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"I See Dead People (Voting)":

An analysis of state-wide records by the Poughkeepsie Journal reveals that 77,000 dead people remain on election rolls in New York State, and some 2,600 may have managed to vote after they had died. The study also found that Democrats are more successful at voting after death than Republicans, by a margin of four-to-one, largely because so many dead people seem to vote in Democrat-dominated New York City. (Link via Ed Still's VoteLaw.)

UPDATE: Contrary to the suggestion of some commentators, I made no claim of fraud. It's obvious that dead people are not actually voting (at least, obvious to those of us who reject claims of the paranormal). So, to repeat a finding that dead people are voting simply means that either a) live people are casting fraudulent votes in the name of dead people, or b) live people casting their own votes are wrongly listed as being dead. As some commentators noted, the story swuggests the latter is as, if not much more, likely than the former. Either way, official records show people voted who are supposed to be dead. In any event, I wrote that "some 2,600 dead people may" have voted, but I probably should have said "up to" or "as many as" to be more precise.

For much more on this than you may want to read, see Mark Kleiman's post here.

llamasex (mail) (www):
"The study also found that Democrats are more successful at voting after death than Republicans, by a margin of four-to-one, largely because so many dead people seem to vote in Democrat-dominated New York City"

Wow that is some horrible methodology. You don't see the huge leap in logic there?
10.29.2006 1:37pm
liberty (mail) (www):
yeah, i missed the deadline to register in my new state (gonna vote absentee in my old state) but I was thinking that maybe if I was a dead democrat they'd waive the deadline for me. Or maybe if I hurry up and get a felony record, then I could claim discrimination on the basis of criminal past or race or something, and just show my death certificate. Ah well, one more chance to vote against Bill Richardson.
10.29.2006 1:37pm
liberty (mail) (www):
llamasex,
that wasn't a leap of logic, it was an explanation of the results. the dead voted democrat, it was not an assumption.
10.29.2006 1:40pm
Carleton Wu (mail):
So out of around 7M voters, something like %.03 were dead voters (if this is accurate). While this ought to be corrected, it doesn't come close to the number of votes invalidated by old machines, or (if we've going to get partisan) the long delays suffered by inner-city Ohio voters in 2004 (while GOP-leaning districts recorded short lines, black voters in Cleveland faced lines of 4+ hours on Election Day).

For every person genuinely interested in improving the voting process there are a dozen partisan hacks whose primary concern is implementing *only* those improvements that aid their side- even supporting 'improvements' which would disenfranchise more voters than the number of false votes they would prevent.
10.29.2006 1:43pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
llamasex,
that wasn't a leap of logic, it was an explanation of the results. the dead voted democrat, it was not an assumption.


liberty, no it isn't an explaination of the results. No one knows who the dead actually voted for. Its not like the dead keep their voting habits. If you read the actual article The numbers do not indicate how much fraud is the result of dead voters in New York, only the potential for it. Typically, records of votes by the dead are the result of bookkeeping errors and do not mean any extra ballots were actually cast
10.29.2006 1:52pm
liberty (mail) (www):
llama,

I read this "Democrats who cast votes after they died outnumbered Republicans by more than 4 to 1. The reason: Most of them came from Democrat-dominated New York City, where the higher population produced more matches. " as saying that dead registered Democrats outnumbered dead registered Republicans by 4-1 with the caveat that this is likely due to the fact that this was in a heavily Democratic area.
10.29.2006 2:13pm
DK:
Yes, that's exactly it. Any votes recorded for dead people should be presumtively valid because they probably represent "bookkeeping" errors. And any attempts to prevent "bookkeeping" errors by requiring photo id should be presumptively unconstitutional, as they discriminate against people of heartbeat-challenged status.
10.29.2006 2:14pm
Harry:
Being a Journal subscriber and having read the original article in the dead tree version, the News Journal is slightly editted down. Try the original for the next 7 days Here

It gives the methodology, and a valid explanation for Betty L. Johnson voting. The online version still doesn't show the book you sign that was in the dead tree version. When you sign, it is upside down to the original version the book for comparasion. Very hard to do.
10.29.2006 2:14pm
plunge (mail):
I wonder how many of those voting dead people people voted absentee?

Most studies, including the Congressional one that the Republicans suppressed, seem to say that the dangers of fraud is way way higher with absentee voting, since the entire transaction can take place entirely via mail, without the need for anyone to show up and fake who they are at the polling place, and the data on the dead seems to bear this out. Of course, all efforts to root out voter fraud seem to be focused on the in-person kind rather than the absentee kind.

I know of one town in Virginia where the Kilgore party machine holds sway, where "voting headstones" is virtually a cottage industry in the local elections.
10.29.2006 2:16pm
Bored Lawyer:
And just what is wrong with dead people voting? Just because we have a 200 year old tradition not to allow it is no reason why that rule is constitutionally sound.

After all, voting is a fundamental right, as much as marriage is.

And the dead are a Constitutionally suspect class -- they are in the weakest position in society. There is little they can do to fight back against any discrimination against them.

Heck, the whole of inheritance law is nothing more than a conspriracy for the living to deprive the dead of their rightful property! I mean, here you slave away for 50 or more years, accumulate your wealth, and then, boom, you die and everything but a casket and small plot of earth is taken away from you! What a ripoff!

So you heard it here first. Call the ACLU.

Suffrage for the dead. It's the wave of the future.

(After that, the right to the ultimate in "mixed" marriages. The living marrying the dead. Clearly no different than Loving v. Virginia. And this time, no settling for civil unions.)
10.29.2006 2:36pm
plunge (mail):
Heck, according to Ramesh Ponnuru, dead bodies are human organisms deserving of the same rights as the rest of us. Autopsies are thus re-murders and should be prohibited by law.
10.29.2006 2:46pm
Justin (mail):
The vast majority of "dead voters" are the wrong names checked off on the paper-used DC voting rolls that the volunteers use. So now we're talking about probably less than 100 fraudualant
"dead" voters compared to the tens of thousands who would be disenfranchised in NY by a strict ID requirement, the tens to hundreds of thousands who are disenfranchised due to poor voting machines, and the hundreds or thousands of (mostly Republican) votes in absentee voting that are fraudulant.

Yea, this is a nonpartisan study. Sure.
10.29.2006 2:58pm
zooba:
Dead Democrats in hell vote Republican.
10.29.2006 3:39pm
Cornellian (mail):
"The study also found that Democrats are more successful at voting after death than Republicans, by a margin of four-to-one, largely because so many dead people seem to vote in Democrat-dominated New York City"

So who says the Republican base is more committed to showing up at election time?
10.29.2006 3:59pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
liberty, no it isn't an explaination of the results. No one knows who the dead actually voted for.


Llamasex, reading is fundamental. He said nothing about "who the dead actually voted for." He said who the dead who voted were. A 'dead' Democrat may have 'voted' for a Republican.


