Republicans want you to think there’s a serious voter fraud problem in the United States. Our own president continues to claim that millions of people voted illegally in 2016. But that’s not the case. In fact, it’s not even close to the truth.
Here are the facts: Between 2000 and 2014, Americans cast more than 1 billion ballots. The number of “credible instances of impersonation fraud” in that time span? 31.
That’s right: 31 credible instances of voter fraud out of more than 1 billion ballots.
That’s a rate of 0.00000003.
That rate of voter fraud couldn’t swing an election for HOA president, much less a race with thousands of voters.
Voter Fraud Fears Leveraged for Voter Suppression
You may be wondering: If voter fraud isn’t a problem, why do Republicans want people to think there’s a problem?
Because Republicans want and need a plausible pretense for voter suppression tactics. If they can get you and me to believe there’s a voter fraud problem, they can then pass voter ID laws and other restrictions on voting.
Republicans do best when turnout is low. The Virginia gubernatorial elections are a perfect example:
- In 2009, Republican Bob McDonnell won in a landslide, capturing 1,163,523 votes (58.6%) to his opponent’s 818,909 (41.3%).
- In 2017, Democrat Ralph Northam won in a landslide, capturing 1,409,175 votes (53.9%) to his opponent’s 1,175,731 (45%).
In 2009, 1,163,523 Republican votes were enough to WIN in a landslide. In 2017, 1,175,731 Republican votes were enough to LOSE in a landslide.
The difference: More people showed up.
The Republicans’ solution to this problem: Do anything possible to keep more people from showing up.
2018 Voter Suppression Tactics
In 2018, Republicans are using a series of voter suppression tactics across the country and right here in Texas. These tactics are always aimed at preventing minorities and young voters from casting ballots.
- In North Dakota, the government is requiring voter ID with an actual street address — because the Native Americans who typically vote for Democrats often use PO boxes.
- In Georgia, the government is closing polling places and purging black voters from their rolls.
- In Wisconsin, new voter ID laws led to the lowest presidential election turnout in 16 years.
- In Kansas, the lone polling place in Dodge City was moved outside the city limits and a mile from the nearest bus stop.
- In Texas, students at a traditionally black university may be disenfranchised because of an address snafu.
This is an abbreviated list of the many ways in which Republicans have strived to limit access to the ballot box.
Echoes of Jim Crow
These tactics are the same as those used in the South prior to the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. Black voters could register, but they were forced to:
- Visit registration offices during hours when they wouldn’t be available.
- Pay fees they couldn’t afford.
- Take tests they couldn’t pass.
If we wanted as many people to vote as possible, we would design a voting system that made voting as easy as possible. We would:
- Move Election Day to Saturday, or make Election Day a holiday
- Ban all voter ID laws
- Institute automatic voter registration
- Institute same-day registration
- Greatly expand mail-in ballots and online voting
Texas is among the worst states for ballot access. You must register to vote weeks in advance. You cannot register online. You must print a form, get a stamp and mail it to your county registrar. And then you need an ID to vote. Student IDs issued by public universities are NOT suitable voter ID, but Texas handgun licenses are.
I wonder why that is?
Vote for Change in 2018
As we’ve noted time and time again, we live in an era of minority rule. There’s no great mandate for Republican policies. Millions more people voted for the loser of the last presidential election. Democratic senators represent far more constituents than Republican senators. And Democrats would need to win the House generic ballot by 5% or more just to break even with Republicans.
Oh, and four out of nine Supreme Court justices were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote. One of those four was appointed only after the Republican-controlled Senate refused a hearing for an exceedingly moderate nominee appointed by a Democratic president.
Why? Because Republicans need to pack the court with conservative who will rule in favor of voter ID, gerrymandering, roll purging and other tactics that will keep Republicans in power — so that Republicans can then appoint more federal judges and further insulate themselves from the will of the people.
This is Absurd, Which is Why We Must VOTE
The only way to bring change is to vote out these Republicans as part of a wave election. Democrats are facing a systematic disadvantage, so only a wave election can shake the Republicans out of power.
Early voting started today in Texas. I voted. You should, too. And make sure to vote for Democrats. I’ll always side with the party that thinks America is at its best when more people vote — not less.