Maryland Legislator Caught

Hmmm:

A Maryland Democratic candidate quit her congressional race Monday after her own party told state officials that she had committed fraud by voting in both Maryland and Florida in recent elections.

Wendy Rosen, a small-business owner running against freshman Rep. Andy Harris (R) in the Eastern Shore-based 1st Congressional District, released a statement saying that “with great regret, and much sorrow” she was resigning from the contest.

I post this to make a point. Voter ID laws have been proposed and passed around the country with much controversy. Democrats are decrying them as a vote-surpression measure; Republicans are praising them for rooting out fraud. Some of them have problems: here in Pennsylvania, there are people who are three or fours four hours away from the nearest place they can get an ID. In general, I don’t think voter fraud is ridiculously common. I think it happens, but the idea that millions of fraudulent votes are cast each year and entire elections are being swung by this (outside of the odd Minnesota senate race) crosses me as a bit silly. But I don’t really see the objection to voter ID requirements, as long as getting the IDs is convenient and free. Really, what’s the harm? Why shouldn’t there be an ID requirement?

But … Democrats have been insisting that, rather than voter fraud being a small problem, that it is a non-existent problem. They cite the low number of prosecutions and convictions for voter fraud as proof.

But the tale of Wendy Rosen shows the flaw in this argument: voter fraud is not identified and prosecuted very much because there is no ID requirement. It is not prosecuted because there is no national system to prevent people from being registered in multiple states (as, indeed, the college Democrats at my school encouraged students to do before the administration told them to knock it off). We don’t really know the size of the problem because we have been prohibited from even considering it.

Voter ID probably would not have stopped Rosen, since she had a valid ID. This came from an anonymous tip within the campaign (methinks she was boasting about it). The elephant in the room here is that really cracking down on voter fraud is going to require a national ID card and a national voter database. Republicans and even many Democrats are opposed (as am I).

But let’s not pretend this problem does not exist. And let’s not pretend it can’t make a difference in a very close election like Franken v. Coleman or Gregoire v. Rossi. Because it’s obvious that it can. And it’s even more obvious to me that the Democrats know it.

Update: Not minutes after I posted this, I was sent this year-old article, alleging that the 2004 election was stolen. An election that Bush won by three million votes and in a state that Bush won by 100,000 votes.

So, to sum up: Republicans worried that a lack of ID will lead to voter fraud is hysterical dementia; Democrats with conspiracy theories about electronic voting is reasonable skepticism.

Gotchya.

Comments are closed.

  1. ilovecress

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  2. ilovecress

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  3. Mississippi Yankee

    Is there something in the water in New Zealand that compels the residents there to tell American how to conduct American elections?

    ilovecress, are you as opinionated about GB’s elections too? How did you weigh-in on the Putin election controversy?

    And Hal

    here in Pennsylvania, there are people who are three or fours away from the nearest place they can get an ID.

    Three or fours WHAT?
    Minutes?
    Hours?
    Feet?
    Miles?
    Droppings of male cows?

    Poor people can not cash a welfare check, open a bank account to have it sent there or use an EBT card WITHOUT A GODDAM ID CARD!
    So can we all just stop out and out lying about this subject.

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  4. ilovecress

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  5. Seattle Outcast

    In the last couple of elections, many members of the local news media confessed to voting twice – once where they lived, and then again where they worked. Nothing happened to them, except people registered to vote at downtown Seattle business addresses were supposedly purged from the rolls.

    I think it would have been funny as all hell and extremely appropriate to see several columnists end up in jail, which is were they belonged.

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  6. Seattle Outcast

    Put it this way. I reckon I could come up with some anecdotal evidence that gun owners were scaring people from voting. I mean there’s no real evidence of it, but it sounds like something that could happen, couldn’t it.

    You’re in luck! We have armed Black Panther members on video scaring away white people from the polls just four years ago! Here in America we don’t need “anecdotal evidence” of voter intimidation, just a compliant attorney general that wont prosecute black people.

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  7. Hal_10000 *

    Three or fours WHAT?

    Doh! Should be three or four hours. I’ll fix it. Three or four hours each way, requiring at least a weekday’s commitment, a working day many people can’t afford to give up.

