The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

March 4, 2013

Marta Mossburg, columnist: Left campaigns against free, fair elections

— The elections are only a few months behind us, but Democrats are already busy working to ensure citizens and noncitizens, the dead, felons and those registered in two or more states can cast a ballot in the next political contests.

These “new Americans,” as Democratic Party rising star and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley calls illegal immigrants, used-to-be Americans, those who gave up their voting rights after committing a crime and those extra-engaged citizens have one thing in common: They like Democrats.

That is why the left is busy pushing voter “access” from the top down. President Barack Obama, in his inauguration speech said, “Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.” And in his State of the Union speech, he proposed a commission to study electoral reform to make voting faster and easier.

But that is really not the mission. The average wait time around the country is 14 minutes, hardly an overwhelming burden.

The real issue is finding ways to ensure Democratic hegemony for decades to come. That is why the party and liberal activists want federal and state reforms allowing same-day registration and voting, and expanded early voting, but go postal over laws requiring voter identification and refuse to acknowledge fraud and election security issues.

Instead, they say the real problem is a vast conservative conspiracy to prevent minorities and the poor from voting.

As Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said on the floor of the House, “State legislatures are attempting to impose voting restrictions that are the modern-day equivalent of poll taxes and literacy tests. ... We cannot allow state legislatures to drag our nation backward in what is nothing more than a political quest to protect their governing majority’s interests.”

First, virtually everyone has a photo ID these days because they are a requirement of modern life, from boarding a plane to cashing a check. But many of the state laws Rep. Wasserman Schultz references don’t require a photo ID. They ask for things including a utility bill, bank statement or Social Security card.

Second, even those who believe that line of reasoning admit the number of people affected by ID laws will be small. As Harvard history professor Alexander Keyssar wrote before the November election, “The number is unlikely to be huge, particularly since various pro-voting-rights groups (as well as the Democratic Party) will work hard to help people get their ID documents.” He thinks it could be “large enough to affect the outcome of close races for Congress and even for the presidency,” but does not offer evidence to back his claim.

There is plenty of evidence of fraud, however. Wendy Rosen, a Democrat who ran for Congress in Maryland last year, withdrew from her race after news broke that she voted in both Florida and Maryland.

The New York Daily News found that 46,000 snowbirds, mostly Democrats, were registered in both New York City and Florida. Its analysis exposed that up to 1,000 of them voted in both states in multiple elections. As the paper wrote, “The finding is even more stunning given the pivotal role Florida played in the 2000 presidential election, when a margin there of 537 votes tipped a victory to George W. Bush.” And a group in Minnesota found by comparing criminal records with voting rolls that over 1,000 ineligible felons voted in the state’s 2008 election where the U.S. Senate seat, won by Democrat Al Franken, was decided by 312 votes.

Waiting in line to vote is an inconvenience, but reducing the wait time to zero is not worth it if it jeopardizes the integrity of elections across the United States. If those on the left truly cared about free and fair elections, they would focus their efforts on ensuring those allowed to vote have appropriate identification and that voter rolls do not allow people to vote in multiple states.

Couching the lie of “voter suppression” in the guise of “voter access” makes it no less dangerous.

Marta H. Mossburg writes about national affairs and politics in Maryland, where she lives. Read her at www.martamossburg.com. Write her at marta@martamossburg.com.

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