Sunday, November 02, 2008

Peeking behind the curtain of "voter fraud"

Basically, what Ezra said:

All the evidence suggests that the actual threats to the "fabric of our democracy" come from disenfranchisement: Voter purges using programs with crude name-matching algorithms, insufficient voter machines in heavily populated urban centers, partisan challenges of individual voters when they attempt to vote. The literature leaves no doubt that huge numbers of legitimate voters lose the ability to weigh in on election day. By contrast, there's no empirical support for the idea that voter registration fraud is a significant factor in elections ("The only way Mickey Mouse could vote is if he shows up with a federally approved form of ID. And if they wanted to affect the election, they'd have to have multiple addresses and do it an incredible amount of times."). But by making noise about the rare instances of fraud rather than the constant instances of disenfranchisement, Republicans are able to frame the conversation around further restricting the ability to vote. The idea of expanding the franchise -- making it easier to vote and harder to be wrongfully purged -- is far from the conversation. And that's the point.

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