take seriously.
5.15.2007 3:04pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
The allegation is that U.S. Attorneys withheld prosecutions of Democratic politicians until after a vital election for the express purpose of benefitting their party.

What is funny is that like most ideas from the Democrats, reality is exactly the opposite from what they're claiming.
5.15.2007 3:06pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
As to the substance, the fired U.S. Attorneys were Republicans,

All of them?
Every single one?

Can you show some proof of this, please?
5.15.2007 3:07pm
Some Guy (mail):
Actually, the fired U.S. Attorneys were appointed by President Clinton, and were allowed to keep their jobs after holding over from the previous, Democratic, Administration. No, they weren't appointed because they were Republicans, they were Democrats who were allowed to keep their jobs as a sign of bipartisanship.

In the spirit of close cooperation across party lines, they then engaged in prosecutorial misconduct by withholding prosecutions of Democrat politicians in order to boost the DEMOCRAT Party.
5.15.2007 3:09pm
badger (mail):

Uh, election day 2006 isn't "half way through" the 2nd term. Clown.

Bush's second term began January, 2005, the 2006 midterm elections occurred November, 2006. The election occurred more than 20 months into Bush's 48-month second term, nearly in the middle of the term. That's why they call it a midterm election.
5.15.2007 3:20pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Marty Lederman writes:

7. Some U.S. Attorneys -- loyal Republicans all -- after concluding that there was, after all, no basis in fact for bringing such prosecutions, especially not so close to elections, when such prosecutions could have an unwarranted impact on election outcomes, understandably declined to prosecute.

So he's wrong about the fired folks being Republicans?
5.15.2007 3:23pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
So he's wrong about the fired folks being Republicans?

Link?
5.15.2007 3:50pm
alkali (mail) (www):
Actually, the fired U.S. Attorneys were appointed by President Clinton, and were allowed to keep their jobs after holding over from the previous, Democratic, Administration.

Some Guy: you have been misinformed. Here, for example, is the whitehouse.gov page noting the nomination of Mr. Iglesias as US Attorney for New Mexico. I believe that similar pages for the other fired US Attorneys and all other Bush administration nominees can be found here.
5.15.2007 3:53pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Ace:

For some reason I can't figure out how to embed links (if someone could explain to me what I'm doing wrong, I would be grateful). But the bit I quoted is in the Marty Lederman piece which JA links in his original post above. So just click on that.

Anyway, unless somebody shows me that Lederman (and others) are wrong that the fired folks were Republicans appointed by Bush, the idea that they would would be "expressly" trying to aid the Democratic Party seems like nonsense. Indeed, even if you could show that that the US Att'ys were nominally Democrats, the accusation that they were acting in a partisan matter to help Democrats would still need significant additional support.
5.15.2007 3:59pm
A.S.:
I think Lederman is correct that all of the fired US Attorneys were appointed by Bush. It is true that Bush retained some Clinton-appointed US Attorneys - Mary Jo White in SDNY, for example. (That's a clear difference from what Clinton did.) But I don't think any of the fired US Attorneys were so appointed by Clinton.
5.15.2007 4:09pm
whackjobbbb:
Save your breath, Slater. The acehole is famous for this brand of koolaid drinking rant.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you, acehole!
5.15.2007 4:10pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
JosephSlater,

do you see a "link" button on your screen just above this comments box?
I use that rather than trying to hard code them in.
5.15.2007 4:10pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
So he's wrong about the fired folks being Republicans?

Otherwise, Bush nominating them and them being "Republicans" are two different things.

Which isn't too terribly complicated.
Just ask George Tenent and Norm Mineta.
5.15.2007 4:12pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
The election occurred more than 20 months into Bush's 48-month second term

And a list of USA's to be fired in March 2005 was being put together right after the 2004 elections.
5.15.2007 4:14pm
badger (mail):

And a list of USA's to be fired in March 2005 was being put together right after the 2004 elections.

