Government abuse: not surprising, not unexpected, but certainly something that needs to be stopped – now!
This has been in the news recently and now it is getting some Congressional attention. It has to do with possible illegal activities involving the NSA and DEA. As you know, the NSA’s job is to focus outside the US, not inside, and primarily on enemies of the United States, not it’s citizens:
Eight Democratic senators and congressmen have asked Attorney General Eric Holder to answer questions about a Reuters report that the National Security Agency supplies the Drug Enforcement Administration with intelligence information used to make non-terrorism cases against American citizens.
The August report revealed that a secretive DEA unit passes the NSA information to agents in the field, including those from the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and Homeland Security, with instructions to never disclose the original source, even in court. In most cases, the NSA tips involve drugs, money laundering and organized crime, not terrorism.
Five Democrats in the Senate and three senior Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee submitted questions to Holder about the NSA-DEA relationship, joining two prominent Republicans who have expressed concerns. The matter will be discussed during classified briefings scheduled for September, Republican and Democratic aides said.
“These allegations raise serious concerns that gaps in the policy and law are allowing overreach by the federal government’s intelligence gathering apparatus,” wrote the senators – Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
Why, other than the fact that the NSA has no charter or permission to pass its information about American citizens on to other agencies, is this important?
The Reuters reports cited internal documents that show how DEA’s Special Operations Division funnels information from overseas NSA intercepts, domestic wiretaps, informants and a large DEA database of telephone records to authorities nationwide to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.
The documents show that agents have been trained to conceal how such investigations truly begin – to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up the original source of the information, raising questions about whether exculpatory information might be withheld from defendants at trial.
The internal documents describe the process of recreating the evidence trail to omit any reference to the Special Operations Division as “parallel construction.” For example, agents said in interviews, they act as if a drug investigation began with a traffic stop for speeding or a broken taillight, instead of a tip passed from the NSA. An IRS document describes a similar process for tax agency investigators.
Emphasis mine. So not only is passing such information to these agencies unauthorized, the government then instructs its agents on how to lie about the source of their information (a lie of omission). And, of course, it is also legitimate to ask whether or not exculpatory evidence could also have been available but not passed to these agencies.
Is this really the type government we want? One that spies on us, intercepts our electronic messages and phone calls and uses them secretly by passing what should be private to various other government agencies and then lies about it? Peggy Noonan addresses those questions quite directly today:
If the citizens of the United States don’t put up a halting hand, the government can’t be expected to. It is in the nature of security professionals to always want more, and since their mission is worthy they’re less likely to have constitutional qualms, to dwell on such abstractions as abuse of the Fourth Amendment and the impact of that abuse on the First.
If you assume all the information that can and will be gleaned will be confined to NSA and national security purposes, you are not sufficiently imaginative or informed. If you believe the information will never be used wrongly or recklessly, you are touchingly innocent.
If you assume you can trust the administration on this issue you are not following the bouncing ball, from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who told Congress under oath the NSA didn’t gather “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans” (he later had to apologize) to President Obama, who told Jay Leno: “We don’t have a domestic program.” What we do have, the president said, is “some mechanism that can track a phone number or an email address that is connected to a terrorist attack.”
Oh, we have more than that.
Almost every politician in America lives in fear of one big thing: a terrorist attack they can later be accused of not having done everything to stop. And so they’ll do anything. They are looking to preserve their political viability and historical standing. We, as citizens, must keep other things in mind, such as the rights we are born with as Americans, one of which is privacy.
Lord Acton nailed it when he said “Power corrupts …”. We’re currently in the midst of watching exactly that happen to an even greater degree than in the past. If you give government power, it will do everything it can to expand that power – whether legitimately or illegitimately. It is the nature of the beast. And we have to put up a hand to stop it.
If you’re wondering why the Tea Party is characterized in such nasty ways by the establishment of both parties, it is because it does indeed attempt to put up a hand to stop these sorts of abuses and remove power from the abusers. They threaten the very base of power the political establishment has worked so hard to build over the years.
This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss Seminar a US Attorney is giving about how you might violate someone’s civil rights by posting to Facebook.
The direct link to the podcast can be found here.
