Thursday, July 12, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Brett Reed, 40. One of my big life mistakes: I didn't go down to Gilman Street when I had the chance. I did, however, spend plenty of time at Golden Gate Fields, which is very close by, and I'm a very big fan of Rancid's song GGF.

Oh -- good stuff:

1. David Roberts on asymmetrical polarization.

2. Greg Sargent on Democrats going on the attack on health care. Interesting.

3. Eric Andrew-Gee on voter suppression in Pennsylvania. See also comments from the Democratic Strategist.

4. And Sarah Kliff on what's happening in the state legislatures about abortion.


  1. A simple question on this "voter suppression" issue: Do Democrats hope to win elections with the votes of non-citizens? If not, what precautions are they willing to see taken to prevent non-citizens from voting? From the debate so far, I see Democrats unwilling to take any action whatsoever to prevent non-citizens from voting, leading me to think that they do in fact hope to win elections with the help of non-citizen votes.

    1. There is no evidence that voter fraud has been a problem. When Indiana's voter ID law went before the court, they couldn't find a single instance of voter fraud in the state's entire history to justify it. It's an invented issue created to justify imposing obstacles to voting.

    2. Non-citizens don't get voter registration cards, which means they can't vote. Adding a photo id requirement doesn't add additional reliability to the card, it just creates an additional hurdle to voting for people who are already registered. And as Scott notes, we've had a lot of elections without requiring additional id, yet no discernible fraud.

      The main reason for this (IMO) is that it's just damn hard to get people to vote in the first place, especially the more disadvantaged people the Repubs fear so much. Or, put another way, the amount of effort it would take to gather a handful of scary African-American voters by fraud far surpasses the effort required to legally register scary African-American voters and get them to the polls, meaning it's a wasteful effort, potentially illegal, for a very limited reward. (And I note that even in The Great McGinty, no non-citizens voted; McGinty voted on behalf of other registered voters - citizens all - to save them the trouble of going to the polls - and even the effort required to determine who to vote for! It was pretty much a public service.)

  2. I imagine if there was any evidence of non-citizens actually trying to vote the Democrats would at least be willing to entertain common sense proposals to combat it. This is a problem that so far has been shown to be non-existent, for fairly obvious reasons. Illegal immigrants don't make a habit of showing up at places where their status might be questioned.

  3. It is simply not true that no non-citizens have been found to vote. The challenge to Rep. Sanchez's defeat of Rep. Robert Dornan in 1996 in a 50% Hispanic district in Orange County, CA found an effort by Sanchez supporters to get non-citizens to register and vote. Several hundred such votes were found, but not enough to overturn her 900 vote victory. In an evenly divided country, concerns about non-citizen votes changing election results have a rational basis. Since most non-citizens are low income Hispanics, of course they tend to favor the Democratic Party. So Republican concerns about illegal voting by non-citizens costing them elections has a genuine factual basis. I do believe that the Democratic Party seeks to benefit from the lack of any enforcement of citizenship as a requirement to vote. In many states, you can register to vote without proving citizenship, or even providing any evidence of citizenship.

    1. And to deny that the GOP is seeking to turn away qualified, legal citizens from the voting booth is also to deny the facts.

      Voter fraud is fantastically rare, for a lot of reasons. However, there are a LOT of people who do not have photo IDs who would normally be expected to vote Democratic (if they turn out to vote, of course).

      Where was the Republican hue-and-cry after the events of 2000, where something like 1.5% of voters cast ballots without a valid vote for Preisdent on them? The best estimates we have are that around 0.5% of people vote in a presidential election and purposefully leave their ballots blank. No, that wasn't the big deal...let the Democrats pass a bill to deal with 1% of voters getting screwed over by using confusing technology (for either them, the poll workers, or both); we'll focus on adding ID requirements to HAVA and on a Justice Department probe into fraud that found....wait for evidence of any organized effort to encourage voter fraud.

      The Hermanadad case is meaningful. They registered 632 people ineligible to vote; 364 of them voted; 115 of them had not yet become citizens by that time (see, they weren't YET citizens when they registered, but they were in line to become citizens, and 249 of them DID by the time the election rolled around!). Two Hermandad employees were responsible for these registrations, but the DA couldn't get enough evidence to indict them.

      Of course, in this same district 10 years later, a candidate sent out letters in Spanish to people with Latino surnames, saying they would have their papers checked at the voting place if they voted.

      But that's not voter intimidation, and it's fine that estimates are that 10% of eligible, legal voters do not have identification. The real problem a lot of us liberals have with conservatives on this issue is that voter ID throws out SOME babies with the bathwater. Since the problem is like a drop of dirty water in the bathtub, why worry so much about it? Answer: both the dirty water AND the babies that get tossed out with it likely vote for the other guys.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?