June 8, 2007



The fraud of the voter-fraud scare
by Jim Hightower

A massive crime wave is sweeping America, and Republicans are in the lead to crack down on the perpetrators. Is it armed robbers they're after? Murderers? Corporate crooks? No. It's voter fraud.

In a country where we can barely get 40 percent of the electorate to go to the polls, GOP operatives are bellowing that voting officials must throw up every roadblock possible to discourage people from casting ballots — in particular, Democrat-type people. From browbeating U.S. attorneys to stampeding legislators, Republican leaders are on a rampage to halt the stealing of elections all across our land.

Hmmm... Where, exactly? Well, everywhere! They say.

Yet, the GOP's highly partisan Justice Department — which has been on a five-year tear to prosecute these dastardly voter villains — concedes that it really can't find a problem. Indeed, they've only been able to come up with 120 people in all of America who could even be charged with casting an illegal ballot — and 40 percent of these were acquitted.

For example, in Wisconsin, where the state Republican chairman made a noisy media splash in 2005 by claiming that he had documentation of several hundred illegal voters in Milwaukee, the federal prosecutor could make a case on only 14 — most of them poor, black Democrats who were first-time voters. And two-thirds of them were found not guilty.

There are simply no widespread, concerted efforts anywhere in the country to tilt elections through fraudulent voting. The few scattered incidents of illegal balloting that do occur are mostly cases of people who don't realize they are ineligible — people with no criminal intent.

If Republican leaders were to put as much effort into easing the way for everyone to vote as they're now putting into trying to shut out low-income people of color, they might become a party with broad appeal.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work — and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown — visit www.jimhightower.com


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