THE VOTER FRAUD FRAUD, PART II.

THE VOTER FRAUD FRAUD, PART II. Matt beat me to it, but this is a terrific article in the New York Times about GOP attempts to cover up the fact that voter fraud is a problem of minimal significance, hence depriving them of their ex post facto rationale for suppressing minority votes. And, for the racist-and-classist-vote-suppression double header, they also suppressed a report about the actual effects of "anti vote-fraud" law:

A federal panel responsible for conducting election research played down the findings of experts who concluded last year that there was little voter fraud around the nation, according to a review of the original report obtained by The New York Times.

Instead, the panel, the Election Assistance Commission, issued a report that said the pervasiveness of fraud was open to debate.

The revised version echoes complaints made by Republican politicians, who have long suggested that voter fraud is widespread and justifies the voter identification laws that have been passed in at least two dozen states.

Democrats say the threat is overstated and have opposed voter identification laws, which they say disenfranchise the poor, members of minority groups and the elderly, who are less likely to have photo IDs and are more likely to be Democrats.

Though the original report said that among experts �there is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling place fraud,� the final version of the report released to the public concluded in its executive summary that �there is a great deal of debate on the pervasiveness of fraud.�

The topic of voter fraud, usually defined as people misrepresenting themselves at the polls or improperly attempting to register voters, remains a lively division between the two parties. It has played a significant role in the current Congressional investigation into the Bush administration�s firing of eight United States attorneys, several of whom, documents now indicate, were dismissed for being insufficiently aggressive in pursuing voter fraud cases.

The report also addressed intimidation, which Democrats see as a more pervasive problem.

And two weeks ago, the panel faced criticism for refusing to release another report it commissioned concerning voter identification laws. That report, which was released after intense pressure from Congress, found that voter identification laws designed to fight fraud can reduce turnout, particularly among members of minorities. In releasing that report, which was conducted by a different set of scholars, the commission declined to endorse its findings, citing methodological concerns.

Your 2008 Party of Lincoln, ladies and gentlemen! It should be noted as well that the use of ostensibly neutral franchise-restricting measures to suppress the vote along racial and class lines has an extensive and incredibly ugly history in this country. A lot of people aren't aware of this, but even in its most conservative periods, the Supreme Court wouldn't allow direct violations (or transparent evasions, like the grandfather clause) of the 15th Amendment. But the use of facially neutral techniques like poll taxes and literacy tests allowed states to disenfranchise African-Americans anyway. "Vote ID" laws, felon disenfranchisement that results in the purging of some non-felons, and other techniques repeat the pattern at a lower (but, in a tightly divided electorate, potentially decisive) level.

--Scott Lemieux

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