Thursday, December 6, 2018

NC Republicans commit voter fraud

NY Times columnist Gail Collins shows how Trump Gets It All Wrong. Beware of busloads of voters with phony mustaches.

Midterm election update from the Department of Irony:

Republicans have been warning us about the danger of voter fraud for ages. And now it does appear that a major congressional race was impacted by that very type of evil-doing. Feel free to chortle/snort/howl at the moon when I tell you the accused fraudsters are Republicans.

The fictional version of voter fraud involves sinister characters — possibly illegal immigrants! — showing up at the polls repeatedly, perhaps disguising their nefarious intent by wearing different hats or an occasional false mustache.

… Trump appears to believe the only reason he has ever lost an election was phony voters. Remember his theory that the New Hampshire primary was flooded by thousands of people “brought in busses” from Massachusetts? In the real world, this sort of thing is approximately as common as the Asian Crested Ibis.

“We don’t see voter impersonation fraud anywhere in the country because it would be such a dumb way to steal an election,” said Richard Hasen, the author of “The Voting Wars.” When he was researching his book, Hasen said, he looked for a good example of multiple-voting and never found one.

Really, candidates of the future, if you want to steal an election just find ways to keep the other side from participating. You could try tweeting threats. (“Cheat at your own peril.”) Or simply using the whole voter fraud issue to make it more difficult for people to register, and more self-conscious about how they’ll be treated if they show up at the polls

For Republicans, all this has the convenient effect of discouraging people who are young, poor or minority from taking part in the system. Democrats are not really into the game. We would like to believe this is because of a firm belief in an open political process. But it’s probably also because, short of putting all the polls in fifth-floor walk-ups, there’s no easy way to keep elderly white men from voting.

… There really did seem to be a case of possible election-stealing in a congressional race in North Carolina.

It involved a couple of counties with large African-American and rural populations, and the victim was the Democrat. Dan McCready, the Democratic candidate, is the party’s new dream red-district combo: Ivy League college graduate/Marine, who found faith while fighting in Iraq and was baptized in water from the Euphrates River. People thought he had a chance, and on election night things were close, very close. But the Republican candidate, Mark Harris, a conservative former pastor, seemed to be about 900 votes ahead. McCready conceded.

Then — whoops — it appeared those counties had been the site of some extensive “ballot harvesting.” This happens when supporters of one candidate go out and encourage people to request absentee ballots, which they then reap like so many rows of soybeans. Sometimes they help a voter fill out a ballot. Sometimes, if a voter doesn’t seem to be following the preferred line, they lose said ballot on the way to the mailbox.

O.K., not a shock. But feel free to notice that Trump has never bothered to mention any concern about absentee ballots. “It’s the absentee ballots that are most ripe for fraud,” said [Jason Roberts, a professor of political science at the University of North Carolina.] “People have been saying that for years.”

Meanwhile in North Carolina, the Republican State Legislature is hard at work on a constitutional amendment to require voter IDs.

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