Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Turns out it was about voter disenfranchisement after all

Posted by --Blue Girl at 4/11/2007 12:35:00 AM

I live in one of those states that went insane and passed a super-restrictive voter I.D. bill. It was tossed by a judge, and tossing it held up on appeal.

Matt Blunt acted crushed, like the very fabric of our democracy was at stake. Why, no Missouri election would have the confidence of the electorate ever again if we did not pass a restrictive voter-ID law.

Yet it turns out that not only was the issue of voter fraud a tempest in a tea-pot in our state, a government panel, the United States Election Assistance Commission, commissioned under the Help America Vote Act not only found that there was no there there...The government panel spun their results by using selective wording in an attempt to help the Republican party line on the issue.

You read that right...Even after the panel found there was no evidence of malfeasance, they used selective wording to imply that fraud was being tolerated, issuing a report that said the pervasiveness of voter fraud was "open to debate. "

The original report stated that consensus opinion among experts was that there is little polling-place fraud, yet the final version of the report, the version that was released to the public, maintained that “there is a great deal of debate on the pervasiveness of fraud.”

The researchers whose work was altered are speaking out about it.

A number of election law experts, based on their own research, have concluded that the accusations regarding widespread fraud are unjustified. And in this case, one of the two experts hired to do the report was Job Serebrov, a Republican elections lawyers from Arkansas, who defended his research in an e-mail message obtained by The Times that was sent last October to Margaret Sims, a commission staff member.

“Tova and I worked hard to produce a correct, accurate and truthful report,” Mr. Serebrov wrote, referring to Tova Wang, a voting expert with liberal leanings from the Century Foundation and co-author of the report. “I could care less that the results are not what the more conservative members of my party wanted.”

He added: “Neither one of us was willing to conform results for political expediency.”

Both Ms. Wang and Mr. Serebrov are under contract and are therefore not at liberty to comment in detail on the discrepancies between the report they produced and the edited, doctored version that was released to the public.

The original report found that instances of intimidation and vote suppression (areas of election fraud that Democrats have been screaming about for years) were prevalent, especially on Indian reservations. Yet the final report watered down that finding, stating only that voter “intimidation is also a topic of some debate because there is little agreement concerning what constitutes actionable voter intimidation.”

So let's recap - the areas of election fraud that the Republicans have been bitching about were found to be much ado about nothing...Yet the report vaguely asserted that the problem was possibly pervasive and open to debate. And the concerns that Democrats have been pointing out - intimidation and disenfranchisement - were found to be pervasive, but were discounted and played down, because after all, who can really define intimidation...Such a slippery, nebulous concept.

This is all of a piece. The Republicans wanted a permanent majority, and they were willing to do whatever it took to achieve their political ends. Wrongful imprisonment, specious indictment, smear campaigns, slander, voter intimidation, voter disenfranchisement...

I, for one, have seen quite enough. I want my fucking country back.

The things that have transpired over the last six years have brought our nation to the brink of fascism. These things can not be allowed to stand. The future of our Republic demands that right last one of us vows to see justice restored and the sanctity of the American ballot box restored.

If the sanctity of the ballot box is not restored, the die is cast and we are headed for the ammo box.

Just in case, I'm keeping my powder dry.