Charlie Webster, the chairman of the Maine Republican Party, has a problem. He has a bad habit, you see, of throwing out entirely ridiculous accusations of voter fraud and getting himself into trouble. After last week’s election he pledged to investigate reports that “dozens and dozens” of black people voted illegally in that state:
“In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day. Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in (these) towns knows anyone who’s black. How did that happen? I don’t know. We’re going to find out.”
He didn’t bother to name any of those towns, or to explain how or why they would have been able to vote without being on the voter rolls. Contrary to popular belief, you do have to show ID when you vote (the controversy is over whether you should have to show photo ID, but you still have to show any of a number of valid forms of identification and your signatures still have to match the one on file). So now he’s backing down:
“It was my intention to talk not about race, but about perceived voting irregularities,” Webster said in a written statement. “However, my comments were made without proof of wrongdoing and they had the unintended consequence of casting aspersions on an entire group of Americans. For that, I am truly sorry.”
Webster said Thursday that he regrets singling out black voters because people have labeled him a racist.
“I have a couple friends that I play basketball with who are black and I’m sure I’m going to get a few elbows the next time we play,” he joked.
I bet he even lets them use his bathroom.
This isn’t the first time he’s pulled a stunt like this. Last year he claimed to have a list of a couple hundred college students who had voted illegally there, but an investigation found that every one of them was a legal voter. Seriously, what do you have to do to get fired in that job?