That's irrelevant. You were trying to nitpick me for saying that the USAs were fired midway through GWB's second term. That was when they were removed or asked to resign. When they were first put on Kyle Sampson's mystical list is not relevant to what I said.
5.15.2007 4:48pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Ace:

Thanks for the suggestion. Sadly, that link button doesn't seem to work for me. Maybe it's because I use Netscape. Or maybe I'm still doing something wrong.

On the merits, sure it's POSSIBLE that Bush appointed Democrats, but do you have any proof that these particular folks actually were Democrats, or any evidence that suggests that Lederman was wrong in calling them Republicans?

And remember, the original assertion to which I objected went beyond even claiming they were Democrats: the original assertion was that these U.S. Atty's were expressly trying to help the Democratic Party by improperly refusing to bring ostensibly valid prosecutions. Do you have any proof or even plausible evidence of such improper motivations?
5.15.2007 4:50pm
uh clem (mail):
badger,

Don't waste your time arguing with trolls. Unfortunately, they seem to have flocked to this thread.
5.15.2007 4:52pm
NickM (mail) (www):
So when Nativo Lopez orchestrated the registrations of noncitizens (primarily clients of Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, which he ran) in Santa Ana in 1996 to secure their votes for him in his Santa Ana school board race - and may well have caused enough noncitizen votes to flip a Congressional election from Robert Dornan to Loretta Sanchez in the process, does that not count because
a) it was more than 10 years ago
b) Lopez was never prosecuted (the District Attorney investigating the case gave Lopez immunity and put him before the grand jury, even though he was clearly the logical target)
c) Sanchez's margin of victory was a couple hundred votes greater than the proven illegal votes
d) some other reason
e) it actually does count

Meanwhile, there are plenty of dead people on the voter rolls, as well as people who have moved and not been taken off the rolls. If you don't believe that, walk a precinct sometime and ask to speak to each registered voter on the rolls for the precinct. Most elections officials are happy if only 10% of the voter rolls are deadwood.
Other than asking people to show ID at the polls, how would you prevent people from voting using someone else's name? And when it happens, how would you catch who was responsible? There are no cameras allowed in polling places to see who cast what vote, and expecting polling workers, many days later, to remember and be able to accurately describe a particular one of the hundreds of people they saw on election day is not realistic. If the cheating voter is not stopped at the time he announces who he is and asks for a ballot (which normally means the poll workers either know him or knew the person he's pretending to be), he's getting away with it.

Yes, you can prove afterward that a certain number of votes were illegally cast. In some states (e.g., WA) unless you can prove who the unknown criminal(s) voted for or that he was affiliated with a particular campaign), that's not sufficient to overturn an election, no matter its magnitude. In the states where it's sufficient to vacate the election result and order a new election, the criminal(s) have still gotten away with their crimes.

I think the poll tax amendment requires that at least one acceptable form of the photo ID required be free - and for everyone, not just the poor. And it should also be readily available (I don't think GA's version qualified, for example). Once those conditions are met, I don't believe it can seriously be maintained that eligible voters will be precluded from voting.

Absentee ballot fraud is a separate group of problems. Different problems will require different responses. But when a version that's already illegal (and fairly repulsive) yields only minor or no punishment when caught (see, e.g., Hardeman v. Thomas, 208 Cal. App. 3d 153 (1989) - Ed Vincent, found by the courts to have been personally involved in coercing absentee votes and voting other people's absentee ballots while Inglewood mayor, is now a State Senator and will be a frontrunning candidate for Congress if Diane Watson retires soon), there's not much risk in trying to commit fraud.

Nick
5.15.2007 5:07pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
You were trying to nitpick me for saying that the USAs were fired midway through GWB's second term.

Right.
Which isn't true.

Nor is this:
Yeah, election day 2006. Christ Ace, if you're going to nitpick, at least have the courtesy to be right about it.

I enjoyed watching you skip over that.

