Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: October 2016


AP Photo/Evan Vucci

People stand outside the Supreme Court before the start of a rally during arguments in the Shelby County, Alabama, v. Holder case on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, in Washington.

 

In the face of Donald Trump’s declarations that this election is “rigged” and his requests to his backers to watch the polls in “certain areas,” voting rights advocates have labored to set the record straight that voter fraud is a myth and that “ballot security” often adds up to intimidation.

But as early voting gets under way in states around the country, the election is starting to look rigged after all—against voters of color. From Georgia to Texas and Wisconsin, election officials are asking voters for IDs where none are required, failing to process thousands of voter registrations, and limiting early voting so drastically that voters are standing in line for hours. Invariably, the voters affected are African Americans or Latinos, who tend to be more likely to cast their ballots in favor of Democrats.

It’s exactly what voting and civil rights advocates predicted three years ago, when more than a half-dozen states mostly controlled by Republicans enacted a slew of sweeping new voter ID and other limits on voting. GOP legislatures around the country sprang into action within days of the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder to toss out key Voting Rights Act protections.

At the time, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented that weakening the Voting Rights Act was “like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.” Now it’s raining all over African American voters, despite a string of recent voting rights court victories.

Having convinced several lower courts to nullify strict state voting curbs as discriminatory, voting rights advocates have discovered that winning lawsuits is not enough. In many states, election officials have either directly flouted orders handed down by the court, or have found other ways to sabotage access to the polls—often at the direction of Republican Party leaders.

In Texas, a federal appeals court in July explicitly blocked the state from enforcing its voter ID requirement, one of the most stringent in the nation. (The state had approved only a driver’s license or a gun license for voting.) A federal court agreement specified that voters without IDs may still cast ballots if they sign a declaration and show an alternate ID, such as a utility bill.

But this week, civil rights advocates reported hundreds of complaints from voters turned away from the polls for lack of an ID, and provided documentation of polling places that display signs and flyers incorrectly stating that voters must have IDs. Part of the problem is the nation’s notoriously ill-trained army of mostly volunteer poll workers. But it probably doesn’t help that some Texas GOP officials exhorted election workers in at least one email “to make sure OUR VOTER ID LAW IS FOLLOWED.”

“Across Texas we are seeing local election officials undermine the weight of the Fifth Circuit’s ruling striking down the state’s photo ID law as discriminatory,” said Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in a statement. “Instead of changing the rules, some counties across Texas continue to impose the strict photo ID law and are posting signs that suggest to voters that the photo ID law remains in effect. This is simply unacceptable.”

In North Carolina, another July federal appeals court ruling struck key provisions of a far-reaching state law that had restricted early voting, limited registration, and imposed new ID rules. But the North Carolina GOP’s executive director nonetheless encouraged Republican election officials to reduce early voting hours, limit polling sites and close the polls on Sunday.

Now that early voting has begun in North Carolina, the impact on voters is measurable.

Now that early voting has begun in North Carolina, the impact on voters is measurable. A half-dozen counties have cut early voting, prompting a 50 percent decline in early balloting compared to the 2012 election, according to Liz Kennedy, director of democracy and government reform at the Center for American Progress, which has put out a series of state-by-state issue briefs on preventing problems at the polls.

In Guilford, a county of 517,600 people where 42 percent of the residents are nonwhite, election officials cut early voting sites from 16 in 2012 to one this year, according to Michael P. McDonald, a voting expert at the University of Florida. The upshot is an 85 percent decrease in the number of in-person Guilford County voters on the first Thursday and Friday of early voting this year, compared with the same window in 2012.

In Georgia, a recent Washington Post report pointed to several particularly egregious voter suppression efforts. Election officials in Georgia have failed to process as many as 100,000 voter registration applications. As in North Carolina, one of the state’s largest counties made early voting available only at a single polling place, forcing voters to wait up to three hours to cast ballots. And in Macon-Bibb County, local officials moved a polling place in a largely African American region from a gymnasium that was under renovation to the sheriff’s office.

“When we complained, we were told if people weren’t criminals, they shouldn’t have a problem voting inside of a police station,” Nse Ufot, executive director of the New Georgia Project, a progressive group, told the Post. After activists objected, the polling site was moved to a church.

