Abbott’s Anti-Voting Rights Crusade

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, likely the next governor of that state, has been on a crusade against the “epidemic” of voter fraud, pushing a voter ID law and other measures, to stop it. But his office can only come up with a grand total of six cases in the last 13 years, two of which might have been prevented by voter ID.

Since taking office in 2001, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has called voter fraud an “epidemic,” and made cracking down on it a top priority. Now, as he runs for governor, he’s touting his ongoing battle to implement the state’s strict voter ID law, arguing that the measure is crucial to combat fraud.

But over the 13 years of Abbott’s tenure, his office can only cite two fraudulent votes that might have been stopped by the ID law.

To put that another way, such votes accounted for one out of every 18.7 million votes cast in Texas during that period—and that’s counting only the general elections for statewide races. Meanwhile, 796,000 Texans, by the state’s own numbers, lack an ID…

Last week, msnbc asked the Abbott campaign for information to support the rest of Abbott’s litany: dead people voting, live people voting twice, and non-citizen registering to vote. In response, Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, forwarded information on five elections cases prosecuted by Abbott’s office. All five, plus one more, were also cited by Abbott’s office when the voter ID law was first challenged by the Justice Department in 2012.

Two of those six cases might potentially have been stopped by a voter ID law—though even these two appear to have involved feckless individual actors, rather than the kind of coordinated and dangerous large-scale fraud conspiracies that Abbott aims to invoke.

Jack Crowder pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and paid a $200 fine after being charged with using the voter registration card of his dead father to vote in the 2008 Democratic primary. And Lorenzo Almanza used the voter registration certificate of his brother—who at the time was in prison—to vote twice in a 2009 school district election. Almanza pleaded guilty to illegal voting and was sentenced to two years in jail. His mother, Reyna Almanza, was convicted of lying to a poll workers on his behalf.

But in the other four cases, voter ID would have had no impact.

How many times does this have to play out before people stop believing all this nonsense about voter fraud? In state after state, a public official — always a Republican, of course — declares that something must be done to stop the scourge of voter fraud. But when asked to document that scourge, they can come up with a handful of cases out of millions of votes cast. It’s a lie. It’s always been a lie.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Alverant

    To prevent a dozen cases of real voter fraud they would prevent a thousand people from legally voting … provided those thousand people would vote for Democrats.

  • doublereed

    How about they push for State IDs for a few years until everyone in the State has an ID and THEN talk about such measures?

    Oh right. I know why.

  • raven

    they would prevent a thousand people from legally voting … provided those thousand people would vote for Democrats.

    Thousands?

    They are aiming for millions of people not allowed to vote. Because they know democracy and reality is their enemy.

  • johnmanderson

    If a state requires photo id in order to vote the the state must provide suitable photo id for every registered voter at no cost to the voter. The id must be exactly the same for every voter, If anyone protests using the words “Mark of the beast” the say fine you don’t have to vote.

  • Phillip Hallam-Baker

    Voter fraud is real.

    When Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush ignored the Florida election law to bloc a recount in 2000, that was voter fraud.

    When Republicans pass ballot access laws to stop black people and Latinos voting, that if voter fraud.

    When Kenneth Blackwell in Ohio deliberately prevented Democrats from voting by assigning insufficient voting machines to their precincts and not sending them enough ballots.

    The Republican party knows all about election fraud because they stop millions of Americans from casting a fair vote. And the jackbooted racist bastards are proud of it.

  • scienceavenger

    The Abbott Formulation:

    Better that a million legitimate voters be denied their rights than that a single illegitimate one vote.

    Also applicable to welfare recipients.

  • gwangung

    scienceavenger: Well, we all know Texans would rather fry 10 innocent people than let one guilty person get away from the death penalty, so that’s nothing new.

  • scienceavenger

    @7 Hey, watch it, you’re talking about Texans in the country, not all of us. Those of us in the cities are doing our best to drag the rest kicking and screaming into the 20th century. We’re easy to find – we’re the isolated blue blobs in the sea of red on the by-country electoral maps.

  • sinned34

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been trying to pull that same stunt up here in Canada. One of his MPs, Brad Butt, claims to have personally witnessed voter fraud in his district. When called on it, he withdrew his claim and said he “misspoke.”

  • scienceavenger

    So if we call him a liar, will he be Butthurt?

  • beezlebubby

    Scienceavenger is right. Houston and Austin aren’t Waco or west Texas, not by any stretch.

  • jefferylanam

    Texas has nothing on Quebec. The law there says that a voter must be “domiciled” in the province. What that means is apparently up to the elections clerk.

    Quebec’s Election Act subtly ups the ante by demanding that would-be voters be “domiciled” in the province.

    “The simple fact of residing in a place does not establish domicile,” states an information page released by Elections Quebec. Instead, would-be voters must prove to elections staff their “intention” to keep Quebec as their permanent home.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=730511544 billdaniels

    I have some ideas about voter ID. First, for five years they should allow people registered without a state ID to vote without the ID. During this time every polling place should have the equipment to produce the photo IDs. After voting the people without the IDs will be allowed to get one at the polling place, using the same IDs they have used to vote in the past.

  • gog

    @billdaniels but but but what about the people that could fraudulently obtain identification and then use it to vote for a democrat illegally?! Think about the consequences this would have on our Freedom!

    Besides, Texas already has a waiting period on voter registration. It’s bad enough that you have to wait until you get your registration card (which isn’t required at the polling place under most circumstances), now they want to force people to go to the local DPS office and have to pay money for an ID. How does that not constitute a poll tax?

  • gog

    And I’m convinced that the registration waiting period is a means of disenfranchisement in and of itself. It prevented me from voting in the 2008 election.

  • dingojack

    “Jack Crowder pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and paid a $200 fine after being charged with using the voter registration card of his dead father to vote in the 2008 Democratic primary. And Lorenzo Almanza used the voter registration certificate of his brother—who at the time was in prison—to vote twice in a 2009 school district election. Almanza pleaded guilty to illegal voting and was sentenced to two years in jail.”

    Why the disparity in punishments? Are school districts ever so much more important?

    Let me guess, voting twice while being brown….

    Dingo