Tuesday, December 06, 2005

'No organized voter fraud' in Milwaukee;

GOP prosecutor discovers the obvious

UPDATE: Republican Chair Rick Graber peeps up. And I do mean peeps. This is the whole statement. Not a word about IDs.

“In light of the results of the U.S. Attorney’s investigation into voter fraud in Milwaukee, the Republican Party of Wisconsin continues to maintain that one case of voter fraud is one too many. The investigation is still ongoing, with more prosecutions possible. Moreover, this does not take into account the problems with voter fraud that have been uncovered statewide. We continue to believe that, in the interest of both parties and for the sake of restoring integrity to the election system, we need to be vigilant in weeding out and preventing voter fraud.”

Given how many times I've written on this subject, I would be remiss if I did not say I told you so. And the Republicans are strangely silent today.

From the front page of today's Journal Sentinel:

No vote fraud plot found
Inquiry leads to isolated cases, Biskupic says


The nearly yearlong investigation into voter fraud in 2004 has yielded no evidence of a broad conspiracy to try to steal an election, U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic said Monday.

He predicted that perhaps "a couple of dozen" isolated cases of suspected fraud might be charged, and he said that sloppy recordkeeping by election officials was a key impediment to proving such cases.

Nothing in the cases that his office has examined has shown a plot to try to tip an election, Biskupic said during a meeting with Journal Sentinel editors and reporters.

Critics had raised such fears of partisan voter fraud schemes in the election aftermath. But Biskupic said, "I wouldn't say that at all."

He said, "We don't see a massive conspiracy to alter the election in Milwaukee, one way or another."

Biskupic, a Republican whom President Bush appointed in 2002, and Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann, a Democrat, announced a joint effort to investigate allegations of illegal voting in January. . .

Just for the record, here is the scorecard:

Four of the 18 people accused of felonies in the investigation have been convicted, officials said Monday.

Here is the breakdown of cases:

Federal prosecutors have charged 14 people: 10 felons with voting illegally and four people with double voting.

Four of the felons accused of illegal voting were convicted, one was acquitted and five cases are pending, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Frohling said.

None of the four people charged with double voting has been convicted. Charges against one person were dismissed because of mental incompetence, one person was acquitted, one trial resulted in a hung jury, and one person who agreed initially to plead guilty now wants a trial, Frohling said.

Two of those charged with double voting were driven to several polling places in the same van, but the driver hasn't been identified, and no evidence of an organized conspiracy has been uncovered, Frohling said.

McCann's office has charged four people with felonies in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Two people affiliated with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now were charged with filing false voter registrations, and two felons were accused of illegal voting. None of those cases has been resolved.
Please remember that 277,000 people voted in the city in the last presidential election. Eighteen people have been charged. Four have been convicted.

But the fairy tale of "massive voter fraud" in Milwaukee, has been repeated endlessly by the Republicans and reported hysterically by the media, especially the Journal Sentinel, which has killed entire forests to print its long stories on the subject.

Milwaukee's "fraud" has become the rationale for requiring every voter in Wisconsin to show a photo ID card at the polls.

The real reason Republicans want to do that is to discourage the poor and minorities from voting, because they tend to vote Democratic and are less likely to havthete required IDs. The elderly also will be affected, but they are not really the GOP's target.

The GOP-run legislature has repeatedly passed a photo ID bill and sent it to Gov. Jim Doyle for his certain veto. They have never been willing to compromise and offer a bill that would require ID without disenfranchising tens of thousands of people. Now they are proposing a constitutional amendment to require photo IDs.

What is the crisis that requires us to amend the state constitution, impose another burden on voters, and create a bigger bureaucracy?

It's not the felons who voted. Photo ID would not have helped, because they used their own names. (There are steps being taken to prevent felons from voting in future elections, however.)
So just what is the problem the GOP is trying to solve? Simple: Too many Democrats voting in Milwaukee. They are not trying to steal the election; they are simply trying to win it.

So are the Republicans, by keeping Democrats away from the polls and making it as hard as possible for them to vote.

Today's story.


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