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May 22, 2007

Comments

Sebastion Holsclaw: It depends upon your definition of 'easily discouraged'. Some people will be discouraged from voting unless someone picks them up from their house, takes them out to lunch, delivers them to the polls, waits with them in line, and drives them home.

Does anything I've written here suggest that my definition of "easily discouraged" encompasses any of the above silliness?

I do not in fact believe that a standardized Voter ID issued by the federal government would IN FACT discourage any appreciable number of actual eligible voters who would have actually voted--Democratic or otherwise.

Is there a standardized voter ID issued by the federal government at present?

Now I'm perfectly willing to believe that it will discourage Democratic voters who are not in fact citizens or eligible to vote, but that isn't a legitimate criticism.

Voters which you don't have any reason to believe exist in any significant numbers. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Jesurgislac: I appreciate the conspiracy theories, but it's been seven years since the 2000 election (nearly). Granted, the voter list purge was sloppy. But has anyone ever uncovered more than, say, one or two actual people who actually tried to vote and weren't allowed to do so because of the purge? Answer: No. So the notion that this swung the election is, shall we say, massively unsubstantiated.

Lizardbreath: Actually, no. One guy with a van can give say, a dozen people a ride at a time, and can do that, say, ten times a day. The same guy, assuming all the fraudulent paperwork is in, can vote, to be generous, twenty times a day, what with travel time to different polling places and all. Six to one advantage, efficiency-wise, for the legal volunteering there.

If all you've got is one van, it's more efficient to send out a vanful of ten volunteers to vote six times than to try to fill up the van six times with actual additional voters (some of whom may not vote for your party anyway). That's the point.

And you know? It's easier to find volunteers to do legal, public spirited work like giving people rides to polling places, than it is to find volunteers to commit crimes.

In the abstract, yes. In the real world: Saying that people won't commit voter fraud is like saying that people won't speed. People will indeed speed, all the time, given that the incentive to do so far outweighs the risk of getting caught. Same here: You and your fellow party flacks are doing your best to make it virtually impossible to catch anyone who double votes. "Come on, it's for the good of the country, and there's no way anyone could ever catch us."

it's more efficient to send out a vanful of ten volunteers to vote six times than to try to fill up the van six times with actual additional voters (some of whom may not vote for your party anyway).

I don't know about your neck of the woods, but up here that's simply untrue. The GOTV van drivers I knew in the 2004 election had basically no respite; they were ferrying people to the polls the entire day. That was the entire point of the GOTV effort in the first place, identifying voters and arranging the logistics so that there'd be no down-time.

As with Sebastian above, if you have a specific allegation of malfeasance I'll be happy to hear it. Or hell, even a general allegation of malfeasance that's actually substantiated by much of anything. For now, all you're doing is declaring, well, the entire Democratic party of being a bunch of criminals for no particular reason I can see (though some I can hypothesize).

"I do not in fact believe that a standardized Voter ID issued by the federal government would IN FACT discourage any appreciable number of actual eligible voters who would have actually voted--Democratic or otherwise. Additionally I don't believe that it would effect eligible Democratic voters MORE than Republican voters. Rural voters are much more likely to be adversely effected than urban ones, and we all know how the urban/rural split works out."

Gromit, I know this was mixed in with other stuff, but I believe this may be the crux of our disagreement. Do you have a large number of convictions on voter supression or other evidence AT LEAST AS STRONG AS BEING DEMANDED OF ME that this is a WIDESPREAD problem? Do you have such evidence (same level of evidence) that it will effect Democratic voters more than Republican voters?

Anarch, I'm looking through our previous attempts at this discussion to find the link you're requesting. I know I've cited one of the investigation reports before, but I haven't been able to find it this time around.

[I'll add, as a by-the-by, that the only voter fraud I actually witnessed in Wisconsin was a voter suppression effort by the local College Republicans. Singular of data, I know.]

You and your fellow party flacks are doing your best to make it virtually impossible to catch anyone who double votes.

please, continue to lecture us about "conspiracy theories" !

Sorry I changed topics in my head without alerting it through the words. :)

I'm asking for widespread evidence of voter supression--but not allegations, we need convictions or other things of the type demanded on the voter fraud side.

I'm asking for evidence that an ID requirement cuts more strongly against Democrats--my hypothesis is that as Republicans are more likely to be found in rural areas and that they are at least as likely to be effected by an ID requirement because it will be more difficult for them to adequately serviced by a government office near to them.

Also it would be nice if we could actually identify say a couple hundred individuals who actually would have voted but did not vote due to a particularly identifiable voter supression tactic.

John Doe: I appreciate the conspiracy theories

What conspiracy theories? Again, I'm not claiming XFiles alien invasion here. I'm bringing up an actual, well-documented instance of the brother of one of the Presidential candidates rigging the electoral system of the state of which he was governor, to ensure that the electoral college of his state delivered its votes to his brother, instead of to the candidate who (as an unofficial recount finally established) the voters of his state actually preferred.

but it's been seven years since the 2000 election (nearly).

Is there a statute of limitations or something? Is Bush out of power?

Granted, the voter list purge was sloppy.

Sloppy?

57,700 "ex-felons," were ordered to be removed from voter rolls in Florida by two of Jeb Bush's proteges. These lists were distributed to counties before the 2000 election with orders to remove the voters named. The lists were compiled, as was finally acknowledged by DBT, if the voter's name, gender and birthdate nearly matched an ex-felon's name, gender, and birthdate somewhere in the United States. But race of voter and race of ex-felon had to match.

The lists contained at least 90% false-positives, as you'd expect. DBT proposed using address histories and financial records to confirm the names, but the state of Florida claimed they "didn't need" the cross-checks.

In 2004, a similar purge was authorized. Even though the state had been ordered to reinstate the purged voters before the 2002 election (which they did not), not repeat the illegal purge of 2000.

But has anyone ever uncovered more than, say, one or two actual people who actually tried to vote and weren't allowed to do so because of the purge?* Answer: No.

But, in rejoinder: has anyone ever uncovered more than, say, 80 people in the whole of the US who, it's confirmed, voted illegally in the 2006 election? Answer: No.