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Science and facts dont stand a chance against myth and ideology:
Justice Department researchers have concluded that an assault weapons ban is “unlikely to have an effect on gun violence,” but President Obama has not accepted their report as his administration’s official position.
“Since assault weapons are not a major contributor to US gun homicide and the existing stock of guns is large, an assault weapon ban is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence,” the DOJ’s National Institute for Justice explains in a January 4 report obtained by the National Rifle Association. “If coupled with a gun buyback and no exemptions then it could be effective.” That idea is also undermined by the acknowledgement that “a complete elimination of assault weapons would not have a large impact on gun homicides.”
The research in that report didn’t stop Obama denouncing “weapons of war” during his State of the Union speech on February 12.
We’ve pointed out any number of times that deaths by rifle, any sort of rifle, are less than 500 a year. Less that blunt objects – clubs, baseball bats, etc.
But that’s not going to stop these people. Facts are inconvenient truths, to borrow from the biggest myth maker of all – Al Gore.
There’s a reason for the desire for this ban. It’s a foot in the door. And, once they declare it’s not enough, the precedent is already set. As I mentioned on the podcast, the left is into incrementalism. They will incrementally sneak up on every freedom we have left. And, if they have their way, take them away. In the name of “safety” and “security”. And you know what Ben Franklin said about that.
This has been a scandal for over 2 years. It has bubbled along in the blogosphere for some time. But in the MSM, it has been mostly ignored. Cheryl Atkinson of CBS is about the only reporter I’m aware of who has done any in-depth reporting about this and it too has been mostly ignored.
Even the coverage of the Congressional hearing into this fiasco was muted.
Finally, we have some journalism coming to the fore (with apologies to Ms. Atkinson) and Univision, a largely Hispanic network, has done an expose on this operation that can only be called either the dumbest and most inept operation known to man or a very cynical and malevolent one. More and more I’m leaning toward the latter explanation with a sprinkling of the former.
ABC has finally picked up the ball, and if you are interested in the Univision report, they have it with English captions. Definitely worth the view.
As part of Operation Fast and Furious, ATF allowed 1,961 guns to “walk” out of the U.S. in an effort to identify the high profile cartel leaders who received them. The agency eventually lost track of the weapons, and they often ended up in the hands of Mexican hit men , including those who ordered and carried out the attack on Salvarcar and El Aliviane, a rehabilitation center in Ciudad Juarez where 18 young men were killed on September 2, 2009.
In Mexico, the timing of the operation coincided with an upsurge of violence in the war among the country’s strongest cartels. In 2009, the northern Mexican states served as a battlefield for the Sinaloa and Juarez drug trafficking organizations, and as expansion territory for the increasingly powerful Zetas. According to documents obtained by Univision News, from October of that year to the end of 2010, nearly 175 weapons from Operation Fast and Furious inadvertently armed the various warring factions across northern Mexico.
Univision went into some real depth in their investigation, apparently even deeper than the Congressional investigation:
Univision News identified a total of 57 more previously unreported firearms that were bought by straw purchasers monitored by ATF during Operation Fast and Furious, and then recovered in Mexico in sites related to murders, kidnappings, and at least one other massacre.
Remember, this was first claimed to be a “local, rogue” operation. Then White House staff emails referencing it were found. This was an ATF/DEA/DoJ operation that was never coordinated with Mexican officials. It has caused at least 2 deaths of US agents and literally hundreds if not thousands of deaths in Mexico.
Someone should be held accountable and be heading to jail.
But then “someone” ought to also be reporting about it too, shouldn’t “they”?’
So the Justice Department (a department name becoming more Orwellian by the day) has fingered the man they suspect of being responsible for this film the administration says caused these deadly attacks in the Middle East?
Federal authorities have identified a southern California man once convicted of financial crimes as the key figure behind the anti-Muslim film that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Mideast, a U.S. law enforcement official said Thursday.
Attorney General Eric Holder said that Justice Department officials had opened a criminal investigation into the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other diplomats killed during an attack on the American mission in Benghazi. It was not immediately clear whether authorities were focusing on the California filmmaker as part of that probe.