Led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, voting rights advocates have set up an election protection hotline and deployed volunteers to monitor voting irregularities around the country, as they do every year. But many new voting laws are still being fought out in court, potentially confusing election officials and voters alike. And the number of polling place watchdogs deployed by the Justice Department will be much smaller this year. That’s because the Shelby ruling concluded that states with a history of discrimination no longer need special federal oversight. As this year’s early voting demonstrates, that finding was woefully premature


The extreme ends of this Presidential Election is not much different than some of the historical races but we now have mass instant media. The  basis of a lot of the rhetoric is what people want to hear and sometimes not based in fact. The primary reason for the deceptions and slight of speech is simple. We as listeners and consumers have become accustomed to being told things that we will not or do not want to research. This giving up of our ability to get correct information is done by our remaining silent in the face of the irresponsible reporting and the presentation of lies as facts. Both sides of the race have promoted untruths as facts and mixed facts with lies. These utterances are widely spread to incite division and somehow promote support for the candidate. American has never been completely united even in times of war as there will always (apparently) a subset of people who feel that one race are the true Americans in spite of proof to the contrary. These “Neo Americans” seem to forget that the Native Americans were here thousands of years before the takeover by Europeans. The native Americans were exploited by Columbus and a centuries of other Europeans before the founding of the United States. The Constitution that is so often misquoted was designed to be a living document (which means it can grow as the nation  grows and changes). If you did not notice we have ALL been victims of long serving representatives who lie and cheat to get what’s best for them while convincing us that it’s good for us. This is like ” when I want your opinion I’ll give it to you”. For a moment forget Race, Religion and sex while considering the real reasons we as a country are having such a contested race for the White House , our current Congress has blocked so many initiatives presented by this President and have told the  people that what they did was correct. The current issue is the ACA or Obamacare which is Universal health care plan based on a majority of Americans signing on to it , the majority party bashed it and spewed lies about but never read it or did the job they were elected to do which is to read it and tweak it so it works. Now the Act is having issues created by Congress’s lack of support or doing the job they should have done years ago. These types of activity or lack of by Congress are what has fueled the current vitriolic Presidential race and the rise of Donald Trump (who they dislike). Mr. Trump has brought all if not most of the Racial divisions in America into focus ignoring the fact that this  country was founded and peopled by immigrants. Make America Great again should be make “America Grate again”. Unfortunately too many people do not read enough and rely on “sources” to get information. The internet is not all facts, again- “THE INTERNET IS NOT ALL FACTS!”. There is a line widely spread that lies cannot be put on the internet or as normally stated” “it must be true if it’s on the internet”. Essentially as citizens we all need to pay attention to what our elected representatives are doing more that what they are saying,


Mr. O’Reilly’s resume aside from being a contributor to Faux news is a writer dedicated to writing book about “killing” Famous people. the post below gives his outline for production of these books.MA

