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Taking Irony to the Next Level

It was bad enough when Republicans started disenfranchising voters in the name of preventing voter fraud. It doesn’t seem to matter that various studies have found that voter fraud is pretty much non-existant in this country (heck, it is hard enough to get people to cast one vote). But that didn’t stop vigilant conservatives from passing 22 new laws supposedly designed to prevent (the virtually nonexistent) voter fraud. In fact, you have to go back to the days immediately after the civil war — when the south was desperately trying to suppress the black vote with notorious Jim Crow laws and the north was almost equally trying to keep immigrants from voting — to find so many laws being passed to “prevent” voter fraud.

As a result, millions — as many as 10 percent of Americans — will suddenly find themselves unable to vote, coincidentally most of them people who tend to vote Democratic. If that number sounds high, consider that 11% of Americans do not have a government-issued ID card, and the numbers are considerably higher for young voters (18%) or blacks (25%).

But at least Republicans could claim that they were merely trying to reduce voter fraud. But as usual they are starting to overreach, putting the lie to their claims.

In Ohio, Republicans are trying to throw out ballots because of mistakes made by poll workers. In one example, poll workers sent voters to the wrong precinct table to vote. So those voter’s ballots did not count even though the voters had done everything right. Luckily, that case ended up in court and as a result of counting those ballots, the previously losing candidate instead won the election.

However, now the state is trying to reverse that decision and require ballots to be thrown out, even if the only mistake is one made by a poll worker. So how is this going to reduce voter fraud? It seems to me it will be an open invitation to dramatically increase fraud; not voter fraud, but fraud perpetrated by unscrupulously partisan poll workers.

If that weren’t bad enough, another provision would prevent poll workers from helping voters find the correct precinct if they mistakenly show up at the wrong polling location. Silly me, I thought the purpose of poll workers was to facilitate voting!

So their true colors are showing — Republicans aren’t actually interested in preventing voter fraud, they are only interested in preventing voting by people with whom they don’t agree.

UPDATE: The Empire Strikes Back.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    And we get closer and closer to Germany in the 1930s with the S.A. making sure that people voted for the socialist or are killed.

    Monday, June 4, 2012 at 5:50 am | Permalink
  2. Jeff wrote:

    Florida has been getting a lot of media attention lately for “purging” their voter registration rolls of anyone who they believe is ineligible to vote. They used DMV records to target several thousand people to be purged from the rolls based on information they submitted to the DMV. They did not check to see if any of those people had attained citizenship since their last recorded contact with the DMV. As a result, they have purged several citizens from the voter rolls. Furthermore, it is believed they may be targeting people who are on voter lists that have no record with the DMV at all; in other words, people who don’t have driver’s licenses.

    The Fed has demanded that they stop the purge because they are still under the influence of federal law that requires approval by the State Department for any changes in their voting practices or procedure. That policy is still in effect from the early 20th century as a way to combat Jim Crow Laws. As of now, Florida has refused to stop the purge, claiming they are simply trying to strengthen the validity of their voting practices.

    So, despite federal warnings, federal law, and clear problems that have come about as a result of this practice, Florida is continuing to prevent people from voting. It will be interesting to see how this impacts the coming elections.

    Monday, June 4, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink
  3. Patricia wrote:

    This kind of situation makes “stop the partisanship” comments pointless. It also makes me wonder when the comments will switch from “Stop . . . ” to “Start the revolution!”

    That is not a comment I would particularly like to hear, by the way!

    Monday, June 4, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink
  4. Arthanyel wrote:

    Patricia – I don’t know when exactly we turned the corner, but it is clear now that we are in fact engaged in a civil war. We just haven’t started shooting yet.

    I was an early promoter of No Labels because I believed that we had to counter the partisan craziness and promoting bi-partisan civil discourse seemed like a good idea. I still think its a good idea, just not an achievable one. The neo-cons on the far right have been repeatedly proving that they are at war with the rest of us and that nothing less than total victory is acceptable to them.

    It is scary and it is heartbreaking, but I have come to the conclusion that it is, nonetheless, an accurate analysis of the situation and it is not going to get any better. The only thing that can pull us back from this war is for the silent majority that usually do NOT vote to show up and deliver a massive spanking to the far right to demonstrate that they are indeed a fringe MINORITY and do not represent the will of the people.

