Friday, April 4, 2014
Alternate Realities, continued...
Yes, as you know all too well, the Right has been insisting for years - or at least as long as a black man has been president - that elections were being stolen/decided by voter fraud. How else can you explain so many people voting for a Marxist, Kenyan-born, white-hating American apologist? It has to be fraud.
Despite the fact that there has been no definitive proof that voter fraud exists, Republicans keep passing draconian voter suppression laws in various swing states like Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina. North Carolina's is among the most restrictive in the country.
Well now the wing nuts appear to have some genuine red meat with which to chew on. A story out of Raleigh, North Carolina by local TV station WRAL is reporting problems with that state's voter registration rolls that have some screaming "FRAUD."
The piece reports that state election officials are investigating thousands of cases where voters appear to have been eligible to vote in more than one state and dozens who supposedly voted after they died. The report shows that "155,692 registered North Carolina voters whose first and last names, dates of birth and final four Social Security number digits match voters registered in other states but who most recently registered or voted elsewhere." However, the state could offer no proof that these voters voted twice; only that their names appear on more than one state's voter rolls. The most likely explanation is that these were voters who moved yet failed to notify their former state of their new residence.
As if that wasn't bad enough, North Carolina conducted a "10-year death audit" and discovered over 13,000 deceased voters whose names hadn't been purged form the state's voter rolls. However, only 81 of them died before an election in which they voted. And, of those 81, 30 legally cast absentee ballots before they died. Again the state could not definitely say whether those remaining 50 votes were the result of someone else casting a vote in their place or a precinct worker who simply made an error and wrote down the wrong name.
At any rate, the real problem in North Carolina, as well as other states, concerns voter registration and NOT actual voting. This story makes clear that there are major issues with respect to each state's voter rolls that should be addressed and could be very simply. By adopting a federal election system in which each state shares its information with the rest and laws are standardized and uniformly enforced across the board, duplicate voters - be they recently moved or deceased - could be purged far more effectively from voter rolls. It also would eliminate the possibility of another occurrence of the nightmare that took place in Florida in 2000. So far as I know, that was the only instance of voter fraud that determined the outcome of an election. And the country has been dealing with the ramifications of it for over a decade.
Not one of the Voter suppression laws currently on the books addresses any of these problems. In fact, they completely ignore them. These laws have but one purpose: to disenfranchise voters who are more likely to vote Democratic, namely minorities, poor people, the elderly and college students.
Fixing the problems that plague the nation's voter registration rolls should be a top priority for Republicans and Democrats alike. Chasing red herrings won't cure a blessed thing.