Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Just give me your vote, put your cross in the box

"Voter fraud" has become one of the GWBush administration's favorite straw men. Here is Josh Marshall on it:
Since President Bush came into office, the Justice Department has made 'voter fraud' prosecutions a high priority. Yet, not for lack of effort, they've barely been able to find any examples of it. The grand effort has boiled down to a program to send a few handfuls of folks -- mainly black -- to jail for what are in almost every case notional or unintentional voting infractions.

One of the centers of the action for this kind of Republican thuggery was Missouri, and at the epicenter was St. Louis, MO attorney, Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, II. (note: His nickname is Thor? WTF? And he's a II? Wow, talk about a sense of importance.)

My friend Brad "BradBlog" Friedman has been all over this, for some time, and he writes today:
After more than two years of banging the drum here at The BRAD BLOG, it looks as if the national MSM has finally picked up on the fraud perpetrated by Missouri's White House operative Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and his high-level democracy-hating GOP scammer pals in Missouri, at the Department of Justice, and in the White House.

In a McClatchy article just out today, reporter Greg Gordon correctly identifies Missouri as "Ground Zero" in the Republican attempt to establish phony claims of Democratic "voter fraud" in order to institute new restrictions at the polls as part of an insidious ploy to Democratic-leaning voters from being able to cast their vote.

Gordon reports on a number of issues out of Missouri that we've covered here over the years, including; the unsubstantiated claims of "voter registration fraud" against ACORN filed just prior to the '06 election in the Show-Me state; the unsuccessful lawsuit brought by the DoJ against MO SoS Robyn Carnahan alleging more voters on the rolls than actual eligible voters; and the unconstitutional Voter ID law as pushed through the MO legislature as drafted by the slime-ball Hearne.

As well, McClatchy finally outs the supposedly "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), as created by Hearne and RNC Communications director, Jim Dyke. We began reporting on ACVR just three days after they went public on March 22, 2005 to testify before then-Rep. Bob Ney's (R-OH) House Administration Committee on Democratic attempts at "vote supression" during Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election.

Gordon finally exposes the ACVR in the mainstream media for what it actually was: Little more than a well-coordinated, (and still-mysteriously-funded) scam to produce public propaganda to support the GOP's insider push in swing states for voter suppression legislation and tactics by Republican officials.

Here is more on ACVR from PFAW:
In March of 2005, the U.S. House Administration Committee held hearings in Columbus, OH to collect testimony regarding problems with the 2004 election and implementation of the Help America Vote Act or HAVA. However, the committee provided no opportunity for public testimony and no well-known voting rights organizations were among the witnesses.[1]

One of those who was invited to testify was St. Louis, MO attorney, Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, II, general counsel for the American Center for Voter Rights (ACVR). According to news reports, Hearne told the committee that ACVR was a “voting rights legal defense and education center committed to defending the rights of voters and working to increase public confidence in the fairness of the outcome of elections.” He then proceeded to identify “massive registration fraud” at the hands of Democrats and progressive non-partisan organizations as Ohio’s key problem.

With its list of lofty sounding goals like “equal access to the ballot” and “defending the rights of voters,” the Center attempts to sound like a non-partisan, expert organization whose sole goal is to help all voters. However, at the time of Hearne’s testimony, his group was barely five days old. An investigation into the backgrounds of its principals strongly suggests that it is little more than a front group for Republican operatives and a mouthpiece for a right-wing partisan agenda.[2]

Indeed. The machine of the right may have its wheels starting to fall off, but it still has momentum as it grinds down the track. Meanwhile, voter suppression activity as practiced by the Right is coming under increasing scrutiny, although clearly not by the administration.

Here's a quote from the McClatchy piece Brad wrote about:
Now, six months after freshman Missouri senator Jim Talent’s defeat handed Democrats control of the U.S. Senate, disclosures in the wake of the firings of eight U.S. attorneys show that GOP campaign to protect the balloting was not as it appeared.

In fact, no significant voter fraud was ever proven.

Instead, the Republican preoccupation with voter fraud was part of a wider effort to protect the GOP majority in Congress with a series of measures to dampen Democratic turnout. They included stiffer voter ID requirements, wholesale purges of names from lists of registered voters and tight policing of liberal get-out-the-vote drives.

Few have endorsed the strategy with more enthusiasm than White House political guru Karl Rove, and nowhere has the plan been more apparent than in Missouri.

And of course the Right-Wing wankosphere keeps bleating on the phony "Voter Fraud" issue. Try googling 'voter fraud' and you'll get diatribes from FreeRepublic, Hugh Hewitt, and the rest.