Voter Fraud Farce

Virginia Photo ID

About 300,000 Virginia voters lack an ID issued by the state Department of Motor Vehicles.  Voters can obtain a free photo ID from any local registrar’s office. More information can be obtained by visiting www.GotIDVirginia.org or by calling the election protection hotline at 1-866-687-8683 (OUR-VOTE).

Virginia is in week seven of its new voter photo ID law, and just last week state election officials narrowed the rule for what will count at the polls as valid ID. Voters may well be unsure if they have what they’ll need to cast a ballot.

We hope any confusion can be dispelled in time for this November’s general election. It is an important one that will decide who will represent Virginians in Congress.

What a bitter irony it would be if difficulty in meeting the new requirement, or just uncertainty about the new law, kept a significant number of voters away from the polls.

Both the new voter photo ID law and the newly restrictive rule for implementing it are children of a theory: That people can easily claim to be someone they are not and vote in their stead, and do so.

Not every theory is necessarily valid.

State lawmakers succeeded this year in passing a photo ID law to ensure fair elections — and a nobler purpose could hardly be put forward in a representative democracy. Free and fair elections give elected government its legitimacy.

And yet, there has been no evidence that voting fraud of any kind has influenced the outcome of a Virginia election, much less in-person voter fraud by someone claiming to be who he (or she) is not.

The new law does not solve an identified problem — but it can create one, especially for frail elderly or disabled people who have difficulty getting out and about.

If state lawmakers want to assure the integrity of the ballot box, they would do better to look elsewhere for fraud, because studies have shown that attempts at voter impersonation at the polls hardly ever happen. The likelihood of voter fraud is far higher with absentee ballots, which can gather in many more votes with far less trouble.

So says a Loyola University Law School professor whose recent guest contribution on The Washington Post’s Wonkblog is entitled: “A comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation finds 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast.”

For years, Justin Levitt has been looking into “any specific, credible allegation that someone may have pretended to be someone else at the polls, in any way that an ID law could fix.”

Such laws, he points out, “aren’t designed to stop fraud with absentee ballots (indeed, laws requiring ID at the polls push more people into the absentee system, where there are plenty of real dangers).”

Yet that is precisely the fix that the sponsor of Virginia’s voter ID law, Sen. Mark Obenshain, suggested to Roanoke Times columnist Dan Casey when he spoke last month to Obenshain about the hassles the law creates for older voters who are not so mobile anymore.

Elections are, indeed, sacrosanct — or should be. Fraud should never be tolerated.

What purpose truly was served last week, though, when state election officials, at Obenshain’s behest, reversed a sensible accommodation to allow expired driver’s licenses and passports to serve as photo IDs? People’s driving privileges can expire, their ability to travel may become limited, but their identities do not change.

The board set an arbitrary limit on the credentials: If they expired more than 12 months before Election Day, they won’t get a registered voter into the voting booth.

Virginians eligible to vote should not be daunted by the hurdles. People can learn what other forms of photo ID are acceptable on the state elections board website or by calling their local registrar’s office. Mobile outreach also is scheduled in some localities over the next 60 days for people lacking any acceptable ID.

And like the man says, there’s always absentee voting by mail.

via the Roanoke Times

Democrats push for details on Medicaid session

The Daily Press

“Not only do we not have a plan, we don’t even have a process.”

The General Assembly is to convene next month to talk about Medicaid expansion, but there’s still no firm word on the scope of what they’ll tackle – or even what kind of legislation, if any, they’ll consider — and that is starting to bug legislators pushing for some kind of additional coverage for low-income Virginians. In his letter to House Speaker William Howell, House Minority Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) said, “Establishing the rules far in advance of the session will bring greater transparency to the process and ensure the full, fair and open debate that we all desire.” Toscano said it is vital to know what bills and resolutions will be considered, as well as any deadlines for filing them. He said it’s also essential to know when and how the public can comment on any proposals.

Eleven questions that expose Libertarians contradictions and faulty logic

Rand Paul, Hypocrite

Libertarians have a problem. Their political philosophy all but died out in the mid- to late-20th century, but was revived by billionaires and corporations that found them politically useful. And yet libertarianism retains the qualities that led to its disappearance from the public stage, before its reanimation by people like the Koch brothers: It doesn’t make any sense.

They call themselves “realists” but rely on fanciful theories that have never predicted real-world behavior. They claim that selfishness makes things better for everybody, when history shows exactly the opposite is true. They claim that a mythical “free market” is better at everything than the government is, yet when they really need government protection, they’re the first to clamor for it.