A federal law enforcement official said Thursday that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was the man behind “Innocence of Muslims,” a film denigrating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad that sparked protests earlier in the week in Egypt and Libya and now in Yemen. U.S. authorities are investigating whether the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya came during a terrorist attack.
Uh, so? Implying this film is the reason for the murders that have taken place is a bit like complaining that a woman who was raped dressed too provocatively (which, btw, is a valid complaint … in Saudi Arabia).
And AP, by gosh, is on the job:
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation, said Nakoula was connected to the persona of Sam Bacile, a figure who initially claimed to be the writer and director of the film. But Bacile quickly turned out to a false identity and the Associated Press traced a cellphone number used by Bacile to a southern California house where Nakoula was found.
Bacile initially claimed a Jewish and Israeli background. But others involved in the film said his statements were contrived as evidence mounted that the film’s key player was a southern Californian Coptic Christian with a checkered past.
Nakoula told The Associated Press in an interview outside Los Angeles Wednesday that he managed logistics for the company that produced “Innocence of Muslims,” which mocked Muslims and the prophet Muhammad.
Nakoula denied that he was Bacile and insisted he did not direct the film, though he said he knew Bacile. But federal court papers filed against Nakoula in a 2010 criminal prosecution said that he had used numerous aliases in the past. Among the fake names, the documents said, were Nicola Bacily, Robert Bacily and Erwin Salameh, all similar to the Sam Bacile persona. Other aliases described in the documents included Ahmad Hamdy, Kritbag Difrat and PJ Tobacco.
During a conversation outside his home, Nakoula offered his driver’s license to show his identity but kept his thumb over his middle name, Basseley. Records checks by the AP subsequently found that middle name as well as other connections to the Bacile persona.
The AP located Bacile after obtaining his cellphone number from Morris Sadek, a conservative Coptic Christian in the U.S. who had promoted the anti-Muslim film in recent days on his website. Egypt’s Christian Coptic populace has long decried what they describe as a history of discrimination and occasional violence from the country’s Arab majority.
If only AP had shown the same drive and interest in Fast and Furious. Or actually vetting the President before the 2008 election.
But to the point. It doesn’t matter who did what to whom concering the film. Or who is responsible for it. Until recently this was America, land of the free and home of those with the right to freedom of speech.
We have the right to express our opinions in various ways whether others like it or not. Do you imagine that “Christian feelings” were “hurt” when “piss Christ” was displayed? Of course they were. Christians were very offended.
Don’t remember 4 dead over that, do you?
Don’t remember the Justice Department becoming involved either.
I think that may be because when that happened the right to free speech wasn’t under assualt and those who created the so-called “work of art” (as well as the government) weren’t particulary concerned with whether or not the feelings of any particular religion.
Because back then we knew the test of freedom of speech wasn’t protecting speech you agreed with, but that with which you vehemently disagreed.
And, like it or not, that’s the principle, so quickly abandoned by this administration, Mitt Romney was talking about.
Like in the MN Senate race that put Al Franken in office and provided Senate Democrats with their 60th vote.
Byron York provides the short version of the story and what was found subsequently:
In the ’08 campaign, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman was running for re-election against Democrat Al Franken. It was impossibly close; on the morning after the election, after 2.9 million people had voted, Coleman led Franken by 725 votes.
Franken and his Democratic allies dispatched an army of lawyers to challenge the results. After the first canvass, Coleman’s lead was down to 206 votes. That was followed by months of wrangling and litigation. In the end, Franken was declared the winner by 312 votes. He was sworn into office in July 2009, eight months after the election.
During the controversy a conservative group called Minnesota Majority began to look into claims of voter fraud. Comparing criminal records with voting rolls, the group identified 1,099 felons — all ineligible to vote — who had voted in the Franken-Coleman race.
And what has happened since?
And so far, Fund and von Spakovsky report, 177 people have been convicted — not just accused, but convicted — of voting fraudulently in the Senate race. Another 66 are awaiting trial. "The numbers aren’t greater," the authors say, "because the standard for convicting someone of voter fraud in Minnesota is that they must have been both ineligible, and ‘knowingly’ voted unlawfully." The accused can get off by claiming not to have known they did anything wrong.