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  8. Hal_10000 *

    cress, I think you make a valid point (you made the same point to me on Twitter). I realize there is no voter ID requirement in the UK. But other countries (Canada, for example) have them. But there is some evidence that voter fraud is a problem beyond the “studies” that only look at convictions. I’m not sure if you know about the Miami election that preceded the entire Bush v. Gore fiasco. It turned out the voter roles in Miami were stuffed with dead people, people who’d moved, convicted felons, some of whom had voted. There was also Bob Dornan’s loss, where the INS found 700 illegal aliens had voted (although not enough to throw the election).

    I think that ID law are acceptable IF they are implemented with lots of warning and IF you make it easy and free to get an ID. Hell, I would suggest the Republicans volunteer to get people IDs just to show this isn’t about voter surpression; to show they have no objection to anyone voting who should.

    I think the GOP is running down a corridor that ends in one place: national voting standards and a national ID card. I hate to see it end that way. But if they are really honest about cleaning up elections, that’s where it’s going to have to end up.

    (One last thing: I don’t have any problems with you foreign devils commenting on our elections. :) I have no compunction, after all, on commenting on your politics. And I appreciate that the US election affects everyone.)

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  9. Argive

    But the tale of Wendy Rosen shows the flaw in this argument: voter fraud is not identified and prosecuted very much because there is no ID requirement. It is not prosecuted because there is no national system to prevent people from being registered in multiple states (as, indeed, the college Democrats at my school encouraged students to do before the administration told them to knock it off). We don’t really know the size of the problem because we have been prohibited from even considering it.

    This is a fair point, but I’ll point out that during the recent PA voter ID law case, the state signed a stipulation agreement stating that they had no knowledge of any voter ID fraud in PA and that they would not offer any evidence that in person voter fraud was likely to occur on Nov. 6 in the absence of a voter ID law.

    The elephant in the room here is that really cracking down on voter fraud is going to require a national ID card and a national voter database. Republicans and even many Democrats are opposed (as am I).

    Yes, the Real ID Act was a monumentally stupid piece of legislation.

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  10. mrblume

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  11. repmom

    I down-voted him, wanker. (down-voted your post too, FYI)

    So did I.

    And then you’re offended if people have an opinion? Well, fucking deal with it.

    We did. The American way. We expressed our opinion of his – and your – comments with down-votes.

    Deal with it.

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  12. Tool

    We don’t know the size if the problem – but we should change the way elections are run, just in case. We also don’t know for sure the size of the ‘some ballots are being eaten by space unicorns’ problem, so maybe we should tackle that too?

    Voter fraud occurs across the globe regularly. You are absolutely delusional to think that Americans are in some way above normal human behaviors and problems.

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  13. ilovecress

    I don’t want to get into anything (especially not today) but out of interest – why did you downvote me Repmom?

    When I got up this morning to check, it wasn’t my first two posts that were hidden, it was my one explaining why I’m so interested in US politics, and why I post here.

    I’ve had a (fairly) good relationship with people here for nearly ten year (this is my first hidden comment!) so I’d be keen to know what it was that made you downvote me? Re-reading it, maybe it came across as a little but dismissive?

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  14. repmom

    ilovecress –

    I will admit – I gave you a thumbs down on your first comment partly because of the same reason stated by MY.

    But – also because it seemed you were making statements – and criticisms – on a subject that you did not seem to really know the facts.

    You stated that a big deal was being made of a single incident. As Hal and Tool have both explained, voter fraud is an issue in our country, an issue that comes up every election. Maybe not a huge issue, but an issue, nonetheless.

    As MY states – everyone has an ID of some sort, so this isn’t really a problem. You mention the young, the poor, etc.

    The young? Voting age is 18. Most have a driver’s license at age 16, if not earlier. In Texas, I believe you can get a hardship license (which is sometimes needed for the “poor”) at age 14.

    Providing a proper ID in order to vote – just isn’t that big of a problem, imo.

    And I gave mrblume (I have no idea who she/he is, btw) a thumbs down because I didn’t think a lecture was warranted. Especially today.

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  15. repmom

    Why cant we do what they did in Iraq? Indelible purple dye… why not?

