Saturday, June 02, 2007

Voter Fraud comes in many forms

Allegations of voter fraud against associates of Michael McGee, Jr., have brought the following reactions from the Democrat side of the blogosphere. This, they say, is voter fraud and would not have been prevented by voter id.
Because we don't have many people convicted of fraud that voter id would have prevented, there is no need for it.

There are two problems with this. First, the relatively few "identification" related convictions may just as readily be a function of the fact that we don't require identification - not at all to vote and not much to register. We allow organizations that are functionally partisan to register to voters.

During the 2004 election, I was a poll watcher at the Washington Park Library polling place. The woman running the place was a consummate professional and there was, at one point, eight lawyers on site.

You could have waltzed in there and voted in the name of someone else or someone dead and we would have had no chance of catching you.

If a number of people did this, what might show up later would be anomalies in the number of votes or the addresses of voters. These might be clerical errors or there might be evidence of fraud. It may or may not be possible to tell which.

Second, the notion that identification-related fraud "doesn't happen" requires one to believe either that no one cares enough about the results of election to try or, unlike every other area of human endeavor, we all manage to become saints when making some of the most important choices a community must make.

My guess is that there isn't widespread identification fraud because someone would talk, but that's about the only way to catch it. Still, we normally don't accept the absence of confession as equivalent to the absence of crime, see. e.g., racial discrimination which also has a low rate of confession and "capture."

Opposing voter ID seems to be a choice to accept the potential (and, to some degree, the reality) of fraud because you don't think it's "fair" to require someone who wants to vote to go to the trouble of getting identification or, more accurately, because you know that many of the people whose votes you want won't think it's worth the effort.


Anonymous said...


The available studies (so far) make it pretty clear that "Voter ID" will deter more legit votes that it will prevent illegit ones.

Shouldn't this kill the proposal dead?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:05 -

Our inability to detect Voter ID related crime (because we don't require one) makes your studies completely unreliable and, therefore, your argument without merit.

There is simply no way to know what the relationship between ID violations this so-called "deterrent."

I see no reason why a photo ID requirement, applied correctly, would deter any legitimate voter from going to the ballot box.

Anonymous said...

Why would it deter any legit voters?
You don't fill out the ballot in front of the poll workers. If you are legit, they already have your name and address.

Anonymous said...

Well, instead of just making this stuff up, maybe we oughta look at the detailed analysis people have already done where VID has been imposed.

It is absolute fact that it reduces legit voter turnout. Maybe it shouldn't be that way, maybe it wouldn't deter you - but there is no question that it depresses turnout.

And, no serious person would begin to suggest that the 5%-10% reduction in turn out is offset by 5-10% of votes currently being fraud.

Anonymous said...

Assuming voter id has been shown to deter some legitimate voters, that cost needs to be weighed against the benefit of also deterring illegimate, fraudulent voters. Two additional points argue in favor of enacting a voter id statute in Wisconsin: (1) It would also have the more general, salutary effect of maintaining the credibility of our election system (e.g., it's harder to claim that the election was stolen by fraud) and (2) if a person doesn't care enough about who governs them to make the minimal effort required to obtain an id, that's their choice.

Dad29 said...

What, Anon 11:05, et al, is so all-fired important about really, really, really BIG turnout?

Turnout in Iraq (pre-the war) was very high. Same-o in the good ol' USSR.

High turnout is a goo-goo goal with absolutely ZERO proven beneficial results.

Anonymous said...

I'm skeptical that the ratio of legitimate versus illegitimate voters deterred by an id requirement can be calculated with much reliability.

rich said...

Tell it to Steven Biskupic.

Your abstract theorizing about how hard it is to disprove fraud when it may well not exist pretty much undermines itself.

More important, we've got US Attorneys bringing fraudulent charges in swing states and critical voting precincts across the country. Or, ordered to do so.

Many of these fraudulent charges have to to do with false claims of voter fraud. Some US Attorneys have been fired--for refusing to illegally politicize their position or bring such false charges. Who knows how many more have kept their jobs by yielding--

Yet I don't see you, Mr. Eisenberg, taking a bold, principled stand to uphold the law on this point.

I don't see you holding Republican feet to the fire to root out the overt corruption and outright illegality (clearly impeachable if anything ever was in the past 230+ years)-- that has so damaged this country.

But then, there you sit: watching the polls at the Washington Park Library--instead of in Mequon. If you cared about the rule of law, or were truly civic-minded, wouldn't you be checking those polling places?

That kind of rank hypocrisy really says it all. Law enforcement, to you, is really for other people.

