Hey, guess what! The Arkansas Project’s back! Yeah, kind of took me by surprise too. Though in fairness it’s not the same soft core porn site it was way back in the day. It’s actually got real articles, though I’d take some issue with the factual accuracy of them. But hey, at least the women in the pictures all seem to be dressed this time. Maybe now they can pass this outfit off as a serious political blog.
Anyway, ribbing aside. The Arkansas Project is now hammering away at “voter fraud” in Arkansas, using Hudson Hallum’s election theft as an example. At one point, they even single out our Letters to the Pizzaman bit where I asked Mark Darr to actually show me an example of voter fraud. The point of my exchanges with Darr and my pressing of other conservatives to show an example of actual voter fraud-someone who’s not registered to vote casting a vote when they shouldn’t-all comes down to the justification for imposing stricter voter id requirements. Darr of course cited the investigation of Hallum to me, to which I replied that it was A) still under investigation and B) not an example of voter fraud even if it turned out to be true. And it’s not. Hallum rigged the voting process by buying votes and destroying absentee ballots. That’s not voter fraud, and the voter id law Republicans want won’t do a thing to stop that kind of behavior. The folks at Arkansas Project know this because they wrote:
According to reports from the Associated Press, Hallum, his father, and two campaign workers pled guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to commit election fraud after federal prosecutors said the lawmaker’s campaign bribed absentee voters and destroyed ballots in a special election last year.
Then, further down that same post, we get this:
Obviously, voter ID laws will not solve absentee voter fraud (of which Hallum is guilty) just as they will not cure cancer or prevent obesity. They will not stop all vote fraud everywhere for all time, and they will not solve all problems in elections. But do opponents of voter ID laws feel comfortable basing their position on the fact that voter ID would only eliminate some fraud?
Nice to see them admit that they still have to grasp for a justification, but at least here they acknowledge that voter ID wouldn’t have stopped this. There is that little slight of hand though where they go from calling Hallum’s crime “election fraud”, which it is, to “absentee voter fraud”, then otherwise consistently referring to it at “voter fraud”. See the game here? I’ll also give them some credit. Someone finally found one, just one!, example of voter fraud out of the entire country. Kudos for that. Now let’s see…how many examples did I have of legitimate voters disenfranchised by voter ID laws across the country again…Hmmm, there was this list…
- Ricky Tyrone Lewis is a 58 year-old Marine Corps veteran. Despite the fact that he was able to offer Wisconsin voting officials proof of his honorable discharge from the Marines, Milwaukee County has been unable to find the record of his birth that he needs in order to obtain a voter ID card.
- Ruthelle Frank is an 84 year-old former elected official who voted in every election for the last 63 years, yet she will be unable to obtain a voter ID unless she pays a fee to obtain a birth certificate from the Wisconsin government — despite the fact that the Constitution explicitly forbids any voter from being charged a fee in order to vote. Worse, because the attending physician at her birth misspelled her name on her original birth certificate, she may need to pay hundreds of dollars in court fees to petition the state judiciary to correct her certificate before she can obtain a voter ID.
- Paul Carroll is an 86-year-old World War II veteran who has lived in the same Ohio town for four decades. Yet, when he attempted to vote in the recent Ohio primary, he was told his photo ID from the Department of Veterans Affairs was not good enough because it did not include his address.
- Dorothy Cooper is a 96-year-old African-American woman who says she has voted in every election but one since she became eligible to vote. Yet, when she attempted to obtain a voter ID, she was turned away because she did not have a copy of her marriage license. In a subsequent interview, Cooper said that she didn’t even have problems voting in Tennessee “during Jim Crow days” — only now under Voter ID.
- Thelma Mitchell is a 93-year-old woman who cleaned the Tennessee Capitol for 30 years. She never received a birth certificate, however, because she was delivered by a midwife in Alabama in 1918 and there was no record of her birth. When she attempted to obtain a voter ID, she was turned away for lack of a birth certificate by a clerk who suggested she could be an illegal immigrant.
- Virginia Lasater is a 91-year-old woman who has been active in political campaigns for 70 years. Because of her advanced age, however, she is no longer able to stand for extended periods of time. When she attempted to obtain a voter ID, she was confronted with lines that stretched for several hours and no place to sit while she waited — forcing her to abandon her effort to obtain an ID due to her physical constraints.
- Darwin Spinks is an 86 year-old World War II veteran. He was told to pay a fee before he could obtain a voter ID in Tennessee, despite the fact that charging someone to vote is unconstitutional.
- Rita Platt is a Wisconsin resident who was turned away from her attempt to obtain a voter ID because she required either a birth certificate or a passport to obtain one — both of which can only be obtained if the voter pays a fee. Worse, in Wisconsin, voters must fill out a misleading formwhich suggests that they cannot obtain the birth certificate they need to obtain a photo ID unless they already have a photo ID.
- Jessica Cohen is a Texas resident who lost her license and other identification papers in a burglary. She now must also pay an unconstitutional fee in order to obtain the birth certificate she needs to obtain a new voter ID. Because Cohen lives in Texas, she will likely be able to vote in 2012 because the Department of Justice blocked Texas’ law under the Voting Rights Act — although there is a high risk that the Supreme Court’s conservatives will declare the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.
Oh and then there was my favorite example of the woman who marched with King and her disenfranchisement:
Now let me be clear here, I have no problem with reforms that would make it harder to commit the crime Hallum and his accomplices did, and we’ve been calling for better oversight of elections since the whole Garland County fiasco in 2010. But what we don’t need is something that will disenfranchise a significant numbers of legitimate voters-seniors, minorities, college students, etc.-who aren’t likely to have a valid photo ID. Voter fraud is very rare, and yes, the Brennan Center for Justice says it’s statistically on par with being struck by lightning, a fact the boys at the Arkansas Project like to make fun of but still can’t disprove. After all, one example that someone finally managed to find, and an example of something totally different from voter fraud, does not an epidemic make.
If conservatives are going to make their case for a law that is clearly disenfranchising legitimate voters around the country then they are going to have to do a whole lot better than this.