With every day that passes, the GOP seems more and more likely to win control of the House and at least make the Senate pretty damn close. That is, unless the Democrats steal the election. Sure, ACORN the community-organizing group that a majority of conservatives believe somehow stole the election for President Obama in 2008 no longer exists, but it is much like "the mythological hydra that grew two heads for every one cut off," and still threatens a voter-fraud "epidemic," the chairman of the Republican National Lawyers Association claimed this week. Republicans tend to make a big issue out of voter fraud every year, with Democrats and voting-rights advocates often accusing them of merely attempting to suppress the votes of minorities and the poor. But this year the tea-party movement is there to throw an extra bit of fuel on the hysteria fire. That's not to say that voter fraud never happens; it does, and it probably always will. But it's not an "epidemic" that requires all of us to become "voter-fraud police," as conservative pundit Michelle Malkin suggests. According to the Times today:
A report by the public-integrity section of the Justice Department found that from October 2002 to September 2005, the department charged 95 people with “election fraud”; 55 were convicted.
Among those, fewer than 20 people were convicted of casting fraudulent ballots, and only 5 were convicted of registration fraud. Most of the rest were charged with other voting violations, including a scheme meant to help Republicans by blocking the phone lines used by two voting groups that were arranging rides to get voters to the polls.
The "casting fraudulent ballots" is the part that many groups are extra-vigilant about this year. According to Mother Jones, the "the tea party-backed Election Integrity Watch" in Minnesota is offering $500 for tips leading to voter-fraud convictions, for example. The conservative website Pajamas Media is organizing a "a network of citizen journalists/poll watchers to monitor as many polling places as possible across the nation on election day." There's even an election-fraud-reporting app. And yet ... fewer than twenty people nationwide over the course of three years and hundreds of millions of votes?
The generally nonthreatening data may explain why some groups resort to just making up stuff that sounds scary. Take the King Street Patriots, a tea-party group that has already been accused of voter intimidation in Houston, Texas. They decided that the only thing more frightening than voter fraud is voter fraud ... mixed with Black Panthers!!!
Houston Votes, whose registration drive has mostly focused on Latino neighborhoods, did find at least one paid canvasser submitting fraudulent applications, [lawyer Jim] George said, and that person was immediately fired. He added that the groups’ financing for voter registration work had dried up because of insinuations by the King Street Patriots that Houston Votes was tied to the New Black Panther Party.
“Houston Votes has nothing whatsoever to do with the Black Panthers,” Mr. George said. “But you make a claim like that, and funding dries up, even if the claim isn’t true.”
Mr. George explained that during a meeting, the King Street Patriots had shown a picture of the Houston Votes office and stated its address before adding that this was the new location of the Black Panthers.
Hiram Sasser, a lawyer for the Liberty Institute who represents the King Street Patriots, denied the claim but when presented a video of the incident, he said that his client had actually made a mistake ....
Yes, well ... how about William Ayers? Isn't he probably involved in this somehow?