Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Voting Fraud, Political Fraud

One good thing coming out of the US Attorney scandal is the light shone on how the Republicans used fictional fears of election fraud to suppress voting. When we were arguing about voter ID bills, Repubs insisted that the laws were necessary to avoid the dread spector of Dick Tracy showing up at the polls. Plenty of us didn't buy it at the time. Still, it's nice having the confirmation.


  • Jill notes that Monica Goodling testified extensively about the the Department of Justice's "vote caging " activities.
  • In Slate, Election Law blogger Richard Hansen uses the disappearance of a Republican astroturf vote fraud advocacy group as a hook for a brief history of voter fraud claims. As he shows, the claims have never been proven, but they still serve as a basis for vote supressing activities like roll purging and ID laws.
  • Digby gets excited about the prospect of Senators quizzing his "favorite election suppressor Hans von Spakovsky."
  • Another election blogger, OSU prof Daniel Tokaji, offers a detailed rundown of how the US Attorneys scandal is part of a pattern of politicizing the U.S. Justice Department to play games with voting rights.
So. I can't say that I understand why Jennifer Brunner wasn't more careful about choosing sites for her pilot program to register high school graduates. But if she's trying to use her position to tip elections, by the standards set by Republicans, she's a piker.

CORRECTION: See Jill's comment.


Jill said...

Hi Pho - minor minor minor correction - I don't know that Goodling testified extensively about the voter caging - but she mentioned the practice by name in the beginning of her testimony - I heard it around 11:10 or something, she'd been on about 20 mins I think. I listened to the testimony through 11:45 or so but after that, can't say what she said. Clearly, however, a lot of others noted her reference and I don't know - did she in fact return to it?

Really scary practice - I feel very naive.

Anonymous said...

What about the fact that electronic voting machines are not able to be audited and lack transparency due to proprietary software?

You can downplay election reform issues all you want but the above fact remains. Jennifer Brunner has done little to address statewide potential for election fraud.

Voting fraud and election fraud are completely different issues. The Republicans have done a good job of confusing the two together and you are doing the same Pho unless you do a detailed analysis comparing the differences of both.

Pho, you have been exerting a lot of energy trying to belittle election reformers while Bush Co. pushed phony accusations of voter fraud to provide cover and divert attention away from real election fraud.

What Brunner did to the Board of Elections in Cuyahoga County needs to be expanded dramatically across the state. All 88 counties need to be shaken-up to ensure elections are open and transparent for citizen oversight and reasonable expectations that all votes are being counted correctly by the expensive but woefully inaccurate electronic voting equipment that has corrupted our state's election system and thus has nearly made true Democracy in Ohio an impossible dream.

Scott Piepho said...


I realized I'm probably talking to someone whose name rhymes with Schmickman, but I'll bite.

I haven't belittled election reformers. I've belittled one camp-following Bob Fitrakis fanboy who harrangued us mercilessly that we were all fools becasue we didn't blog daily about the stolen election of 2004 and the impending theft in 2006.

If he/you want people to take election security seriously, don't be so histrionic about it. Start talking in measured tones about specific, rational proposals. And no, sacking all 87 remaining elections boards doesn't count as rational.

Anonymous said...

Pho, I didn't say the remaining 87 Boards of Elections should be sacked. You should not instantly imply otherwise.

I said:

"All 88 counties need to be shaken-up to ensure elections are open and transparent for citizen oversight and reasonable expectations that all votes are being counted correctly"

And no, my name doesn't rhyme with Schmickman, but I believe some bloggers need harangued. Especially those bloggers, including you, who regularly buy into public relations histrionics surrounding gimmicks such as the stripper bill, a congressman limiting his food spending to that of a food stamps budget and petty tit-for-tat personal attacks between left bloggers and those on the right.

These types of blogger histrionics are coordinated publicity stunts and/or intended for no meaningful purpose other than to break through the noise to increase blog traffic. It certainly is not productive for blog readers to be forced to sort through all these histrionics in order to find stories of real substance. Some bloggers are pushing far too many readers away because these readers don't want to sort through all the junk stories.

Maybe should start another system to rank the most histrionic bloggers or those who intentionally post unimportant headline grabbing stories that will draw hits from people searching on google and the like.

If did this, it readers could easily pinpoint which blogs to ignore.

Therefore, it seems disingenuous for you and other bloggers to claim that any individual, group or blogger is histrionic. You and other bloggers take part in gamesmanship to break through and be recognized in a rapidly growing blog communication arena where quality is suffering due to an overwhelming quantity of confusing blog posting noise.

Scott Piepho said...


Actually, what you said in context was:

What Brunner did to the Board of Elections in Cuyahoga County needs to be expanded dramatically across the state. All 88 counties need to be shaken-up . . .

And what did Brunner do in Cuy. Co? She sacked the Board. I said you wanted to sack all 87 Boards because that's what it looks like you meant. If that's not what you meant, it's your bad, not mine.

As for the rest of the charges, lumping me in with what you describe is just plain silly. I am the opposite of what you describe and have the slow traffic to prove it. More on that later.

Jason Haas said...

Hickman'd but not by Hickman? Damn.

fwiw, I read it the same way: Brunner + CuyCo + shake-up = sack the other 87.

I eagerly anticipate the histrionic list for commenters so we know which ones to avoid.

Anonymous said...

I only intended to point out that the problems in our election system are statewide, not just in Cuyahoga County. Sorry for the confusion.

Anonymous said...

tom hartman picked up on the caging comments and ran with it on yesterday' show.

as an aside the the former chief at cuyahoga boe was using caging lists in the 2oo4 election cycle. all of these instances violate the consent decree the GOP agreed to in the early 80's.