That's irrelevant.

Actually, this is an example of irrelevance:
Clinton removed prosecutors at the beginning of his first term

I love watching you leftists move goal posts.
It's fun.

Especially after calling for the firing of Rumsfeld for 3 straight years.
5.15.2007 5:48pm
The Ace (mail) (www):
Don't waste your time arguing with trolls. Unfortunately, they seem to have flocked to this thread.

As compared to this great contribution to the topic at hand.
5.15.2007 5:49pm
Brian K (mail):

Thanks for the suggestion. Sadly, that link button doesn't seem to work for me. Maybe it's because I use Netscape. Or maybe I'm still doing something wrong.


It helps if you highlight the text before clicking on the "link" button...otherwise it puts in a nonclickable link unless you manually edit the html code. if that doesn't work, get firefox.
5.15.2007 6:05pm
whackjobbbb:
acehole,

I'm not a leftist, but you are a koolaid-drinking crackpot.
5.15.2007 6:29pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Brian K.:

Thanks for the advice, I'll try it. Others, apologies for getting off topic with my technological incompetence.
5.15.2007 6:37pm
jt007 (mail):
The liberal talking point about ID requirements resulting in voter disenfranchisement is pure BS. The Georgia voter ID law that was recently struck down by a federal judge not only provided for ID's to be provided free of charge, it also provided for mobile units to go into poor neighborhoods to provide those ID's directly to the poor. There was no legitimate claim that this law would operate as a poll tax or disenfranchise anyone, yet Democrats opposed it.

As long as no ID's are required, there will always be insufficient evidence to prove voter fraud and the Democrats can retain their only defense to the serial voter fraud they have committed from Tammany Hall through the most recent Washington State gubanatorial race (i.e. "Even if there were irregularites, there was insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone so it never really happened in the first place.")

That argument is rank idiocy and wouldn't be available to Democrats but for their success in obstructing voting reforms.
5.16.2007 6:49am
jt007 (mail):
The claim that Clinton's firing of all US Attorneys was somehow legitimate is laughable. Historically, US attorneys had been replaced with several months notice in order to facilitate an ordered transition and to protect ongoing investigations. Clinton gave them all ten days notice. That was completely unprecedented. It also scuttled the Arkansas US Atty's Whitewater investigation. Remember that a US Atty never prosecuted anyone for Whitewater. Clinton then waited a year (Jan. 1994) to begrudgingly appoint Robert Fiske as a Special Prosecutor who conducted a tepid investigation (e.g. two FBI agents attested under penalty of perjury that they were ordered to remain outside his office as Charlie Trie was busily shredding documents related to their investigation). Ken Starr was appointed in August 1994 when the Independent Counsel Act was reinstated by Congress and he ultimately convicted 16 people. "Miraculously", the Clintons escaped prosecution.

Clinton scuttled the investigation in January 1993 and took advantage of the interim to allow evidence to be destroyed. He also scuttled the investigation of Dan Rostenkowski who was being investigated by the US Atty in Washington DC. Rostinkowski was eventually convicted, but Clinton managed to buy him a year and half in which Clinton attempted to use him to push his agenda through Congress.

Clinton fired US Atty's because they were investigating and prosecuting Democrat corruption. Bush fired US Attys because they were not investigating and prosecuting Democrat corruption. Democrats apparently lack the intellectual capacity to understand this distinction. (And don't tell me there was no evidence of voter fraud. As an example, there was ample evidence of illegality in Washington State, but the US Atty refused to indict. He was also a Democrat and and another example of Bush thinking that he could "reach across the aisle")
5.16.2007 7:24am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
jt007

I have never understood why Bush thought he could reach across the aisle. After the first time--or say, Kennedy on education--he ought to have noticed what he got back was a bloody stump.
Reaching across the aisle presumed the dems would operate in good faith.
If Bush has blind spots, this is one of them.
5.16.2007 8:28am
Happyshooter:
During the last presidential election, the Bush campaign asked local GOP groups to organize extensive poll challenging efforts, to include watchers, official challengers, and a crew of "Lawyers for Bush" to help challengers in sticky situations.