By Erik Wemple October 24 at 3:11 PM

Bill O’Reilly. (Richard Drew/Associated Press)
Over the past 10 days, the Erik Wemple Blog has written two posts questioning a key passage in the 2015 book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, “Killing Reagan.” The passage posited that then-ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson confronted President Ronald Reagan at a photo op on Aug. 1, 1984, at his Rancho del Cielo in California. In classic “Killing”-series hyperbole, the authors wrote that after Reagan stumbled a bit on a question, Donaldson “smells blood” and then moves to “full confrontational mode.”
An Oct. 15 post on this blog noted that Donaldson claims he wasn’t there for this alleged confrontation. Instead, he was in Santa Barbara with other members of the press corps; a small pool of journalists were at the ranch for the photo op. Charles Bierbauer, who covered Reagan for CNN, told this blog that he was the fellow asking these “confrontational” questions of Reagan. Then, last Thursday, we posted another item with video of the incident plus an ABC News transcript from 1984 supporting Donaldson’s recollection that he wasn’t there for the Q & A session, let alone its protagonist.
On Friday night, O’Reilly addressed the matter on his Fox News program “The O’Reilly Factor,” a moment that was paired with a written response from co-author Dugard on the website of the book’s publisher. Through it all, the Erik Wemple Blog was able to glean a full-fledged Bill O’Reilly Code of Journalistic Ethics. Here goes:
Rule No. 1: Deprive your viewers of details, the better to keep them in the dark. On his show Friday night, O’Reilly said the following about this issue:
And finally tonight, “The Factor” “Tip of the Day”: Recently I told you, it’s better to ignore small, annoying stuff. Remember that? So now, I’m following my own advice. The Washington Post pays a guy to blog who simply attacks Fox News all day long. All right? They pay the guy to do that. But the problem is, sometimes his garbage — and it’s garbage — [gets] picked up by other outlets. Latest is an attack on “Killing Reagan.” And I’m ignoring it but Martin Dugard, my co-author is not ignoring it. So, if you care it all, and I’m sure you don’t, you can go to BillOReilly.com, and link on over to the Marty’s response which is publishers website.
Who’s this “guy”?
Rule No. 2: Stonewall for as long as possible. We began seeking comment from O’Reilly & Co. on Oct. 14. No response. We published the first post on Oct. 15. No response. Five days later, we published a new post with the video. Other outlets picked up on it. Finally, O’Reilly responds, though not directly to the Erik Wemple Blog. The pattern? Ignore unwelcome and unflattering attention until it becomes impossible.
Rule No. 3: Conspiracy theories always beat actual reporting. In his letter to O’Reilly responding to the allegations, Dugard supposes that the Erik Wemple Blog is doing the bidding of Washington Post Publisher Fred Ryan Jr., who is chairman of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, “a body dedicated to the veneration of Ronald Reagan.” “Killing Reagan” argues that the March 1981 assassination hobbled the president for the rest of his life, a contention that Reagan scholars and backers have contested. Accordingly: Dugard writes of this blog’s motivations: “No doubt the focus of his reportage is either directed by, or an attempt to pander to” Ryan.
Had Dugard contacted the Erik Wemple Blog, he might have discovered the real provenance of this blog post: A phone chat with Donaldson that started out with a focus on coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign, only to drift into “Killing Reagan” territory.

Rule No. 4: One anonymous source is more reliable than two on-the-record sources and documentary evidence. We have two on-the-record sources plus an ABC News transcript to show that Donaldson was, in fact, not the fellow who was asking questions of Reagan on that long-ago summer day. Here’s the sourcing for “Killing Reagan,” as articulated in Dugard’s letter: “As for who asked the questions, I take full responsibility for naming Sam Donaldson as the interviewer. My source is a well known veteran journalist. I will not drag this individual into this, knowing Mr. Wemple will only utilize that to further pursue an attack on Killing Reagan that is trivial at best, and at least a year past its expiration date,” writes Dugard.
As for the bolded part, don’t worry, Dugard: O’Reilly & Co. generate enough idiocies every week to keep this blog plenty occupied.
Rule No. 5: Obfuscate. In the session with journalists, Reagan had no answer for Bierbauer’s questions, at which point Nancy Reagan suggested one sotto voce. A mic picked up her words, and Reagan repeated them verbatim. This part of the episode is explained accurately in “Killing Reagan,” and this blog has never taken issue with that aspect of things; we’ve only contested the assertions in “Killing Reagan” that Donaldson was asking the questions and that it was an out-for-blood exchange. Even so, Dugard attempts to cloud the issue: “To be clear: This incident occurred. I am not sure if Mr. Wemple is trying to prove President Reagan did not have a slip, or that the moment never took place, but the video is irrefutable proof.”