Yet you and Sebastian Holsclaw - lacking even the evidence of the DBT "scrub lists" that prove the Republicans in Florida certainly intended to ensure that people who were likely to vote Democratic shouldn't be allowed to vote - are claiming that nonetheless this is a big problem.

*(People keep repeating this meme, that people who were purged from the electoral rolls and who weren't permitted to re-register, were nonetheless permitted to vote and their votes were counted. I find this very strange. Can someone link me to this?)

Sebastian: Also it would be nice if we could actually identify say a couple hundred individuals who actually would have voted but did not vote due to a particularly identifiable voter supression tactic.

When, following investigation, the DoJ can't actually identify a couple hundred instances of fraudulent voting, and yet you claim you know this is a big problem...

As with Sebastian above, if you have a specific allegation of malfeasance I'll be happy to hear it.

As with Sebastian: Since when do we have to prove specific malfeasance before we can suggest the most minimal precautions?

convictions or other things of the type demanded on the voter fraud side.

On the polling-place fraud side, I'd be happy with a report that indicated that there was any significant number of voters for whom the voter's address was bad, and the person vouching for the voter also could not be located. I haven't seen anything of the sort.

In terms of voter suppression, I'm not sure if you're unaware of, or simply ignoring/disagreeing with the conventional wisdom (as attested to by, for example, the former political director of the Republican Party in Texas) that bureaucratic obstacles reduce voter participation among Democrats, who are poorer and more likely to be minority, more than Republicans. On the specific point that urban populations will find it easier than rural populations to get ID, the proposed Georgia Voter ID would have been available only at drivers license offices, none of which happened to be located in Atlanta.

As with Sebastian: Since when do we have to prove specific malfeasance before we can suggest the most minimal precautions?

Electronic voting? Security? Anyone?

And how about a minimal effort to check to see if the solution isn't worse than the problem?

Right. And of course there are precautions now -- you're talking about heightening them, and the question is whether the benefits from such heightening are less than the costs.

Since when do we have to prove specific malfeasance before we can suggest the most minimal precautions?

When what you call "the most minimal precautions" look very like systematic efforts to prevent people who are demographically likely to vote Democratic, from being allowed to vote.

And since proving specific malfeasance in this area (*points at the voter purge lists in the Florida elections*) has already been done, you can hardly complain that people want minimal precautions against these systematic efforts.

Seb: for starters, there's the NH phone jamming scandal, in which several people, including one whose defense was paid for by the RNC, have been convicted. If you're willing to settle for plain evidence of wrongdoing, as opposed to convictions (I haven't got time to track down what eventually happened in these cases), try these stories: Virginia, CA, PA, all over, and so on and so forth.

Sure, fine, if you want more precautions against erroneous purges, I'm all for that. I'm not the one demanding that there be a string of "convictions" proving a "massive" and "organized" effort nationwide before I'll admit that any precautions are necessary.

Lizardbreath: to say there are no drivers license offices in Atlanta is quite misleading, and shows a certain susceptibility to propaganda, or else a certain inability to look up facts for yourself. Use a little common sense: Atlanta is a metropolitan area with 5 million people. Do you really think that 5 million people are without a driver's license office? No state government is quite that incompetent.

What you didn't care enough to find out is that when propagandists whine that there are no license offices in "Atlanta," they're being very slippery. 1) They are referring strictly to "Atlanta's" official city limits, which are quite small. The overwhelming majority of people who are said to live in "Atlanta" actually live in one of the surrounding communities.

2) The propagandists are apparently using a very strict definition of "driver's license office" that excludes the drivers license office in Atlanta itself. Perhaps the propagandists exclude this office because it doesn't offer road tests. However, there are plenty of nearby offices that do (such as Decatur and Forest Park). (Before making any patronizing suggestions, note that these are largely black communities, and that there are people within Atlanta's city limits who are closer to Decatur than to the other side of "Atlanta" proper.)

The propagandists linked were Fox News, and their claim that there was no drivers license office in Atlanta such that the required voter ID would be available there is consistent with other coverage I've seen of the issue.

Sebastian,

Also, there are also a series of consent decrees, stretching at least as far back as 1981, for the Republicans having engaged in voter suppression.

They are referring strictly to "Atlanta's" official city limits, which are quite small.

400K+ people live within the Atlanta city limits.

Your faith in Fox News is touching, but it's still a good idea to check out the facts for yourself. That "fact" is easily debunked just by going to the Georgia DMV's website (follow links above), and by using a little common sense about the size of "Atlanta" proper.

Thanks, cleek, but notice that I said "small." Atlanta is about 131 square miles, which would be a square of a little over 11 miles per side. So even if Atlanta were a square (it's not), and even if you lived smack in the center, the furthest you could live from a neighboring community is about 6 miles.

(Also, if you haven't noticed: 400,000 < 5 million.)

Hilzoy, most of those allegations are no better sourced or confirmed than the JS articles I cited. Now in point of fact, I'm quite willing to believe them. I fully believe that certain aspects of the Republican party have engaged in illegal or otherwise unethical voter activity.

I further note however, that there have been very few convictions, which under the logic presented in this thread should mean that it isn't a very serious problem. Do you agree that it isn't a serious problem? Or do you think that maybe it is really hard to prove?

"I'm not sure if you're unaware of, or simply ignoring/disagreeing with the conventional wisdom (as attested to by, for example, the former political director of the Republican Party in Texas) that bureaucratic obstacles reduce voter participation among Democrats, who are poorer and more likely to be minority, more than Republicans."

I'm disagreeing with the conventional wisdom (and supposition by a political director is not evidence). Further it is not a fact that Democratic voters on average are substantially poorer (I'm not even sure if it is correct that they are poorer....we've had a large number of recent studies showing Republicans being in poorer and more rural areas than Democrats). Proximity to offices alone makes rural areas much harder to serve with this type of thing, so I see no reason whatsoever to take it as a given that ID cards have to cut against Democrats. Conventional wisdom can be wrong.

Thanks, cleek, but notice that I said "small."

yes. and your very next sentence was "The overwhelming majority of people who are said to live in "Atlanta" actually live in one of the surrounding communities."

so now that i've given the population of Atlanta proper, we can conclude that it is also "dense".

the furthest you could live from a neighboring community is about 6 miles.