Wow, Justin, you never fail to amaze me with your ability to simply make up all the facts you like.
10.29.2006 3:59pm
Justin (mail):
David, it never ceases to amaze how little you know how to read or think.

From the article, for instance:

"In most cases, instances of dead voters can be attributed to database mismatches and clerical errors. For instance, the Social Security Administration admits there are people in its master death index who are not dead."

"So it came as some surprise to his daughter that the Ulster County Board of Elections had a record of him voting in the 2004 general election. Again, there was no fraud. Ulster officials found that an absentee ballot cast by Vermilye's son, Jamie, had mistakenly been added to his father's record.

"I was willing to assume it was a clerical error," Weiss said. "I am so proud to be from New York, and not a state like Florida or Ohio. But it is discouraging to see even a state (like New York) - that hasn't been revealed to have problems that have made it onto the national radar - is rife with problems of its own."

Even the Poughkipsee Record's study, trying to find actual instances of fraud, found MAYBE one. Which may have been fraud. Or it may have been two people with the same/similar name, as in the case of Vermilye.

The study here doesn't show any fraud. It shows, as we know, that clerical errors could cause an error rate as of high as 0.03% of the electorate. Whether there is any actual fraud up and beyond that, there is absolutely no evidence. And certainly there is no evidence that there is Democratic fraud, as much as you'd like to say - only that the NYCBOE are, as one would suspect, less able to scrub the voter lists of actual dead voters, leading to more clerical errors.
10.29.2006 4:12pm
Carleton Wu (mail):
Interesting that the original article's "
10.29.2006 4:25pm
picpoule:
Bored Lawyer: I love that screen name!
10.29.2006 4:26pm
Carleton Wu (mail):
Intesesting that the original article's "...as many as 2,600 of them have cast votes..." became "...some 2,600 may have managed to vote..." in the summary.
Jonathan also managed to avoid mentioning this tidibt: "In most cases, instances of dead voters can be attributed to database mismatches and clerical errors."

A shoddy, partisan attempt at a summary.
10.29.2006 4:31pm
Ron Hardin (mail) (www):
It's just marginal fraud, not a big deal. It just means (taking the Republican side) that you have to win with 51% instead of 50%. It's therefore not a threat to democracy.

Systematic things that affect everybody are more likely to matter to the functioning of democracy. Say not being able to talk about incumbents 60 days before an election.

Or court challenges to everything about every vote that doesn't go your way, instead of being a man about it and taking the results that come out, with marginal fraud or not, in favor of the functioning of the system.
10.29.2006 4:47pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Bored Lawyer, that was hilariously funny.

Says the "Dog"
10.29.2006 4:51pm
plunge (mail):
Note that it doesn't say anything about how people voted: it just says that more Democrats did. That IS something you can know, person to person, based on party registration.
10.29.2006 4:52pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
if it wasn't for dead and illegal voters, Charlie Rangel would be out of a job...
10.29.2006 4:53pm
lee (mail):


So since "night" starts at 6:00 p.m and the polls don't close til 8 we have 2 hours of "Night of the Living(and voting)Dead.
10.29.2006 4:57pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Carleton Wu : I voted in Indiana in a (heavily) republican area and it took me four hours. Of course, this might have been because I voted the same place the entirety of Purdue's campus did.

Do you think it might, just maybe, have been due to population density? Or, if that's not the case, why is it likely for election officials (who are elected officials, which therefor should match the political orientation of the locale) hurt their own party?

Sadly, we can't figure out who really voted, or who they voted for, so there's no real way to punish fraud after the fact.;
10.29.2006 5:17pm
Mark Kleiman (mail) (www):
Jonathan, your post is shockingly inaccurate, well below the standards of this site.

First, it fails to ask the obvious question: is 77,000 "dead" voters, of whom 2600 might have voted, large or small compared to the voting population of New York State, which cast about 10 million votes in a Presidential election? The answer, of course, is that the numbers are so small as to be negligible, certainly much smaller than the numbers of people denied the right to vote due to clerical error (or, in states such as Florida, deliberate fraud by the Secretary of State), or who would be disenfranchised by a law requiring photo ID for every voter. (Perhaps it's hard for blog readers to grasp, but there are actually people in this country without driver's licenses.)

But put that aside, and look back at the story you cite (and which Glenn Reynolds is glad to cite in your name). Has either of you read the story? It makes clear that in fact the reporter detected not a single instance of actual voter fraud. It also makes clear that the Social Security file is imperfect, sometimes listing someone as dead because his or her spouse died. So in fact there's no evidence whatever in the story that dead people voted in New York, only that two databases disagreed in less than 1% of their records.

Chalk it up as one more effort by Republicans to change the subject from disenfranchisement, which is a known and demonstrable problem, to fraudulent voting, which is not.
10.29.2006 5:19pm
dick thompson (mail):
Carleton Wu,

BTW as to the Cleveland voting problems in 2004, you do realize that the staffing of precincts and the provision of ballots and machines is the responsibility of the country election board and that in Cleveland it is overwhelmingly democratic. In addition in precincts other than black precincts, more people voted with fewer machines than in the black precincts in that election.

You might also include the statistics that Pennsylvania was decided by fewer votes than Ohio and in the city of Philadelphia many of the precincts had more votes than they did eligible voters.

BTW I live in NYC and in order for me to vote I have to provide an ID so that I can sign the register when I vote. It is not an option. Check the Kew Gardens section of Queens if you don't believe me.

The whole issue of voter ID is really ludicrous. You have to provide a photo ID to get a job legally and yet you can provide a utility bill, mail to you at the proper address, driver's license, welfare ID, SSN, passport - the possibilities in Ohio were endless as to what would be accepted and yet the democrats were still claiming that the voters would be disenfranchised. Actually more voters would be disenfranchised by not having ID. My friend from Dayton has worked at previous elections and she told me that she has seen people walk in, check the voter list and then go in and sign up as a name on the list and cast the ballot. Then when the real person comes in later the vote has already been cast. Nice!! That is true disenfranchisement.
10.29.2006 5:27pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
The vast majority of "dead voters" are the wrong names checked off on the paper-used DC voting rolls that the volunteers use.
The article provides no evidentiary support for this claim, but one might conclude it from reading this article.
So now we're talking about probably less than 100 fraudualant
"dead" voters
But you just picked this number out of a hat; you have no basis for this claim at all.
compared to the tens of thousands who would be disenfranchised in NY by a strict ID requirement,
Or for this one.
the tens to hundreds of thousands who are disenfranchised due to poor voting machines,
Or for this one.
and the hundreds or thousands of (mostly Republican)
Or for this one.
votes in absentee voting that are fraudulant.
Or for this one.

