Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)- Guest Blogger
It seems that almost everywhere you look, some State is trying to reduce the number of early voting days, purging the voting rolls and making it harder for citizens to cast their votes. The State of Florida has recently attempted to remove legitimate voters off its voter rolls and the State of Georgia recently attempted to restrict the time when a military absentee ballot can be counted as I wrote about earlier on this blog. Georgia Now, we have some hard evidence of just who is getting removed or impacted by the various State’s attempts to cure the imagined Voter fraud problem!
“Their data suggests that beyond the wide variation in purge rates across states, there is significant variation within states:
In many states, certain parts of the state electorate, both geographically and demographically, are much more likely to be dropped off of the voter rolls than others. More specifically, some general trends that we see are focused on:
a. Urbanity – cities are getting disproportionately purged
b. Race – minorities are getting disproportionately purged
c. Marital Status – unmarried people are getting disproportionately purged
d. Age – younger (< 40 years old) and older (> 65 years old) voters are purged more frequently than middle-aged voters
e. County effects – there are big differences across county lines, pointing to sharp discontinuities based on arbitrary political boundaries that do not correspond with inherent behavioral differences
Catalist notes that more than 2.7 million living people who voted in 2008 have since been purged from the voter rolls. Among those, African American voters are “1.5 times more likely to be purged than Caucasian voters, nationally.” ‘ Think Progress
It appears from the data above that Minorities are the big “winners” when it comes to the voter purge gambit. The young and the old seem to be the runners-up in the race to see which demographic gets the worst of the attempts to prevent legal voters from being able to vote. What could be behind this attempt to prevent minorities and the young and those older than 65 from voting? It couldn’t be politics, could it??!
What are these States afraid of? It cannot be voter fraud since the actual number of voter fraud incidents is infinitesimal. “In fact there were only nine instances of possible in-person voter fraud between 2000 and 2007, and it is more likely that an individual will get struck by lightning than they will commit voter fraud. In the lawsuit brought by the ACLU against Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, the state formally acknowledged that no in-person voter fraud has occurred in Pennsylvania and they don’t expect any to occur in November.” Think Progress
Let see if I understand this. One side is claiming that voter purges and stricter voter ID laws are needed to prevent or stop a problem that at least in the case of the State of Pennsylvania, was not a problem in the past or likely in the future.
If there is no legitimate voter fraud problem now or in the near past, should these voter purges and voter ID laws be considered Voter Fraud? If so, why and if not, why not?
Additional sources: The Brennan Center