African-American former Congressman supports voter ID, concerned about fraud

 

Artur Davis (D) - US Representative

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So the left would have you believe that the voter fraud debate is really about racist Republicans trying to prevent African-Americans and other minorities from voting. The New York Times ran this argument earlier this month, conveniently ignoring that the right-wing bastion Rhode Island passed a voter ID sponsored by leading African-Americans and Latinos, all Democrats.

 

Well, today we are greeted by an op-ed by former Congressman Artur Davis, who was one of the shining lights of African-American Southern Democrats. Davis says that he made a mistake in opposing voter ID and that the real thing that needs immediate action is “manufactured” ballots in Alabama’s Black Belt, which refers to the color of the dirt.

Let’s check out Davis’s own words, which are pretty striking:

I’ve changed my mind on voter ID laws — I think Alabama did the right thing in passing one — and I wish I had gotten it right when I was in political office.

When I was a congressman, I took the path of least resistance on this subject for an African American politician. Without any evidence to back it up, I lapsed into the rhetoric of various partisans and activists who contend that requiring photo identification to vote is a suppression tactic aimed at thwarting black voter participation.

The truth is that the most aggressive contemporary voter suppression in the African American community, at least in Alabama, is the wholesale manufacture of ballots, at the polls and absentee, in parts of the Black Belt.

Now, it is worth pointing out the record that we are talking about here. He is addressing a real problem. After all, Alabama has an extraordinary record of convictions for election fraud. Let’s give some examples:

  • Heritage noted in 2008 a long record of the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference working hard to stop investigations of election fraud that resulted in the convictions of 11 people involved in long-term vote “manufacturing.”
  • In 2010, a Pike County Commissioner plead guilty to absentee voter fraud. She knowingly submitted improperly witnessed and/or fabricated ballots in an election she won by 6 votes. The election was eventually overturned by a judge.
  • In 2009, two women plead guilty to absentee ballot fraud. In grand jury testimony related to an event in 2004, they testified that they witnessed a bunch of absentee ballots in room, misspelling the names of the people that they were voting for.
  • In 2010, the former Hale County Court Clerk plead guilty to a number of charges relating to the 2004 and 2005 elections. The indictment found that she was committing fraud for a number of candidates including her brother and her husband.
  • In 2008, even NPR had a report about the problems in Alabama.
Now that former Congressman Davis is not dependent on the votes and support of this corrupt machine, he can tell the truth about it that anyone with access to Google News or any decent news archive sees plainly.

Fraud in signature collection for Obama and Hillary in 2008

Getting a candidate on the ballot in Indiana is not easy. I know, from first hand experience, that many campaigns struggle to do it. But it now appears that in 2008, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton took a short-cut. They just cheated.

It turns out that someone appears to have forged the signature of former Democratic Governor Joe Kernan on the petition to get Barack Obama on the ballot:

Former Gov. Joe Kernan says a signature on a petition to place Barack Obama‘s name on Indiana’s 2008 primary ballot isn’t his, putting him among dozens of dubious signatures found in a newspaper’s investigation.

While that is the appealing headline that gets lots of attention, the more nefarious story is that it happened on a more systematic basis:

The Tribune first reported Sunday that it and the Howey Politics Indiana newsletter had found pages from Clinton and Obama petitions with names and signatures that appear to have been copied by hand from a petition for 2008 Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jim Schellinger. The petitions were filed with the Indiana Election Division after the St. Joseph County Voter Registration Office verified individuals’ information on the documents.

Copying pages and pages of names demonstrates a certain level of disregard that is a little hard to imagine. Every time I have seen a campaign doing ballot access, there is relatively continuous oversight as campaigns try to figure out whether they need to spend more money for paid collectors, where they need to engage more volunteers, etc. It is hard for me to imagine how a campaign could be so disengaged from the details that something like this would happen. Especially to two campaigns (and the only ones on the ballot, as I recall). This is important stuff. You don’t just let the local guys do it without oversight.

Especially when the local guys are Chicago and northern Indiana, where there appears to be a pattern of  systemic fraud.  I noted some precinct results from Chicago that got over 100% turnout in previous elections. Both the Alderman and his dad went to prison for misusing their office for personal gain. Chicago is notorious for ongoing problems. And Indiana had one of the most remarkable cases of election fraud in the 2003 East Chicago Democratic mayoral primary in which 32 people plead guilty to varieties of election fraud.

Rhode Island and Voter ID

Today, the New York Times has an editorial attacking so-called voter ID bills. According to Democratic and New York Times (but I repeat myself) mythmaking, voter ID is a racist Republican scheme to stop minorities and Democrats from voting:

Of course the Republicans passing these laws never acknowledge their real purpose, which is to turn away from the polls people who are more likely to vote Democratic, particularly the young, the poor, the elderly and minorities. They insist that laws requiring government identification cards to vote are only to protect the sanctity of the ballot from unscrupulous voters.

When I read this piece, I thought I might have missed a discussion of Rhode Island, which might be called an inconvenient truth for the Democratic conspiracy theorists. Let me remind you what happened in Rhode Island. As the Providence Journal noted when the bill passed:

This year, voter-ID legislation was backed by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, including two prominent black lawmakers: House Speaker Gordon D. Fox and Sen. Harold M. Metts. Sen. Juan M. Pichardo, the first Latino elected to a Rhode Island Senate seat and the first Dominican-American elected to a state senate seat in the country, also supported it. Fox, Metts and Pichardo are Providence Democrats.

So the Democrat, African-American Speaker of the Rhode Island House, the leading African-American state Senator, and the first Dominican elected state Senator in the country all supported the bill. They are all Democrats.

I wonder what the New York Times explanation of why these Democrats and minority leaders supported a voter ID bill. And I wonder why the Grey Lady didn’t mention this dreaded provision passing in a deep, deep blue state like Rhode Island… Maybe it is just an inconvenient truth?

The Senate passes GOP FAA extension after White House freaks out

Yesterday the press announced a bipartisan compromise over the FAA. Of course, that wasn’t what happened. One reporter told me that the deal was bipartisan because “that was how Reid framed it in his statement.” What really happened was that Harry Reid and Senate Democrats proved themselves to be venal, the press fell down on the job, the White House had a panic attack, and the bipartisan deal seems to be brokered between the White House’s token Republican, Ray LaHood and Harry Reid. So here’s what actually happened.

Senate Democrats decided to go home after the debt ceiling bill was passed. They ignored the FAA situation completely. A Reid staffer told the Washington Post:

But the administration’s effort faltered by late afternoon, with Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson saying that the Senate would not allow House Republicans “to jam through a policy” in a stop-gap funding extension bill.

Just a couple of hours ago, that’s precisely what happened. The Senate passed the House bill, and after a couple of weeks, construction restarts and the FAA goes back to work. So the record is clear: Harry Reid made a decision to leave 75k+ workers stranded.

But once attention shifted from the debt ceiling to the alleged “pivot” to jobs, people realized what Harry Reid’s decision meant. It meant that 75k people would be effectively unemployed. That might show up in the early September job number (recall that Congress was coming back September 7th). That’s a pretty lousy way to start a jobs pivot, eh?

So the White House freaked out. The Department of Transportation blamed Congress. The DNC claimed that Republicans weren’t compromising. But the blood was on their hands. Harry Reid left them hanging.

And this morning he ate crow and decided to let people work over his vanity. Thanks Harry. The American people know what you mean when you care about jobs… You mean fake attacks on Republicans.

Dem official pleads guilty in NY election fraud investigation

In Jaunary, I wrote about indictments in a New York State election fraud investigation. In a September 2009 Working Families Party primary in Troy, NY, there were allegations of voter fraud. Two Democratic members of the Troy City Council were indicted on 116 charges related to absentee voter fraud.

Now the (Democratic) City Clerk has resigned and plead guilty to a felony as part of the investigation. He is also singing. The Clerk, William McInerney is a Democratic Committeeman, and the police seem to have the goods on him going back to at least 2007, suggesting that this may be a way of life in Troy, NY.

The plea offer made to McInerney, a Democrat, is based, in part, on information compiled by State Police showing McInerney may have helped forge absentee ballots in previous campaigns dating to at least 2007.

McInerney, 47, is a former state Assembly worker who has been a Democratic committeeman in Troy for years. He was appointed to the clerk’s position by the City Council when Democrats took control of the Troy council in January 2008.

Just to emphasize the point: this guy was appointed by the Democrats to run elections in 2008. The cops have him for election fraud back to 2007. So the Democrats appointed someone who knew how to steal elections to run elections.

In January, I noted that there may be something systematic about this, as one of the indicted Democratic officials is also the son of a Democratic official who was convicted of voter fraud. From the Times Union:

For the McDonoughs, this is the second time in 20 years that a family member has been indicted. McDonough’s father, the late Rensselaer County Democratic Party Chairman Edward F. McDonough Jr., was indicted by a federal grand jury, convicted and sentenced to federal prison in 1994 for a municipal insurance kickback scheme that brought him $637,000.

It looks like this McDonough fellow will be a prime target of McInerney’s cooperation:

State Police, in court documents, have said they have evidence that McDonough delivered a bundle of forged WFP absentee ballots to McInerney on the eve of the 2009 primary election.

I would note that absentee voter fraud seems to be the easiest and most common form of voter fraud in our country these days. Today, Taegen Goddard, a Democratic operative, quoted from a book by former Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Tom Glaze entitled Waiting for the Cemetary Vote:

“If you want to steal an election, the absentee box is the place to begin, and if you want to calculate the likelihood of fraud in a county, first figure the percentage of its total vote that is cast in absentia.”

Questions for Mitt Romney on RomneyCare

Later today, Mitt Romney will be giving a speech about ObamaCare. My first thought when I heard this was that it was a great way to change the subject from his own record in Massachusetts. After all, the question is really about what Mitt Romney did and what he learned about it.

Therefore, I submit some questions to his campaign and I urge the press to ask them:

  1. If you were to run for and be elected Governor of Massachusetts would your first act be a repeal of Romneycare?
  2. Which parts of Romneycare do you still like?
  3. For which states do you think Romneycare would be a good model? What is different about those states?
  4. When did you change your mind and begin opposing federal individual mandates, considering that you like mandates and believe they work?
  5. Why did you change your mind on a federal mandate?
  6. Why did you sign a bill that covers abortions?
  7. Why did you sign a bill that would explode government costs without doing a single thing to offset them?
  8. Why did you completely eliminate competition in the health care marketplace by limiting the number of insurance plans?
  9. Why did you think that government was best positioned to negotiate rates with insurance companies instead of letting the market work?
  10. What would you say to small business owners who now have 6 more pages of rules and regulations on their tax forms thanks to Romneycare?
  11. Do you still think that Romneycare is a model for the nation?
  12. When did you change your mind about any of the above questions? Was it about the same time that it became politically convenient for you to do so?

A conservative transformation in Canada

On Monday, the Conservative Party of Canada took its first majority in its history. This was a victory on several levels. First, after a disastrous 1993 election in which the Progressive Conservative party was reduced to two seats after its base split off in the west into the Reform Party and rise of the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec. Now a reconstituted Conservative Party (note the absence of the word “progressive”) with a different geographic base and electoral logic is dominant. Second, the regionalism that marked that 1993, has been replaced by what could come to be a two party system. The “natural governing”, center-left Liberal Party has been reduced to little more than 10% of Parliament. The Bloc Quebecois Quebec nationalist party has been reduced to 4 seats, the minimum necessary to be recognized as a party. And now, for the first time in Canadian history, the New Democratic Party, a leftist social democratic party will be the Opposition party.

There are several lessons for American conservatives.

The first is something that I have been banging away at for a while. The left has lost the political debate throughout the industrial world. Austerity has won in Europe. Economic stability has won in Canada. In this election, the NDP called for raising the corporate tax rate to 19% from 15%, while the “centrist” Liberals only wanted to raise it to 18%. (recall that it is 35% in the US) The gains on the left in this election were about consolidating the vote of the left into more radical positions. The gains on the right were about winning an ideological and polarizing argument in the eyes of mainstream voters. Once again, in another industrial country, in a political battle of ideas, the right won decisively.

Second, polarization and ideological clarity can be a good thing, and we should welcome it. As it became clear that the NDP was going to be the Opposition party in Canada, things became simpler for the Conservatives, and their numbers started to grow. Prime Minister Stephen Harper could argue that there was a clear ideological choice. The NDP wanted to raise taxes and increase spending. And the Conservatives wanted smaller government and restraint. The voters of Canada went with smaller government and restraint. People on the right of the Liberal party fled to Conservatives fled to stop the possibility of a left-wing government.

Third, and this will be harder for many American conservatives: immigrants. The conservatives made an unprecedented effort to reach out to “ethnic” voters. Go watch the ads. Each one ends with “finally vote your values.” And they worked. The Conservatives won 60% of the Chinese vote. They won 7 of the 10 targeted “ethnic” ridings. This message of “finally vote your values” was a critical message in getting Indo-Canadian voters, Chinese voters, Italian voters, etc. It was also an important message for driving turnout among more religious voters in places like rural Ontario, where my family is from. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is getting a tremendous amount of credit for this success as a critical component to the overall victory.

At this point, the key question will be how and when the Bloc and the Liberals disappear and how the Conservatives will benefit from that. One of the things that Harper campaigned on was ending public funding for elections. It is likely that both the Liberal Party and the Bloc disappear into bankruptcy: political, ideological, and, indeed, financial. In this election, the Conservatives got approximately 40% of the vote, the NDP got approximately 30%, the Liberals 20%, with minor parties getting the rest. Strategically, Conservatives have four years to turn that 40% to 50% by a variety of mechanisms.

Harper himself is acutely aware of that. Among his election night statements, was one that jumped out at me, “”And we accept that we have a lot more work to do to gain the true confidence of Quebecers. And we’re dedicated to doing that.” This is a plodding but ultimately effective strategy to building a national coalition on ideological terms.

Here, Canadians may be learning a lesson from the United States. On April 18th, the Sun News Network launched. Sun News Network claims to be a populist, small-c conservative media outlet, owned by the Quebec-based media company Quebecor which has a populist separatist/nationalist stance in Quebec. It has been compared to Fox, the New York Post, etc. Sun News can give some cultural coherence to Canadian little-c conservatism, helping to overcome significant regional and ethnic differences. This can help bring Conservatives, so-called Blue Liberals (Liberals on the right end of their party), and Quebec nationalists into a more coherent cultural and narrative alignment. We should never forget that culture, narratives, and ideology are strongly related.

I urge American conservatives to watch Canada over the next four years. Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada have much to teach us about building conservative majorities and consensus in a country that seems and sees itself as much more progressive than it really is.

Small government wins another election in Europe

Forgive me for being a broken record on this, but the right has won yet another election in Europe, this time in Estonia. Last June, I wrote that Keynesianism is dead in Europe as a political force. This weekend, the Estonian right has won another election fought over government spending. The coalition of the right went from 44% of the vote in the last parliamentary election in 2007 to over 50% in this one. The New York Times made it very clear that the left’s attack on the government was that it cut too deeply.

The vote reflects approval for a government that continued to embrace laissez-faire capitalism during the painful months after the global downturn. After Estonia’s economy shrank nearly 15 percent, the state reduced its budget by the equivalent of 9 percent of gross domestic product. Demand fell steeply, and unemployment crept up, early in 2010, to 19.8 percent. […]

Meanwhile, the economy has been projected to grow by 4 percent this year, and unemployment has dropped to around 10 percent, according to the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund.

The opposition leader Edgar Savisaar, the mayor of the capital, Tallinn, and head of the Center Party, argued during the campaign that the government had overlooked the suffering of average people in its drive to join the euro zone.

Just to reiterate this now-tired fact: Keynesianism is dead as a political force in Europe. Small government and economic liberty has been winning elections throughout the continent.

We need to learn the lesson here.

Public employee unions: The big money in politics

A lot of people focus on the federal level when they think about politics. On the day after the 2010 election, I urged people to continue the fights at the state level. The unions — and especially the public employee unions — know that. Recall that in October of last year, the Wall Street Journal broke a very important story that found that AFSCME, the main non-teacher public employee union in the country, was the largest spender of the 2010 election. Their political director said, “we’re the big dog.”

I urge you to turn your eyes to the state level. The National Institute on Money in State Politics has an excellent site on money in state politics. Who are the #1 spenders in state politics? The public employee unions. #2 the gambling industry. In Wisconsin? The teachers unions are first and third, with the trial lawyers in fourth. Oh, and the Democrats themselves are in second.

And ultimately, that’s why the Democrats in the state legislature are AWOL. They are worried about their money getting cut off. You can see what the unions get for their money. They get state legislators who won’t even allow for a vote to ask public employees contribute to their health care and pension, even at levels below the national or Wisconsin average.

However, one of the Democrats has realized the flaw in their plans. A budget requires 20 votes to pass in the state senate. But simply removing the collecting bargaining rights only requires a simple majority. Let’s hope that the Republicans take the opportunity of Democratic absence to deal with the situation appropriately.

NY Dem election official indicted for voter fraud

The 2009 primary election in Troy, NY attracted much attention for election shenanigans from Democratic officials who are associated with the Working Families Party. Well, yesterday, a grand jury issued indictments on 116 charges against a Democratic City Councilmember Michael LaPorto and Democratic Election Commissioner Edward McDonough. The Albany Times-Union and the Troy Record have been all over this.

Basically, those two Democratic officials have been indicted of forging absentee ballot applications and then actually voting those people in the Working Families Party primary. Almost everyone who was voted illegally by these officials were poor people living in housing projects. To make clear what this means: Democratic officials stole the right to vote from poor people.

The Troy Record said:

The charges against them surround some 50 voters who were allegedly deprived of their vote in the Sept. 15, 2009 Working Families Party primary election in Troy. Many were residents of the city’s housing projects.

At a press conference later Friday, Special Prosecutor Trey Smith said many of the alleged victims are the county’s “less fortunate.” Many do not speak English well, he said, while one is deaf and can communicate only in sign language.

The Times Union initially broke the story, pointing out that some people were shocked to find that they had voted.

The scandal was exposed by the Times Union in a Sept. 25, 2009 article that quoted a number of voters who were mystified to learn ballots were cast in their name during the primary.

The indictments resulted from an investigation launched in October 2009 by Smith after allegations arose that Democrats were forging voters’ signatures and casting fraudulent primary ballots.

The Times Union points out that the election official who was indicted learned his Democratic corruption at the knee of his father who was the Chair of the Rensselaer County Democratic Party and who went to federal prison for a municipal insurance kickback scheme:

For the McDonoughs, this is the second time in 20 years that a family member has been indicted. McDonough’s father, the late Rensselaer County Democratic Party Chairman Edward F. McDonough Jr., was indicted by a federal grand jury, convicted and sentenced to federal prison in 1994 for a municipal insurance kickback scheme that brought him $637,000.