Still, that’s a total of 243 people either convicted of voter fraud or awaiting trial in an election that was decided by 312 votes.
And, of course, the probability is these felons absolutely knew they were breaking the law and fraudulently voted anyway.
Obviously making a connection between them and Democrats is likely impossible, but it does point to something that the left consistently denies – the existence of voter fraud.
It exists. Denying it exists, as the left does, only damages their credibility.
Many times it is the system itself which enables fraud to be carried out. Incompetence and inefficiency within government agencies charged with supervising voting are as much the problem as the frauds. For instance:
The Houston-based True the Vote said it has identified 160 counties across 19 states with more registered voters on their rolls than eligible live voters. This chart highlights the 19 states and how they voted in the 2008 election.
Keeping the voter roles current and ensuring all registered voters are eligible would seem to be a primary mission of any state’s voter bureaucracy, wouldn’t it?
Yet what did we recently see – the Obama DoJ go after the state of Florida for doing its job and purging it’s voter roles of the dead and ineligible. You’d think that they’d encourage such an action because it helps guarantee the integrity of the voting system.
But instead, it tried to stop it.
There is all sorts of fraud. That like York points out. That like this case in Miami:
It’s a shady world, as the case of 56-year-old Deisy Cabrera in Hialeah shows.
Cabrera was charged Wednesday with a state felony for allegedly forging an elderly woman’s signature on an absentee ballot, and with two counts of violating a Miami-Dade County ordinance banning the possession of more than two filled-out absentee ballots.
Much of the fraud takes place within the early voting venues. As the above case illustrates, preying on nursing home residents is only one of many ways fraudulent ballots are cast.
However the Democrats contend that voter ID laws are a means of stopping a problem that doesn’t exist. They claim there is very little if any fraud to be found in same day voting. Of course that’s hard to substantiate when voter roles are larger than the pool of eligible voters in many areas and no on is asked to prove who they are.
The other complaint is that voter ID laws “disenfranchise” minorities and the poor. Yet Georgia’s experience directly contradicts that claim with minority and overall voter turnout increasing in the elections following the implementation of a voter ID law.
Bottom line: the integrity of the voting system is paramount to instilling confidence in the citizenry that their voices are being truly heard. If ever there seemed to an issue that should be truly bi-partisan, this would be it. Yet there are very clear battle-lines drawn with one side claiming fraud doesn’t exist (and they’re factually incorrect about that) and the other saying it does and something should be done about it.
Guess which side I come down on?
We’ve been asking about that since the scandal first came to light months and months ago on the podcast and on the blog. Usually not given to conspiracy theories, we’ve found it hard to justify the operation otherwise. The recent use of executive privilege by the President seems to lend credence to the assertion/theory.
At least in this case, It appears where there’s smoke there may be fire. And both Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley have spoken out on the notion:
But the suggestion by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., that the deadly operation was conceived to advance the administration’s gun-control agenda is quite plausible.
"Here’s the real answer as to gun control," Issa said on ABC’s "This Week": "We have email from people involved in this that are talking about using what they’re finding here to support the — basically assault weapons — ban or greater reporting."
Issa was asked about the possible connection after comments he made at an NRA convention. "Could it be," he said on NRA News’ "Cam & Company" program, "that what they really were thinking of was in fact to use this walking of guns in order to promote an assault weapons ban? Many think so. And they haven’t come up with an explanation that would cause any of us not to agree."
Grassley is less oblique about it:
According to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, "There’s plenty of evidence developing that the administration planned to use the tragedies of Fast and Furious as rationale to further their goals of a long gun reporting requirement."
In fact, they’ve already cranked up the reporting requirements:
As Issa noted on "This Week," the Department of Justice announced on April 25, 2011, "right in the middle of the scandal," that it was requiring some 8,500 gun stores in Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico to report individual purchases of multiple rifles of greater than .22 caliber by law-abiding American citizens to the ATF because such guns are "frequently recovered at violent crime scenes near the Southwest border."
Of course every one of the multiple sales that contributed to the guns that went into Mexico were okayed by the ATF. And don’t forget the prelude to all of this: the use of a discredited study that supplied the justification for an attempt to increase gun control:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others in the administration had been pushing the discredited line that 90% of guns seized in Mexico came from the U.S. as justification for stricter gun laws and reporting rules.
