Headline envy: ‘The GOP Sees Dead People’
A couple weeks ago, Curt Guyette‘s News Hits column took aim at the widely discussed and totally bogus crisis of voter fraud â€” and the less-discussed but all too real crisis of looming voter suppression. â€śMess of suppression: Why voter ID laws are solutions to a problem that doesnâ€™t existâ€ť was our headline.â€ť
Today the online journal Slate weighs in on the same side with a headline that makes us a little envious: â€śThe GOP Sees Dead People â€” Voting: Why Republican plans to fight voter fraud are based on nightmares, tall tales, and paranoid fears.â€ť Good one.
Guyette’s piece details the chilling history of the voter suppression movement, and both pieces cite the lack of evidence that thereâ€™s significant fraud to prevent. Actually, it’s more than a lack of evidence. Where there is evidence, it’s that the problem is minuscule â€” 0.0002 percent in one Wisconsin state election studied.
But in addition to the sharp headline, weâ€™ll recommend Slate as a second read for a riff on the sheer illogic of the voter-fraud Chicken Littles.
Slateâ€™s Scott Keyes cites videos by right-wing sting auteur James Oâ€™Keefe showing his actors misrepresenting themselves and being handed ballots. So if itâ€™s that easy to game the system, strong preventative ID requirements need to be immediately put in place. Right? Think again, Keyes argues:
Regardless of how â€śeasyâ€ť it may be to trick an unsuspecting poll worker, it rarely happens. And there is a simple explanation why: Voter fraud is a felony that carries a federal sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If I show up at the polls and pretend to be Michael McDonald, at best, I gain a single vote for my preferred candidate; at worst, I get sent to prison until 2017. Stealing an entire election one vote a time (and risking significant penalties for doing it) defies common sense.
That the dozens of state bills around the nation to restrict voting â€” including Michigan’s Senate Bills 751 and 754 â€” defy common decency as well should be obvious.