James Joyner says The Thing That Is

“There’s essentially no evidence that significant numbers of people are engaging in the sort of voter fraud that would be preventable by requiring photo identification. Which means that we’re essentially disenfranchising large numbers of people to prevent something we’re pretty sure isn’t happening. Given that the people being disenfranchised are disproportionately from one political party and that the people pushing for these laws are almost entirely from the opposing political party, that’s problematic.”

Now that the Republican government of Pennsylvania has disenfranchised three-quarters of a million citizens for the avowed purpose of enabling Mitt Romney to carry a state he’d otherwise have no chance in, some honest conservatives (yes, there are a few left) are getting queasy. Here’s James Joyner:

There’s essentially no evidence that significant numbers of people are engaging in the sort of voter fraud that would be preventable by requiring photo identification. Which means that we’re essentially disenfranchising large numbers of people to prevent something we’re pretty sure isn’t happening. Given that the people being disenfranchised are disproportionately from one political party and that the people pushing for these laws are almost entirely from the opposing political party, that’s problematic.

Yes, “problematic” is one word for this. There are others, some of them printable.
Continue reading “James Joyner says The Thing That Is”

“Voter fraud” fraud

Those 950 dead people voting in South Carolina? The first six names checked out included zero incidents of fraud.

The Republican Attorney General of South Carolina has a super-secret list of 950 dead people who supposedly voted there. Six of those names were actually turned over to the elections commission. The score: zero for six. No evidence whatever of any kind of fraud.

I only wish the con artists who have been using “voter fraud” as an excuse for preventing Democrats from voting, and their accomplices and useful idiots in the Red Blogosphere, were capable of shame.

One out of two ain’t bad

Well, this makes sense–if we make it nearly impossible for felons to regain their right to vote, they’ll surely want to regain their right to fire weapons instead.

 

On Wisconsin!

On Tuesday I’ll drive from Chicago up to Sauk City, Wisconsin, to do voter protection, that is, pollwatching while holding a law degree.  Wisconsin historically has offered exceptionally inclusive voter access, including in-precinct same-day registration.  But one of the many delightful consequences of the Republican takeover of the state is a photo-i.d. law which isn’t supposed to take effect til the first of the year but is unclear enough to make for messy election days–precisely what the sponsors intended.  So I’ll go up there and do what I can to make sure everybody can vote, and hope that the selfsame “everybody” will throw the anti-collective-bargaining rascals out.

(Last weekend at the Bughouse Square debates–the Newberry Library’s annual effort to restore the fine art of soapbox speaking–the central topic was public-sector collective bargaining.   The young man speaking in opposition wore a Solidarity t-shirt as he argued that “public employee collective bargaining inserts needless conflict between citizen and citizen.”  Does he realize that Solidarity was a public-sector union?)

I’m going to Wisconsin because it’s a political situation about which I can do something–contra the whole debt-ceiling mess, about which I can do absolutely nothing.  I disagree with my colleagues on the left who think the President got backed into a corner on the debt ceiling because he’s weak.  He got backed into a corner because he’s actually trying to govern and the people he’s dealing with are not.

When the President was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, skeptics wondered what he could possibly have done to deserve it.  It seemed pretty straightforward to me: his election meant the restoration of constitutional government in the world’s only superpower.  What could be more essential to peace?

Unfortunately, the Constitution had been damaged more than most of us realized, and merely electing a President didn’t guarantee its restoration–not when anti-government idealogues control the legislature and the judiciary.   All the finger-pointing on the left ignores the extent to which the right is engaging in the deliberate destruction of our governmental system.

The idea that people who hate government are controlling ours is actually more frightening than the notion that the President somehow betrayed us by averting a default.  The scary thing is, he did as much as he could.

A Different Approach to Changing the Major Political Parties

I’m with Al Hunt: The Americans Elect third party plan is a quixotic way to make the two major political parties hew more closely to the sensible middle. More importantly, it’s completely unecessary.

Creating a national third party is a Brobdingnagian task. If one had the millions of motivated moderate voters and millions of dollars to make a run at forming a “middle of the road” party, there is a far more efficient strategy to pursue: Organize people to vote in the primaries of the major parties for whichever candidate is less extreme. If the primaries aren’t open, disaffected independents will have to hold their nose and enroll in whichever one they consider more crazy.

Not many people vote in primaries, and as the Tea Party activists have shown a small, organized group can use this fact to shift a party’s center of gravity. If Americans Elect used its resources and its subscriber base to create an Internet-based service (supported by a good research team) that sent out millions of “who is less extreme in your district” bulletins during primary season, it could have more impact more quickly than it ever will trying to create a national third party from scratch.

The power in your right hand.

I am not a sentimental person. But this poem about voting gets me a little choked up every time.

“The Poor Voter on Election Day”
By John Greenleaf Whittier


 

The proudest now is but my peer,
The highest not more high;
Today, of all the weary year,
A king of men am I.
 

Today, alike the great and small,
The nameless and the known;
My palace is the people’s hall,
The ballot-box my throne!
 

Who serves today upon the list
Beside the served shall stand;
Alike the brown and wrinkled fist,
The gloved and dainty hand!
 

The rich is level with the poor,
The weak is strong today;
And sleekest broadcloth counts no more
Than homespun frock of gray.
 

Today let pomp and vain pretense
My stubborn right abide;
I set a plain man’s common sense
Against the pedant’s pride.
 

Today shall simple manhood try
The strength of gold and land;
The wide world has not wealth to buy
The power in my right hand!
 

While there’s grief to set redress,
Or balance to adjust,
Where weighs our living manhood less
Than Mammon’s vilest dust—
 

While there’s a right to need my vote,
A wrong to sweep away,
Up! clouted knee and ragged coat!
A man’s a man today!
 

I’m not a sentimentalist. In fact, I’m a skeptic. But I try to read this poem to my classes every election year—it sounds much better when spoken, slowly—and my voice breaks a little every time I do.

Please vote.