But of course, it’s all really nothing more than a logical assertion or theory at the moment since the misnamed Department of Justice won’t release key documents as legally and rightfully demanded by Congress (in the execution of its Constitutional duty of oversight) and the President of the United States is aiding and abetting this avoidance of DoJ’s legal duties.
Reinstating the assault gun ban and tightening gun control are undeniable goals of the liberal left. There’s no denying that. But to summarily do it would be politically disastrous and they know that as well. So there has to be a pretext, a reason for it. What better pretext than the death of hundreds of Mexicans at the hands of guns smuggled in from the US coupled with the false 90% stat? Convenient, no?
Obviously it wasn’t supposed to leak out that the Federal government ordered it or, I’d guess, see 2 Federal agents be murdered as a result of their operation.
What could be worse than turning over the documents requested by Congress?
Something like this coming to light.
Look for the Obama administration to do whatever is necessary to delay, deny and obfuscate for 4 months on this.
But if this is true, and if Obama is fortunate enough to be re-elected, it may end up being a very short second term. There are scandals presidents can survive and then there are those they can’t survive.
This would be, or at least should be, one that isn’t survivable.
I’m sure by now you have heard about Eric Holder’s DoJ striking down the Texas voter ID law. His reasoning? The usual. While it isn’t too much of a burden to have to show an ID to buy liquor, cash a check, rent a hotel room, rent a car, rent an apartment, buy a house, board a plane, buy cigarettes or any of a myriad of other daily requirements, it is apparently too much of a burden when it comes to voting.
Of course most reasoning people understand that all of that is a load of nonsense. Laws very similar to the Texas law are and have been operating in states like Georgia and Indiana with no problems noted. And they’ve been upheld by the Supreme Court.
In fact a little history is in order. First, how about liberal stalwart and self-described voting expert, former President Jimmy Carter?
Requiring an ID to vote was one of the proposals in 2005 of the Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by Jimmy Carter and James Baker, neither of whom had previously been noted for his hostility to minorities or the poor.
Indeed. And the mentioned Supreme Court’s 6-3 OK of the Indiana voter ID law?
The liberal Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the majority opinion. The Court held that “there is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters,” and “we cannot conclude that the statute imposes ‘excessively burdensome requirements’ on any class of voters.” The decision cited the finding of a district judge that plaintiffs had “not introduced evidence of a single, individual Indiana resident who will be unable to vote as a result of the law.”
In essence the Texas law is no different than the Indiana law, but the chief law enforcement officer of the United States has decided that he will force the state of Texas to go to court, meaning, of course, that the law won’t be in effect until after the 2012 election. And it most likely will be settled in court in the state’s favor.
This is simply an administration pandering to a demographic that it wants on its side on election day, pure and simple. Holder also struck down a similar South Carolina law.
The NAACP, on the other hand, is an organization struggling for relevancy. It has decided this is the hill they want to die on. Somehow, as the NAACP and DoJ’s reasoning goes, “minorities” have more difficulty than others obtaining proper ID for voting (that has not proven to be true in GA where minority participation has been greater after the law’s passage than before). The minorities apparently manage all the other chores that require they show proper identification but somehow can’t manage voting. They can get to the voting booth, but apparently aren’t able to get to the office in Texas where the state will provide them an approved ID free.
If you’re having a hard time swallowing the “reasoning” don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. Its nonsense on a stick.
That said, the NAACP thinks it has a winner here. And to help in their struggle they’ve enlisted what body?
The UN Human Rights Council. That makes three laughing stocks (DoJ, NAACP and UNHRC) working on this “problem”.
Why is the UNHCR a laughing stock? Well take a look at this. An example of the Council’s bona fides or lack there of, one only has to look at their latest action.
A United Nations panel has adopted a report praising Qaddafi-era Libya for its human rights record, a year after the report was sidelined amid international objection.
The report initially came before the U.N. Human Rights Council in the middle of the uprising against the Muammar Qaddafi regime. At the time, the U.N. had just voted to suspend Libya from the rights council — under pressure to maintain a consistent message toward Libya, the council later postponed consideration of the report.
But the Human Rights Council on Wednesday returned to the document — and approved it.
That’s right – yesterday. This is the organization that will be “investigating” what the NAACP likes to call “voter suppression”. What other, more rational actors call ensuring the integrity of the voting system.
But the NAACP? Listen to the “reasoning” for asking the UNHRC to “investigate”:
"This really is a tactic that undercuts the growth of your democracy," said Hillary Shelton, the NAACP’s senior vice president for advocacy, about voter photo ID requirements.
In a Fox News interview prior to his trip, Shelton said the message from the NAACP delegation to the Human Rights Council is that the photo ID law "undercuts the integrity of our government, if you allow it to happen. It’s trickery, it’s a sleight-of-hand. We’re seeing it happen here and we don’t want it to happen to you, and we are utilizing the U.N. as a tool to make sure that we are able to share that with those countries all over the world."
If you’ve ever wondered what word salad looks like, feast your eyes.
Of course the UN has no jurisdiction here. Instead its an opportunity for the UN, or as I like to call it, the “Third World Debating Club” to try to embarrass the US – something it loves to do. And, of course, the NAACP will be its enabler.
Examples the NAACP plans to present to the UN to bolster its case? Well first we go to the lifeboat:
The NAACP had scheduled two American citizens to present their claims at the U.N. panel who, the group says, worry they will be disenfranchised by the requirement to present a photo ID to vote. The civil rights group says one, Kemba Smith Pradia, was convicted of a drug-related offense and is concerned that if she moves back to Virginia from the Midwest, state law will block her voting because of her record, even though she was granted clemency by President Bill Clinton.
So we have a convicted drug offender who is “concerned” that if she moves she may have problems voting. “Concerned”. She’s not been denied, but she’s “concerned”. That ought to wow them.
And number two?
A second American, Austin Alex, is a Texas Christian University student. The NAACP says he is worried that he will be barred from voting because he only holds an out-of-state driver’s license and a non-government student ID, not a Texas issued photo ID.
Of course Texas offers the ID necessary to vote for free. You just have to get off your fat ass and go apply. And again – he’s “worried”. Not denied, just “worried” he may be denied. That ought to impress ‘em in Cuba.
The NAACP plans on presenting this little dog and pony show to the UNHRC which is composed of countries very familiar with voting rights, most members having rock solid credentials in enabling free and open elections:
The U.N. Human Rights Council members include communist China and Cuba. In addition, several Arab nations are on the council that have only granted the right to vote to women in recent years, such as Kuwait in 2005 and Qatar in 2003. Women in the Republic of Moldova have had the right to vote for less than 20 years.
Council member Saudi Arabia announced six months ago that women will be granted the right to vote, but that change does not go into effect until 2015.
And, until recently, it also included Libya.
This would be a joke if it wasn’t so serious. If you can’t be assured of the integrity of your voting system, then you’re likely not to hold its results in high regard and you may feel that those who are “elected” may not be legitimate. The integrity of the system is both critical and in question. Common sense reforms are being obstructed by organizations which should be working for them. Actions like those of the DoJ and NAACP work counter to ensuring the voting system’s integrity despite their tortured rhetoric to the contrary.
The fact that DoJ, the NAACP and the UNHRC are involved in this farce should be all that’s necessary to determine this is all about politics and not at all concerned with the integrity of our voting system. The Democrats need votes, and they really don’t care from whence they get them. Graveyards or across the border, it’s all the same to them if the numbers come out to their advantage.
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.
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?
[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.
With a tight election in the offing, it comes as no surprise to me that the DoJ has decided to begin getting interested in voter ID laws in certain swing states where it can. South Carolina is one of those:
The Obama administration entered the fierce national debate over voting rights, rejecting South Carolina’s new law requiring photo identification at the polls and saying it discriminated against minority voters.
Friday’s decision by the Justice Department could heighten political tensions over eight state voter ID statutes passed this year, which critics say could hurt turnout among minorities and others who helped elect President Obama in 2008. Conservatives and other supporters say the tighter laws are needed to combat voter fraud.
