|
|
|
The Times
  • Editorial: Voting fraud and voter suppression

  • In a political season in a politicized age, irony provides welcome relief. And it’s usually pretty easy to find, given the tendency of both parties to mimic the other’s transgressions.

    • email print
  • In a political season in a politicized age, irony provides welcome relief. And it’s usually pretty easy to find, given the tendency of both parties to mimic the other’s transgressions.
    Four years ago, for instance, Republicans and their media allies were outraged to find that ACORN, an organization affiliated with Democrats, had reported voter registration fraud. It seems some of the folks ACORN had hired to register new voters had made some names and forged some signatures. Since the workers were paid by the number of voters registered, this comes as little surprise.
    ACORN itself reported most of the transgressions to officials, and the fictional voters never cast ballots. There’s a big difference between voter registration fraud and voting-in-person fraud, though it’s a distinction lost on many Republican state legislators, who used the mini-scandal to bolster their efforts to require photo IDs at the polls.
    The shoe is now officially on the other foot. The Republican National Committee last week cut ties to a private firm it had hired to register voters. The company, Allied Strategic Consulting, had been paid more than $3 million by the RNC, which was embarrassed when Florida officials discovered more than 100 fraudulent voter registration forms filed by the company in several counties.
    In this case it was election officials who spotted the fraudulent forms, not the company whose employees allegedly submitted them. The company, which claims to have registered more than 500,000 voters in 40 states, blamed the fraudulent Florida forms on a single rogue employee.
    Republican officials shouldn’t have been surprised. The man behind Allied Strategic Consulting, Nathan Sproul, is a longtime GOP operative who was accused of similar tactics before. In 2004, Sproul’s firm was investigated for registering voters of both parties – and throwing away the forms of those who had registered as Democrats.
    "The difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn't throw away or change registration documents after they have been filled out," Republican Congressman Chris Cannon told a Congressional hearing in 2008.
    Voter registration fraud appears to be a minor problem local and state election officials ought to be able to contain. In-person voting fraud, on the other hand, is hardly a problem at all, according to independent organizations and agencies that have investigated it.
    The most worrisome problem this election season is partisan voter suppression in the name of combating fraud. There is an irony there that is anything but amusing.
    MetroWest (Mass.) Daily News
      • calendar