Far to walk for someone without a car, don't you think?

Now now, LB: Any right-wing flack who freely admits FOX News are a bunch of propagandists can't be all bad (:

"Far to walk for someone without a car, don't you think?"

That is just as true for rural areas, but the distance is MUCH more than 6 miles. And rural areas don't have good public transportation, even by low American city standards. Atlanta public transport is non-awful. (I used it myself last year from a decidedly non-downtown hotel). And remember you don't need to get a Voter ID every single week, or even once a month.

I'm not sure whether the median Democrat is or is not poorer than the median Republican, but that's not really relevant. What is relevant is that poor people are likelier to be Democrats, and that's well established.

I further note however, that there have been very few convictions, which under the logic presented in this thread should mean that it isn't a very serious problem. Do you agree that it isn't a serious problem? Or do you think that maybe it is really hard to prove?

The logic in this thread doesn't rest purely on there having been few convictions for voter fraud. It also rests on the low absolute numbers being talked about in cases where polling place fraud is suspected -- the JS article referred to above was talking about 300 bad addresses. Voter suppression allegations, on the other hand, tend to apply to tens of thousands of people; similarly, more stringent ID requirements affect the entire population, and only need to discourage a small percentage of voters to affect a large absolute number of voters.

(and supposition by a political director is not evidence).

Give me a break. YAAL, and so am I, but we are not in a courtroom. He's a guy who does this for a living, with no obvious reason for saying what he said if he doesn't think it's true. It's not conclusive, but it's worth considering. (Come to think of it, I bet I could get him in as an expert on the topic, at which point it would be evidence even in a courtroom. It'd depend on his background, and on the judge, but it wouldn't be out of the question.)

How absurdly patronizing. How many people do you really think are completely trapped in an inner-city Atlanta home -- unable to catch a ride with a neighbor, friend, or relative, and unable to ride MARTA or a city bus?

Honestly, I don't care. I don't care if someone should be able to get an ID, or if they would be able to if they wanted it more, or anything of that nature. I don't accept that overcoming bureaucratic difficulties is in any way a good or useful test for distinguishing desirable voters for undesirable ones. Consequently, if an ID requirement discourages one more voter than it prevents unauthorized votes, it's a bad thing.

"for" in that last should be "from".

This is interesting: proving that you are who you say you are is dismissed with a wave of the hand as if it were merely a "bureaucratic difficult[y]."

Seb: "most of those allegations are no better sourced or confirmed than the JS articles I cited."

The difference, to me, is that the allegations in the JS, if true, are not necessarily evidence of voter fraud. The cards that couldn't be returned: they mention illegible signatures or missing info as possible reasons. People who were listed as having voted twice, though apparently only one ballot was given to each: ditto.

All of these are signs of a voting system in need of serious work. None is necessarily evidence of voter fraud. In some cases, it's pretty hard to see how they could be evidence of voter fraud -- e.g., the people listed as voting twice. (I would have thought the idea behind voter fraud would be the exact opposite: be listed as having voted only once, but actually cast several ballots. Why someone bent on fraud would try to get counted twice without getting the extra ballot is a mystery to me.)

By contrast, I find it hard to see how calling people up and tell them that it's a criminal offense if they vote could be anything other than voter suppression. Ditto the repeat robocalls pretending to be from Democratic candidates, but funded by the RNCC.

About convictions: ianal, but would one expect to see convictions yet for offenses from 6 months ago?

That is just as true for rural areas, but the distance is MUCH more than 6 miles.

How many rural voters -- hell, rural inhabitants -- don't have vehicles, though?

How absurdly patronizing. How many people do you really think are completely trapped in an inner-city Atlanta home -- unable to catch a ride with a neighbor, friend, or relative, and unable to ride MARTA or a city bus?

Absurdly patronizing: Saying that, in order to be able to exercise the franchise, a person should be forced to take a special six-mile trip outside the city they live in, likely taking at least two hours, and possibly inconveniencing a neighbor or friend as well. Lightly dismissing this inconvenience on the grounds that Atlanta city limits are 'small'.

Not absurdly patronizing: Saying that this is an awful inconvenience to throw in voters' way, for little apparent gain.

In any case, the sponsor of the law explicitly said that it was directed at reducing black turnout and that all black voters were fraudulent. There isn't much doubt about the purpose of this bill.

"In any case, the sponsor of the law explicitly said that it was directed at reducing black turnout and that all black voters were fraudulent. There isn't much doubt about the purpose of this bill."

The sponsor of the bill is SUMMARIZED into:

"Other documents leaked to the Post summarized remarks made by state Rep. Sue Burmeister (R), sponsor of HB 244, that 'if there are fewer black voters because of this bill, it will only be because there is less opportunity for fraud. She said that when black voters in her black precincts are not paid to vote, they do not go to the polls.'"

Even construed as badly as you can against Burmeister, she isn't saying that she is trying to supress black votes. She says she is trying to supress fraudulent voting. And are you objecting to ID requirements IN GENERAL or merely as applied?

"In some cases, it's pretty hard to see how they could be evidence of voter fraud -- e.g., the people listed as voting twice. (I would have thought the idea behind voter fraud would be the exact opposite: be listed as having voted only once, but actually cast several ballots. Why someone bent on fraud would try to get counted twice without getting the extra ballot is a mystery to me.)"

Criminals do really stupid things all the time. That is just a fact.

"I don't accept that overcoming bureaucratic difficulties is in any way a good or useful test for distinguishing desirable voters for undesirable ones."

Getting an ID in the modern world isn't just a bureaucratic difficulty, and even in the cases we are talking about, much less a more streamlined system, it is a one time difficulty--far less than bureaucratic difficulties dealt with by people--even poor people--all the time.

Sebastian: Even construed as badly as you can against Burmeister, she isn't saying that she is trying to suppress black votes. She says she is trying to suppress fraudulent voting.

She says that she thinks black voters are fraudulent voters. Construed as nicely as you like for Burmeister, she's claiming black voters aren't interested in voting for the sake of voting.

