Monday, August 20, 2012

Voter Fraud Fraud Post Du Jour

I have been posting here and on twitter quite a bit about voter fraud fraud.  That is, efforts to restrict voting rights because of fears about the possibility of voter fraud.  Which is voter fraud fraud because there is no real evidence of any voter fraud going on.  I have engaged in twitter arguments with sincere folks who are concerned about voter fraud and consider my claim that the GOP is promoting these bills to disenfranchise people to be conspiracy thinking. 

Do I have evidence that GOP is generating fears about a non-existent threat?  Only sort of.  This is not my day job, just a product of my righteous indignation.  I am too busy these days with meetings to do serious research to find evidence that the GOP is insincere. 

So, let me just posit a few ways to think about this:

First, the US has a history of the use of voting regulations to disenfranchise people--the literacy tests and other means to keep African-Americans from voting.  That cannot be contested. Yes, the Democrats did it until they stopped.  The point here is that given the history, shouldn't we err on the side of caution, that anything that might threaten the ability of people to vote ought to be considered only if there is a significant threat?  Given the paucity of voter fraud cases, that elections have not turned on voter fraud (this ain't Afghanistan), but elections do turn on turnout, ought we not err on the side of permitting, rather than restricting, the franchise?

Second, one of the very basic ideas carved into American values is the presumption of innocenceShouldn't we presume that people are voting legitimately unless proven others?  The act of striking names from the voting rolls without due process should be abhorrent, especially to the party that seems to obsess about repressive government (that would be the Republicans).  What is a greater threat to liberty than denying people the opportunity to vote? 

Thus, even if one does not consider the GOP's fascination with restricting the franchise to be its solution to its lame appeal to certain groups (African-Americans, poor people, increasing Hispanics, etc), even if one does not note the pattern that one party is pushing this and it happens to be the party that is much less diverse, even if one does not observe that one party is opposed to these efforts and it happen to be the one that is more diverse, if one simply considers the basic history of the vote in the US and/or one considers the foundational principles of the US about the presumption of innocence, then the decision is an obvious one. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Conspiracy theory? I think not:
They're proud of it!