    Because if that doesn’t happen, if the Tea Party, Scott Walker, Grover Norquist, et. al. continue to achieve success using these tactics, then it is only a matter of time until we start firing something far more dangerous that propaganda statements at each other.

    Monday, June 4, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink
  5. Michael wrote:

    Jeff’s comment of Florida voter purges reminded me: I just watched Recount for the first time the other day. It had been on my list for a long time, but I never quite had the stomach for it. Voter purges, astroturfing, blatantly partisan and corrupt judicial rulings… These things
    have been with us for a while, and they always seem (in modern times…50 years ago it was a different story…Kennedy’s election…cough, cough…) to be GOP tactics.

    Monday, June 4, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink
  6. Jeff wrote:

    @ Arthanyel, I probably wouldn’t have agreed with you a few months ago. Since then, I’ve been scouring sites like The Blaze, and seen the kinds of things those neo-cons are saying. It disturbs me like nothing else. The vast majority of comments made on that site are disparaging to liberals at the very least. Some (certainly not a majority) proclaim armed resistance, xenophobia, ultra-Christian theology, and all-out violence in the name of their ideals. Since reading those comments, I’ve come to understand just how extreme the Right has become as it embraces a more and more violent rhetoric.

    My question is, how to you encourage people to step up and vote? How do you get people to the booth? How do you get people to act? I haven’t figured out how to help people see the value in it.

    Monday, June 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink
  7. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    In my opinion, it has to do with the ties to the religious right. They have enabled, through their ubiquitous persecution complex, every single Republican tenet to become more than an idea. They have transformed them into ideals.

    Thus begins the defense of what is good, and righteous, and holy. Compromise becomes an impossibility because it would be essentially giving in to pure evil.

    I’ve heard of actual anatomical differences between people in relation to the size of their amygdalas, which controls part of your fear response. I’m not sure where the science stands on it, but I’m relatively sold on the premise. Having taken part in many religious debates before moving my interest into politics, it is clear that the strategies are similar and really prey on the fear of unseen forces actively moving against them.

    Thus we have the War du’jour roulette on Fox News, whether it is Christmas or Fast Food or Oil. They must protect themselves from the enemy, and they finally understand the enemy are the leftists.

    Think about just that for a moment…leftist. Have you heard this? Did you see this used in a disparaging way on The Blaze? Now ask yourself, have you ever even seen the term rightist?

    The rhetoric is no coincidence. It is carefully designed, and it is working.

    Monday, June 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    and I suppose we aren’t allowed to call them fascists.

    Monday, June 4, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink
  9. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    No, but only because they’ve already co-opted that term. Leftist, liberal, socialist, communist, fascist, godless, Islamic-theocracy instituting Democrats.

    Coming soon to an atheist mosque near you!

    Monday, June 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink
  10. Patricia wrote:

    Not to mention that name-calling is only right when the Right does it!

    Monday, June 4, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Permalink
  11. starluna wrote:

    On FB the other day, I got myself into a conversation about Bloomberg’s attempt to ban 16 oz+ size sodas from movie theaters and street vendors. One person in particular was outraged (actually, he was OUTRAGED!) that his right to consume excessively large amounts of high fructose corn syrup was being taken away by this “nanny state.”

    I asked if he was equally outraged about the efforts to systematically deny citizens the right to vote (among other things). I posted this video for reference. His response was, “Those things you mention are red herrings and I shall not allow them to distract the issue at hand.” Because the right to a liter sized coke when watching MIB is more important than the right to vote.

    Not surprisingly, when I checked out his FB info, he is a self-identified conservative. What is really sad, though, is that this guy is an olive-skinned Latino living in Detroit. Whether he wants to accept it, he is a target by the right-wing.

    Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink
  12. Iron Knee wrote:

    Probably Bloomberg should have taken a hint from those people trying to suppress voting. They don’t outright ban voting by certain groups, they just make it darned inconvenient. So maybe he should have passed a law requiring showing of ID before you can purchase a 16 oz sugar drink 🙂 (or more seriously, pass a “littering tax” on large drink containers).

    I don’t think it is any more sad that any particular ethnic group buys into conservative crap. Although I will admit it is ironic. Not to mention the fact that racism itself is not racist (you don’t have to be white to be a redneck).

    Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink