Sunday, May 20, 2007

ACVR: Gone but not forgotten

On Friday, Slate posted an important piece on an organization that the Brad Blog has been following for some time.

The American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) has been one of the major promoters of the phony "vote fraud" meme behind the push for "voter ID" laws, etc. In the wake of the US attorney scandal where DOJ is taking getting heat for replacing US attorneys (ostensibly) for not pursuing vote fraud cases where there was no evidence to support them, ACVR has closed up shop, vanishing almost overnight:

Its Web domain name has suddenly expired, its reports are all gone (except where they have been preserved by its opponents), and its general counsel, Mark "Thor" Hearne, has cleansed his résumé of affiliation with the group. Hearne won't speak to the press about ACVR's demise.

The death of ACVR says a lot about the Republican strategy of raising voter fraud as a crisis in American elections. Presidential adviser Karl Rove and his allies, who have been ghostbusting illusory dead and fictional voters since the contested 2000 election, apparently mounted a two-pronged attack. One part of that attack, at the heart of the current Justice Department scandals, involved getting the DoJ and various U.S. attorneys in battleground states to vigorously prosecute cases of voter fraud. That prong has failed. After exhaustive effort, the Department of Justice discovered virtually no polling-place voter fraud, and its efforts to fire the U.S. attorneys in battleground states who did not push the voter-fraud line enough has backfired. Even if Attorney General Gonzales declines to resign his position, his reputation has been irreparably damaged.

But not enough to quash the push back home in Texas for voter ID. As the Houston Chronicle reports:
Republicans like the voter ID bill because they believe it will weaken Democrats, but can argue that it is a reasonable requirement.

[. . .]

In his letter, [Texas Lt. Gov.] Dewhurst cited "independent polls, like one recently conducted by Austin-based Baselice & Associates." [Base-lice?]

Mike Baselice isn't exactly independent. He is Gov. Rick Perry's pollster and most of his clients are Republicans.

[. . .]

The poll found 95 percent of Republicans, 91 percent of independents and 87 percent of Democrats support using photo IDs.

[. . .]

Among Republicans it is an "article of religious faith that voter fraud is causing us to lose elections," Masset said. He doesn't agree with that, but does believe that requiring photo IDs could cause enough of a dropoff in legitimate Democratic voting to add 3 percent to the Republican vote.
As the editors at Marvel say, 'Nuff said.

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