And honestly, I'm not in principle opposed to voter ID requirements. You show me a particular law that people I trust with access to good data on the subject assure me will not have the effect of discouraging voters (and again, I don't care if they are unreasonable to be discouraged -- commitment to overcoming difficulties in order to vote, however trivial you characterize those difficulties as, does not indicate that someone is a better or more valuable voter) in numbers greater than the number of unauthorized votes it prevents, and I'm all for it.

Nice try, Matt, but you're more patronizing than anyone else has managed to be thus far. What you characterize as an "awful inconvenience" is a one-time trip that is much less inconvenient than having to make a weekly trip to Wal-Mart or the grocery store, which almost all poor people manage to do somehow, even if it's located all of a few miles away. Yes, even the (black) people that you think are so helpless and incapacitated.

Someone else said this once, but it bears repeating: If you're crying all these crocodile tears over the poor, helpless (black) people who should never, not once in their lives, have to deal with the trauma of traveling a few miles from home all by themselves, when do you ever show this professed concern at any point outside of flacking for the Democratic Party position in the voter ID debate?

These are some seriously helpless people, after all; if they can't make it to a driver's license office once in their lives, goodness knows how they are going to get groceries. What are you doing to help these god-forsaken people outside of using them as pawns in this debate?

Even construed as badly as you can against Burmeister, she isn't saying that she is trying to suppress black votes.

WTF? that's just crazy.

it is a one time difficulty--far less than bureaucratic difficulties dealt with by people--even poor people--all the time.
...provided it has not to be renewed on a regular base in short intervals. Given some of my own bureaucratic experiences there are cases where one has to prove one's identity every three months with the current identification (the one to be renewed) not considered valid in itself. Not actually a problem, if there is a long-term identity card as in Germany but absent that...
Riding my old horse again, federal elections should be federalized and a federal standard established thus taking it out of the hands of the conflicted local interests (cf. Blackwell).

when do you ever show this professed concern at any point outside of flacking for the Democratic Party position in the voter ID debate?

Instead of spewing random bile, you might want to indulge in some of that vaunted research you prize so dear and look, I dunno, three threads down.

And since it seems we're playing showing and tell, perhaps you'd mind showing us any concerns you have beyond flacking for the Republicans -- well, flacking for the Republicans and dyspeptically railing against the Democrats -- since you've shown f***-all of them here.

John Doe's intimate and encyclopedic knowledge of the day to day life of America's poor has convinced me. Considering that the former chief Justice of the SCOTUS was an inveterate minority vote suppression practitioner in his youth, as documented but ignored by testimony from the FBI agent involved during his nomination hearing, I'm sure it's all just SOP and par for the course.

Sorry. It was US attorney James J. Brosnahan.

Harassed minority voters in Arizona.

Several witnesses have stated under oath that Justice Rehnquist harassed minority voters during the early 1960's. Justice Rehnquist denies he harassed minority voters. James Brosnahan, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Phoenix from 1961 to 1963, said in a statement delivered to Congress that on election day in 1962, he and several assistant U.S. attorneys were assigned the task of receiving complaints alleging illegal interference with the voting process. The group received several complaints from precincts in South Phoenix. The precincts were predominately black and Hispanic. The complaints involved Justice Rehnquist. Broshnahan visited one of the precincts. When he arrived he saw Justice Rehnquist. There were reports that poll watchers had to physically push Rehnquist out of polling places to stop him from interfering with the voting rights of the minority citizens. Alan Dershowitz, Supreme Injustice, Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 242 - 244 n. 37;,


What you characterize as an "awful inconvenience" is a one-time trip that is much less inconvenient than having to make a weekly trip to Wal-Mart or the grocery store, which almost all poor people manage to do somehow, even if it's located all of a few miles away.

Y'know, when you use quotation marks, it's generally considered good form to make sure what you've put them around is actually a quotation. Matt didn't say it's an awful inconvenience, just an inconvenience. As it happens, that's enough. Vote suppression doesn't have to actually prohibit potential voters from voting to be effective, it just has to put enough roadblocks in the way that a significant proportion of potential voters won't clear all of them. Voting being a pretty basic democratic right and all, such roadblocks need to have some pretty damn good justification. I haven't seen any such justification yet, or any reason to think that vote fraud is sufficiently pervasive to justify Voter ID laws and the inevitable drop in exercise of the franchise.

BTW, you don't know much about the poor, do you? Here's a hint - they don't go to Wal-Mart or the grocery store every week. It's mostly the lower-middle class that shops at Wal-Mart every week, and the lack of accessible grocery stores is one of the most serious problems for the urban poor. Most of them do without both Wal-Mart and Safeway, and shop instead at whatever happens to be in walking distance.

Sebastian Holsclaw: Even construed as badly as you can against Burmeister, she isn't saying that she is trying to suppress black votes. She says she is trying to suppress fraudulent voting.

Sue Burmeister wants to eliminate fraudulent voting. Sue Burmeister believes all votes by black people are fraudulent. Therefore, Sue Burmeister wants to suppress the black vote (in her district, at least). This logic seems pretty airtight to me.

And as for whether she was misquoted, Burmeister says that though she doesn't remember saying "those exact words" the memo is "more accurate than not".

As for Wal-Mart, there wasn't one of those inside the Atlanta city limits until fairly recently, either.

"Sue Burmeister believes all votes by black people are fraudulent."

Even in the 'misquote' I don't see that. Where do you think she says that? The 'close' quote is "if there are fewer black voters because of this bill, it will only be because there is less opportunity for fraud."

'If' suggests skepticism about the claim that there will be fewer black voters, and states that if there are, that the number will only be reduced by the fraudulent ones. That isn't the same as saying that all (or most or many) black voters are fraudulent. And so far as I can tell the embarassment (that she is trying to get plausible deniability from) is on the next sentence anyway, and has nothing whatsoever to do with IDs.

I agree that that conditional isn't suspect, Sebastian, but the next line sure as f*** is:

She said that when black voters in her black precincts are not paid to vote, they do not go to the polls.

There's really no way to interpret that except as a plain declaration that she believes all black voters [in her "black precincts", I guess] are fraudulent.

Seb: I'm not in this particular argument, but if I had to guess which part of B's quoted remarks makes people think she's saying that black voters are fraudulent voters, it would be this: "She said that when black voters in her black precincts are not paid to vote, they do not go to the polls."

