Voter Fraud versus Voter Suppression

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Rolling Stone has fairly comprehensive story this month concerning an apparently coordinated Republican effort to suppress Democratic voter turnout in 2012, debunking the rather transparent ruse that the purpose of the voter ID laws they are passing is simply to prevent voter fraud. As Ari Berman writes in his article entitled “The GOP War on Voting”

A major probe by the Justice Department between 2002 and 2007 failed to prosecute a single person for going to the polls and impersonating an eligible voter, which the anti-fraud laws are supposedly designed to stop. Out of the 300 million votes cast in that period, federal prosecutors convicted only 86 people for voter fraud – and many of the cases involved immigrants and former felons who were simply unaware of their ineligibility. A much-hyped investigation in Wisconsin, meanwhile, led to the prosecution of only .0007 percent of the local electorate for alleged voter fraud. “Our democracy is under siege from an enemy so small it could be hiding anywhere,” joked Stephen Colbert. A 2007 report by the Brennan Center for Justice, a leading advocate for voting rights at the New York University School of Law, quantified the problem in stark terms. “It is more likely that an individual will be struck by lightning,” the report calculated, “than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls.”

Kathleen Dunn did an eye-opening interview with Berman yesterday on her show, which you can listen to here.