Voter fraud fraud

The Election Assistance Commission pays experts (one Dem, one Rep) to figure out how much voter fraud and intimidation exists. The team says fraudulent voting isn’t much of a problem, but intimidation is. The Commission rewrite the report to say something different, suppresses the original, and holds the contractors to their contractual gag order.
Hearings, please.

When the Federal Election Assistance Commission asked a pair of experts to look into voting fraud, the team &#8212 a Democrat and a Republican &#8212 concluded that voter fraud (attempts by ineligibiles to vote) was not a serious problem, but that voter intimidation was a serious problem in some places, especially in Indian country. Or so reports the New York Times, based on a review of the original document, produced with more than $100,000 of public money but never released.

If that’s true, of course, it’s no surprise that the Bush Administration has been having trouble getting even its own appointees as U.S. Attorneys to prosecute crimes that mostly aren’t being committed. (Voter intimidation and other forms of vote suppression have never been among the Administration’s concerns, except for its concern not to get caught at it.)

The report as published says something else. It says there’s dispute about both topics, adding that the dispute over intimidation has to do with “what constitutes actionable voter intimidation.” (I guess a little bit of intimidation is OK.)

The authors are forbidden by their contract to discuss the matter. [That wouldn’t, of course, apply to testimony under subpoena before a Congressional committee.] The commission, which could of course release the original report as well as the edited version, has chosen not to do so. According to one Congressional Democrat, the methodology (and presumably the “balanced ticket” of consultants) was agreed on in advance, and the commission only changed its mind when the team produced politically incorrect results.

Sounds like a good topic for a National Academy report, which the Congress can order the Administration to commission. In the meantime, anyone who mentions “voter fraud” and doesn’t mention the experts’ report should be assume to be … well, fraudulent.

Update John Cole &#8212 who, unlike those of us who were born Bush-bashers or achieved Bush-bashery, had Bush-bashing thrust upon him by the presistent stench coming out of 1600 Penn., sees a pattern.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: