Metropolitik: Is voter fraud a problem?

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Breitbart.com attack dog James O’Keefe released the latest in his series of misleading “gotcha” videos yesterday, evidently exposing the need for voter ID laws by capturing one of his operatives committing said fraud.

In the new hidden camera video, an actor requests and nearly receives a ballot for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who opposes ID laws. (Instead of taking the ballot, a federal crime, he leaves under the pretense of grabbing his ID.)

O’Keefe contrasts the ease of receiving a fraudulent ballot with video of Holder saying the issue is “a problem that does not exist”?and that “there is no proof” that it does. The video prankster’s message is clear: Here’s the proof that voter ID laws are needed to prevent this pernicious evil.

Of course, nonpartisan law institute Brennan Center for Justice points out “that voter fraud is essentially irrational,” “that no credible evidence suggests a voter fraud epidemic”?and that “it happens approximately 0.0009 percent of the time,” a statistically negligible level. Others note that one vote holds very little sway and that the consequences of subverting democracy can be quite harsh. (A $10,000 fine, five years in prison.) The logic behind an organized voter fraud campaign, therefore, would be exceptionally thin.

But then, this whole ginned-up controversy was never about protecting the sanctity of the voting box. What O’Keefe and his allies take pains to neglect is the fact that voter ID laws tend to disproportionally affect the poor and minorities, who may not have access to proper identification. And these demographics are known to reliably support Democrats. There is no evidence to suggest that such fraud is a problem; but for the GOP, minority voters do pose a problem come November.
O’Keefe and Brietbart.com continue the right-wing tradition of “proving” to voters that government doesn’t work … by breaking it themselves. (“We must start unwinnable foreign wars!?Oh no, look at this deficit!!”) What matters to these fraudsters is winning, and if the price of victory is minority disenfranchisement, so much the better. But let’s be honest:?Their motivations are anything but.

Follow Brayden Simms on Twitter @metropolitik

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.


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