It's restricted to "in her district", but it seems pretty close to me. (One could quibble about whether paid votes are fraudulent votes, but not, I think, in interpreting a sentence that comes right in the middle of talking about fraud, and seems like a gloss on " it will only be because there is less opportunity for fraud."

The only thing I find confusing about that quote is how stricter ID requirements are supposed to catch this supposed vote buying.

Presumably the people being bought are voting under multiple fraudulent names. The efficiency that John Doe was talking about above.

I just found a fascinating data set. I'll make another post.

"I just found a fascinating data set. I'll make another post."

Couldn't you scribble your notes in the margins of this one?

People keep repeating this meme, that people who were purged from the electoral rolls and who weren't permitted to re-register, were nonetheless permitted to vote and their votes were counted. I find this very strange. Can someone link me to this?

This. This here is exactly how memes like this get started. To begin with, some reporter (Greg Palast) who apparently cannot bother to familiarize himself with how elections are conducted in Florida makes the following claim:

In the months leading up to the November 2000 presidential election, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, in coordination with Governor Jeb Bush, ordered local election supervisors to purge 57,700 voters from the registries, supposedly ex-cons not allowed to vote in Florida.

Where's the evidence that this order was issued? Well, that's another thing that Mr. Palast cannot seem to bother himself with, but that's almost completely irrelevant to the point, which is: supervisors of election have no statutory obligation to the Secretary of State at all, except to supply and certify their results. County supervisors run their own show, and there's just not much Jeb Bush or Kathleen Harris have to say about the matter, except that Governor Bush can remove a supervisor of election.

Which he's done, once, for cause. Google it if you like.

Supervisors are required by statute to remove ineligible voters from the rolls, though. Only after making sure that they're ineligible. I'm not going to cite statute to you, though, Jesurgislac, because that kind of thing doesn't seem to...take, really. I'll instead point you to the Florida state statute for 2000...all of it...and let you browse. Maybe it'll edify.

So, how memes like this get started is: someone invests a lot of forehead sweat in cooking up something really juicy-sounding and outrageous, and it gets gobbled up like candy and repeated. Talk about losing the will to dig deep.

So, back around to Ms. Harris and her purported orders: I can almost believe it, because she's not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I can't believe that none of the supervisors of election are familiar enough with the laws that apply to them (there's really not all that much to read) to tell her to pound sand, and then get on the phone with the rest of the supervisors and have a chat.

Google it if you like.

Don't say I never gave you anything.

"Couldn't you scribble your notes in the margins of this one?

Considering that I so rarely post, I should have written "I found an interesting data set and I'm writing a post about it right this second!"

It is up now. ;)

You passed up my opening to say "I have found a most extraordinary proof of my position, but the margins of this post are too small to contain it!"

Tsk.

Fermat, I'm not.

Look. I'm exactly one of those people who might be disenfranchised should super-strict ID requirements become standard for voting. I don't have good ID right now, and the process of applying for a new one has been daunting the hell out of me for well over a year now.

Part of the block is the cost (I'm really poor right now), part of it is the shame of having had my wallet stolen AGAIN, which just feels like carelessness, part of it is the fear of a bureaucracy that I just dread is going to belittle me, part of it is having moved and not quite knowing how to go about getting ID in my new state. And, consequently, I've put off and put off getting my ID in order. I don't even know where to start.

Despite all this (and, obviously, the depression that probably caused this situation--a depression with which I am finally dealing, expensively), I am an intelligent, well-informed, opinionated, and dedicated voter. I only vote once per election, no matter how much I'd like to add to my electoral clout. I'd like to think that if an extra-secure ID requirement were added for voting, I'd figure out how to regularise my situation, but then, it's not as though I've been taking any airplanes lately...

"...part of it is having moved and not quite knowing how to go about getting ID in my new state"

Typically, find out where the nearest office of the Department of Motor Vehicles that issues drivers licences are, and visit them with enough time to spare to get through any lines, and bringing whatever documents they require to issue ID, such as two current legitimate photo IDs. That isn't a problem, is it?

I won't run through a list of 50 states (nor additional territories), but in Colorado the requirements are:

Bring two forms of ID from Colorado's acceptable document list to a driver license office. The state is looking for proof of age, lawful presence, and proof of name. You will also need to supply your Social Security number, although this does not have to be listed on the final document.

The fee is $4.10. If you are more than 60 years old, the card is free of charge.

ID cards issued to those under 21 years of age expire on the holder's 21st birthday. Otherwise, all cards are valid for five years.

The document list (and I'm fascinated that the state agency page flashed an advertisement, asking if I wanted to see links to auto insurers, when I clicked the link) is... probably too complicated and lengthy to quote. But, basically, if you don't already have two good photo IDs, like a passport and another state's ID, you can use a birth certificate (authentic, not a copy, only), plus your marriage license or passport or military ID, or one of a few other things like that.

Don't have that? Oh, well.

Of course, to get your birth certificate, you may need to show your photo ID....

Probably the easiest combo for most people would be birth certificate and social security card, but it's certainly true that hardly all poor people have these at all times, and that getting them started on getting those pieces of paper can be time-and-effort-consuming, and it's possible that a) other matters may interfere, and that b) other matters, like getting money and food and other immediate necessities, are apt to be a higher priority.

If you mention which state you're in, I'll be happy to provide a link to their DMV page (assuming they have one, which they almost certainly do) with info on requirements to obtain ID, and where to go, if you have trouble googling.

But if it's only for voting, you might want to start with your state's voting ID requirements. On the other hand, good ID is handy for many reasons, and in a situation where a police officer is questioning you for some reason, could mean the difference between spending a night in jail on suspicion or not. But otherwise it's helpful for endless reasons.

Anon: Here's a list with web pages for all the State Secretaries. It's to help people register, but the SoS offices should also have information about what you need to have in order to vote.

Moving right along: One of the things I love about blogging is that I so often find myself learning the kinds of things that make me go: geez, who knew? Example: Geez, you mean there is such an organization as the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators? And they have a web page that has links to all the Registries of Motor Vehicles (along with other stuff)? Who knew?

Which reminds me: I only just realized a few days ago that the DMV has been sending stuff to my old address, despite my having uncharacteristically remembered to switch my registration to the new one, and one of the things that never got forwarded seems to have been my registration renewal. Oops.