Please Donate

Please Donate


Running Wild in the streets with wild abandon are the Trump supporters who have the likes of Former Mayor Giuliani , Gov. Christie and the unflapped Benny Carson as point men. Aside from the obvious lies this campaign has all of the makings of a bad reality show. The establishment has spawned a genii from the bottle and can not put him back in. Now in the graceless form that they have used so many times before, they have disavowed him. The reality is that he does not care and the Dupes will get the worst of it. Voters are angry and now they should focus on the real problems their long time elected officials whose lies they believed for so long. Da Turnip has given them a voice through him and they love it. It is of no importance that they are being duped but he just speaks gutter to them with no substance to back it up and they love it. These are not conservatives, liberals or any of the other “mainstream labels” , they are just angry voters who fail to (it appears) to get a full grip on the workings of government and the effects of those workings on everyday life. The things they want are expensive and  no one wants to pay for them. There is no free ride anywhere on anything. Everything has a cost of some sort. The cost of a Trump Presidency is possibly war with the world, anarchy in some states and a breakdown of the political process. Reality is not a political platform but it is the theme of a number of TV shows. It is unfortunate  that too many of us fail to remember  the lessons of previous wars since they were not fought here (exception: the War between the States). This election has shown the worst of us and the best of us yet we have a task to handle and that is to vote. The choice is simple: vote or  don’t vote, the best choice is to vote no matter what. There are 3 parties: Scamocrats, Dupublican and Independent (Green)- Vote for one. Lastly the 2 party system  many of us have known (forever it seems) is not working anymore, our focus should be independence from party rhetoric and remember the real party  tenets (whatever they happen to at the present time). The primary goal of all voters is to elect someone they like and trust however we have not seen those two attributes  together in a long time. What we have had is a Black President who a lot of these same Trump supporters did not vote for and hate because he’s Black. It’s remarkable that this manifestation of hatred has surfaced with such vehemence and it is spread over the Congress, the military and in some foreign countries. Folks fail to realize that the tone of the country sends a message to other countries that Americans and their government are in disarray. Mr. Trump doesn’t care at all about perception unless it is about him. It is time all Americans become woke as to the real issues facing all of us collectively. If you are tired of being lied to during and after elections then you need to read more about what is really going on in this country and the Governments-local, state and federal. Consider this, because a “Plotician ” (new word) looks like you does not mean that he is going to be honest  and truthful with you. It has been said that a “con artist will slap you on the back with one hand and pick your pocket with the other”. So with that statement , wouldn’t it be smart to pay attention or better read up on the folks who are seeking office for yourself and not rely on news reports which could be erroneous or incomplete. Think about this, would you trust this candidate with your wallet? Remember there is no one (1) single issue in any election and if you allow yourself to be stuck on one issue you will miss the issues that will cause us the most harm sooner rather than later.

Please Donate

Please Donate


Why Netanyahu Suddenly Wants a Deal on U.S. Aid
GERSHOM GORENBERG JULY 28, 2016
The prime minister, in an attack of good sense, realizes that a GOP
victory may not be good news for Israel.

Here’s one more twist to the Year of Bizarre Politics: Benjamin
Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel and Republican-in-all-but-name, has
recognized that the best deal on American aid he can get is from Barack
Obama.

The timing of this decision, just after the GOP formally nominated a
certain oft-bankrupt businessman and racist agitator for president, may
be a coincidence. People running out of a house just as smoke starts
coming out the windows, I suppose, could also be due to some
coincidence. The more logical explanation is that like many of his
conservative ideologue friends, Netanyahu has concluded that a
Republican victory in November will not bring salvation.

Here’s the plot line up to now: The current 10-year U.S.-Israel
memorandum of understanding on military aid will expire in 2018. It
provides for $3.1 billion per year in American aid for Israel. Congress
has allocated additional funds each year for missile defense, which
creates an opening for ongoing Israeli lobbying.

Negotiations on a new 10-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) began
back in 2013, broke off, and resumed late last year. The administration
has offered a more generous package than the last one, even though the
negotiations are taking place after the Iran accord was signed—and
therefore after Netanyahu threw away the bargaining chip of acquiescing
in the agreement.

But Netanyahu has pressed for better terms. Key points of contention:
Israel originally sought a steep increase to $5 billion per year, in
part to compensate for Iran having more money for conventional weapons
after the agreement ending its nuclear program. According to reports
here in Israel, the administration offer runs between $3.7 billion and
$4 billion annually—including funds for missile defense, and with the
proviso that there will be no additional allocations from Congress and
no lobbying. The administration wants to phase out the provision that
allows Israel to spend over a quarter of the aid in Israel and another
eighth on fuel. In line with the terms of American aid to other
countries, the money would have to be spent in the United States.
Netanyahu opposed the change.

The talks stalled. Back in February, Netanyahu told his cabinet that if
Israel’s needs weren’t met, “perhaps we will … need to come to an
agreement with the next administration.” It was a comment meant to be
leaked, meant to be a threat. This was fairly extraordinary. The leader
of the client state getting the aid portrayed himself as being in the
stronger negotiating position. And he essentially adopted the GOP
position that there’s no need to deal with this president. Real business
could wait till next year, when a Republican might be in the White House.