Going into my story, it is important to note that my state has a law on the books requiring ID in order to vote, but every year that measure is blocked by the courts or federal civil rights, and people are allowed to vote if they give the name of a person registered in the precinct.

The area I was assigned to was a series of precincts that are overwhelmingly black and democratic. In one of the precincts, located in a school, the principal was playing continuous democratic voting directions on the PA system for the people waiting in line. That was at 8am.

Many precincts had pastors, who are very politically powerful locally, walking up and down the line of people waiting to vote with NAACP poll watcher credentials, instructing voters how to vote.

In another precinct, the poll workers, were all city employees, literally couldn't read. Our poll challenger had been challenging every single voter because no one was being marked off in the poll book as having voted. We suspected some kind of massive fraud to allow people to vote twice, but it turned out that none of the city employees could read well enough to mark off the names. The city manager ended up going to the Kerry phone bank at the SEIU union hall, had to turn their Kerry tee shirts inside out, and swore them in as poll workers because they could read.

My personal favorite was another one of the precincts, where two of the city councilwomen were standing between the booths and the vote scanner machine, and inspecting ballots. If the voter failed to vote correctly, they spoiled the ballot with a pen and sent them back to the booth with a Democratic poll watcher to vote under supervision.

There were a number of other minor problems, like vote totals registering on the machine being well in excess of the number of votes marked off in the poll books, but compared to the overt fraud they were relatively minor.

The reports were all submitted to the Bush/GOP folks on the state level, who decided to not say anything.
5.16.2007 10:30am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Happyshooter. That doesn't amount to sufficient evidence for this bunch. It amounts to just dandy.
5.16.2007 11:18am
markm (mail):
Dead and moved-away people on the voter registration list aren't any sign of fraud. When someone votes in their name, that's fraud - but you can't prove who did it, and you can't even prove it happened unless the pollworkers are checking off names in the list as people vote. Where I vote, they do that well (even though it's done by a very slow-moving lady who appears to be in her 90's), but in Happyshooter's story, they didn't even do that.

In a solid-Republican township with an honest and efficient voting registrar, my mother once mailed letters to the entire registration list (about 200 people) and had 10% returned "addressee unknown". That is, they'd been gone long enough for any forwarding instruction to the post office to have lapsed. And when she investigated, she found that our registrar was doing pretty well compared to the norm. Death certificates don't get sent to the voter registration office - but in our small community, the registrar often was invited to the funeral, so we didn't have too many dead voters. If you move and register at your new address, they are supposed to send a notice to your old precinct to remove you from the rolls - but half the time, that doesn't happen. Not to mention those that never re-registered.

What worked best to keep the number of lapsed registrations in control was a rule that if you didn't vote in any election for 5 years, they took you off the list. Dead and moved-away people might be on the list for five years, but not forever - at least not as long as someone wasn't voting in their name. (Bad idea in a tiny community - someone's going to know the person whose name you are using - but not so hard to get away with in a big city.) However, even this rule is under challenge and has been dropped in many areas. To start with, if the pollworkers are too incompetent or lazy to check off the names as people vote, they aren't going to know who didn't vote...

Require photo ID or ink voter's thumbs. Otherwise you're just inviting fraud.
5.17.2007 12:57pm
markm (mail):
Finally, I really want to know how all these poor people who allegedly can't get a photo ID are surviving. They can't drive to work. They can't cash a paycheck. I very much hope you can't get welfare without ID. Maybe a few thousand homeless winos, drug-addicts, and people unwisely released from mental institutions really don't have ID - but these people don't vote anyway, unless someone's collecting them, paying them, and bussing them to the polls. And I'd consider that to be improper, too.
5.17.2007 1:02pm