Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Politics of Election Fraud

An initiative by U.S. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft targeting bogus registrations and other election crimes is catching flack from Democrats who think "It may well be aimed at trying to keep people away from the polls." (via the Washington Post).

The probes are aimed at discrepancies in registration:
... in recent months, elections officials in swing states have reported
thousands of problematic registrations, including addresses that do not exist,
duplicate names, the names of deceased voters and names that appear to be copied out of a phone book by the same person. Republicans have pointed to such
registrations as evidence of possible widespread election fraud.
Although experts cited in the Post story acknowledge that false registrations are a persistent problem, the correlation with voter fraud is anecdotal.

I don't think that most fair-minded people on either side of the political fence would disagree that an accurate voter roll is a goal worth seeking, especially given the tightness of some recent elections. Calling efforts to achieve this "chilling" or "intimidation" is political demagogy. If a discrepancy exists in a voter's registration, it is not unreasonable to expect a call or visit to confirm information - no credit card company would do less and we should not expect or countenance our government doing less. Democrats would be better served, and would better serve their country, if they would spend more time explaining these facts to their constituencies and less time crying "disenfranchisement".