William Shira | Horrifyingly Hilarious
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 01:10
There have been dozens of recorded cases of voter fraud in the United States over the past decades. Therefore, the elected representatives of battleground states like Florida and Pennsylvania have taken it upon themselves to pass legislation in order to protect the integrity of our republic. Or, as House Majority Leader Mike Turzai of Pennsylvania said, the legislation “is going to allow Governor Romney to win Pennsylvania.” And therein lays the true voter fraud.
This fraud is quite different. It has a simple goal: to ensure the electorate has as little voice as possible in the vote. The tradition in the United States goes back to the early 19th century and one of our original political cartoons. Gerrymandering redraws voting districts to change the balance of power in Congress without actually changing any opinions. A surprisingly effective strategy was addressed by the 1965 Voter Rights Act, though in 2004 the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights still had the audacity to criticize our electoral system and voice concerns that congressional elections may not be completely competitive.
This is not the only type of institutional fraud, nor is it particular to one party or another. Dead people voted for Kennedy in 1960 Chicago under Mayor Daley. Some of our Southern states have a not-so-proud history of Jim Crow laws and grandfather clauses under democratic regimes to prevent minority votes. But this 2012 campaign season has produced two new types of voter fraud: excessively stringent voter ID laws and falsification of voter registration.
Strategic Allied Consulting was hired by the Republican National Committee to run its voter registration drives in swing states like Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada and Virginia. It was founded in June of 2012 to gather Republican support and register voters. They have now been fired. A few problems arose, like a video of a woman in Colorado refusing to register anyone but Romney voters, and a criminal case in Florida involving hundreds of cases of altering documents after they were filled out, which has grown to include eleven counties. According to Nathan Sproul, advisor to the Republican Party and director of Strategic Allied Consulting, this was the doing of one individual. Then a few individuals. Then the volcano erupted. The Republican Party has sought to distance itself as far as possible from Mr. Sproul. The Romney campaign refused to even recognize him by name and simply referred to one of his advisors as a “vendor.”
GOP Governor Rick Scott of Florida, former co-owner of the Texas Rangers with President Dubya and crusader against voter fraud, has passed intense voter registration laws, including the time limit for a registration firm to turn in forms in order to prevent politicized voter registration groups from altering the democratic process. He has been strikingly silent, as has Fox News. Strange. Fox had no problem reporting on a manufactured story about ACORN tilting the scales for Obama in the 2008 election with no actual evidence. When faced with reality, though, the pundits on the number one cable news network in America appear stunned.
I have a few $5 bets going around that neither candidate will personally touch this issue with a ten-foot pole in the debates today. Speaking of which, in most polls, President Obama has a slight edge entering into the debate. According to Congressman Paul Ryan, this advantage comes from the media. This bias may be due to the fact that the President doesn’t reply to questions with, “Well, I don’t have the time. It would take me too long to go through all of the math.”
William Shira is a senior majoring in peace and justice studies. He can be reached at William.Shira@tufts.edu.