An example of another kind of constraint is very vivid in my mind right now for reasons that'll become clear: poor people who are ambulatory but sick. I believe Gary's had bouts of gout. (I pause to check. Yes.) In recent years, so have I, including one right now. Gout is one of many, many, many illnesses that doesn't always destroy your ability to work, if you've got work that doesn't involve constant time on your feet, regularly moving really heavy loads, and so on - you can hold down a lot of fairly menial jobs with it, and also a lot of office jobs. It just keeps you hurting, weak, and tired all the time, and the stress of that leaves your immune system a target of opportunity for anything making the rounds.

A person with gout could quite easily sort of manage to struggle through regular work weeks, with the help of far more cheap pain killers than is safe in the long run and low-budget aids like hot towels in the evenings, at the price of doing as little as possible outside home any other time. For such a person, that extra two- or three-hour trip really is a damnable imposition, but you're unlikely to know about it unless they already know you, because people who don't have much else often take their pride very seriously and would prefer not to admit "I'm not really able to make that trip because of some stupid illness like this."

That kind of constraint on opportunity for travel would apply to someone struggling without good medical care with the flus of this year, allergies, postponed dental problems, arthritis, heart conditions, lung conditions...a very, very, very long list. And that's still really just one reason someone might be marginally employable and yet not really set to go at all out of their way.

Under the current law of my state, I can vote, in that I'm a registered in-state resident citizen who pays taxes and utility bills, and fills out voter-ID cards. I vote in every election and have done since I was eligible, missing only one year's by-election for travel. I do need to get proper ID for many other reasons.

I just wanted to help people understand how it could be that people didn't have "proper ID" and yet wanted to vote.

(To keep the above rant topical I should add that I intend to do the same thing for the other national and smaller-scale races I can vote in. Gotta find out who's seriously advocating either peace or justice.)

Slarti: Where's the evidence that this order was issued? Well, that's another thing that Mr. Palast cannot seem to bother himself with

I'm sorry, Slarti? Are you saying that the ChoicePoint executives who acknowledge that the list was compiled are lying, or that - having spent $4.3M on compiling a list - Katherine Harris just omitted to send it out to the counties as planned? Or - wait! - that the county supervisors who claim to have received the list with orders to remove the names on it from the electoral roll, they're lying? (cite

Oh, why I am bothering? This is a familiar pattern: you assert "there is no evidence" and then it turns out your assertion is based on the presumption that all the witnesses are lying. Or some other, equally improbable suggestion.

And I'm accused of fomenting conspiracy theories? Your theory that nothing illegal happened and all testimony to the contrary is just invented, requires a conspiracy of more-than-XFiles dimensions.

So, how memes like this get started is: someone invests a lot of forehead sweat in cooking up something really juicy-sounding and outrageous, and it gets gobbled up like candy and repeated.

Yeah, silly me: when I heard James Lee, vice-president of ChoicePoint (the company into which DBT merged) telling the BBC in February 2000, that the state of Florida had paid him to create a list of black voters to be purged from the electoral rolls, with a massive number of false positives, I believed him! But you tell me he was just "investing a lot of forehead sweat in cooking up something really juicy-sounding and outrageous" - because, yes, Slarti, this did sound outrageous.... and of course, since you've got the evidence (right?) that this didn't actually happen? No list was created? No list was sent to county supervisors? No county supervisors used the list to purge voters? Everyone who directly testified that this happened is just "investing a lot of forehead sweat in cooking up something really juicy-sounding and outrageous" - and you can prove this to me?

Good. Do it. Show me - for example - how you know for certain that, Etta Rosado, spokeswoman for the Volusia County Department of Elections, was just "cooking up something really juicy-sounding and outrageous" when she said:

the county essentially accepted the file at face value, did nothing to confirm the accuracy of it and doesn't inform citizens ahead of time that they have been dropped from the voter rolls.

"When we get the con felon list, we automatically start going through our rolls on the computer. If there's a name that says John Smith was convicted of a felony, then we enter a notation on our computer that says convicted felon -- we mark an "f" for felon -- and the date that we received it," Rosado said. "They're still on our computer, but they're on purge status," meaning they have been marked ineligible to vote.

"I don't think that it's up to us to tell them they're a convicted felon," Rosado said. "If he's on our rolls, we make a notation on there. If they show up at a polling place, we'll say, 'Wait a minute, you're a convicted felon, you can't vote. Nine out of 10 times when we repeat that to the person, they say 'Thank you' and walk away. They don't put up arguments." Rosado doesn't know how many people in Volusia were dropped from the list as a result of being identified as felons.


Are you saying that the ChoicePoint e

You know, I'm just going to stop reading right there, because all evidence points to that you didn't read what I wrote at all. The existence of the felon list has never been in question. It's required by statute, in fact. The whole purging-felons-from-the-rolls bit is required by statute, if you'd bothered to look.

And, news flash, neither Kathleen Harris nor Jeb Bush nor even any of the various election supervisors have anything at all to do with what's in Florida Statute, except possibly that Jeb Bush might have actually signed that one into law. Probably not, though: Jeb was sworn in early in 1999; the law was passed in 1998.

it turns out your assertion is based on the presumption that all the witnesses are lying

Which witnesses might those be?

Your theory that nothing illegal happened

This is more of the usual making-shit-up kind of thing than characterization of what I actually said. But why should I expect that to change?

the county essentially accepted the file at face value, did nothing to confirm the accuracy of it and doesn't inform citizens ahead of time that they have been dropped from the voter rolls.

I didn't see the word "ordered" in there anywhere, but we'll let that slide for the nonce. In other words, though, they violated Florida Statute 98.0975(4), which states:

Upon receiving the list from the division, the supervisor must attempt to verify the information provided. If the supervisor does not determine that the information provided by the division is incorrect, the supervisor must remove from the registration books by the next subsequent election the name of any person who is deceased, convicted of a felony, or adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting.

