Vote Suppression, Real and Imagined
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published October 26, 2012 on The Washington Times website.
Did you know that the uberclean United Nations, whose blue-helmeted troops have been charged with everything from rape to theft in Third World countries, is going to have an affiliate help us run our elections?
That’s right. Forty-four international observers will monitor America’s Election Day on Nov. 6. On the bright side, that’s at least 44 people who won’t be busy undermining free speech by trying to stamp out anything remotely critical of Islam, such as Internet videos or cartoons. It won’t stop Hillary Rodham Clinton, of course, but let’s deal with one scold at a time.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights began monitoring U.S. elections in 2002. In March, several left-wing groups went to Geneva to complain to the UN that new state laws requiring photo IDs for registration or voting constitute “suppression” of minority voters. Complaining about America to the likes of Russia, China and Cuba over elections is like whining to Don Corleone over possible cheating in a poker game down at the firehouse.
The NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) followed up the Geneva trip with a letter this month to OSCE, charging that there is “a coordinated political effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans.”
The disenfranchisement and suppression themes are patently false. The U.S. Supreme Court dispatched those notions in no uncertain terms in 2008 when upholding Indiana’s photo ID law. Minority voting actually increased in two elections following passage of Indiana’s law and a similar one in Georgia.
In July of this year, the Heritage Foundation released a paper, “Lessons From the Voter ID Experience in Kansas,” in which Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach reported that just 32 of the state’s 1.7 million voters requested free IDs from the state so they could vote in this year’s elections.
None of this has stopped liberals from chanting the suppression mantra loud enough to reach across to Switzerland, or at least to the U.N. headquarters on New York’s Upper East Side, where America’s sins edge out Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s anti-obesity edicts as the favored topic at wine-and-cheese parties.
Along with the suppression nonsense, prominent Democrats continue to insist that vote fraud is rare or nonexistent. This is the party, you understand, that runs Chicago’s vote-rich graveyards and handed Al Franken a U.S. Senate seat in 2008 through multiple recounts in Minnesota that included ballots found in a car trunk.
If vote fraud is so rare, why is it that you can’t watch or read the news each day without learning about a new incident?
In Virginia, conservative video sting artist James O’Keefe on Oct. 8 captured on tape Democratic U.S. Rep. James P. Moran’s son Patrick Moran discussing with an undercover reporter ways to get around Virginia’s new voter ID law. Within days of the video’s release last week, Patrick Moran resigned as his father’s field director.
Ironically, James Moran is one of three Virginia congressmen who signed an Oct. 23 letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asking for an investigation of Strategic Allied Consulting and its subsidiary, Pinpoint, which has Republican clients and is being investigated in Florida for 200 counts of potential registration fraud.
Also in Florida, the FBI is investigating a series of letters sent to citizens in at least 23 counties advising them that they may be ineligible to vote. A Florida TV station opines that because the recipients are “mostly big-hitter Republicans,” this may be Democratic payback for Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s ongoing campaign to clean up the state’s voter rolls.
Meanwhile, in Bridgeport, Conn., Mayor Bill Finch was caught on tape on Oct. 12 arguably boasting that he would guarantee Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Chris Murphy enough Bridgeport votes for Mr. Murphy to win in November:
Mr. Murphy: “Big turnout in Bridgeport?”
Mr. Finch, laughing: “Big turnout in Bridgeport, always, always. We may come in a couple of days late. But you can be guaranteed you’re going to get the vote.”
This might be dismissed as a joke if Mr. Finch, a Democrat, had not been at the center of an election storm in 2010. Bridgeport’s vote totals “came in” three days after the election, reversing the statewide result in the governor’s race.
Prior to Election Day in 2010, the media reported widespread “chaos” with ballot shortages because Bridgeport officials only ordered ballots for a third of the city’s registered voters. Other election irregularities included “photocopied ballots, altered hours at polling places, a mysterious bag of votes and Mr. Finch’s abuse of the city’s emergency notification system to increase turnout on Election Day,” according to the Weekly Standard.
So, when Mr. Finch jokes about vote fraud, it’s time to stop the laugh track and send in investigators. To that end, American Civil Rights Union Chairman Susan A. Carleson wrote to Mr. Holder on Oct. 24, asking him to look into the Bridgeport situation:
“Recently, your department monitored polling places during elections in Florida and Wisconsin, as explained in an August 13, 2012 Justice Department press release: ‘Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of federal observers from Office of Personnel Management, as well as departmental staff, to monitor elections across the country.’
“In light of Bridgeport’s history in the last election, and the nature of Mr. Finch’s remarks, due diligence calls for the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to make inquiries, and for the Department itself to monitor the voting process in Bridgeport from now until Election Day.”
Given the sworn testimony from former Justice Department civil rights attorney J. Christian Adams that Justice Department employees have been told to ignore complaints from certain quarters, it will be instructive to see what kind of response Mr. Holder gives to the three congressmen — and to Mrs. Carleson, who is not holding her breath.
Inquiring men in blue helmets want to know.