Voter Fraud and Campaign Finance: A Comparison
Some fine folks in the Liberal community, never at a loss to take advantage of a situation, have found yet another alleged smoking gun in the alleged Republican war on women. In fact, they have managed to get two of their talking points into one argument which you have to at least give them credit for. Specifically, I am talking about the fine folks at MSNBC and ultra-Leftist online magazine, The Nation, who have surmised that state voter ID laws are really an attempt to disenfranchise not only blacks and Hispanics, who liberals apparently believe lack the necessary mental capacity to get a form of identification, but also women. The reason, they state, is that women share a disproportionate amount of the responsibility for name changes due to divorce or marriage. That then magically translates into delays in getting proper identification for voting purposes.
The article in The Nation is by a female political activist who travels from New York to Washington by train because she does not have a car and, thus, no driver’s license. Her main area of attack right now is in Pennsylvania which is attempting to pass a voter ID law. Of course, the writer is fighting this tooth and nail because, she claims, it would disenfranchise women and minorities. In fact, she started a website to educate women where to get the requisite identification and what would be needed to get that ID. I say, great for her. That is democracy in action.
When I look at this issue- and I have in the past- I have come to view this “controversy” over voter ID laws thus: the opposition to voter ID laws by liberals is akin to conservative opposition to campaign finance laws, but with some serious and important differences. Looking objectively at the evidence from a variety of sources- some liberal, some conservative- one realizes that voter fraud is really not a major problem in the OVERALL sense. Of course, there are irregularities and wrongs along the way. For example, ACORN is notorious for registering dead people and members of the Black Panther’s standing guard with axe handles outside a polling place in a major metropolitan area certainly has a depressing effect on the vote. But, in the overall sense, although it exists, is not as great as many would have you believe. I know that statement will get me in trouble with here, but I have researched this. However, simply because it is not a great major problem does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that there should not be voter ID laws. I should note that the greater the tantrum, the more likely the argument of the opponent of the laws loses credence. For example, if voter fraud is not a problem, then why would a voter ID law make a difference? Its ironic that one needs ID to purchase alcohol or cigarettes in this country, but they don’t have to show ID to prove they can legally vote- an act more important than the act of buying a six-pack and pack of cigarettes.
Just giving liberals the benefit of the doubt for the sake of argument, obviously fraud (which does actually exist) has greater effects in close elections. The loss of Dino Rossi in Oregon in 2010 and Al Franken’s win in Minnesota are two examples. Liberals like to cite the fact that the RNLA-a conservative group- looked into allegations of voter fraud from 2000-2010 and could find only 311 cases nationally. That is a very, very small percentage of all the votes cast. However, along the way, even though they may never have been prosecuted, another study found that from 2004 to 2008 ACORN alone was responsible for 16,661 suspect or false voter registrations. Another study (available at www.uhnd.com/forum/index) indexes 319 voter fraud cases from 2004 through 2010. Ironically, the greatest number of cases comes from Indiana and the reason is simple: they have a voter ID law in place that more readily uncovers examples of fraud. In the states that lack voter ID laws, like California, it is inconceivable that there are only 6 such cases given the number of votes cast which dwarfs those from Indiana. Put another way, if California had a voter ID law, it is almost a guarantee that there would be more reported cases of voter fraud in that state. It is not that the state is devoid of voter fraud; they simply lack the mechanism (voter ID laws) that would catch the fraudulent votes.
It really doesn’t matter at the end of the day how many cases the Department of Justice prosecutes or investigates, or how many people are fined or jailed. The parameters of any study are an area of concern to begin with. The fact is that a single example of voter fraud casts a pall on the entire process and demeans the franchise not only for blacks, Hispanics and women, but for all voters.
Comparing this with campaign finance, the liberal mantra is against corporate donations to issue advocacy or candidates. Yet, can anyone name one politician who has cast a vote for any law that would have directly benefitted any corporate donor? While a company like Duke Energy may donate to a Republican candidate because they like their energy policy and that politician then votes that way, it is a far cry to make the conclusion that the corporation bought that vote. Put another way, the politician’s position preceded the donation. Yet, there is that perception that the corporation is buying the vote of the candidate. Liberals also seem to get campaign donations and lobbying mixed up as one and the same. Practically all prosecutions involve violations of lobbying ethics standards and laws (unless you are trying to cover up an extramarital affair while your wife is dying from cancer).
I am willing to, with some important caveats, concede that voter fraud is not as widespread IN THE OVERALL SENSE as many people are led to believe. Regardless, should that fact alone be justification against voter ID laws? Even if there are 311 verified cases over the course of a decade, I assert that this is 311 cases too many. I also assert that if there were voter ID laws in every state, the number of verifiable cases of voter fraud would increase exponentially, just as what happened in Indiana. In short, the law there did and is doing its job. The most important caveat alluded to above is that fraud, the possibility for fraud, or even the perception of fraud takes on greater importance the closer the election results are. Conversely, the perception that campaign donations and expenditures buy “votes” once elected are unfounded. It is illogical since the donation follows the policies and proposals of the candidate, not necessarily the other way around. Can liberals name one example of a candidate changing their views once in office in response to a campaign donation? I can name at least 319 examples of prosecuted voter fraud nationally over the past six years.
Incidentally, as far as voter participation, in states that have voter ID laws, voter turnout/participation has increased 7.8% since 2000 versus states without voter ID laws which saw an almost equal 7.7% increase in turnout/participation. In other words, there is really no empirical evidence that voter ID laws suppress the votes of anyone, except the visions that dance in the minds of liberals.
Finally, campaign finance laws certainly have serious constitutional issues in that they restrict free speech and, yes, money is speech. Just ask the first billion dollar President. But even more importantly, allowing those ineligible to vote (7-year-olds, felons, dead people, etc.) has greater constitutional ramifications. These laws are designed to maintain the integrity of the electoral process, not to disenfranchise women, blacks, Hispanics or anyone else legally allowed to vote in this country. If liberals think it is, then do what the writer of The Nation article is doing- help the alleged wronged get identification to vote.