May 19, 2008
Abbott's partisan efforts

The Morning News has a nice writeup on the efforts by Attorney General Greg Abbott to root out "vote fraud" in Texas.

More than two years ago, Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott pledged to root out what he called an epidemic of voter fraud in Texas.

He established a special unit in his office, tapped a $1.4 million federal crime-fighting grant and dispatched investigators.

Since then, Mr. Abbott has prosecuted 26 cases - all against Democrats, and almost all involving blacks or Hispanics, a review by The Dallas Morning News shows.

The cases usually have resulted in small fines and little or no jail time, and for all the extra attention, Mr. Abbott has not unraveled any large-scale schemes with the potential to swing elections.


The cases his office pursued largely have involved mail-in ballots. In 18 of the 26 cases, the voters were eligible, votes were properly cast and no vote was changed - but the people who collected the ballots for mailing were prosecuted.

State law makes it a crime to carry someone else's filled-out ballot to the mailbox, unless the carrier puts his or her own name and address on the envelope.

Matt Angle of the Lone Star Project, a group that supports electing Democrats in Texas, said Mr. Abbott mostly has pursued "technical violations" against people who have assisted neighbors, often the elderly or disabled. He said the few ballots involved undercuts Mr. Abbott's claim that vote fraud is epidemic.

"Nobody is disputing that from time to time people in both parties, based on a desire to win, might cheat," Mr. Angle said. "But for these people to be prosecuted so aggressively is really just an exercise in intimidation. They are trying to send a message to a much larger community that voting is a risky business."

Most of what's in this story is familiar to anyone who's followed the work of the Lone Star Project or who read this recent Observer article. It's still nice to see it get some mainstream media attention. The point that I've been trying to make about all this is not that there isn't any such thing as vote fraud, but that 1) Abbott is a partisan hack whose primary interest is in suppressing Democratic turnout and bolstering the case for voter ID; and 2) despite his fervent efforts to root out fraud, he still has not found a single example where the kind of voter ID bill he supports would have made any difference.

Virtually all of the 26 voter-fraud cases Mr. Abbott pursued involve absentee ballots. None would have been prevented by requiring a photo ID at the polls.

Beyond the nakedly partisan agenda at work with voter ID, the problem I have with it is that the proposed "solutions" would do nothing at all to deter the frauds that are known to take place. If there were a serious effort to deal with that, as well as a sincere effort to ensure that people who have voted all their adult lives wouldn't suddenly find themselves declared ineligible because they don't drive or were born at home or whatever, then I'd be willing to discuss possible legal remedies. But it should be clear to all that what's actually being proposed is nothing more than a scheme to make it hard for certain people, who not coincidentally happen to vote Democratic as a general rule, to cast ballots. That ain't right, and I'll fight it every day if I have to. Which seems like as good a reason as any for mentioning the TexBlog PAC, which is within a few bucks of having raised $10K online. Please help us help those who will push back against Abbott's shenanigans.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 19, 2008 to Show Business for Ugly People

I think we need an initiative to automatically repeal laws which do not do what the supporters promise they'll do.

If your deregulation doesn't lower malpractice insurance rates, then the regulation comes right back!

If your voter ID bill doesn't stop fraud (and given the scant measured fraud, good luck), then it gets canned.

Legislators can be rated on what percentage of the time they supported legislature that didn't fulfil the stated goal. We'll call this "% liar".

This is what I'd call accountable government. In no way could it possibly pass.

Posted by: Michael on May 19, 2008 7:41 PM

Dems called the UN over their vote. Of course the republicans have to act different and it may affect the election. They did this in Florida too.

The dems always call the UN when the vote goes against them. Then they pay the UN a bunch of cash. It looks idiotic to those countries that actually do need the UN.

No one will admit to calling up the UN, but, when we find out and we will, it should end the dems election.

Posted by: Niu on May 19, 2008 11:16 PM

UN??? What in the world are you talking about?

This blog entry was about state officials using their powers of office to harrass and intimidate voters from the Democratic party. It's disgusting and it needs to stop.

Posted by: Locutor on May 21, 2008 2:01 PM