Every Vote (Possibly) Counts (Maybe).

Proponents of Indiana’s voter I.D. law say it will help prevent voter fraud. But Jeffrey Toobin blasts the motivations for the law in this week’s New Yorker.

Actually, it is this purported justification that is the real fraud. The latest and most extensive examination of electoral irregularities, released in November by the nonpartisan research institute Demos, determined that voter fraud was “very rare,” and every other respectable study has reached the same conclusion. This is certainly true in Indiana, where legislators said they were aiming to stop “voter impersonation,” which was already a crime in the state; in the entire history of Indiana, the number of prosecutions for this offense has been zero. Nationwide, despite an attempt by the Bush Justice Department to crack down on voter fraud, there were only a hundred and twenty federal prosecutions and eighty-six convictions between 2002 and 2006—a period in which close to four hundred million votes were cast.

“Let’s not beat around the bush,” Terence T. Evans, the dissenting Court of Appeals judge in the Indiana case, slyly wrote. “The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic.”

Toobin says those ‘certain folks’ are minorities and poor whites.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on the case this week.

In a somewhat related story, The New York Times Magazine ran a very unsettling piece last week about the problems with computerized voting machines expected to be rolled out before this fall’s contests. The story says they don’t keep paper records, are supervised by poorly trained staff, and are prone to spontaneously shutting down and losing votes.



Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
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