Oh, and the word is spelled "fraudulent."
10.29.2006 5:35pm
DustyR (mail) (www):
But I remain comforted that, by Eliot Spitzer's tireless efforts, New York State's rigorous voter registration system oversight prevents even dead people from voting more than once.
10.29.2006 5:49pm
AppSocRes (mail):
Mark Kleiman: In reasonably attacking the partisan mis-representation of a Wall Street Journal article you seem to be unreasonably perpetuating two further partsian myths:

(1) That Katherine Harris somehow committed a fraud in the 2000 Florida presidential election. All she ever did was follow Florida law and certify the election results. This was literally her sole role in the election. (Local election commissions -- controlled by Democrats in all the areas contested by Gore -- would have been responsible for any electoral fraud.) The Florida Supreme Court demanded that Katherine Harris not follow the election laws passed by the Florida legislature, claiming that these laws were trumped by a vague passage in the preamble to Florida's state constitution. The US Supreme Court ultimately found Ms Harris in the right by a 9-0 and then a 5-4 decision. Hardly fraud on the part of Florida's Secretary of State.

(2)The idea that a valid photo id be required at a polling station was a reccomendation by a congressionally-mamdated, non-partisan commission (one of whose chairs was ex-president Jimmy Carter). No current voter ID law requires a drivers license, just some valid form of photo id. In states with this law, there are a variety of photo id options available to anyone. There are also provisions that persons without such id can cast a provisional vote and confirm it later with an appropriate id. Certainly, it seems reasonable that when photo ids are required for something as insignificant as buying beer or cigarettes, their use to validate the ultimate sacrament of democracy is both reasonable and -- given the amount of fraud both sides seem to be complaining about -- necessary.
10.29.2006 5:53pm
Justin (mail):
So the article represents the things I say as true, but doesn't prove them to your exacting standards, so even as I use rough numbers and words such as "probably," you are amazed at my "ability to simply make up all the facts you like," particularly when those facts are suggested by the article's report of its finding.

What amazes me (other than your belated attempt to read the article and try to find some superficial way to defend yourself) is how easily amazed you, in fact, are.
10.29.2006 5:53pm
DustyR (mail) (www):
Personally, I think dead people ought to continue to be able to vote until the tax man has lefteth.
10.29.2006 5:58pm
Speaking the Obvious:
There's a fascinating sociological slant to all this. Here we know from the economics literature that there is no rational point in voting--the expected utility of voting is orders of magnitude less than the expected costs--and yet the societal pressure to vote is so strong that despite this fact even the dead vote...
10.29.2006 6:03pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
I think if a dead person cares enough to rise from the grave to vote, we should let them. It certainly shows more commitment than most voters, and allows them to express preferences on issues of vital issues of importance to all Necro-Americans.
10.29.2006 6:05pm
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
Mark --

Where are the inaccuracies? I made no claim of fraud, and hardly suggested there were enough "dead" votes to sway an election. I noted that "some 2,600 dead people may" have voted. (I probably should have said "up to" but that's hardly a major inaccuracy.) Moreover, failing to ask the "obvious" question hardly makes the post inaccurate. (Indeed, I assumed -- perhaps wrongly -- that VC readers would realize that 77,000 and 2,600 are tiny numbers in a state the size of New York.)

It's obvious that dead people are not actually voting (at least, obvious to those of us who reject claims of the paranormal). So, to repeat a finding that dead people are voting necessarily simply means that either a) live people are casting fraudulent votes in the name of dead people, or b) live people casting their own votes are wrongly listed as being dead. As I made no claim one way or the other in this regard, I do not see why you are so upset - and certainly see no basis for your alleging my post was inaccurate.

JHA
10.29.2006 6:26pm
VFB (mail):
I was a New York resident who voted illegally in the past. (although unlike most of the people in survey, I voted Republican.) I was interested in politics as a kid, so I registered to vote as a fifteen years old. I was born in 1977. However, rather than lie and say I was four years older than I am on the registration form I mailed in, I wrote I was born in 1952, because I was afraid, (probably unreasonably) about having a problem with selective service registration. I voted by absentee ballot for George Bush, Sr., because I was afraid that as a fifteen year old, I would look obviously underage to the election workers.

I voted for Pataki in 1994 at the voting booth figuring it’s hard to tell the difference between someone 17 and 18. I hadn’t realized that my age would be printed on the registration form that that the election workers see. No one said anything to me when I voted, but a neighbor who was one spot behind me on line said that after I left the voting place, one election worker told the other, “can you believe he’s 42, he doesn’t look a day over twenty.”

That same year, I got Pataki a few other extra illegal votes. My underage friends, who were about as weird as me thought that it was cool to vote illegally. I gave them the idea that if they identified themselves as former neighbors they could probably vote in those people’s name. (No ID was required then.) I assumed that when people relocate, they do not contract the board of elections to unregister to vote, so their names will still be registered, but they would not show up. Three of my friends successfully voted that way. I joked that if Pataki won by three votes or less, I would be owed a state job.
10.29.2006 6:44pm
Le Messurier (mail):
Mark Kleiman

...who would be disenfranchised by a law requiring photo ID for every voter. (Perhaps it's hard for blog readers to grasp, but there are actually people in this country without driver's licenses.)



Oh my God! The humanity! Those poor people who can't go to a state office and get a state issued photo ID. They only have two years between national elections to do so. I know, I know they may not have tansportation. (But they can get to a polling place?). This is so sad that these people are disenfranchised. It's not their fault that they are either lazy, stupid or paranoid (It's a STATE ID after all)

My beer runneth over with tears.
10.29.2006 6:46pm
lucia (mail) (www):
JHA: You missed another possibility. A live person comes in to vote. The poll worker wrongly checks the wrong persons form, indicating they gave the ballot to a dead person.

When I worked the polls, I was constantly nervous about the possibility I would check that person A voted when, in reality, person B voted and consequently disenfranchise person A when they arrived to vote! (Of course, if person A is actually dead, that wouldn't be a problem.)

The process is designed to make this mistake difficult to make--but the very first time I worked the polls, two out of three of us at the table had never worked the polls before. The experienced poll worker has worked them once. I think we got got the procedure down pat around 8 am -- but early morning voting is one of the busiest times. I'd hardly be surprised if we committed some clerical errors before 8 am!
10.29.2006 6:56pm
Houston Lawyer:
About Jimmy Carter and voter I.D., one of his signature accomplishments in Georgia was preventing dead people from voting. Apparently in Georgia, tradition had it that a husband could vote for a dead wife and vice versa, because they knew how the dead person would have voted. Carter stopped this.
10.29.2006 7:34pm
Huh:
David, is it necessary to conduct or cite an empirical study for every assertion made in a blog comment, or is that kind of evidence needed only when we disagree with you?

Just wondering, because that is, like, SO much work.
10.29.2006 7:34pm
lucia (mail) (www):
I know they may not have tansportation. (But they can get to a polling place?).


My polling place is within walking distance. I definitely have to drive to the DMV.

For what it's worth, I have no particular objection to requiring photo ids, provided some sort of valid voter ID can be obtained without requiring the voter to pay any sort of fee to the state. This includes not requiring the voter to pay a fee to obtain the necessary underlying documents required to obtain the "free" state id.

Cost free photo ids should be possible provided the state absorbs the cost of the program.
10.29.2006 7:34pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
This topic is generally a good test of how many dupes still think that the Republican Party acts in good faith on the question of voter fraud. Now, actual cases of the sorts of voter fraud that these various ID requirements allegedly stop are scarce. I don't want to say that they are non-existent, but scarce. On the other hand…

Item: Katherine Harris hired a firm whose officers were GOP officials to conduct a purge of convicted felons, who are not allowed to vote in Florida. This had nothing to do with the mess in counting the votes, this is all before. The purge was unbelievably sloppy, striking out people with the same very common names as convicted felons. By accident (not!), the black community that votes Democratic was disproportionately affected.

Item: Florida and Jeb! Bush tried (but scrapped under pressure) another unfair voter purge in 2004. The bias turned out to be deliberate. Two databases were used, one of which used a white/black dichotomy, and the other of which used white/black/hispanic. Hispanic felons couldn't possibly match, to the benefit of Republicans, as Florida Hispanics tend to vote Republican. (I won't even get into the 2000 nonsense, although I think a few hours of waterboarding and we'd find out just how Al Gore was robbed.)

Item: The Georgia Voter ID law would have made it extremely difficult for poor urban residents of Atlanta who do not drive to obtain the required ID.
After the reorganization [of DMV offices], there were no DMV offices in Atlanta, a city with a wide black majority. The closest station is at least nine miles away. Fewer than 60 of the state's 159 counties have DMV offices.
The nearest office to central Atlanta is something like two hours away, each direction, by public transportation. As far as I know, proponents of the law didn't adduce one single case of fraud that would be prevented by the new law. (I'm not automatically averse to ID requirements, believe it or not, but when I read these details, I decided that the anti-fraud argument was largely pretextual.)

As far as I can tell, the "fraudulent voter" story is a myth, or at the least a serious distortion of truth, like the falling-off-a-ladder fiction used to advertise "tort reform". The purpose is clearly to disenfranchise marginal voters for the benefit of the Republican Party. As Mark Kleiman points out, the innuendoes in the original post are part of this campaign.
10.29.2006 7:35pm
Mark Kleiman (mail) (www):
Jonathan:

Read the full version of the newspaper story.

There weren't 2600 votes cast on behalf of dead people. There were 2600 people recorded as voting who were on the SSA Master Death List.

Some of them were on the list in error. Others were wrongly recorded as having voted.

Of the seven cases the reporter checked, none was an actual instance of a vote being cast on behalf of a dead person.

All the story really did was to put an upper bound on the size of the problem; if the universe is 2600, and a sample of seven out of that 2600 has no instance of the problem, then it's very unlikely that the actual number of cases is greater than 500, and we don't know that it isn't zero.

The story is about a non-problem, and you erred in implying otherwise.
10.29.2006 7:49pm
DustyR (mail) (www):
Hmmm, doesn't everyone in NY use the 1940's based mechanical voting machines? I don't know, really, but I always thought they did based on seeing them in the news statewide on election day.

I ask because it sounds like lucia is talkig about paper ballots and as a lifelong resident of NY in the Rochester area, we've never used paper ballots.

But even so, why is an election observer checking boxes? Lucia, I don't know about the procedures across NYS. I only know what we do here in my district in NY. Here, we give our name and the Siamese-twinned for election day observers opens the book of names, they find my name which has a space for my signature, and a copy of my signature for reference which they cover until I sign. (To tell the truth, I don't remember whether they ask for ID or not. It seems they do, but I can't be sure, though I'll know in a few days.) I sign and the two (the third mans the curtain and "I voted" stickers which they rotate on doing), a Democrat and a Republican check it. They make note on another sheet of paper to up the count of the number of those who have voted.

Maybe your procedures are different, but I can say without a doubt, under the system we use, the election observer can't screw it up at all by checking the wrong box. I can appreciate the difficulties/complexities of keeping voter rolls up to date, essentially creating the book of names the observers use, but establishing an observer error-free, on-location voting process is not rocket science. Really. Seriously.
10.29.2006 7:59pm
Brett Bellmore:

All the story really did was to put an upper bound on the size of the problem;


No, all it did was put an upper bound on a subset of the problem. Since votes cast on behalf of dead people are scarcely the only form of fraudulent vote ID requirements are intended to attack.
10.29.2006 8:00pm
Carleton Wu (mail):
Dick:
"BTW as to the Cleveland voting problems in 2004, you do realize that the staffing of precincts and the provision of ballots and machines is the responsibility of the country election board and that in Cleveland it is overwhelmingly democratic."

Many decisions are made at the state level, not the country level. Also, counties may not have the financial resources to provide efficient voting to their populations. Some cities (eg Cincinatti, I think) are in majority-GOP counties, although the city itself may be majority-Democratic.
Republicans also took advantage of an archiac Ohio law to challenge as many voters as possible in majority-black districts such as inner-city Cleveland, in order to slow the process down &intimidate voters. In any case, check out the link further down to the wikipedia page on the 2004 election in Ohio.

"You might also include the statistics that Pennsylvania was decided by fewer votes than Ohio and in the city of Philadelphia many of the precincts had more votes than they did eligible voters. "

Cite, please. I havent heard anything about problems in Penn, whereas the issues in Ohio are well-documented. See:
Wikipedia on the 2004 election in Ohio
The fundamental point here isn't that one side cheats more than the other- it's that the "dead voter" problem described by the post a)appears to be mostly clerical error and b)is tiny compared to the actual problems in our election system.
People who are more concerned with trivial problems like the "dead voter" problem than with actual, serious problems (both parties constantly have 'errors' where votes are double-counted or get lost, but it seems that no one ever goes to jail) make me suspect their motives.

"My friend from Dayton has worked at previous elections and she told me that she has seen people walk in, check the voter list and then go in and sign up as a name on the list and cast the ballot. Then when the real person comes in later the vote has already been cast. Nice!! That is true disenfranchisement."

Fraud is disenfranchisement. So is removing legitimate voters from the rolls. So is voting the dead. So is using archiac machines that throw out 3+% of votes. So is clogging the polling place by challenging every voter. etc.

AppSocRes:
"That Katherine Harris somehow committed a fraud in the 2000 Florida presidential election. All she ever did was follow Florida law and certify the election results. This was literally her sole role in the election."

Literally, she was also part of the scheme to kick a bunch of registered voters off of the rolls because they had a the same race &a similar name to a felon. Literally thousands of legitimate voters were removed from the rolls. This was literally an impediment to their ability to vote.
Blacks were literally targets by this process; although hispanics commit felonies above the national average, the list contained only a few hispanic names.

"The Florida Supreme Court demanded that Katherine Harris not follow the election laws passed by the Florida legislature, claiming that these laws were trumped by a vague passage in the preamble to Florida's state constitution. The US Supreme Court ultimately found Ms Harris in the right by a 9-0 and then a 5-4 decision."