Let’s note that in February, when Netanyahu said this, the conventional
wisdom was that a reality TV star couldn’t win the Republican
nomination. Netanyahu is all too closely tied in with the Republican
establishment, and I’m sure this is what his friends told him. The
interloper would fade, and one of the mainstream GOP conservatives would
become the nominee.

Oh well, so much for that.

Suddenly, hours before the Republican convention began last week,
Netanyahu said in the Knesset that he hoped to reach an agreement with
the United States “within a few weeks.” A week later, after the last
Republican revolt was suppressed and the reality TV star accepted his
party’s nomination with a dark rant, a statement from Netanyahu dropped
into the inboxes of Israeli journalists. It said that his negotiator,
acting National Security Council head Jacob Nagel, would fly to
Washington this coming Sunday, “for meetings with his White House
counterparts, for the purpose of signing a new MOU between the two
countries as soon as possible.” Meanwhile, reports attributed in ways
that usually mean, “someone senior in the Prime Minister’s Office,” said
that Netanyahu had decided to fold on “most” of the remaining issues and
accept the administration’s conditions. There are still details to work
out, including how many years it will take to phase out Israeli use of
the aid outside the United States. But Netanyahu definitely wants a deal
in a hurry.

Now it’s true that some of Netanyahu’s senior coalition partners thought
he was daft to delay the agreement, and said so publicly. But the timing
suggests that Netanyahu’s shift has a lot more to do with American
politics than Israeli politics.

The Republican nominee is running on the isolationist,
anti-Semitism-stained slogan, “America First.”
The Republican nominee is running on the isolationist,
anti-Semitism-stained slogan, “America First.” He has said that Japan
and South Korea should build their own nukes rather than depending on
America to spend money on helping them. He didn’t mention the Middle
East, but the same pro-proliferation logic could apply to Egypt or other
countries in the region. Vladimir Putin’s favorite American politician
has questioned whether the United States should take action to protect
Estonia, a NATO member. This has to make one wonder what the nominee
thinks of keeping commitments to other allies.

At a press conference in March, He Who I Will Not Name said that Israel
was among the “countries that can pay and they can pay big league” for
American defense. The same day, of course, he reversed himself. He does
that. But it’s not hard to figure out that he’s not a guy you should
count on for an aid package.

Netanyahu’s sudden switch suggests that he can, indeed, work this out.
It seems he has also figured out that Hillary Clinton is likely to be
his negotiating partner if he waits till next year, and that she has no
reason to reward him for blowing off Obama.

Actually, Netanyahu and the Republican nominee have been keeping their
distance. At this time four years ago, Mitt Romney was about to touch
down in Israel, to be so warmly received by Netanyahu that it was
virtually an endorsement. An Israeli official (I hate vague
attributions, but that’s what the source asked for) told me this week
that he was “not aware of any upcoming trips of [American] candidates to
Israel.”

Does this mean that Netanyahu is on the outs with his billionaire
American backer, Sheldon Adelson? In May, Adelson was reported to have
promised up to $100 million to the campaign of his less-successful
fellow casino mogul. More recently, though, it’s been reported that
Adelson has “put his plans on hold.” For now, it’s unclear where he stands.

I won’t make any predictions on how fast Netanyahu and Obama will reach
a deal on aid, or whether the prime minister’s current attack of good
sense will last. Right now, though, it seems that even Benjamin
Netanyahu, who has spent the last seven and a half years publicly
tangling with the president, has realized that he, too, will miss Obama.
Truly, this is a year of unfathomable events.

#######
Prospect Senior Editor Eliza Newlin Carney contributed information to
this story.

Please Donate

Please Donate


All of you who spend a lot of time on Facebook, be warned that this site will create information about you that could be hacked and put more junk in your inbox.  You must remember the world is not as safe as pre internet days, so be careful what you out there since it is instantly everywhere.MA

 

September 28, 2016

We live in an era of increasing automation. Machines help us not only with manual labor but also with intellectual tasks, such as curating the news we read and calculating the best driving directions. But as machines make more decisions for us, it is increasingly important to understand the algorithms that produce their judgments.

We’ve spent the year investigating algorithms, from how they’ve been used to predict future criminals to Amazon’s use of them to advantage itself over competitors.

All too often, these algorithms are a black box: It’s impossible for outsiders to know what’s going inside them. Today we’re launching a series of experiments to help give you the power to see inside.

Our first stop: Facebook and your personal data.

