Fraudulent allegations of fraud

If you're masochistic like me, you sign up for RNC emails -- if only to marvel at the alternate universe they create among the faithful (visit Free Republic or any open message boards and admire the copy/paste skills employed with the greatest of ease).

The most recent such email positively frothed with allegations of Democrat-led voter fraud across the nation. Which is partly right.

At the very very least, it's clear that there was selective funding for adequate facilities; meaning that with suspicious consistency black (i.e. Democratic) neighborhoods had too few officials and machines, causing unconscionably long lines and forcing an unknowable number to simply not vote. And then there are the cases (I have a friend in Florida who was personally subjected to this so I know it's true) of black voters being harassed and asked whom they're going to vote for, whether they have ID etc.

There's a laundry list of suspicions and allegations (much of which, if true, seem to benefit Republicans), the most laughable of which -- in the "you've got to be joking" sort of way -- is the fact that Bush's campaign chairman in Ohio, Kenneth Blackwell, also happened to be the Secretary of State of Ohio who, as it happens, oversees voting for that state.

But you'll notice my careful language. The whole system (which is something of a misnomer since each district virtually creates its own rules, adhering to a few federal guidelines) is opaque and subject to fraud -- and thus also to unprovable allegations of fraud. And thus, to endless iterations of accusation and uncertainty.

In a post on Bradblog, Joseph Cannon ties corrupt GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff to the already-bogus Republican operation called the American Center for Voting Rights, which alleges Democratic vote tampering. The post lays out the whole convincing case against the ACVR.

Now this begs the observation: Like preemptively accusing someone else of farting while you are the culprit, this corrupt group -- called "a fraud" by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in their editorial entitled, clearly enough, "ACVR is a Fraud" -- doesn't this smack of the GOP laying the groundwork for neutralizing allegations of voter fraud in future elections?

Knowing that most media will just play the he said/she said game and fail to reveal the group's provenance, will they be girded against any public outcry by articles that, in a shortened version look like this: "Group claims voter fraud by GOP, other group claims voter fraud by Dems. My, isn't partisanship getting worse and worse? What, oh what, shall we do about the divide in this country?"

Fortunately, little by little, the Dems are coming forward and calling out these Republican front groups for what they are.

Good.

But this isn't a Democratic or Republican thing. And it's not going to go away by zapping every little blackhead of a group as it surfaces. This must be an effort to ensure that our democracy is a Democracy. The only way to do that is to ensure that each person has equal access to the voting booth (meaning that you don't, as in my case, have one person walk into the booth as they take a 10 minute coffee break to vote while 88-year-olds wait in the hot sun of Florida for 5 hours or more), that every person can verify that their vote was counted, and that, in the aftermath, all questions and concerns can be easily allayed by any observer who has them.

It's a nonpartisan issue and, if you ask me, a winner in terms of strategy. Who wants to oppose fair voting? What do you think? (Bradblog inspired)

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