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The Voting Wars Saga

August 27, 2012

The Voting Wars Saga Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine, is the author of “The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown.” He has a Talking Points Memo piece on the methodical creation of the alleged voter fraud epidemic — and how shamelessly conservatives lie: Hans von Spakovsky, one of the charter members of the Fraudulent Fraud Squad, claimed that there was such “recent” evidence of a problem with impersonation fraud, and he cited to a grand jury report issued in 1984 by the Brooklyn (N.Y.) district attorney’s office. (Put aside the fact that 1984 is not so recent.) I asked von Spakovsky for a copy of the report. I heard nothing from him, even though he had contacted me in the past pitching items to include on my Election Law Blog. I wrote to the president of the Heritage Foundation, where von Spakovsky works, asking for the report, and noting that good scholarship requires that scholars make their data available for verification. Silence. TPM ran a story on it. Silence. A law librarian at UC Irvine finally was able to track down a copy of the report from the district attorney’s office. And guess what? The grand jury found lots of shenanigans by election officials and party officials (including party officials hiding in the ceiling of the men’s room of the Brooklyn Board of Elections to change voter registration after dark). But virtually no cases of voter impersonation fraud and nothing done without the collusion of election officials. But by then, von Spakovsky had moved on. In a syndicated column, he wrote of an election allegedly stolen by at least 50 illegal votes cast by Somalis voting in Kansas. When I pointed out on my blog that the court examining these claims found no proof of illegal voting and that the election took place in Missouri, not Kansas, he corrected the column’s reference to Kansas, but did nothing to remove his discredited claim of fraud in the election. More recently, von Spakovsky and his co-author John Fund wrote a book in which they rely on wholly discredited allegations that fraudulent voting was responsible for Al Franken’s win in Minnesota over Norm Coleman in the recount and litigation over the disputed Minnesota U.S. Senate race. This is the modus operandi of the Fraudulent Fraud Squad. Use false and exaggerated claims. Don’t correct the record when proven wrong. Use a bait-and-switch on fraud allegations to justify laws which don’t prevent fraud. Make people believe voter fraud is an epidemic when it’s not. And call those who point out the truth “ vote fraud deniers .” And speaking of, it sounds like Florida Gov. Rick Scott plans to impose early-voting limits in the Keys — even though the Republican elections supervisor is fighting him. Source: Crooks and Liars


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