Facebook has a particularly comprehensive set of dossiers on its more than 2 billion members. Every time a Facebook member likes a post, tags a photo, updates their favorite movies in their profile, posts a comment about a politician, or changes their relationship status, Facebook logs it. When they browse the Web, Facebook collects information about pages they visit that contain Facebook sharing buttons. When they use Instagram or WhatsApp on their phone, which are both owned by Facebook, they contribute more data to Facebook’s dossier.

And in case that wasn’t enough, Facebook also buys data about its users’ mortgages, car ownership and shopping habits from some of the biggest commercial data brokers.

Facebook uses all this data to offer marketers a chance to target ads to increasingly specific groups of people. Indeed, we found Facebook offers advertisers more than 1,300 categories for ad targeting — everything from people whose property size is less than .26 acres to households with exactly seven credit cards.

We built a tool that works with the Chrome Web browser that lets you see what Facebook says it knows about you — you can rate the data for accuracy and you can send it to us, if you like. We will, of course, protect your privacy. We won’t collect any identifying details about you. And we won’t share your personal data with anyone

This is the same information that Facebook itself offers users — buried deep in its site. (It’s in a section of its settings called “Ad Preferences.”) It’s not clear if this data represents all that Facebook knows about a person. For instance, we haven’t yet seen anyone with credit card or property ownership listed. Which is why we’re particularly interested in hearing what you found out.

You can help us examine whether what Facebook says it knows matches up with the categories it sells.

Also, as part of a collaboration with WNYC’s Note to Self podcast, we’re asking people to tell us how they feel about what Facebook knows about them. To join that experiment, sign up and we’ll email you with the results of our very-unscientific audit of Facebook’s personal dossiers. Thanks for your help!

Please Donate

Please Donate


Being smart in voting begins with reading and understanding what the respective parties do to get your vote, including legislating against you for their purposes. MA

Trump is only amplifying what Republicans have been saying for years.

Updated by German Lopez @germanrlopez german.lopez@vox.com Oct 17, 2016, 4:30p

 

Donald Trump is very publicly freaking out about election fraud. He has tweeted multiple times about it, complaining that the election will be rigged against him — conveniently, as Hillary Clinton’s lead in the polls continues to grow.

It’s really no mystery where all this bluster — with no evidence of actual voter fraud to back it up — came from: the Republican Party.

Over the past few years, Republicans in many states took an opportunity — enabled by a 2013 Supreme Court ruling — to pass a series of new restrictions on voting. Critics said the restrictions disproportionately hurt minority voters. But Republican backers, at least in public, have pointed to a single issue to defend the measures: voter fraud.

A previous report by the US Department of Justice captured the sentiment among many Republicans: Rep. Sue Burmeister, a lead sponsor of Georgia’s voter restriction law, told the Justice Department that “if there are fewer black voters because of this bill, it will only be because there is less opportunity for fraud. [Burmeister] said that when black voters in her black precincts are not paid to vote, they do not go to the polls.” Other Republicans, such as North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and Iowa Rep. Steve King, have similarly warned about the dangers of voter fraud.

Trump isn’t even the first Republican presidential candidate to raise concerns about voter fraud. Back in 2008, many Republicans, with the support of conservative media outlets like Fox News, pushed concerns that ACORN — a community organization that focused in part on registering African-American voters — was engaging in mass-scale election fraud. At the time, Republican nominee John McCain warned that ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”

Touting these concerns, 14 states have passed new voting restrictions — from strict photo ID requirements to limits on early voting — in time for the 2016 election: Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Other states passed restrictions, but they’re currently tied up in court battles.

Trump himself has referenced voter ID laws when pushing his claims that the election is rigged. He told Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, “I’m looking at all of these [court] decisions coming on down from the standpoint of identification, voter ID. And I’m saying, ‘What do you mean, you don’t have to have voter ID to now go in and vote?’ And it’s a little bit scary. … People are going to walk in, they are going to vote 10 times maybe.”

So there is a long history here. As unusual as Trump is in many ways, the idea of large-scale voter fraud is something that Republicans were perpetuating before Trump was their nominee for president.

There’s just one problem: As much as Republicans and now Trump have freaked out about voter fraud, the evidence suggests it’s extremely rare — and it’s never swung a presidential election.

