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Talking Points: Voter fraud, US Attorneys and Suppressing the Vote

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The idea that fraudulent voting is undermining elections is myth promulgated by the Bush Administration and its partisan partners.

The New York Times reports: “Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.” (In 5-years, scant evidence of voter fraud. New York Times. April 12, 2007.)

 

 

The New York Times editorializes: “The more we learn about the White House’s purge of United States attorneys, the more a single thread runs through it: the Bush administration’s campaign to transform the minor problem of voter fraud into a supposed national scourge.” (The fantasy behind the scandal. New York Times. April 15, 2007.)

Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist, writes: “Republicans seem to believe that if they lost an election, somebody cheated. That delusion has not only led them to chase after unsubstantiated rumors of fake voters but also to put in place unconstitutional restrictions at the ballot box.” (GOP still can't find those FVs — fake voters. Atlanta-Journal-Constitution. April 16, 2007.)

The Akron Beacon Journal concludes: “What has this widespread, systematic pursuit of suspected widespread, systematic fraud produced? Very little -- at the federal level or in Ohio.” (Desperately seeking voter fraud: The evidence puts into perspective the Republican accusations. April 16, 2007.)


The Bush Administration fired Iglesias and McKay because they refused to bring groundless, politically motivated voter fraud cases.

Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff writes that “Iglesias told NEWSWEEK he had been repeatedly pushed by New Mexico GOP officials to prosecute workers for ACORN, an activist group that was registering voters in minority neighborhoods, but he found no cases worth bringing.” (Rove: A moving target. April 11, 2007.)

The Albuquerque Tribune reports that: “Former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was fired after Sen. Pete Domenici, who had been unhappy with Iglesias for some time, made a personal appeal to the White House, the Journal has learned.” (Domenici sought Iglesias Ouster. April 15. 2007.)

The Washington Post reports that “John McKay of Washington state, who had decided two years earlier not to bring voter fraud charges that could have undermined a Democratic victory in a closely fought gubernatorial race, said White House counsel Harriet Miers and her deputy, William Kelley, "asked me why Republicans in the state of Washington would be angry with me." (Ex-prosecutor says he faced partisan questions before firing. March 26, 2007.

 

Partisan voter fraud cases are only the latest instances of Bush Administration’s improper politicization of Justice Dept.

Boston Globe reporter Charlie Savage found that “Hires with traditional civil rights backgrounds […] have plunged. Meanwhile, conservative credentials have risen sharply. Since 2003 the three sections have hired 11 lawyers who said they were members of the conservative Federalist Society. Seven hires in the three sections are listed as members of the Republican National Lawyers Association, including two who volunteered for Bush-Cheney campaigns.” (Civil rights hiring shifted in Bush era. July 23, 2006.)

The McClatchy Papers report “New U.S. attorneys seem to have partisan records.” “Since 2005, McClatchy Newspapers has found, Bush has appointed at least three U.S. attorneys who had worked in the Justice Department's civil rights division when it was rolling back longstanding voting-rights policies aimed at protecting predominantly poor, minority voters.” (March 23, 2007.)

Salon finds that “Since George Bush took office, his administration has been not so quietly dismantling the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, which is responsible for enforcing the nation's civil rights laws, and doing it for the same reason the eight federal prosecutors were fired: to use the enforcement power of the federal government for Republican gain.” (Bush’s long history of politicizing Justice. March 29, 2007.)

Earlier, Washington Post’s Dan Eggan reported, “Many current and former lawyers in the section charge that senior officials have exerted undue political influence in many of the sensitive voting-rights cases the unit handles. Most of the department's major voting-related actions over the past five years have been beneficial to the GOP, they say, including two in Georgia, one in Mississippi and a Texas redistricting plan orchestrated by Rep. Tom DeLay (R) in 2003.” (Politics alleged in voting cases. January 23, 2006.)

 

Selling Americans on the idea that fraudulent voting was undermining elections is a key strategy in passage of restrictive voting laws.

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