Bush v Gopre has absolutely nothing, that is, literally zero, to do with the Florida Sec of State. There were two USSC decisions handed down at different times during the 2000 fiasco; Harris was involved with the first. The second was Bush v Gore.
And, fwiw, the Florida Supreme Court *was* following Florida law in the second decision. The USSC decided that the Equal Protection Clause had been violated, and that (although Florida law doesn't mention it) the Florida election had to be completed by the Safe Harbor date.
You can believe that the Equal Protection violation was real (ie not a bogus decision), but if you think that Bush v Gore had anything to do with the FSC reinterpreting Florida law, you are ignorant &ought not opine on the subject.
10.29.2006 8:06pm
Steve Lubet (mail):
Liberty said: "yeah, i missed the deadline to register in my new state (gonna vote absentee in my old state) but I was thinking that maybe if I was a dead democrat they'd waive the deadline for me."

Uh, Liberty, don't you know that it's illegal to vote in a state where you no longer live, even if you're still registered there. I would think that even a live Republican would understand that.
10.29.2006 8:22pm
MnZ (mail):
The purpose is clearly to disenfranchise marginal voters for the benefit of the Republican Party.


Couldn't someone just want the US to conform to accepted international best-practices for voting? Voter IDs are used in democracies throughout the world.
10.29.2006 8:36pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):

Couldn't someone just want the US to conform to accepted international best-practices for voting? Voter IDs are used in democracies throughout the world.

No, not when they are as hard to obtain as in Georgia. It's no accident that all of these plans are designed to make in-person voting as difficult as possible for the poor and elderly. (The previous law in Georgia also required ID, but non-photo-ID like a utility bill sufficed.) I'm actually not against voter ID. I'm against voter ID that is suspiciously difficult for some voters to obtain.

(Of course, other democracies throughout the world tend to have compulsory official national ID cards, which changes matters.)
10.29.2006 9:05pm
lucia (mail) (www):
DustyR>I ask because it sounds like lucia is talkig about paper ballots and as a lifelong resident of NY in the Rochester area, we've never used paper ballots.

Our system involves no box checking -- someone else described box checking. That doesn't mean it's not possible to mis-identify who voted! The difficulties are also not associated with paper ballots-- though our ballots were paper.

First, I worked the twice about 4 years ago, so some of these details may be wrong. But, I'll related the gist of what I remember so as to explain what sort of things can happen. As I said the first time I worked it, two of us had never worked the polls and the third had worked them exactly one time. There were no other pollworkers.

Our procedure shares similarities with yours but has some differences.

The important one (if I remember correctly) was we physically pull a sheet of record showing all the signatures out of the voter rolls and place it in a big binder, they are supposed to be numbered and placed in the binder in order. Of course, the tally should match the number of people who had voted. I think at different points, there were several bits of paper being shuffled back and forth between the people checking whether or not someone is on the polls and the people handing out the ballots.

In principle, it is very difficult to pull the wrong bit of paper and misfile it. However, it is not impossible!

What happened early in the morning was: two of us did not have a clue we were supposed to put some numbers on some sheet somehow associated with the voter, then tear it out and put it in a special binder. (I think there was some other record we were supposed to assemble-- and at least one of us didn't know we were supposed to assemble it.)

Anyway, we were merrily going along thinking we were doing everything just fine-- checking people, passing bits of paper around, but not creating this "file".

This lasted for about an hour, then the "experienced" worker said, "ok, now there's a break! Let's cross check and make sure the number of votes recorded by the voting machine matches the number of votes cast."

At that point, we discovered we were supposed to cross check some records we weren't creating with each other and also compare a tally the ballot box automatically took. (Opps.)

At that point, we began flip through the voter rolls, find the records with signatures tear them out and put then in the binder to recreate the missing record. (There may have been other issues -- I don't remember. I did this 4 years ago! I was definitely concerned we could make clerical errors in pulling out wrong sheets, or putting them in incorrect order or what not. )

By 9 am, we all thought we had everything in order, and we periodically rechecked a variety of records to make sure they were consistent. But, in the process of trying to get the records in order, I would not be surprised if our error rate in tearing out sheets had exceeding 0.03%!

If this sounds like incompetence possibly interfering with a "foolproof system": it was. But, incompetence is sort of to be expected when you consider the following factors:

a) Ideally, poll workers should be trained. Because our county has trouble attracting poll workers, the two of us saw ads less than 3 weeks before the election. We volunteered. I got my "training" materials in the mail two days before the election. The brand spanking new other worker had similar training. (In fairness: The county does run multi-hour in house training sessions. In principle everyone is supposed to have attended. In practice, if the county doesn't have enough bodies to work the election, and someone volunteers after the last possible training day,they'll take you!)

b) Ideally, the poll procedures don't change so the experienced workers are already experienced with the procedure and can make sure the other pollworkers know what they are doing. I worked after the 2000 election. The ballot machines were new to her.

The "experienced" worker didn't know how to assemble it, and arrived 15-30 minutes before polls were to open (as recommended in our instructions). She found me waiting for her outside the locked building. We waited a few minutes, and the janitor unlocked the building. For some reason, our polling station had no tables. So, instead of discussing the general procedures for polling, we spent some time finding janitors to bring us tables. (BTW-- voters arrived before the table did. )

We also did the normal stuff like putting up the cardboard privacy booths and and getting the ballot box to work. Beause of the table issue, we actually opened the polls 15-30 minutes late. (Also btw: The voters were all very nice to us. )

The result was, we had two entirely untrained pollworkers, and a third who'd done it once trying to handle the early pulse of morning workers very expeditiously with no errors.

In the end, everything actually seemed to work out. In fact, by about 9 am, everything seemed to be running smoothly.

But could we have missed forms, pulled out wrong forms or committed clerical errors during the initial confused period ? Absolutely!

Now, you probably think: But that was only one polling place. Well... the trained worker revealed to me the situation or mostly untrained workers was happened the first timeand only time she'd worked polls previously. The second time I worked the polls, I discovered it really was more or less normal. (Though,the second time, we at least had tables in place when we arrived in the morning.)

Overall, I'm surprised the whole system works as well as it does!
10.29.2006 9:42pm
plunge (mail):
I concur. If the US had an actual national citizen ID system like in all those countries, that would be one thing. But it doesn't. We can't just pretend that it does.

Personally, I don't really see the problem with having one. But I'm not making that call.
10.29.2006 9:53pm
Dave in W-S (mail):
"I'm actually not against voter ID. I'm against voter ID that is suspiciously difficult for some voters to obtain."

I'm actually for voter ID. I'm against voter ID that is no ID at all, like a utility bill that could belong to anyone. I'd like the system to be fair, but strongly feel that some of the critiques of voter ID fall into the category of unreasonable. Free birth certificates? Get real. I had to produce birth certificates to register my four children in school. Guess who had to pay for them. Guess who has to pay even for the children of the hopelessly poor. Yep, it's the parents. Unfair? Not really. There is a cost to the individual to be a functioning , participating member of society. Some of that cost is financial, like paying for copies of vital statistic records. Some of it is time, like riding public transportation to get to a driver's license office located where a higher density of drivers lives.

Voter ID should become mandatory for all federal elections beginning with 2008. That would give 2 years for those who have lived their lives thus far with no form of acceptable ID to obtain one. It would also give 2 years for defenders of the downtrodden to find ways to make certain that even the iffiest of the what-if cases gets the opportunity to receive an ID, with no undue hardship. Maybe by getting mobile ID facilities to support target populations by scheduling days at community centers and senior centers. Would that take a taxpayer investment? Sure, but I think most of us would rather absorb a limited cost to ensure people's rights are safeguarded - the poor and disabled as well as the voter who doesn't want to be disenfranchised by fraud - than throw out the whole notion because it isn't perfect.
10.29.2006 10:02pm
plunge (mail):
"There is a cost to the individual to be a functioning , participating member of society."

In terms of voting, we call those "poll taxes."
10.29.2006 10:20pm
lucia (mail) (www):
David in W-S: I'm not for throwing out an otherwise good notion just because it's not perfect. But why not design the system to eliminate those imperfections that are easily remedied?

If birth certificates are going to be required for so many things including access to public education or voting, why shouldn't birth certificates be available for free?

It's not as though we can't get all sorts of records from the state for free. I'd think if the representative democracy decides universal national or state ID's are necessary to vote, the state should be willing to pay the financial costs out of state coffers.
10.29.2006 10:36pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Dave in W-S: I have no objection to your program in the abstract. The particular implementation in Georgia (probably elsewhere) seem to me very heavily tilted towards disenfranchising qualified voters compared to eliminated fraud that has not yet moved beyond rumor. Enough so, I would add, the I believe that discouraging certain classes from voting is the intent, not a crocodile-tear-regretted side effect.
10.29.2006 10:48pm
Justin (mail):
We're completely off topic, but I'm all for having a national health care and full welfare system that requires a national ID to get benefits for, with that national ID being available for free and being required for voting.

I'm also for, like in many other countries, a law requiring people to vote (including the choice of voting, actively, to abstain) or pay a small fine, unless indignant.
10.29.2006 10:48pm
lucia (mail) (www):
Well, if we are going to go off topic, I'm not for national health care or a full welfare system!

As to requiring people to vote: Why not require the dead to vote and fine them unless indignant?
10.29.2006 10:52pm
Dave in W-S (mail):
"It's not as though we can't get all sorts of records from the state for free. I'd think if the representative democracy decides universal national or state ID's are necessary to vote, the state should be willing to pay the financial costs out of state coffers."

First, who said anything about a universal ID. I believe most voter ID laws or propsals recognize a variety of legally issued photo IDs as valid for voting.

Second, requiring a photo ID to vote is not even remotely a poll tax, nor does paying a fee to obtain the legal documents to prove identity and eligibility meet the criteria for a poll tax. A poll tax is defined as:
A tax that must be paid by every member of the community regardless of their income. With a poll tax, each person has to pay the same amount of money.

An ID is not a tax, it is proof of identity and fraud prevention. The locales I have read about with ID provisions have had exceptions in the fee structure for those with limited means, which to me eliminates any possibility of categorizing it as a poll tax per the definition above. A fee for legal documentation of birth, etc., is not even a tax. A tax is defined as:
1. A contribution for the support of a government required of persons, groups, or businesses within the domain of that government.
2. A fee or dues levied on the members of an organization to meet its expenses.
Birth certificates are required for a whole host of things in contemporary American life. If they were only needed in order to obtain a voter ID and for no other purpose, then there might be a legitimate complaint. But they are not; proof of birth is required for any number of things. Therefore, requiring a fee be paid to obtain a certified copy does not constitute a tax of any kind.

Third, as to the contention that "...the state should be willing to pay the financial costs out of state coffers...", the state has no resources beyond what they take from the taxpayers. So it's not just a matter of tapping into an amorphous "state coffer", it's increasing costs for all taxpayers, in a widening spiral of entitlement. Free ID's? Sounds simple, but think of the bureaucracy, the equipment, the real property, etc., required to support this free entitlement. Free birth certificates? More infrastructure.

I do not accept "...that discouraging certain classes from voting is the intent, not a crocodile-tear-regretted side effect." In fact, sir, I resent the implication in the extreme. I have no desire to disenfranchise any legally entitled voter, but I certainly do not wish to have my vote neutralized, stolen or made meaningless by voter fraud. And for those who argue that they see no evidence that there is any type of widespread, sytemized voter fraud, I will just say that either you have not been paying attention or you are willfully dishonest.
10.29.2006 11:46pm
JB:
Lucia: I'd be indignant if I was dead and forced to vote! (I think you mean indigent)
10.30.2006 12:00am
David M. Nieporent (www):
In terms of voting, we call those "poll taxes."
We do? Do we also call the cost of gas required to drive to the polling place a "poll tax"?
10.30.2006 12:17am
lucia (mail) (www):
JB: Well, I was sort of chuckling at the typo in Justin's post. I do suspect he meant indigent, but we'll have to ask him!
10.30.2006 12:48am
lucia (mail) (www):
Free ID's? Sounds simple, but think of the bureaucracy, the equipment, the real property, etc., required to support this free entitlement. Free birth certificates? More infrastructure.


Why would free birth certificates require more infrastructure than we already have to record the births, maintain the records, collect the fees and send the birth certificates out?

I think your point is the infrastructure must be paid somehow, and that's true. But if the item is used as a universal item required by all-- and specifically required to permit people to exercise their franchise in a representative democracy -- why not make that be one of the things the state pays for out state coffers and not out of individual fees? Is anyone afraid that if the certificate are cost free, people will suddenly start requesting a zillion billion copies of their birth certificates, thus bankrupting the state?

Anyway, if we really can't afford free birth certificates, couldn't we pay for the free birth certificates by abolishing Congresses franking privilege?
10.30.2006 1:04am
Lev:
Election Board warns thousands they may not be registered to vote

The St. Louis Election Board has mailed letters to thousands of people who tried to register to vote, asking them to take additional steps to complete their registrations, just days before the Nov. 7 election.The letters went to people named on 5,000 of the registration cards turned in by ACORN, a group that has been accused of turning in thousands of bogus cards in St. Louis and Kansas City and other states.
10.30.2006 1:23am
Alaska Jack (mail):
So, you need a birth certificate to get an ID. OK. What proof do you need to get a birth certificate? This isn't sarcastic -- I'm genuinely curious. I wouldn't want it to be easy to obtain a false state ID.