Voter fraud is nearly nonexistent

Republicans’ voting restrictions tend to require a photo ID to vote — and what kind of photo ID is eligible can be strictly defined to not allow, for example, a school ID. Some laws also eliminate some or all early voting days. And they might limit when someone can register to vote, particularly so they can’t register and vote on the same day.

These restrictions can significantly hinder some people’s ability to vote. Fewer early voting days and narrower windows to register to vote limit when a voter, especially someone with a busy work or family schedule, can sign up to vote and cast a ballot. And for some, an eligible photo ID may be too costly, or they might not have the time or means to make a trip to a DMV to get the only form of ID that’s allowed.

The justification for all of this, supposedly, is to limit voter fraud.

But the type of voter fraud these initiatives target is nonexistent to extremely rare. Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt has tracked credible allegations of in-person voter fraud for years. He found 35 total credible allegations between 2000 and 2014, when more than 800 million ballots were cast in national general elections and hundreds of millions more were cast in primary, municipal, special, and other elections.

There are other kinds of voter fraud, such as vote buying, insider ballot box stuffing, double voting, and voting by people who turn out to be ineligible. All of these are also extremely rare, and there’s no evidence they have swung national elections, according to experts (and even Breitbart, a pro-Trump outlet).

But the focus is mainly on in-person voter fraud. By requiring a photo ID and limiting voting times, Republican lawmakers claim they want to stop fraudulent voters before they can even cast their ballots.

Trump has taken it a step further, arguing that beyond new laws, he wants his supporters to monitor elections for suspicious activity. His website, for example, provides a form to sign up to become an “election observer” to help “Stop Crooked Hillary From Rigging This Election!”

This is all part of the same message: If Republicans and their supporters really believe that a lot of people who aren’t eligible to vote are nonetheless voting on Election Day, why wouldn’t they try to check out polling booths to make sure nothing bad is going on?

The voter fraud myth is dangerous — especially for minority voters

Republicans have long been playing with fire with this rhetoric. Claims of widespread voter fraud challenge the legitimacy of American democracy. Healthy democracies rely on people trusting the results of an election. But if people don’t feel that their voices are being heard or that they’re being treated fairly, they’re much more likely to try to take matters into their own hands — by intimidating other voters, inciting violence, or worse.

But there’s another potential consequences: New voting restrictions — and so-called “election monitors” — may target minority voters.

One widely cited 2006 study by the Brennan Center found voter ID laws, for instance, disproportionately impacted eligible black voters: 25 percent of black voting-age citizens did not have a government-issued photo ID, compared with 8 percent of white voting-age citizens. And a study for the Black Youth Project, which analyzed 2012 voting data for people ages 18 to 29, found 72.9 percent of young black voters and 60.8 percent of young Hispanic voters were asked for IDs to vote, compared with 50.8 percent of young white voters.

For civil rights groups, the restrictions hark back to the days of poll taxes, literacy tests, and other rules that were imposed to block minorities from voting until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 effectively banned such laws. Like modern voting restrictions, the old laws didn’t appear to racially discriminate at face value — but due to selective enforcement and socioeconomic disparities, they disproportionately kept out black voters.

Trump’s call for “election observers” may produce the same kind of disparities. For example, here is how one Trump supporter explained his Election Day plans to the Boston Globe:

“I’ll look for … well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans. Syrians. People who can’t speak American,” he said. “I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable. I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.”

In other words, Trump voters expect that the fraudulent voters will be nonwhite. So they’ll target nonwhite voters to make sure they don’t break the law.

Just like voting restrictions, then, selective enforcement and “monitoring” could put extra hurdles mostly on minority voters.

This essentially puts the lie to voter restrictions and Trump’s claims. The real concern does not seem to be voter fraud, but rather that minority voters may swing elections in Democrats’ favor.

Some Republicans have admitted to this. In 2012, ousted Florida Republican Party Chair Jim Greer told MSNBC that concerns about voter fraud are just a “marketing tool” to justify the suppression of minority voters. “Never one time did we have any discussions where voter fraud was a real issue,” Greer claimed. “It’s simply been created as a marketing tool here in Florida for the right wing that is running state government now to convince voters that what they’re doing here is right.”

