Bipartisan Election Commission Destroys Republican Talking Points

Bipartisan Election Commission Destroys Republican Talking Points January 26, 2014

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration, led by Democratic lawyer Bob Bauer and Republican lawyer Ben Ginsberg, who ran the Bush recount efforts in Florida in 2000, has issued a final report that pretty much destroys Republican claims about voter fraud and how elections should be run. Rick Hasan, one of the leading election law experts in the country, has the details.

Basically, the report says that there is very little voter fraud and that what little there is has nothing to do with photo ID laws or voter impersonation:

Consistent with the last point, there’s not much in the report which is overly controversial on the voter fraud-voter suppression debate between Republicans and Democrats, but I did find this line in the report particularly notable: “Fraud is rare, but when it does occur, absentee ballots are often the method of choice.” (Page 56.) That’s my conclusion too, but it is not the typical line of hard line Republicans like KS SOS Kris Kobach.

The way to deal with this is having a better system for logging absentee votes, updating the logs immediately so that those working at the polling places know that a vote was already cast by someone who might also show up to cast a vote in person. Photo ID laws do absolutely nothing to fix that problem, they are designed only to make it more difficult for poor and minority voters to get their ballot cast and counted.

The report also recommends more early voting, something Republicans around the country have been trying to get rid of or restrict because, again, Democratic voters are more likely to vote early than Republicans. It contains a lot of other reasonable reforms that should be viewed as absolutely obvious if not for partisan political bullshit, which is why most of its recommendations will probably be ignored by Republican-dominated states because almost all of this is controlled at the state level.

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  • had3

    Let’s not pretend Dems are in favor of early voting and no voter ID because it’s the “right” thing; we favor those things because they aid Democrats. Just like how gerrymandering is wonderful when your party gets to draw the lines and sucks when it’s the other way around. Fortunately for Dems, wider voting opportunity is the right thing to do and dovetails with being advantageous for the Dems.

  • marcus

    @1 Categorical statements are categorical.

  • Matrim

    Generally I prefer people to be on the right side for the right reasons. Failing that I’ll accept people on the right side for the wrong reasons. It sure beats most conservatives, who are on the wrong side for the wrong reasons.

  • marcus

    Not to derail the narrative but there are a lot of Democrats who are for voter equality and equal access for the right reasons. It is a traditional Democratic value and it is a moral issue in a way that “gerrymandering” and other political machinations aren’t. I think that sometimes in the “they are all just a bunch of politicians” narrative we might tar with a bit too broad of a brush, I’m guilty of it myself. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t many good, decent people who are Democrats, politicians included, because they are people of conscience.

  • Anyone who wants to talk seriously about electoral fraud in the US needs to first talk about gerrymandering districts and reducing the influence of money — only then is it worth talking about the virtually nonexistent polling fraud.

    I mean, seriously, WTF – when you’ve got a political system in which it’s a sport to draw district lines in order to reduce the impact of voting blocs on a racial basis and someone’s actually willing to talk about “fraud”!??!

  • marcus

    @5 This.

  • rabbitscribe

    We’re “in favor of early voting and no voter ID” because we’re in favor of voting; the more, the better. If I had my way, there’d be an Election Week, and starting about Thursday people would come to your home looking for you if you hadn’t shown up yet.

  • rabbitscribe

    #5: That cuts both ways, though. Every day, I drive through Illinois District 4, the most blatantly Gerrymandered District in the country. It’s designed to give Chicago Hispanics a voting bloc. But should I be in the mood for a delicious bowl of pozole, I’m out of luck because the portion of the district I drive through consists of a few miles of uninhabited tollway median strip.

    (skip to the bottom of part 2 for IL-4, or better yet, read the whole thing).

  • thebookofdave

    This is what I’ve been trying to say all along! Boy, am I glad the Presidential Commission had the sense to clear this up. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go drive my dogs to the polls.

  • parasiteboy


    Illinois District 4, the most blatantly Gerrymandered District in the country. It’s designed to give Chicago Hispanics a voting bloc.

    You say that like it’s a good thing? It subverts the voters representation by lumping them together and is only done for political gain and not some altruistic reason.

    As Obama said in The Audacity of Hope, “It’s not a stretch to say that most voters no longer choose their representatives; instead representatives choose their voters” (Of course he wrote this back when he was more idealistic and not so much a pragmatist)

    That’s why you can have low congressional approval rating but high incumbency re-election rates in the House.

    These “safe” districts also allow politicians that are further to the right (or left) to win seats because all they have to do is win the primary and they are guaranteed to win the general election because of gerrymandering. We are currently seeing that play out within the Republican party today.

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