- Alaska Jack
10.30.2006 1:37am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Dave in W-S: Let me make clear, I don't believe that requiring voter ID is, by itself, intended to disenfranchise legitimate voters. Unlike many liberals, I don't even have a problem with a national ID card. However, the voter ID program in Georgia (and perhaps in Arizona and Ohio) is sufficiently burdensome and the alleged fraudulent voting so unattested that I believe placing a great burden on lawful indigent voters was the true intent and the fraud issue is a red herring. In fact, leaving voter ID out of it, the location of DMV offices nowhere near the largest city in the state seems to me like a bizarre approach to delivery of government services. I guess the State government is indifferent to certain of its residents’ welfare. (By way of comparison, Manhattan alone contains three full service and one limited service New York DMV offices.)

I don't believe I have mentioned yet that voter ID will do nothing to stop fraudulent use of absentee ballots, and historically absentee ballots have been more Republican than the electorate as a whole.

This might also be a good place to record my cynical amusement at the fact the same people who assured us that Diebold's black box voting machines are honest, notwithstanding the CEO's dedication to the Republican Party, have suddenly discovered a problem with voting machine software now that Venezuelan programmers are in the mix.
10.30.2006 2:09am
anonVCfan:
You're all bigots. Dead people are still people and have rights just like you and me, and to say that they're somehow less deserving of the privilege of participating in our government just astounds me. I have yet to hear a decent argument against allowing them to vote.
10.30.2006 6:56am
Mark in Texas (mail):
There is probably less vote fraud in New York today than there was ten or twenty years ago. For the most part, everybody knows that vote fraus is a crime and so it is only used in close elections. That is why the ballots from Broward County were not turned in until after midnight in 2000. They had to know how many fraudulant ballots to punch (you don't get dimpled ballots unless you stick several of them into a machine at the same time which is what people do when they are signing the names of people who did not show up to vote and punching Vote-O-Matic cards after the polls close).

Since so many Republicans moved out of New York State when Mario Cuomo drove out the employers, there is no longer much need for vote fraud there any more. In any event, voting dead people is so old school. Most vote fraud these days consists or registering imaginary people. The trend is also to use absentee ballots because it is cheaper and less trouble than driving minivans full of people from polling place to polling place and handing out voter registration cards at each stop.
10.30.2006 7:47am
Justin (mail):
Yes, it was a typo.
10.30.2006 8:24am
Duffy Pratt (mail):
Doesn't the Ken Lay example show that the dead are entitled to due process, and thus are persons under the Fifth Amendment?

So why shouldn't they still have the right to vote?

On the other point, was Doc Daneeka one of the dead voters?
10.30.2006 9:21am
lucia (mail) (www):
Alaska Jack> So, you need a birth certificate to get an ID. OK. What proof do you need to get a birth certificate?


It probably varies depending on where you were born. However, here ar Illinois' requirements:

When ordering a birth record, you will need to provide the following information:

* the child's full name at birth;
* date of birth;
* the city and county where the birth occurred (including hospital, if known);
* the name of the parent(s) shown on the record, including the mother's maiden name; and
* A legible/readable copy of your valid photo identification card.

Birth records can be ordered online, by mail, by fax or in person.

The minimum fee is $10.

Source: State of Il. Web site.
I'm not entirely sure what type of valid photo id is required. I'm also not sure how you submit a copy of a valid photo id on line.

I understand illegal aliens do manage to obtain fake birth certificates often through a black market. When obtained this way, the fee paid to the people who faciliate the transaction vastly exceeds the $10 state fee.
10.30.2006 9:26am
byomtov (mail):
" Contrary to the suggestion of some commentators, I made no claim of fraud"

No. You hinted at it but were careful to avoid making an explicit claim so you could fall back on this sort of denial if you were shown to be full of it, as you have been.
10.30.2006 11:32am
byomtov (mail):
We do? Do we also call the cost of gas required to drive to the polling place a "poll tax"?

In what jurisdiction are people not allowed to vote if they walk to the polling place, use public transportation, or get a ride?
10.30.2006 12:31pm
A.S.:
In what jurisdiction are people not allowed to vote if they walk to the polling place, use public transportation, or get a ride?

Any jurisdiction in which it is too far or too difficult for a person to walk, there is no public transport, and the person in question can't get a ride.
10.30.2006 12:51pm
lucia (mail) (www):
I can't speak for others, but the concern I experssed was with requiring people to fork over money to a government body to vote. I am against both direct and indirect poll taxes, which I define as forking over money to a state, federal or county governement or one of its agencies.

I have some concerns about transportation to polling places or government offices, but those are somewhat different and my standard is not "the governement must place a county clerk's office of DMV within walking distance of all voters."
10.30.2006 3:00pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
We do? Do we also call the cost of gas required to drive to the polling place a "poll tax"?

In what jurisdiction are people not allowed to vote if they walk to the polling place, use public transportation, or get a ride?
(1) In what jurisdiction is public transportation free, and (2) if they 'get a ride,' aren't they simply getting someone else to pay their 'poll tax'? And if that's an acceptable alternative, then why can't they just get someone else to pay the 'poll tax' of ID costs? (If all these left-wing groups suing to overturn ID requirements instead donated the money which they're spending on these suits directly to getting people IDs, wouldn't that solve the alleged problem? And wouldn't that benefit these people in other ways, too, since there are so many things one can't do without an ID?)

I'll give you walking. As long as all members of the electorate are within walking distance of their polling place. Is that the case? Or do some people have to pay the 'poll tax' of transportation costs?
10.30.2006 3:22pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Andrew - that most absentee ballots are Republican does not mean that most absentee ballot fraud is Republican. Look at both the proven scandals (i.e., court involvement in elections) and the reported scandals (i.e., news stories) - both have a preponderance of Democrats involved (interestingly, most of these scandals have arisen in the context of local elections, where it was a candidate/campaign, and not a political party, responsible). In California, the Democrats even chose as the chairman of the State Assembly Elections and Reapportionment Committee a man (Ed Vincent) who had been found by a court (published opinion, Hardeman v. Thomas) to have been personally involved as mayor of Inglewood in absentee ballot fraud in an Inglewood city council election (he was coercing elderly voters into voting for his preferred candidate)!

If you want a ready source of large-scale absentee ballot fraud, look to nursing homes. In some of these places, hundreds of absentee ballots come back with signatures that are illegible scrawls or X's. How do you know whether these were sent by the residents themselves, or by some employee who sequestered the ballots?

I worked for a GOP campaign at the L.A. County Registrar's Office in the 2002 general election post-election counting of election day absentee and provisional ballots. I personally observed more than 70 absentee ballots (from 6 different addresses that were nursing homes, assisted living homes, or board-and-care facilities) that were illegibly signed and that were brought into polling places by the same person. I noticed no legibly signed ballots brought in by that person. It's highly suspicious, and I challenged the ballots, but since no one (here I blame GOP staffers who had no clue what they were doing and didn't go to those facilities to talk to people) investigated and produced evidence, the challenges were dismissed.

