Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: January 4, 2012

Busting the “myth” of "no voter fraud"

One of the primary requirements for any democracy is to safeguard the integrity of its voting system.  If the people believe that it is subject to compromised in any way, shape or form, they’re likely to lose confidence in the system.  And that will eventually erode the legitimacy of any government that is formed under such a system.

One way to help insure that integrity is to make voters identify themselves before they can cast their ballot with a form of identification that everyone agrees upon and does the job of validating their identity.  Most agree that a picture ID issued by the state or federal government fulfills that role.  That’s because the such IDs usually aren’t issued until the entity issuing it can certify that the individual it is issuing it too is both a citizen and legal resident of the area.

Critics of such attempts at ensuring the integrity of the system have always claimed that A) voter fraud was a myth and B) such voter ID requirement place an undue burden on minorities.  Interestingly, the critics usually come from the party to which minority votes mean the most.

The Heritage Foundation today produced a nice little fact filled primer on why “A” above is not a myth and why “B” is, in fact, the real myth.

First “A”:

The fraud denialists also must have missed the recent news coverage of the double voters in North Carolina and the fraudster in Tunica County, Miss. — a member of the NAACP’s local executive committee — who was sentenced in April to five years in prison for voting in the names of ten voters, including four who were deceased.

And the story of the former deputy chief of staff for Washington mayor Vincent Gray, who was forced to resign after news broke that she had voted illegally in the District of Columbia even though she was a Maryland resident. Perhaps they would like a copy of an order from a federal immigration court in Florida on a Cuban immigrant who came to the U.S. in April 2004 and promptly registered and voted in the November election.

There is no question that voter fraud has and does exist.  None.  And the Mississippi example is exactly what can happen when no requirement for identification is demanded at the poll.  You simply go from polling place to polling place with a new name and request a ballot under that name (voter lists are pretty easy to come by, figuring out who is still on the list but dead doesn’t require a rocket scientist, etc.).  Even the Supreme Court members point to it not as a myth but as a fact:

Stevens wrote in a 6-3 majority opinion upholding an Indiana voter ID law: "That flagrant examples of [voter] fraud…have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists…demonstrate[s] that not only is the risk of voter fraud real but that it could affect the outcome of a close election."

John Paul Stevens would hardly be described as a conservative justice, yet he knew that voter fraud is and always has been a problem and voter IDs are a reasonable solution.  So that “myth” seems to be adequately put to death.

How about “B”?  Does such a requirement place an “undue burden” on minorities?  Does it place an undue burden on anyone?

Not really:

[T]he number of people who don’t already have a photo ID is incredibly small. An American University survey in Maryland, Indiana, and Mississippi found that less than one-half of 1 percent of registered voters lacked a government-issued ID, and a 2006 survey of more than 36,000 voters found that only "23 people in the entire sample–less than one-tenth of one percent of reported voters" were unable to vote because of an ID requirement. What about those who don’t have photo IDs? Von Spakovsky notes that "every state that has passed a voter ID law has also ensured that the very small percentage of individuals who do not have a photo ID can easily obtain one for free if they cannot afford one."

If 99.5% of the voting population already has, in its possession, the required from of identification, then the “undue burden” has no foundation in fact. None. 

A recent Rasmussen poll found that 70% of likely US voters favored such measures to ensure the integrity of the voting system.  Given the facts and figures above, their desire seems reasonable measure to accomplish that goal.  The the two myths of the critics, on the other hand, have no validity or credence.   One can only surmise, given these facts, that anyone who clings to those myths has an ulterior motive that has nothing to do with the system’s integrity.  See DoJ for an example.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Economic Statistics for 4 Jan 12

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Factory orders rose 1.8% in November, mainly on aircraft orders. Ex-transportation, orders rose 0.3%.

A short week and seasonal adjustments aside, the MBA reports that mortgage activity declined, as mortgage applications fell by -3.7%. Purchase applications fell  a steep -9.7%, while re-finance apps dropped by -1.9%.

In weekly retail sales, ICSC-Goldman Store Sales rose a strong 1.2% over the last week, and 5.3% over last year. Likewise, Redbook reports a year-over-year same-store sales increase of 4.9%.

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Dale Franks
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China buys stake in US shale gas field

While we dither and delay about fracking and permits and put a critical bit of energy infrastructure on hold (Keystone XL pipeline), China is aggressively pursuing energy assets … even in the US.  The WSJ carries the story (subscription):

China continued its push into the U.S. oil patch, with a state-owned energy company striking a deal to help develop several shale fields in Ohio, Michigan and elsewhere.

China Petrochemical Corp.’s $2.5 billion deal with Devon Energy Corp., announced Tuesday morning, marks the third billion-dollar-plus joint venture that foreign energy firms have signed with U.S. explorers in as many weeks.

Known as Sinopec, China Petrochemical is making its first foray into the U.S. by buying a one-third stake in Devon’s acreage in five emerging fields—four shale plays and one limestone field.

Seems it will be up to the Chinese government to fund jobs in those areas while ours erects barriers in other areas.

While we continue to suffer from high unemployment, there are jobs all over the Midwest and the Gulf coast that could be created (and, yes, saved) by aggressive investment in oil and gas development.  Most of that investment would be private.  But it would require the government to get out of the way.  And that is something this very ideological administration can’t seem to make itself do.

Instead we have the usual war against “Big Oil” going on (ideological fights usually are against some “Big” enemy) to the point that an industry which could be pulling us out of this recession and helping drop unemployment numbers is mostly reduced to sitting on the sidelines while ideologues argue, vent and frustrate any effort to do so.

Of course the point is someone somewhere is going to try to develop and take those energy assets.  China is going to make a relatively small investment to see what it can take out of here.  And if we don’t want what the Keystone XL pipeline would bring  – besides a whole bunch of jobs I mean – China is prepared to take that as well.

Maybe its just me but for some reason I just find the worlds “myopic” and “stupid” poor descriptors for the policy this administration is following concerning oil and gas exploitation.  They’re just too mild. 

We have an economy hurting for jobs.  We have a nation that needs cheap energy.  We have an industry ready, willing and able to provide both.  And we have roadblock after roadblock placed in front of them by government.

This, in my not so humble opinion, should be one of the major talking points for the GOP.  We need energy.  We need jobs.  What we don’t need is an administration that places its ideology over the best interests of the nation and its people.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Romney wins Iowa … or something

Ok, just being flip, but I’ve never really thought that much of the caucus process and still don’t.  All this excitement, work and rhetoric over approximately 225,000 votes.  Yes I understand the possibility of winnowing the field (think Newt will finally take the hint?).

So Romney won – by 8 votes out of about 225,000 total.  That’s not as surprising to me, frankly, than who came in second.  Very disappointing to the Paulbots, I’m sure.  But Rick Santorum?  Seriously?

And will Huntsman, Bachman, and Perry drop out or hang on through New Hampshire?  After all it’s not that long till NH and again, Iowa is a caucus state.   I don’t see any of the three doing significantly better there than Iowa, but still they may give it a shot.

Cain was beaten by “no preference”.  The only “candidate” missing, as far as I’m concerned, was “none of the above”.  My guess is NOTA had a shot at at least 2nd or 3rd, and who knows, with that field, might of pulled out a win.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO