What’s Driving NC’s Current Voter Fraud Hysteria?   Leave a comment

Recently, NC state election officials announced evidence of possible widespread voter fraud in the Old North State, which in recent elections has become a battleground state…but what (and who)’s driving this current wave of voter fraud hysteria? Well, here’s what they said…

This week, officials at the North Carolina State Board of Elections announced they had discovered possible evidence of widespread voter fraud in the battleground state.

By cross-checking North Carolina voter rolls with those in 28 other states, leaders of the board told state lawmakers they had found 35,750 records of people who voted in North Carolina and whose first name, last name and date of birth matched people who had voted in other states. More surprisingly, it also revealed 765 North Carolina voters in 2012 whose last four Social Security digits also matched those of people who voted in other states that year.

The announcement fueled news headlines and outrage from North Carolina politicians, including legislators on an elections oversight committee who said the findings affirmed the need for voting restrictions passed by the General Assembly in 2013. House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger issued a joint statement hailing the “newly discovered, alarming evidence of voter error, fraud.”

State Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope said the report showed fraud “represents a significant threat” to elections and applauded his party’s efforts “to protect the integrity of the ballot box” — although measures such as voter ID, which addresses voter impersonation, would have no effect on voting in multiple states.(Institute for Southern Studies)

On the surface, this sounds rather bad; how is it, they argue, that you can have voters in one state coming up in voter databases in other states? To the average person, this sounds precisely like the in-person voter fraud that the Right continually drums up in an effort to tighten and restrict voting rights…yet, like most things political, it, (a)doesn’t amount to much – if anything, and (b)there’s a nefarious purpose to it that, for the most part, isn’t being reported on by the chattering classes across the media landscape.

Part of the hysteria stems from efforts led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a controversial leader within conservative circles’ who has led – among other things – restrictions on immigrant rights in Arizona and various voter restriction efforts. In 2005, Kobach launched the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, a service he offers to states free of charge – a service almost exclusively used by Republican-led states – to attempt to find voters who vote in more than one state in the same election – which, in most states, is a felony. Beginning with a 9 million person database in 2005, its’ expanded to now over 110 million voters in 24 states; basically, the way it works is that a state sends the IVRCP its’ entire voter database…which is then cross-checked with voter IDs’ sent in by other states. Any matches are flagged and then sent to prosecuting attorneys in the aforementioned states for inquiry and possible prosecution.

Sounds admirable, doesn’t it? After all, just this past year, the system flagged over 5 million potential violations of voter law…only one problem, though:

As Isaiah Thompson of the nonprofit media outlet AxisPhilly reported when Pennsylvania joined the program, Kobach’s record-matching appears to include people who move and register in a new state, but whose old records haven’t been flushed out yet — a process that can take several election cycles to be corrected.

As Thompson notes, even the process used to match the names is imprecise:

[W]hile the program asks member states to submit 13 items of data for each voter, including the last four digits of his/her social security number and middle name, Kansas state department officials acknowledged in an email that all that’s required for the crosscheck program to generate a “possible duplicate entry” is for the last name, first name, and date of birth to match.(Institute for Southern Studies)

Look at that last line in the quote above…all they require for a name to be flagged is the person’s last name, first name and DOB. That’s all; as election experts have long known, it is entirely possible that, given a large enough database to check, there are going to be lots of names that will be flagged on just name ID and DOB.

But even so, why is there even an effort at stopping in-person voter fraud, especially when study after study after study have found that in-person voter fraud is a specious myth; it’s more likely that you’ll either witness a UFO landing or get struck by lightning than find an actual case of in-person voter fraud, such as when the Boulder Co., Colorado D.A.’s Office dismissed 17 potential cases of in-person voter fraud that the IVRCP found in early 2013, stating that the cases were without merit and politically motivated. It is, for lack of a better phrase, “a solution in search of a problem” and in this case, it is a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.

My own view on the issue is this: given the state’s changing demographics and its’ movement from a reliable conservative bastion to a moderate, ‘nee progressive state, it is freaking Republicans out and they will do anything to game the system for as long as possible in order to preserve what power they have. It is also an effort to restrict one of the basic rights we as Americans have – the right to vote. It is not a privilege, it is a right, one that people have fought, bled and died for in this country and, in my opinion, it is shameful of conservatives/Republicans to restrict a fundamental American right.

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Posted April 6, 2014 by Matthew in Uncategorized

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