“Tough On Election Fraud,” Are You?

The AP’s Kristen Wyatt reports:

The Democratic Senate gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill making it a felony to intentionally lie about an election with the “intent to prevent a person from voting.” Such behavior is already illegal, but Democratic Sen. Irene Aguilar said penalties should be tougher.

“Deceiving voters about any aspect of the voting process should be patently illegal,” she said. Aguilar’s bill would cover lying about when elections are held – the old, dirty trick of telling likely opponents an election is Wednesday – and lying about eligibility or where to vote.

Republicans countered that the crime is rare already. A fiscal analysis prepared for lawmakers wouldn’t estimate the cost of Aguilar’s bill – because analysts projected zero prison sentences if the bill were law.

“What exactly are we trying to fix here?” asked Republican Sen. Kevin Grantham of Canon City. [Pols emphasis]

There seems to be a desire to draw an equivalence between Republican criticisms of Senate Bill 12-147, and the very similar criticism from Democrats of Republican-sponsored legislation to require photo IDs at polling places to vote. In neither case does the record show a significant incidence of the crime the bill is intended to prevent, although Pueblo County Clerk Gilbert Ortiz testified about widespread reports of false information spread there in 2008. Despite Clerk Ortiz’s firm conviction that vote suppression did indeed occur in Pueblo County, targeting “senior citizens registered as Democrats,” no charges were ever filed.

So what can you say about these bills, if both sides can be credibly accused of proposing legislation for which the existence of a problem actually being remedied is scant? Well, the Democrats’ bill toughening penalties against spreading false information about the election–“Vote Wednesday”–targets a practice designed to reduce the number of people who vote.

Requiring photo IDs at the polls will reduce the number of eligible voters who vote, to combat a “problem” for which incidence is every bit as rare–if not more. We know what Scott Gessler said about Georgia and African-Americans repeatedly, and he’s still wrong.

At the risk of “impugning motives,” folks, how big a stretch is it to conclude that the nexus of outcomes–fewer people voting–explains the disinterest from the GOP in “cracking down” on vote suppression fraud, while making photo IDs at the polls their top legislative priority?

As bad as that sounds, how else would you explain their votes?

6 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RedGreenRedGreen says:

    share a cell with Doug Bruce. But be careful, I hear he kicks in his sleep.

  2. dwyer says:

    HB 1111, the voter ID,  has gone to the Appropriations Committee.

    I imagine it will pass that Committee and the House on a party line vote.  

  3. You oppose photo ID laws that will suppress the number of voters, AND you support a law that would make it clearly illegal to spread falsehoods that would suppress the number of voters . . . hmmmmmmm, . . .

    . . . OK then, . . . from the Republican perspective, the question has to be: “WTF Pols,  how are we ever gonna suppress voting in this state if you guys aren’t willing to play ball, even a little?”

    Now, you kinda owe your Republican readers a constructive explanation; what’s the Democrat’s plan for voter suppression this year?

  4. Gilpin Guy says:

    because that would give it away.

    No Republican will ever say that there is organized voter suppression tactics either being used or considered by Republican operatives because it would then either show that they cheat or force them to play on a level playing field where they will lose on the basis of their obsolete and corrupt ideas.

    There should be specific language in the bill that if the SOS engages in knowing and deliberate voter suppression tactics using the power of his office then if convicted he should go to jail.  No appeal.  No delay.  Go straight to jail.  This shady characters is willing to cross the line at any time if he thinks he can get away with it.  The Obama lawyers should be analyzing his actions to see where he is going to try and spring a voter suppression surprise.

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