Seems pretty straightforward to me. Further perusal of that section of code reveals where state law requires the felon list:

98.075(1) By August 15, 1998, the division shall provide to each county supervisor of elections a list containing the name, address, date of birth, race, gender, and any other available information identifying the voter of each person included in the central voter file as a registered voter in the supervisor's county who:

(a) Is deceased;

(b) Has been convicted of a felony and has not had his or her civil rights restored; or

(c) Has been adjudicated mentally incompetent and whose mental capacity with respect to voting has not been restored.

(2) The division shall annually update the information required in subsection (1) and forward a like list to each supervisor by June 1 of each year.

(3)(a) In order to meet its obligations under this section, the division shall annually contract with a private entity to compare information in the central voter file with available information in other computer databases, including, without limitation, databases containing reliable criminal records and records of deceased persons.

Nowhere am I championing the cause of the felon list, nor am I saying it doesn't exist. It is, though, and to pretend that it's NOT required by law is to indulge in fantasy.

So far you've addressed exactly zero of my points, although you've done an admirable job of addressing points of mine that you made up.

if you'd bothered to look

Which, it almost goes without saying, you didn't. Not unexpected, though.

Which witnesses might those be?

The witnesses who testify that Jeb Bush/Katherine Harris purged the Florida electoral rolls of black voters. Which you were, earlier, asserting didn't happen.

However, since you've admitted you know:

Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush's protege, paid ChoicePoint/DBT to compile a list of black voters who were mostly not felons, and Harris knew this because she had been warned by DBT that such would be the case;

Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush's protege, sent out these lists of supposed ex-felons to county supervisors, without any warning that the lists would be 90% incorrect;

The county supervisors were required (as you yourself noted) to remove from the registration books by the next subsequent election unless they could themselves determine that the information was incorrect;

And all of this can be verified by witnesses from beginning to end, as you'd know if you ever bothered to dig into it (or even follow the link I provided in my previous comment).

I gather right now you're standing on the shaky grounds that when the Secretary of State of Florida sends lists of voters to be purged from the electoral rolls to the county supervisors, and the law requires the county supervisors to remove those names from the rolls unless the county supervisors can show that the lists are incorrect, this shouldn't be described as the the Secretary of State of Florida ordering the county supervisors to remove those names from the electoral rolls.

Which you were, earlier, asserting didn't happen.

Again, this is a complete lie. I never asserted anything of the kind.

Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush's protege, paid ChoicePoint/DBT

Can we assume that I'm at least as familiar with the facts in this regard as you are? None of this is new, and it'd save you hundreds of valuable keystrokes in the long run. Maybe thousands.

And all of this can be verified by witnesses from beginning to end

Who were these witnesses, again? The one you named doesn't seem to say what you think she says.

I gather right now you're standing on the shaky grounds that when the Secretary of State of Florida sends lists of voters to be purged from the electoral rolls to the county supervisors, and the law requires the county supervisors to remove those names from the rolls unless the county supervisors can show that the lists are incorrect, this shouldn't be described as the the Secretary of State of Florida ordering the county supervisors to remove those names from the electoral rolls.

Shaky? If you consider the citing of what the statute clearly requires as shaky evidence, I don't think we're speaking the same language.

Well, now that we're relitigating the Florida election:

Jesurgislac would be enlightened to know:

1. Some of the most populous counties in Florida didn't even use the felon purge list, not even as to actual felons. As the US Commission on Civil Rights admitted, "Former Broward County Supervisor of Elections Jane Carroll testified that she also found the felon exclusion list to be inaccurate. As a result, Ms. Carroll chose not to use the felon exclusion list provided to her office. . . . Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore also decided not to use the felon exclusion list provided by DBT Online."

2. The claim that the lists were "90% inaccurate" is complete baloney, made up in the feverish imagination of Greg Palast. As Abigail Thernstrom pointed out:

The Commission [on Civil Rights] heard from DBT that approximately 3,000 to 4,000 non-felons (out of approximately 174,000 names) were mistakenly listed on this so-called “purge” list provided to the state. The list identified 74,900 potentially dead voters, 57,770 potential felons, and 40,472 potential duplicate registrations. Under Florida law, the supervisors of elections were required to verify the ineligible-voter list by contacting the allegedly ineligible voters. Some supervisors believe the list to be unreliable, and did not use it to remove a single voter. It is regrettable that the Commission made no effort to determine how many of the 67 supervisors of elections did or did not use the list. According to recent studies, the total number of wrongly-purged alleged felons was 1,104, including 996 convicted of crimes in other states and 108 who were not felons at all.

3. Abigail Thernstrom also points out:

Most notably, the Commission did not hear from a single witness who was prevented from voting as a result of being erroneously identified as a felon. One witness did testify that he was erroneously removed from the voter list because he had been mistaken for another individual on the felon list whose name and birth date were practically identical to his. However, he was able to convince precinct officials that there had been a clerical error, and he was allowed to vote.

4. Finally, if you're so excited about what supposedly happened to felons in Florida, you should consider the whole picture:

In pursuing its attack on the purge list, the Commission completely ignored the bigger story. Approximately 5,600 felons voted illegally in Florida on November 7, approximately 68 percent of whom were registered Democrats. . . . Based on extensive research, the Miami Herald discovered that, “among the felons who cast presidential ballots, there were “62 robbers, 56 drug dealers, 45 killers, 16 rapists, and 7 kidnappers. At least two who voted were pictured on the state’s on-line registry of sexual offenders.” According to the Herald, the biggest problem with the felon list was not that it wrongly prevented eligible voters from voting, but rather that it ended up allowing ineligible voters to cast a ballot:

"Some... claim that many legitimate voters--of all ethnic and racial groups, but particularly blacks--were illegally swept from the rolls through the state’s efforts to ban felons from voting. There is no widespread evidence of that. Instead, the evidence points to just the opposite--that election officials were mostly permissive, not obstructionist, when unregistered voters presented themselves."

So rest easy, Jesurgislac. Even if you take at face value all of the anecdotes floating around out there about actual people who were supposedly unable to vote in Florida in 2000, they're outweighed by the number of convicted rapists who voted illegally. That should be a comfort, I guess.

Who were these witnesses, again?

Well, you're one of them. Unless you change your mind again. You know that Harris paid CBT to produce a list that would be 90% inaccurate. You know that these lists were sent to the county supervisors. You know (you've cited the statute) that the county supervisors were then required to remove those names from the electoral roll unless they could show that the names weren't of ex-felons.

