Voter IDiocy, Still A Solution Without A Problem

Posted in Elections, 80th Legislature, Had Enough Yet?, Commentary, Around The State at 11:17 am by wcnews

More on the fact that voter fraud, as an issue that swings elections, does not exist. From these two links below that refer us back the the Heflin-Vo race of 2004.

In trying to win, has Dewhurst lost a friend?

Among Republicans it is an “article of religious faith that voter fraud is causing us to lose elections,” Masset said. He doesn’t agree with that, but does believe that requiring photo IDs could cause enough of a dropoff in legitimate Democratic voting to add 3 percent to the Republican vote.

Remember that in the 2005 election contest between Hubert Vo and Talmadge Heflin, Heflin questioned more than 250 votes cast in the state House race.

But a Republican lawmaker who investigated the contest concluded that Heflin produced “no evidence of any intentional voter fraud” that would have affected the outcome. Vo’s margin narrowed, but he won the election by at least 16 votes. Democrats maintain that Republicans’ general claims of voter fraud are similarly overstated.

Revisiting Heflin-Vo:

In his report ruling against Heflin, Republican Rep. Will Hartnett, who was the adjudicator of that contest, noted three kinds of questioned votes. One was for people who voted at the wrong precinct. They were legitimately in HD149, they just went to the wrong location within that district to vote. Those votes were counted. Another was for people from Fort Bend County, which borders HD149, who erroneously voted in Harris County. This is a relatively common situation - according to Paul Bettencourt, the county line is not well delineated, and he and his cohort in Fort Bend receive registration applications from folks on the other side of the line all the time. Those votes, which broke both ways, were discounted for the HD149 race.

Finally, there was a small set of truly questionable votes. One was cast by a non-citizen, a Norwegian national. He had filled out a reg form at a voter’s registration drive, and correctly indicated on the form that he was not a citizen. He was mistakenly sent a voter’s reg card anyway (by Bettencourt’s office), and his vote was subsequently thrown out. There was a woman who voted in person and also by mail. She was accustomed to voting in person, but said in her deposition that when she received a mail ballot, she assumed she was supposed to fill it out and send it it; she didn’t realize that having done so, she wasn’t supposed to then vote in person. One of her two votes was discarded. Finally, there was a person who was living in north Texas as of November, 2004. He was selling his home in Harris County - it was still on the market at the time, he still had personal belongings there, and he hadn’t registered in his new county yet. His vote was allowed to stand.

The kicker to this is that all three of those folks testified in their deposition that they had voted for Talmadge Heflin; the Norwegian gentleman said he voted a straight Republican ticket. That didn’t stop Andy Taylor from referring to them, prior to the hearing, as examples of the pernicious fraud in HD149 that helped put Hubert Vo into office, and which he, Andy Taylor, Defender of the Sanctity of the Voting Process, was there to ferret out and expose for all the world to see. None of these folks had acted in bad faith, and by almost perverse coincidence they’d all supported Taylor’s man. But they served a useful rhetorical purpose, one which still informs the terms of this argument more than two years later.

We’re left now with the only explanation for the GOP to still pursue this is because of their long held practice of excluding voters, (In partisan Republican circles, the pursuit of voter fraud is code for suppressing the votes of minorities and poor people), through voter intimidation, Operation Eagle Eye.

The “vote fraud” fantasies are tinged by deeply right-wing racial and anti-urban panics. I’ve talked to many conservative who seem to consider the idea of mass non-white participation in the duties of citizenship is inherently suspicious. It’s an idea all decent Americans should consider abhorrent. It is also, however, a very old conservative obsession-one that goes back to the beginnings of the right-wing takeover of the Republican Party itself.


  1. bluesky said,

    May 18, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    I posted this below, but thought you might be more apt to look at it higher up. WFAA in Dallas did a really long story last night about the problem of “illegal immigrants voting illegally in Ft. Worth”. And quoted some guy saying there could be potentially “thousands of illegal votes”. I call BS and how nice of them to put this on the air when the bill is hanging in such a precarious position. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I’m yelling at the TV the whole time!

  2. wcnews said,

    May 18, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    Here are my comments that I added to this article and comment string at the HChron yesterday:

    The WOAI article has the same statistics from Dewhurst’s GOP laden talking points letter form yesterday. While anyone being registered who shouldn’t be is wrong only 331 in all of Bexar county is not that many. But there’s a bigger issue here. Why are non-citizens getting registered in the first place, who’s responsible for allowing it to happen, and how can we stop that from happening? Well there’s a bill going through the Lege (hb 626) about that topic as well and it’s an even a bigger CF than Voter IDiocy.

    The worst part of HB 218 is that even if you believe that showing an ID would fix this problem check out at all the other forms that are allowed, again from Dewhursts letter yesterday:

    ..voters who may not have a current ID, House Bill 218 was amended to allow voters to present other forms of identification such as a military ID, valid
    employee ID, citizenship certificate, passport, student ID card issued by a public college or university, handgun permit, utility bill, bank statement, pay stub, mail from a government entity, marriage license, birth certificate, adoption certificate, pilot’s license, hunting license, or even a library card.

    Got all of that? There’s no point in this bill moving forward because until we can insure that everyone who is registered is supposed to be registered - which isn’t currently being done - and as long as somebody can show up with an electric bill and still vote than this bill does absolutely nothing to fix this “problem”.

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