The Voter Fraud Myth

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The only substantive note of interest to emerge from the esoteric U.S. Attorney scandal is the Karl Rove-driven effort to force USAs to prosecute "voter fraud".

While GOP voter suppression — which recently led to criminal convictions in New Hampshire — has been amply documented, Republicans have long countered that, well hey, liberals are drumming up criminal conspiracies to create voter fraud that skews elections in their favor.

Indeed, preventing fraud has been used to justify the recent wave of restrictive voter-ID requirements that — despite their pre-clearance by the Justice Department — have been found by judges around the country to pose an unconstitutional barrier to the franchise.

If there's a silver lining to Rove's tenure it may be that we can finally put this he-said/she-said story to rest. After five years of aggressively targeting voter fraud under guidelines that make inadvertent paperwork errors grounds for prosecution, the Rove/Gonzalez/Aschroft Justice Department has turned up nothing to support allegations of wide-spread fraud.

From an excellent NYT piece:

Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.

Those convicted, according to the story, are mostly poor people who've passed through the penal system and were evidently unclear about whether their voting rights had been restored.

With any luck, before all is said and done, Karl Rove will become intimately familiar with the restrictions on voting rights of ex felons, himself.