I disagree with Hightower.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Voter Fraud

Full disclosure:  I believe that you should have a picture ID to get any of the things that we get  from the government including access to the voting booth.  The government should provide an easy and cost free way of getting  a working ID for voting.

Now how many times have you heard or seen the following argument:
Voter fraud is a fake issue because there have been only a small number of prosecutions for voter fraud.

Here are two more arguments using this reasoning.

You can count the number of drinkers by counting the number of prosecutions for drunkenness.


You can count the number of young women who are engaging in sex by counting how many of them are getting pregnant.


  1. How do you determine when a fraudulent vote has been cast?

    1. Interesting question. And if we put a system in place to prevent fraudulent voting the system itself would destroy the data set we are attempting to tally leaving us not knowing if we solved a huge problem or wasted a lot of effort on a trivial problem.

  2. What seems the most clear to me is that the Republicans calling for these measures are doing so because first and foremost they believe they will hurt the Democrats in elections. I have heard Republicans who are involved in the implementation admit to this when pressed. Surely everyone has. It's not a secret. Same as with redistricting. There is no other reason for it, that we know for a fact, that is valid. It is clear that Republicans believe that these voter ID measures will be just too much work for some people (lazy) who would otherwise have voted Democrat or some Democrats just won't pay enough attention to know what the requirements will be (ignorant and lazy) and they will show up without the requisite documents. Now this says nothing about voter fraud and therefore it could be argued that the proponents are using fraudulent reasoning to enact these voter ID laws. But then again, since it really is no secret what the real purpose behind these laws is no one is being defrauded unknowingly, so that's ok..I guess. Smells bad...at least to me.

    Of course I assume that my, what will be seen as a pro Democrat post will most likely be contested by everyone from the far right all the way to the center. (of course that's only 2 people) I would make the request that the strategy of pointing out some questionable action that "my side" has taken as some kind of "excuse" for this type of political fairy tale being used to promote something that will benefit only one side be avoided. I think it's more productive to take each act to task individually. I think we all know for a fact that one wrong does not forgive another.

    1. Are you assuming that the Rs are assuming that only D voters are lazy or lazy and ignorant?

    2. 1. The original post was about the validity of an argument. I read your (Bruce's) reply, but I still don’t know if you consider the argument valid. Do you think that the argument proves that there is very little voter fraud?
      2. Redistricting is not just there to facilitate gerrymandering. There is an objective reason for redistricting. Reapportionment of the House of Representatives after the decennial census (sometimes) changes a state’s allotment and population shifts within the state cause the districts to become unequal in size.
      3. If I understand your last paragraph it was to request that proposals be addressed on their merit not on who advocates them. Politics aside, do you think that a person should be required to prove their eligibility for a government benefit before they can get it?

    3. 1. I did not realize the subject of your post was that narrow.
      2. I do not believe that the number of voter fraud convictions necessarily correlates to the amount of actual voter fraud.
      3. I already knew why we have redistricting. I think you know that, while it is a valid concept, the original purpose has become secondary to the political uses.
      4. I'm not positive, based on your #3, whether you do understand my last paragraph. I guess the proof will be in the pudding.
      5. I see your last sentence in your #3 as a trap. It's a very black and white question in a very gray world. Like many judgements we are asked to make, the devil is most definitely in the details. The obvious answer is yes. Yet we may disagree on the execution in such a way that you would think that my answer is no. We may disagree philosophically on what is a benefit and what is a right and why the difference is important. We may disagree so strenuously that it appears to you that my answer to your question is the opposite of what I think it is.
      6. Given my 5. Is my answer to your question of any relevance at all? This was the basis for my response to your original post. I think the reason you are asking the question is much more relevant and interesting than the answer to your question.

  3. We certainly do see something differently.

    I believe that my opening statement put my position on the table in a very clear and open fashion (I favor requiring people to prove their eligibility for government benefits or rights) and asked for your view of the opposition’s main argument.

    I am sure that you do NOT take the position that, “You are against it because it would help the Republicans.” I hope that you don’t think that I am trying to trick you. But talk of “traps”, what the Republicans are doing, and whether some action would “help only one side” is available on FoxNews and/or MSNBC and really doesn’t increase my understanding of this issue.

    1. Ok. How about this? Yes, people should be required to prove their eligibility...what you said. So Ok, we agree about that.

      As I said though, the devil is in the details. I will compare it to the safety inspection sticker. This is supposed to "prove" that your car met certain auto safety standards. I was against it from the beginning, not because I am against safe cars, but because having a sticker on your car does not prove that your car met the safety standards. And now you can get a fine, not for having an unsafe vehicle, but for not having a certain piece of paper stuck on your windshield. Does the piece of paper prove that your vehicle is safe? Does the lack thereof prove that it's not safe? Do you see the similarities? It's becomes all about the piece of paper and not about the underlying purpose. Will a photo ID assure no voter fraud? Will the lack of a photo ID prove the lack of otherwise eligibility? Even if we required DNA to prove eligibility there would be no guarantee that there would be no voter fraud. So, even though I agree that one should have to prove eligibility to receive benefits, I am at a loss as to how to do this in a way that guarantees success. I am also at a loss as to how to do this in such a way that will guarantee that every otherwise eligible citizen will be allowed to vote.

  4. I think that I understand now the real essence of where we differ.

    You oppose that which cannot be done in a flawless manner. In Voltaire's words you are among those for whom "the perfect is the enemy of the good".

    I am willing to pay a reasonable extra cost if the imperfect airline mechanics can reduce the chance of the plane going down from 1 in 100,000 to 1 in a million.

    1. No, you clearly don't understand where we differ, Voltaire or no Voltaire. Let's see...how can I say this in such a way that you might understand, if understanding is truly your objective.

      Let's take your airplane safety metaphor. The way you state it, if the airplane is more safe then everybody is more safe. But, in order for that metaphor to work for what I am saying, making the plane more safe for the many would have to increase the chance that the plane is not safe for some minority of passengers, and there would have to be little to no proof that the plane was not safe to begin with.

      You may believe that stricter voter ID laws that increase the chance that some otherwise qualified voters may not vote to be a small price to pay for increasing the voter fraud barriers. I do not. I'm guessing that is where we disagree. If these laws result in even one otherwise qualified voter not voting, whether they be Republican, Democrat, or Independent, I would consider that to be a failure.

      I hope this helps your understanding of what I've said 2 or 3 different ways. I am more concerned about losing voters than I am about voter fraud. A country that would rather free the guilty than imprison even one innocent man is not the country that would keep even one citizen from voting to stop voter fraud.