For Trump, though, there may be another reason for fostering fears about voter fraud: It gives him an easy explanation for justifying his loss in November. Trump has never taken defeat well, based on everything we know about his public persona. Claiming that the election is rigged gives him an easy out: “I didn’t really lose. The whole thing was just skewed!”

Whatever the reason, Trump’s claims of a “rigged election” are merely latching onto the myth that Republicans have built up to pass new voting restrictions — a natural extension of the rhetoric Republicans have fanned for years. So if that rhetoric leads to trouble, it can’t be pinned solely on Trump.

Please Donate

Please Donate


The current elections have shown how divided we are as a country. This division is not new but has been accented by this Presidential race. Race became an issue when President Obama ran and won twice! The division was always there but once a man of color ran and won the Racists and bigots surfaced in droves spurred on by the likes of the Drump and many members of our illustrious(?) Congress. Skin color, sex or religious belief  has nothing to do with ability and intelligence. Our problem starts with the lack of reading and understanding what is really happening in the world and our Congress. If we were “smarter” as voters we would give less weight to the political ads that interrupt our TV time, our dinner  and assail our senses. The political system has come to rely on half truths and outright lies to get our votes. It is in our best interests to ignore this deluge of garbage and research the candidate  for ourselves. We have to remember a political campaign is just advertising in a different form. Our future is in the hands of the people we elect and unfortunately we fail to follow-up on them after they get into office. This lack of follow up is why they fail us (but not themselves).Once they fail we become disenfranchised and stop paying attention to them while looking for the next best thing. There is no next best if we continue to follow the same pattern of apathy (which the electeds depend on) until the next election cycle. I wish we were smarter, smarter means put aside the rhetoric you hear and look for the results. Look at the track record of the candidate (incumbent or new) and stop being a single issue voter. There are always multiple issues in a campaign and they affect all of us no matter who you are. The way to affect change in government is to be a smarter voter. Disappointment will always follow the uninformed.

Please Donate

Please Donate


This political race and previous ones have shown that several so called political pundits and media hosts have one objective and that is to sell their books and their opinions (no matter how flawed). Bill O’Reilly has killed off several Presidents, Ann Coulter has shown she can’t tell one person of color from another. The issue is that in modern American the Racial divide is alive and seemingly living well. These well known (if not well read) writers have the ability to do better things with their writing but with their implied if not implicit bias they have only increased the ignorance in understanding other “races”. First we need to examine “Race” . We are ALL members of the “HUMAN RACE!”, that being said would it not make sense as members of the same world wide group that we work together in the face of truth to make the world we live in better? Forget the politics of Brexit, ISIS, Al Qaeda and other semi political groups (some of whom hold up their cause as religiously based). The aforementioned writers/ pundits have one goal and that is to sell books! Do your self a favor do not buy the books but read them on line or at a library then decide the validity of their writings and the facts(?) behind the text.   As humans we have capability to get beyond these common misconceptions by simply talking to one another and understanding that each division of the human race aside from religious views have similar if not exactly the same views on more issues than is known. The divisions are political ploys to keep us separate with overblown explanations of non issues.

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


The FBI has failed again (still?). The close to the vest method of gathering information has hurt us again and again. Information on the Boston Bombers and now the Orlando shooter should have been made available to local Law enforcement. The local officers have the ability to monitor these people and hopefully prevent another tragedy. It is time that the FBI step up and really help protect Americans from any potential radical threats local and foreign. Apparently its OK to allow these events to happen in order to protect the “integrity” of the agency. It is well past time that these agencies should have a reciprocal association for the security of the Nation, this is after all their job. The agency was so intent on investigating civil rights activists that there was no protection Dr. king, none for Malcolm X and none for Robert Kennedy. I am of the opinion that the agency possibly had information that could have prevented these acts but we may never know for sure. More recently, the bureau has extensively investigated Hillary Clinton’s email (at what cost?) and decided that there were no intentional mistakes in what was done but there were many instances of poor record keeping. Little known facts  that 2 former Secretaries of State used private email servers and these were never brought up in this debate by the Dupublicans. As an agency, the FBI has changed from protectors and investigators to more of a dingy office detective. This is not to say that the agency is bad but more to say that their mandate does not  or should not include investigations involving politics or at least not publicize them until a full and complete investigation is done. These days of instant information put out incorrect or incomplete information with the speed of light but correction is lost in the dust.

Please Donate

Please Donate

%d bloggers like this: