Anonymous Operative Alleges Need for Voter ID

A congressional staffer has taken to the pages of the right-wing Human Events to assert that voter fraud is a “Stunning Reality” in the U.S., and that therefore, the Supreme Court should uphold an Indiana voter-ID law. Published under the “pen name” of “Wright Talley,” this “long-time congressional employee” claims that voter fraud is “very real,” citing “numerous cases” that have been “reported by the media.”

Your right to vote will be at stake when the Supreme Court decides this case next year. It is now endangered unless there are adequate safeguards against voter fraud such as Indiana’s voter ID law.

“Talley” isn’t the first to make an anonymous pitch for voter ID laws.  Remember Hans von Spakovsky? He’s the controversial Bush nominee to the FEC who secretly published an article advocating a voter ID law in Georgia while serving as a senior appointee in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Spakovsky later approved the law over the objections of career civil rights attorneys.

“Talley” offers as proof of fraud the result of “a casual look at news reports over the last 10 years.” This “casual look” provides him with a few examples of allegations of fraud, but a closer look—without too much effort—shows that most of those allegations simply didn’t pan out.

For example, “Talley” cites “a probe by U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic and Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann that found clear evidence of fraud in the election, including more than 200 felons who voted illegally and another 100-plus people who voted under bad addresses or false names or who voted twice.” Biskupic made national news recently as one of the U.S. attorneys controversially targeted for dismissal by the Justice Department, “after complaints from Rove that he was not doing enough about voter fraud.”

In fact, Biskupic aggressively pursued allegations of voter fraud; he just didn’t find any evidence of it. While Biskupic originally alleged hundreds of instances of fraud, what “Talley” fails to mention is that he only prosecuted 14. Only five people were convicted. Scraping the barrel, Biskupic managed to put a grandmother in prison who voted while on probation.

Ms. Prude said she believed that she was permitted to vote because she was not in jail or on parole, she testified in court. Told by her probation officer that she could not vote, she said she immediately called City Hall to rescind her vote, a step she was told was not necessary.

“Talley” also cites Washington’s narrow 2004 election. Republican candidate for governor Dino Rossi filed a lawsuit alleging thousands of fraudulent votes were cast; the court ended up taking away four of his own votes. In the end there was one conviction for double voting.

Between 2002, when the Bush Administration made tackling voter fraud a top priority, and 2005, there were 24 convictions of individuals casting votes while ineligible, out of hundreds of millions of votes cast, making it more likely a voter will be struck by lightning than commit fraud.