That's what exposes your "concern" as self-interested rather than civic-minded or, heaven forbid, driven by adherence or believe in the rule of law and associated basic principles.

If you believed in those, you'd be screeching to clean up the Republican Party and leading the charge for Rove's resignation.

But voter fraud? It's a bad joke, and as politically viable issue it's headed for the elephant graveyard along with gop electoral chances. Average citizens see through this hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

If you want voter ID to pass, just have the Republicans start double and triple voting ;)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:40: Look at the turnout rate in Waukesha and see if you don't think something funny is happening out there in conservative country.

It's higher than in Iraq or in the old Soviet Union! (Of course, maybe it helped that they had enough machines there, unlike in many areas of Milwaukee.)

Anonymous said...

If there was a shred of evidence of voting fraud in GOP counties like Waukesha or Ozaukee, the Democrats would be all over it. The fact that they're not shows that no reasonable person suspects that there is fraud in those counties. At the same time, there is much more than a shred of evidence of voting fraud in the City of Milwaukee (as well as sheer incompetence in the City Election Commission that makes such fraud easier) since people started paying close attention to this after Bush-Gore in 2000.

Anonymous said...

It should be pretty obvious to one and all that there is little to no voter fraud. We need look no further than the third-tier law school professor's comments to prove it.

Seems that Third-Tier Rick got in his Lexus and spent the day in the central city with seven other Republican lawyers closely watching everyone who walked in the door.

This scene was repeated all across the City of Milwaukee, particularly at those polling places where those damn Democrats show out in the highest percentages.

What did we get when the election was over? Even Steve Biskupic admitted that there was virtually no fraud.

The comment posted by Daddy-Zero is also highly illuminating:

"What ... is so all-fired important about really, really, really BIG turnout? ... High turnout is a goo-goo goal with absolutely ZERO proven beneficial results."

You're right -- EXTREME right, Daddy-Zero -- what's the value in getting as many electors to the polls as possible? We only want the wingnuts and others of their ilk to put in an appearance on election day!

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:52

Maybe the GOPers had solid rubber tires on their vans.

Anonymous said...

Waukesha County clerk Kathy Nickolaus reported a 97.6 percent turnout of voters in the November 2004 election.

That's according to GM Today, but the report was picked up nationwide.

And that no one questioned it . . . well, that's inexplicable to me. Since there isn't really a Democratic Party there, I guess it would have been the task of the DA there to question it . . . oh, well, I guess now I've got the explanation.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:28

Well, looks like we need voter ID then.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:39, you may have something there -- after an investigation, of course. If it turns out that voter fraud occurs in law-and-order suburbs as well as inner cities, that would be the missing indicator of widespread problems that probably would win the law.

So get Biskupic on it, to get an investigation.

Rick Esenberg said...

Rich - Don't change the subject and I wasn't freelancing. I went to the Washington Park Library because that's where my (pro bono)client asked me to go.

8:08 - Nice job of combining elitism (the tired old jabs at Marquette) and class envy (the Lexus you imagine I drive) in one post. But that kind of hostility against someone that you don't know is unbecoming. You are wrong about MULS and I drive a Mini Cooper.

You are even wrong about the composition of lawyers that day. Two were from the GOP, one was an ADA, two were Democrats and three were from Democratic Party front groups like America Coming Together.

What else did you want to say?

Rick Esenberg said...

11:05 AM

The available studies (so far) make it pretty clear that "Voter ID" will deter more legit votes that it will prevent illegit ones.

Shouldn't this kill the proposal dead?

That's a legitimate question. I am skeptical that it is possible to know how much voting is deterred or how much fraud is prevented.

In fact, what does it mean to say that votes are "deterred"? Any voter ID law that I would support would have to provide free ID and some outreach. If that is done, then what does it mean to say that someone has not voted because they lack ID?

If it means that someone has not voted because he or she can't be bothered to obtain ID, then have we really deterred voting in any way that we ought to be concerned about? Dad29 raises an interesting question. Is high turnout good in and of itself? If you won't make the effort to obtain ID to vote, will you make the effort to inform yourself about who you are voting for? And, if you won't, should the rest of us care if you stay home?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:08 pm

Have you ever tried anger management classes? Consider it.

Anonymous said...

It's now VERY clear that Voter Fraud is code for Voter Suppresion on the part of the Republican Party "faithful." In 2000 and 2004 the caging lists and "poll monitors" hurt democrats all over the country.

...but we should be talking about paper trails on voting machines. Why aren't we talking about that?