Fact: There are two things that occur more often than the right-wing myth of "voter fraud": UFO sightings and election-rigging. Statistically, you're 3,615 times more likely to report seeing an alien than you are of seeing voter fraud. And we watched the right wing nakedly steal three elections in recent memory.
The entire reason we invaded Iraq, lost thousands of American troops and massacred hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens, was because machines in Volusia County, Florida, tallied NEGATIVE 16,022 votes for Al Gore when his name was checked at the ballot box in 2000. Despite the clear controversy, Bush won Florida, where his brother was governor and a presidential election was ultimately decided with a 5 to 4 vote in the Supreme Court.
During the 2004 election, where Ohio was considered one of the most crucial battleground states, an executive for Diebold, a private company that sells voting machines, penned a fundraising letter that promised to deliver votes to Bush in Ohio in 2004. Bush ended up winning that state, and winning re-election. Diebold continues to sell voting machines unabated.
David Prosser, an arch-conservative justice on Wisconsin's Supreme Court, won his 2011 election against Joanne Kloppenburg, ultimately because Waukesha County Clerk Cathy Nicklaus, who used to work for the GOP caucus that Prosser oversaw, "miscounted" 14,315 votes after Kloppenburg emerged with a slim lead. Nicklaus' "error" gave her former boss a 7,500-vote margin of victory, which almost exactly matched the amount of votes needed to avoid a state-funded vote recount. Nicklaus apparently forgot to click "save" on a Microsoft Access template. Convenient, no?
It's actually really easy to rig a Diebold voting machine. In fact, a Department of Energy security assessment team figured out a way to do it via remote control. All it takes is $10 to $26 in parts, an 8th grade science education, and a key that can access a rudimentary lock for any Diebold Accuvote machine, which is easily available at any office supply store and can be copied without much of a hassle. Up to 30% of Americans will be using these easily-hacked machines on election day. And that DoE security assessment team said the fact that so many of these machines can be hacked so easily without leaving a trace is a national security issue. So why are Republicans so hell-bent on stopping the myth of "voter fraud" instead of the actual national security issue of election fraud?
It could be because Republicans just don't want black people to vote. Jim Greer, Florida's former GOP chairman, admitted to state party officials having regular meetings about "keeping blacks from voting." Florida, a contentious battleground state, is one of several states that passed a law requiring voters to have a photo ID to go vote. A similar voter ID law was passed in Pennsylvania, another battleground state. Pennsylvania's house majority leader openly admitted it was "gonna allow Governor Romney to win" the state in November. Wisconsin Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman said the same thing not long ago (Also, dressing as a banker and sarcastically heckling Grothman as he walks into the state capitol should be a national pastime).
There are over 250,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania whose right to vote may be infringed because of new voter ID laws. Some were born to a midwife in a house instead of a hospital, and never had a birth certificate, which is a requirement to get a photo ID. Some are veterans who only have their veterans' ID, which isn't sufficient enough to get a photo ID. Some live miles away from the nearest ID issuing station, don't own a car and have no public transportation in their communities. Others work 9 to 5 jobs, and can't afford to take off work to get a photo ID during business hours out of fear of losing their jobs in this troubled economy. The voter ID laws have stipulations that make the state provide a free photo ID for registered voters who don't have one, but usually nothing gets done.
Since the Republican Party is largely made up of old, wealthy white men, and seeing as the Republican party has gone out of their way to hate on and disenfranchise everyone who isn't a wealthy white man, like women, students, black people, immigrants, the LGBT community, and the working poor, they figure it's an easier solution to simply keep the aforementioned groups from voting through laws that undermine their right to vote. It makes sense, considering that the voter ID laws passed in the last year were based on the ALEC model Voter ID Act. After all, ALEC co-founder and conservative operative (re: scumbag) Paul Weyrich famously said, "Our leverage in the elections, quite candidly, goes up as the voting populace goes down."
If we're to have democracy again in this country, the first step is obviously to repeal any law aimed at disenfranchising the voting rights of American citizens, especially registered voters. And we have to strike down the voter fraud myth every time we hear it - even the right's loudest voices are silenced when asked to provide a specific example of voter fraud. But we can't stop the fight until unaccountable private corporate entities like Diebold stop marketing easily-manipulated machines to our states, and all Secretaries of State have mandatory paper trails for all ballots in all voting precincts. Like Tom Stoppard wrote in his play Jumpers, "It's not the voting that's Democracy, it's the counting."
Carl Gibson, 25, is co-founder of US Uncut.