That’s no reason not to work with them on areas where they’re in agreement with people like me. In fact, the unconventionality of their thought has led libertarians to be among this nation’s most forthright and outspoken advocates for civil liberties and against military interventions.

Merriam-Webster defines “hypocrisy” as “feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not.” We aren’t suggesting every libertarian is a hypocrite. But there’s an easy way to find out..

Just Thought You Should Know

Historical sketch …
  • The power to issue executive orders comes from both Congress and the Constitution.
  • Every president has used executive orders; Washington issued the first 3 orders within months after being sworn into office.
  • Presidents have used executive orders to free Americans from slavery, to pardon draft evaders, to send troops to war and much more.
13,667: That’s how many numbered executive orders have been issued since President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. FYI: He was also the first person to use the term “executive order.”
 
More equality by executive order
  1. 1948: Harry Truman prohibited racial, religious, and ethnic discrimination in the armed forces (Order 9981)
  2. 1965: Lyndon B. Johnson prohibited discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin (Order 11246).
  3. 1969: Richard M. Nixon prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, or age in the federal civilian workforce (Order 11478).
  4. 1998: William Clinton prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal workforce, including civilians employed by the armed forces (Order 13087).
  5. 2014: Barack Obama prohibited workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by federal employees and by companies awarded federal contracts—FYI this alone applies to 24,000 companies (Order 13667).
How many by whom?
If you’re wondering about recent presidents and executive orders, here are the numbers:
  • Ronald Reagan: 380 in 8 years (average 47.5 a year)
  • George H.W. Bush: 165 in 4 years (average 41.25 a year)
  • Bill Clinton: 363 in 8 years (average 45.37 a year)
  • George W. Bush: 291 in 8 years (average 36.37 a year)
  • Barack Obama: 175 in 5.5 years (average 31.8 a year)
FYI: You can read the Executive Orders by all or any of the presidents HERE:
 
Just thought you should know. ®
 
Sources: “2014: Executive Orders Signed by Barack Obama in 2014,” archives.gov, 7/18/14. “Current List of President Obama’s Executive Orders,” 1,461 Days of the Obama Administration, 1461days.blogspot.com, 7/3/12. “Executive Orders Disposition Tables Index,” archives.gov, 7/19/14. “Executive Order Legal Definition of Executive Order, legal-dictionary.thefreedictionay.com, 7/18/14. “Top Ten Facts about the Emancipation Proclamation,” “What is an Executive Order?” ThisNation.com: American Government and Politics Online, thisnation.com, 6/24/12. “US: Action to Help End LGBT Workplace Discrimination,” HRW.org, 7/21/14.
 
Content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License 2010 • Virginia Downie • July 2014

 

Watch Mark Warner, Ed Gillespie meet for first Virginia Senate debate

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner and Republican Ed Gillespie met Saturday for their first debate, hosted by the Virginia Bar Association.

The 90-minute session, moderated by PBS NewsHour co-anchor Judy Woodruff, was broadcast live online from the Virginia Bar Association’s summer meeting at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

Warner, who is running for a second six-year term, has the early advantage in the polls, and fundraising. A Roanoke College survey released this week showed the Democrat with a 25-point lead over Gillespie. Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who was not invited to participate in the debate, polled at five percent.

In the money race, Warner hauled in $2.7 million in the quarter that ended June 30, leaving his campaign with nearly $9 million in the bank. Gillespie, meanwhile, raised $1.9 million in the quarter, giving him $3.1 million cash on hand.

Gillespie, a former adviser to President George W. Bush and past chairman of the Republican National Committee, gave the GOP a top recruit when he announced in January that he would challenge Warner, a popular former governor and co-founder of the company that became Nextel.

Warner’s campaign has stressed the Democrat’s bipartisan image, which includes work with Republicans on a “grand bargain” deficit reduction proposal. The strategy by the Gillespie campaign is to undercut Warner’s centrist message by characterizing the Democrat as a “blank check” for President Obama, including support for the health care law.

While Warner holds a commanding lead, he appears to be taking no chances, especially with 53 percent of Virginia voters in the Roanoke College poll disapproving of the president’s job performance. On Wednesday, he called on the Obama administration to ease health care regulations on employers or delay the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act for another year.

For the moment, the Virginia Senate race remains an uphill climb for Republicans. The GOP would either need Warner to stumble badly or for a wave to come the party’s way in the next four months in order to really put the seat in play.