Shaky? If you consider the citing of what the statute clearly requires as shaky evidence, I don't think we're speaking the same language.

No: I consider your claiming that this can't be described as the Secretary of State ordering the county supervisors to remove those names from the electoral rolls to be kind of shaky.

But really, we might just as well summarise this argument (again) as

Jesurgislac: The Florida election thing!
Slartibartfast: No it's not!

since that does seem to be as far as we ever get.

Sorry, my comment above was to Slarti, long-term opponent: John Doe cross-posted, and I'm not going to bother responding to his comment, though he does make me appreciate Slartibartfast's good qualities.

You know, repeating the 90% figure ad nauseam doesn't make it any less of a lie.

Well, you're one of them. Unless you change your mind again.

Change my mind about what? Have you somehow gotten the impression that I've been witness to Kathleen Harris ordering one or more supervisors of election to impliment the felon purge? Because this was what we were talking about: witnesses to Kathleen Harris ordering supervisors of election.

again. You know that Harris paid CBT to produce a list that would be 90% inaccurate.

I know that CBT was contracted to the State of Florida (before Kathleen Harris was SecState), but I didn't know they were paid to corrupt the database almost entirely. This kind of statement would be best accompanied by a cite, in my opinion.

inaccurate. You know that these lists were sent to the county superviso

Yes, as required by law. We've been over this.

supervisors. You know (you've cited the statute) that the county supervisors were then required to remove those names from the electoral roll unless they could show that the names weren't of ex-felons.

No, I know that the supervisors were required by law to remove felons from the voter rolls, after they had ensured the information was correct.

No: I consider your claiming that this can't be described as the Secretary of State ordering the county supervisors to remove those names from the electoral rolls to be kind of shaky.

By responding to your comments, I am ordering you to respond to me in turn.

But really, we might just as well summarise this argument (again) as

Jesurgislac: The Florida election thing!
Slartibartfast: No it's not!

Sure, you might, if you weren't paying attention. But I repeat myself.

"Even if you take at face value all of the anecdotes floating around out there about actual people who were supposedly unable to vote in Florida in 2000, they're outweighed by the number of convicted rapists who voted illegally. That should be a comfort, I guess."

Because I can't resist a tangent, I note that what's cited is "“among the felons who cast presidential ballots, there were '62 robbers, 56 drug dealers, 45 killers, 16 rapists, and 7 kidnappers.'"

Aside from the fact that not all states, or Americans, feel that someone who robbed someone 55 years ago, and who was released 47 years ago, deserves to never vote again, and that not everyone feels that every "drug dealer" who sold an ounce of pot is morally as awful as a murderer, I'm unclear how 16 rapists who have served their time outweigh "all of the anecdotes floating around out there about actual people who were supposedly unable to vote in Florida in 2000" when we take those anecdotes "at face value." Say what?

This isn't to say I agree with Jesurgislac, or her ever-charming approach to disagreements.

"Who were these witnesses, again?

Well, you're one of them. Unless you change your mind again. You know that Harris paid CBT to produce a list that would be 90% inaccurate. You know that these lists were sent to the county supervisors. You know (you've cited the statute) that the county supervisors were then required to remove those names from the electoral roll unless they could show that the names weren't of ex-felons.

It's not clear to me that Jes understands what "witness" means in legal terms. Presumably, by this definition, she is equally a "witness" to what happened in Florida. It's a tad idiosyncratic as usages go, however. And I don't recommend going to court in the U.S. as such a "witness."

Slarti: Sure, you might, if you weren't paying attention. But I repeat myself.

Indeed you do, whenever the various Republican illegalities in Florida are brought up. There is a point at which "not paying attention" at the level required to pretend that the illegal purge of voters didn't happen becomes bad faith, but I am kind of resigned to the fact that (for whatever reason) you just don't want to believe the evidence, and therefore pretend it doesn't exist.

(Only "kind of", I admit. But I do try to think of it as just wryly amusing that in the UK, I was better informed about the electoral theft of Florida than someone who was actually living in Florida.)

I would like to know for which party those felons voted. My bet would be that the rapists voted GOP more likely than not :-(

Interesting. We now have "illegal" defined as "in accordance with the law".

Good times.

But I do try to think of it as just wryly amusing that in the UK, I was better informed about the electoral theft of Florida than someone who was actually living in Florida.

Except for the fact that you're almost completely ignorant of relevant Florida state law, agreed!

Well, perhaps not ignorant. Maybe more inclined to pay heed to the opinions of others in the matter than to the actual law.

But I do try to think of it as just wryly amusing that in the UK, I was better informed about the electoral theft of Florida than someone who was actually living in Florida.

Except for the fact that you're almost completely ignorant of relevant Florida state law, agreed!

Well, perhaps not ignorant. Maybe more inclined to pay heed to the opinions of others in the matter than to the actual law.

Slarti, you cited the relevant statute that proved my point - when Katherine Harris sent county supervisors lists of voters to be purged that she knew from CBT were largely incorrect, the statute required the county supervisors to purge the names unless the county supervisors could show that the names were not those of ex-felons. Yet you asserted that this could not be described as Harris ordering the county supervisors to purge the names.

If it is considered perfectly legal for the Secretary of State for Florida to provide information she knows to be false to country supervisors, you will have to provide a cite to the legislation that says so.

If you want to argue that Katherine Harris had no notion she was providing the county supervisors with lists to be purged full of people who were perfectly entitled to vote in Florida, but who were demographically likely to vote Democratic, well, you can try to believe that. But at that point, I think we're well into the bad faith zone.

... Sigh ...

Yet you asserted that this could not be described as Harris ordering the county supervisors to purge the names.

Sure. Because the ordering part? That part still seems to be missing.

If it is considered perfectly legal for the Secretary of State for Florida to provide information she knows to be false to country supervisors, you will have to provide a cite to the legislation that says so.

The law requires a list. Unfortunately, the law does not require the list to be correct, nor does it say anything about error rates. Again, it's certainly arguable to call it bad law.

I'm not sure why you continue to cite Palast to me; the guy knows nada about the law, or behaves as if he does.

Hilzoy: ... Sigh ...

Fair enough. Walking slowly away...

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