Major League False Equivalence

There's no voting in baseball.

When I saw the Fox News headline “MLB requires photo ID to pick up tickets from Will Call, but boycotts Georgia for voter ID law” on memeorandum, I was both amused and frustrated. Amused, because its so transparently absurd. Frustrated because it’s likely to be persuasive to those who consume a steady diet of, well, Fox News.

The headline is based on a Tweet from freshman Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District:

The woke billionaire owners of Major League Baseball have been owned! But, of course, they haven’t.

Most obviously, voting is a fundamental right protected in the Constitution and attending a baseball game is not.

Second, while voter ID requirements are problematic, in that they disproportionately impact poor, minority, and elderly voters to solve a virtually non-existent problem, it has nothing to do with MLB’s decision to move the All-Star Game and draft from Atlanta. Lots of states, including my home state of Virginia, require photo ID for non-provisional, in-person voting.

Third, MLB is a private business, not a government. It has a reasonable interest in ensuring someone doesn’t steal tickets it has sold to a customer. It not only protects the customer, it protects them. While I would think theft of tickets at the Will Call window would be rather rare even without ID requirements, one can easily imagine how it would happen. The risk of arrest would make it decidedly not worth doing it and watching the game but scalping tickets obtained in that manner would be relatively risk-free. The incentives for casting one extra vote, on the other hand, are next to nil against the prospect of arrest.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Media, Sports, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    The larger issue here is ‘gotcha’ politics. It is a poor substitute for popular policies.

    The entire platform of many, many Republicans is “owning the libs”.

    The Republican national strategy of winning by subtraction can only work for so long.

    11
  2. Thomm says:

    The new one cropping up here and there is that voting is a privilege in such a great country as ours. The response to pushback on this, in my experience is, ” semantics”.

    6
  3. Mattbernius says:

    Most obviously, voting is a fundamental right protected in the Constitution and attending a baseball game is not.

    Countdown to the super-brain who attempts to argue that voting is not an inherent right established by the constitution (like speech or the right to bear arms) but rather a regulatable “privilege.”

    That has long been a popular right wing position.

    13
  4. tubal says:

    Virginia does NOT require photo ID for non-provisional, in-person voting
    See https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/in-person-voting/

    Virginia accepts
    “Voter confirmation documents you received after you registered to vote”
    “Current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck containing the name and address of the voter”
    “Any other current government document containing the name and address of the voter”
    And, many of the other acceptable forms of IDs do not explicitly require them to be photo IDs.

    6
  5. tubal says:

    “voting is a fundamental right protected in the Constitution” as is the individual right to keep and bear arms, yet Democrats in the House passed a bill for universal background checks, which require IDs. And many states, such as Virginia, have universal or near-universal background check requirements, which include an ID requirement.
    Aren’t the many State, and proposed Federal, requirements on IDs as a prerequisite for exercising Second Amendment Constitutional rights also problematic, in that they disproportionately impact poor, minority, and elderly citizens?

    In another post regarding firearms, you stated “putting minor obstacles in the way likely won’t hurt and the infringement on the liberty of sport shooters would be negligible.”
    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/biden-urges-commonsense-gun-reform/

    Is an even more minor obstacle (ID requirement, without full background check processes) a similarly negligible infringement on a Constitutional right?

    I do not argue against background checks, but for some meaningful consistency on what may be reasonable obstacles on Constitutional rights, by Federal or State governments.

    3
  6. Mister Bluster says:

    This is a test post to see if I can view the 5 comments (not including this one) that the cover page claims exist or still see only the 3 comments (again, not including this one) that are currently displayed.

    ETA I have resurrected all 6 comments. Including this one.
    Hallelujah!

    2
  7. James Joyner says:

    @Mister Bluster: For reasons I don’t understand, the front page counts comments that are stuck in the approval queue.

    1
  8. @tubal: Make IDs free, universal, and easy to obtain and we can stop having these debates.

    The issue is not, actually, “is it reasonable to ask for an ID to vote?” It is reasonable, in the abstract

    The question about voter ID is whether having ID is worth it in a cost/benefit analysis. Is it worth making it significantly more difficult for some voters (typically the poor and elderly, often who are also often racial minorities who have been historically discriminated against) to stop an essentially non-existent problem (voter impersonation)?

    We know that voter impersonation fraud is almost non-existent.

    We know that when it occurs the mathematical chance that it will have an effect on the outcome is almost nil.

    And, therefore, if ID laws prevent anyone from voting, it isn’t worth it.

    But, again, free, universal, and easy-to-obtain IDs solve that problem (and any other ID-linked problem). But I do not see voter ID advocates arguing for that outcome.