Nick
10.30.2006 3:29pm
Colin (mail):
(1) In what jurisdiction is public transportation free, and (2) if they 'get a ride,' aren't they simply getting someone else to pay their 'poll tax'? And if that's an acceptable alternative, then why can't they just get someone else to pay the 'poll tax' of ID costs?

Surely you can see what's wrong with those two points.
10.30.2006 4:10pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Sorry, Colin: too cryptic for me. I need more detail.
10.30.2006 4:15pm
Colin (mail):
The legal and moral criticism of poll taxes is vitiated when the expenditure you're proposing is carried by the state equally for all potential voters. It's absurd to characterize public transportation, which is free to the user, as a form of poll tax.

Your second point is even weirder. The shortest and simplest criticism is that "catching a ride" imposes no marginal cost on the driver (assuming he's also going to vote). That is categorically different from asking someone else to pay a mandatory ID fee, which is a highly personal and unique expenditure.

Both points run afoul of the character of the barriers in question. Poll taxes are a categorical ban to the set of citizens who cannot afford to pay them. Inaccessible polling sites may be inaccessible without some expenditure, but (A) authorities take pains to make sites as accessible as possible and (B) the barrier isn't categorical in any event (given ride sharing, public transport, walking, absentee voting, voter ferries, etc.).

I don't really have a dog in this hunt. I haven't thought the voter-ID issue through, and haven't picked a side. But I couldn't let your two points pass without comment, because both seemed very inapplicable to the argument.
10.30.2006 4:35pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
It's absurd to characterize public transportation, which is free to the user, as a form of poll tax.
I agree, but you somehow misread my point, which was this: since when is public transportation free to the user? I ride the subways as well as NJ Transit trains and buses quite a bit, and I don't seem to recall them ever offering to comp me.

Your second point is even weirder. The shortest and simplest criticism is that "catching a ride" imposes no marginal cost on the driver (assuming he's also going to vote). That is categorically different from asking someone else to pay a mandatory ID fee, which is a highly personal and unique expenditure.
Even assuming the person is giving you a ride with him on his way to the polling place, unless the person actually lives with you (or lives close enough to walk to your house, or lives exactly on the route from your house to the polling place), there will be some marginal cost. Of course, any of those things could be true in any particular case, but we're not talking about what could be true in some cases; we're talking about each and every case. After all, the argument about IDs isn't that nobody has them, but that some people don't have them. If we can identify any case in which a person has no way to get to the polling place except by expending money, isn't that a "poll tax" on that person?
10.30.2006 4:55pm
Colin (mail):
since when is public transportation free to the user? I ride the subways as well as NJ Transit trains and buses quite a bit, and I don't seem to recall them ever offering to comp me.

I did misread your point. Fair enough. But, as far as I know, $2 (or thereabout) is a de minimis expense. Also, many indigents (such as the elderly) will have access to vouchers or reduced fares, or free alternatives such as walking, ride sharing, or ferries. None of this is true with actual poll taxes, where there are no alternatives to paying the required amount (which must be high enough to be a real burden, or else there is no invidious effect).

If we can identify any case in which a person has no way to get to the polling place except by expending money, isn't that a "poll tax" on that person?

That's a good question. I'd have to put some more thought into it, but I'd say no - the amount would have to be above some (more or less arbitrary) de minimis amount, and have an effect on more than just a few people. And free alternatives can't be discounted. Even if it's very impractical to walk to a polling place, maybe even so impractical that no one actually does it, that's still categorically different from a poll tax. With a poll tax, there is and can be no alternative.
10.30.2006 5:04pm
dick thompson (mail):
Carleton,

The decisions on the design of the ballot and the manning of the precincts is made at the country level, not the state level. Your statement to check the Wikipedia is useless because anyone can change the Wikipedia statements. The challenges of the voters in the inner city precincts could be very valid. Just because there were challenges there does not mean that the challenges were by definition invalid. In addition, where are you more likely to see someone paid to vote, in the inner city in poverty areas or in the expensive suburbs? You are therefore more liable to see voting challenges in the inner city than in the suburbs. That is just common sense. Even when the election board was informed that there were long lines in the black areas, why did they not do something about it. It is not up to the state to do that, it is up to the election board. They are the ones who are supposed to be on top of what is going on with the election.

Of course there was not a lot of reporting in the MSM about the Pennsylvania election. The MSM is preponderately democratic and the democrats won in Pennsylvania. They would not want to rock the boat by following up on all the complaints about vote counts in Philly.

Check out the vote counts in Milwaukee where there was also more votes than voters. The problem was that when the absentee ballots were opened, the clerks separated the ballots and the envelopes. At that point how could you challenge an absentee ballot and ensure that you removed the proper vote from the list if the absentee ballot was invalidly cast. You had lost the chain of possession so you could not validly challenge who the vote was cast for. This is also a major roadblock to vote by mail IMNSHO. Unless you can keep the identification of ballot and envelope together until the voter is certified eligible, then you have the potential for fraud big time.
10.30.2006 5:18pm
Purple Avenger (mail) (www):
I don't suppose Erastus Corning was one of the dead voters? That slippery old SOB would do something like that ;->
10.30.2006 7:18pm
BigGRIT (mail):
Quoting Andrew J. Lazurus:
Item: The Georgia Voter ID law would have made it extremely difficult for poor urban residents of Atlanta who do not drive to obtain the required ID.

After the reorganization [of DMV offices], there were no DMV offices in Atlanta, a city with a wide black majority. The closest station is at least nine miles away. Fewer than 60 of the state's 159 counties have DMV offices.

The nearest office to central Atlanta is something like two hours away, each direction, by public transportation. As far as I know, proponents of the law didn't adduce one single case of fraud that would be prevented by the new law. (I'm not automatically averse to ID requirements, believe it or not, but when I read these details, I decided that the anti-fraud argument was largely pretextual.)


Um, there are a few points you are overlooking here:
1. The nearest DMV office to Central Atlanta is the Main Office in Downtown Atlanta on Capitol Avenue - which is not 9 miles from the center of town, but actually IN the center of Atlanta. The next closest one is in Decatur. That one is 9 miles away. There is also one in Forrest Park which is 10 miles away.

2. It does not take 2 hours on public transportation. MARTA has problems, but they are not that extreme. I used to ride it to and from work daily. Have you?

3. Atlanta proper is divided into two counties, Fulton and Dekalb, with Fulton having the major portion. Due to the unique shape of the counties, there are DMV offices in counties other than Fulton that may be closer.

4. The ID cards were to be free, all the person had to do was get to a DMV. We have many forms of public transportation with the major one being MARTA.

5. The majority of people that live in Atlanta proper live either on the very south or the very north of Fulton, or Dekalb County. The majority of Metro Atlantans do not even live in Atlanta, they live in one of the myriad of suburbs.

You might want to double-check your facts just a bit more.
10.31.2006 1:59am