Two of the things that the left constantly claims when such measures are passed is it is A) it will mostly cause an adverse effect among minorities and B) there’s no evidence of voting fraud.
We’ve dealt with “A” before. If you write a check, buy liquor or any of a myriad of different transactions throughout the year, you are asked or required to produce a valid state issued ID. Does that adversely effect the ability of minorities to write checks or buy alcohol? Then there’s driving. No license, no driving. It’s a nonsensical argument. And most states issue free photo IDs to those who don’t drive.
As for “B”, it’s rather hard to prove fraud when anyone on two legs can walk up and vote without having to prove they are who they say they are, isn’t it?
In any case, here is the existing SC law:
When any person presents himself to vote, he shall produce his valid South Carolina driver’s license or other form of identification containing a photograph issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, if he is not licensed to drive, or the written notification of registration.
Voter registration certificate South Carolina driver’s license South Carolina Dept. of Motor Vehicles photo ID card
Voters without ID may be permitted to vote a provisional ballot. This varies from county to county. Whether the provisional ballot is counted is at the discretion of the county commissioners at the provisional ballot hearing.
OK? Here’s the new law the DoJ has rejected:
When a person presents himself to vote, he shall produce a valid and current ID.
South Carolina driver’s license Other form of photo ID issued by the SC Dept. of Motor Vehicles Passport Military ID bearing a photo issued by the federal government South Carolina voter registration card with a photo
If the elector cannot produce identification, he may cast a provisional ballot that is counted only if the elector brings a valid and current photograph identification to the county board of registration and elections before certification of the election by the county board of canvassers.
I’ll leave it up to you to determine what “new” provision suddenly makes this particular law, in light of the existing law, suddenly something which deserves rejection by the DoJ for the reasons stated? Also note that SC voters will still need to produce an ID to vote.
In fact, more methods of identification have been added and the same provision for those without ID remain, i.e. the provisional ballot that then requires they present a valid ID before their vote is counted.
In fact, this is the opening salvo in a political war with the Department of Justice in the vanguard. The same DoJ that refused to prosecute the voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers documented on video in Philadelphia in the 2008.
The federal action — the first time the government has rejected a voter-identification law in nearly 20 years — signals an escalating national legal battle over the laws as the presidential campaign intensifies. The American Civil Liberties Union and another group recently filed a federal lawsuit contending that Wisconsin’s new voter-identification measure is unconstitutional.
Laws approved in Mississippi and Alabama also require federal approval but have not yet been submitted to the federal government. States can get such approval for changes to voting laws from Justice, a federal court in the District or both.
There is no concern for the integrity of the voting system whatsoever in the action by DoJ. This is raw politics. There is nothing notably different or onerous about the new SC law. But it provides a precedent for rejecting other state’s “new” laws in the near future.
Each elector shall present proper identification to a poll worker at or prior to completion of a voter’s certificate at any polling place and prior to such person’s admission to the enclosed space at such polling place.
- Georgia driver’s license, even if expired
- ID card issued by the state of Georgia or the federal government
- Free voter ID card issued by the state or county
- U.S. passport
- Valid employee ID card containing a photograph from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state
- Valid U.S. military identification card
- Valid tribal photo ID
If you show up to vote and you do not have one of the acceptable forms of photo identification, you can still vote a provisional ballot. You will have up to two days after the election to present appropriate photo identification at your county registrar’s office in order for your provisional ballot to be counted.
This law functioned beautifully in 2008 and no one whined about "disenfranchisement".
Again, this is about politics. Why am I saying this? Here’s a clue:
It is unclear if the four states not subject to the Voting Rights Act requirement — Wisconsin, Kansas, Rhode Island and Tennessee — will face challenges to their laws. Justice lawyers could file suit under a different provision of the act, but the department has not revealed its intentions.
Depends on how close the election appears to be in 2012 is my guess as to what will guide “its intentions”. After all how can dead people vote if they have to produce a valid ID?
I have absolutely no confidence in the current director of the Department of Justice nor do I believe he has any concern about justice. He’s the ultimate political hack hired to push a political agenda (see Fast and Furious for further proof) and this is just another warping of the concept of justice by Eric Holder.