The New York Times: Democratic voter fraud? That’s crazy talk! 

The New York Times tackles the subject of voter fraud today, I’m going to give them points for honesty for this one. Sure, the article is biased, but if you’re going to slant things in a news article, you might as well come out and announce it in the first few paragraphs:

In 2006, conservative activists repeatedly claimed that the problem of people casting fraudulent votes was so widespread that it was corrupting the political process and possibly costing their candidates victories.

The accusations turned out to be largely false, but they led to a heated debate, with voting rights groups claiming that the accusations were crippling voter registration drives and squelching turnout.

That debate is flaring up anew.

Tea Party members have started challenging voter registration applications and have announced plans to question any individual voters at the polls whom they suspect of being ineligible.

Hmm. Did anything happen between 2006 and now that might suggest that conservative concerns about widespread voter fraud might not be “largely false” — or did I just hallucinate that whole ACORN controversy? The organization has only been investigated for voter fraud by over 20 states in the last two election cycles, and resulting in dozens of felony convictions all over the country. Just this morning, I noted that a former ACORN employee is organizing voter efforts through a related organization even though she goes to trial next month in Nevada for “26 felony counts of voter fraud and 13 of providing unlawful extra compensation to those registering voters.”

Anyway, after dozens of paragraphs downplaying the possibility of voter fraud and number of quotes intimating that Tea Party activists of suppressing minority voters, the Times casually drops this illuminating vignette:

“There is an intentional effort here to suppress participation,” said Jim George, a lawyer for Texans Together Education Fund, the parent organization of Houston Votes.

Houston Votes, whose registration drive has mostly focused on Latino neighborhoods, did find at least one paid canvasser submitting fraudulent applications, Mr. George said, and that person was immediately fired.

He added that the groups’ financing for voter registration work had dried up because of the accusations by the King Street Patriots that Houston Votes was tied to the New Black Panther Party.

“Houston Votes has nothing whatsoever to do with the Black Panthers,” Mr. George said. “But you make a claim like that, and funding dries up even if the claim isn’t true.”

A request for comment from the King Street Patriots was not returned.

Leo Vasquez, the tax assessor-collector and voter registrar in Harris County, said that of about 25,640 registration applications submitted by Houston Votes, about 5,500 had problems.

Now the accusation that the New Black Panthers have set up an office in Houston may be incorrect (Here’s the video of the Texas Tea Party making that accusation. It strikes me as suspiciously edited, so I wouldn’t rule out the fact there’s more context here.) But let’s dismiss with the hearsay and accusations, which this article is chock full of. Here’s one of the few bits of actual news buried in this article:

Leo Vasquez, the tax assessor-collector and voter registrar in Harris County, said that of about 25,640 registration applications submitted by Houston Votes, about 5,500 had problems.

So, Houston Votes, a private liberal group is accused by a local Tea Party group of encouraging election fraud. The organization is run by an employee of the SEIU, which has spent well over a hundred of million of dollars in just the last two election cycles electing Democrats, but the Times does not see fit to mention this, instead playing up the racial aspect of the story. However, the local Hispanic county registrar confirms that Houston Votes has, in fact, submitted a really high percentage of bad voter registrations — numbering in the thousands.

Am I missing something? Despite casting all sorts of aspersions, based on the one concrete example they give of Tea Parties policing voter fraud, the Tea Party efforts calling attention to the problem are more than warranted.

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Mark Hemingway

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