9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Sorely Needed Data-Based Sanity
, August 14, 2012
This review is from: The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown (Hardcover)
Our increasingly hyperpartisan political atmosphere in which people with an opposing opinion are not merely disagreed with but denounced as malevolent and unhinged, as now brought the conduct of elections as more accusation to throw in opponents' faces. The fact that many election officials are either elected in partisan elections or appointed and supervised by partisans only adds tinder to the situation.
Hasen's 'The Voting Wars' begins with the 2000 Florida debacle, which Hasen contends mainly taught operatives the benefits of manipulating the rules. Continuing, Hasen covers efforts to suppress voting aimed at minority communities - spreading misinformation through flyers, and restricting registration. He also contends that much of what is described as partisan manipulation often is instead possibly lack of training and/or incompetence. Not surprisingly, efforts to improve via national standardization is fought by local officials fearing loss of autonomy. More disappointing - since 2000 not one state with partisan administration of elections has removed authority from partisans, though we have greatly reduced the prevalence of punched-card balloting.
Between 2005 and 2007, ten states considered new voter ID legislation - always a Republican-led affair. Between 2002 - 2005, only seventy federal convictions occurred for election crimes - only 35 were against voters, the rest vs. party and campaign workers. Less than 20 were convicted of casting fraudulent ballots, 5 for registration fraud.
Why so few cases? It's too easy to get caught when conducted at a level intended to sway election results, and therefore we don't have a single recent example of anyone even attempting it. Absentee ballot fraud is much easier.
Voter registration fraud is easier to conduct, but per Hasen, had not stolen elections - its purpose was simply to steal the money of those paying for voter registration drives. ACORN was just such a victim. Unfortunately, it also was a gift from heaven for voting-fraud chasers.
Of course, not all instances of alleged voter fraud are prosecuted. For example, recently released felons were found to have voted in a Washington state election prior to having their voting rights restored. However, the state had recently sent them ballots and urged them to vote - thus, the real problem was official incompetence.
Hasen also tells us that absentee ballot fraud is rare, usually involves vote-buying, and does get prosecuted. An example - officials in Cudahy, CA. recently admitted intercepting absentee ballots and throwing out those not cast for incumbents.
An email among New Mexico Republican party leaders stated that the voter ID issue should be used at all levels as a wedge issue. Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney Iglesias' failure to meet their expectations of follow-up led to his removal, though denied by Rove etc.
Bottom-Line: Hasen contends that there is very little substance to allegations of voter fraud. Yes, it exists, but we're dealing with it in an irrational and partisan way. We would better spend our efforts looking at corporate interest donations and their influence on actual policies carried out.
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