    Sounds good, but how long does it last? It’s not like we have only one day to vote. When does “early voting” start?

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  16. Hal_10000 *

    Why cant we do what they did in Iraq? Indelible purple dye… why not?

    Absentee voting is why. Our soldiers need to vote overseas, people need to vote when they travel and early voting can be up to 30 days in advance.

    It’s not a bad idea and I think we should do it., but it is limited in how well it would work.

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  17. Biggie G

    there are people who are three or fours four hours away from the nearest place they can get an ID.

    Hal, where did you get this info? I know that you live in PA, but I am right over the bridge in NJ. In three hours I can get to Scranton going north or past Gettysburg going west. That is a lot of territory to cover. I don’t know where you can get the required IDs to vote, but the only way your claim seems possible is if you can only get them in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh and people from the center of the state need to travel.

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  18. Mississippi Yankee

    Doh! Should be three or four hours. I’ll fix it. Three or four hours each way, requiring at least a weekday’s commitment, a working day many people can’t afford to give up.

    Thanks for clarifying that. Now for my bolded part. Does this represent like 17 Amish or Mennonite voters? Yanno, on horse and buggy. Or is this some straw-man figure you just happened to pull out of your backside?
    Please keep in mind the average automobile will travel approx. 200 mile (@50mph) in 4 hours. Exactly where do these people live and exactly what type of ID is required in Pennsylvania Hal?

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  19. richtaylor365

    Cress, voter ID laws are necessary because the system must be free from corruption, insuring one person/one vote preserves the integrity of the ballot box. The right (and duty) to vote is the cornerstone of democracy, the right to choose those that will represent and have power over you. It’s bad enough that stupid people are allowed to vote, but to think that those same stupid people are voting more then once, intolerable.
    The ,”We really don’t know how prevalent the problem really is “ is just lame. Like the corner liquor store owner, he catches the occasional shoplifter, but really, does he have any idea how prevalent the problem really is since most offenders are not caught?

    Getting an approved ID is beyond easy:

    Get on an airplane
    Get something notarized
    Open a bank account
    Register for college
    Drive
    Apply for Food Stamps
    Apply for Medicaid
    Apply for Unemployment
    Cash a check
    Get a mortgage
    Get married
    Get a job
    Apply for Welfare

    My son got his first photo ID (free) in middle school, and gets a new one every year.

    And don’t you think it hilarious that with all the caterwauling about this issue over at the DNC, to think that they required photo ID to enter their convention and participate, what a bunch of racists.

    Your third comment did not see unreasonable or out of line to me, but I would not get worked up over downdings here, I’ve had my share and those were from people supposedly on my side.

    As you said, this a blog open to anyone, foreigners are welcome as are their opinions. I have spouted off (both good and bad) concerning the Brits and how they run their little island, free speech and all that.

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  20. ilovecress

    Thanks for your reply RepMom.

    I understand that voter fraud is an issue in the narrative – my argument is that in-person voter fraud isn’t actually that common. The risk/reward is far too great to make it worth it and when sampled, then it happens at a rate of 0.0009% – far too small to affect an election.

    As for the fact that everyone has an ID of some sort – again, this source says it could be as many as 10% of Americans (these are from the Brennan institute – which looks legit, but is used on MSNBC a lot, so maybe a pinch of salt needed?)

    As for your drivers licence point – you only get a drivers licence if you own a car (my point about the poor and the urban). From the Brennan institute (again, salt pinching may be needed) a survey in Wisconsin found that only 3% of Students had the legit drivers licences, and only 22% of young black men did.

    Or maybe put it this way – you’re trusting the DMV to handle all this stuff without a hitch – because you all know that if one single unwed latino lesbian student ‘psychic’ lecturer in Womyns Studies doesn’t get to vote because she and her organic wheat dress had to wait in line for 20 minutes – you guys will never hear the end of it.

    I heard an interesting idea in the UK a couple of years back – it proposed a tax rebate in return for your vote (opr to be honest what amounts to taxing non voters). It ties voter ID to tax records to help out on fraud, and because it would be a flat tax rate, then it would incentivise across the spectrum of wage earners. It also promotes the pay tax=get a say narrative.

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