    28
  9. Mister Bluster says:

    …meaningful consistency…

    Major League Baseball should exersise meaningful consistency and summarily dispose of the reprehensible rule that places a runner on second base before a batter has taken a pitch at the beginning of the 10th inning of a tie game.
    Or the fools that rule the game should have them play T-Ball in extra innings and be done with it.

    4
  10. And, I would note that “universal” means that the government is going to automatically issue an ID to everyone. For free.

    Just having free ID is not enough. Universality is key. And it has to be just as reasonably easy for all citizens to get theirs, whether they are an upper-middle-class white family in the suburbs or a poor Black one in a poor rural county.

    13
  11. Mistre Bluster says:

    @Mister Bluster:..the reprehensible rule that places a runner on second base before a batter has taken a pitch at the beginning of the 10th inning of a tie game.
    As I understand it the batter who was at the plate when the third out is made in the top of the ninth inning is the player who takes second base at the start of the tenth inning before a pitch is thrown. I suspect that a manager can change the lineup to assign some speed demon to the illegitimate (in my mind anyway) base runner position. I sure hope that the player in question is not credited with a hit for this blasphemy.

  12. gVOR08 says:

    I asked myself, “Where does the Constitution say there’s a right to vote?” Found an Atlantic article on the subject. Turns out it’s pretty loose. It really comes down to the 14th and 15th Amendments. The 15th says you can’t deny the vote based on race. The 14th says a state will lose Representatives if it restricts the vote. The constitution also bans the President from accepting emoluments. Until the Voting Rights Act, neither had been enforced, even during the height of Trump corruption or Jim Crow vote suppression.

    If push came to shove, as long as there was a pretense of not being race related, I’m not at all confident the “Originalist” Federalist Society justices would find a right to vote in the Constitution. They already gutted the Voting Rights Act. And “one man, one vote” is clearly a matter not of the Constitution, but of court decisions. “Originalism” is designed to overturn precedent.

    4
  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Or an invalid in a nursing home.

    2
  14. gVOR08 says:

    @Mister Bluster: What Emerson said,

    A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds

  15. tubal says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: No objection to free IDs, especially if they are a prerequisite to exercise of fundamental rights, including travel (Real ID). But I am not so sure about universal IDs. If for no other reason that it requires cooperation of the individual who would be ID’d. That may be splitting hairs.

    > “We know that voter impersonation fraud is almost non-existent.”
    I don’t know that. Assuming facts not in evidence… Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    > “We know that when it occurs the mathematical chance that it will have an effect on the outcome is almost nil. And, therefore, if ID laws prevent anyone from voting, it isn’t worth it.”
    See above regarding absence of evidence. Also, I would not so blithely discount the damage in perception, or reality, of potentially fraudulent votes discounting legitimate ones.

  16. mattbernius says:

    @tubal:

    > “We know that voter impersonation fraud is almost non-existent.”
    I don’t know that. Assuming facts not in evidence… Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    You’ve just formed a tautology that is inescapable. It also assumes an “absence” of evidence, when in fact we do have a lot of evidence of how and where fraud in the system happens due to it being caught. And overwhelmingly in this area fraud happens and is caught at the *registration* stage versus the voting stage.

    Now there are cases of fraudulent voting happening. And that typically has either occurred around double voting via absentee ballots or harvesting and tampering of absentee ballots.

    Beyond that, we need to have a serious conversation about what the optimal amount of fraud is in a functioning systems. And the answer to that always needs to be more than 0%, otherwise you have a system that is most likely–in the case of voting–will necessarily disenfranchise legitimate voters (because any marginal cases will have to be assumed to be fraudulent).

    The other consideration is what the impact of a fraudulent vote upon the system and is that worth disenfranchising a legitimate vote.

    Ultimately, the problem with GA bill, at least as it’s been promoted by it’s Republican sponsors, is that this is necessary to restore the faith of the voters (even though Governor Kemp himself stated that the GA 2020 election was free and fair). This might ring true if it wasn’t for the fact that the faith in the system was eroded by the Former President of the United State willingly promoting the idea that election was rigged without any evidence (and also noting that the strongest promoters of those theories are now recanting when they are being faced with massive lawsuits and using a defense that “no reasonable individual would actually believe what they had been stating.”).

    11
  17. Northerner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Of course, if you had a universal public health care system you could just put a picture on the health care card and that’d simultaneously take care of the voter ID problem.

    I doubt that’s what your Republican Party has in mind though.

    9
  18. tubal says:

    @mattbernius: I don’t disagree about optimal levels of fraud, which I see as a search for the reasonable amount of burden. My suggestion has been that we have decided upon higher burdens, than photo IDs, on other fundamental rights, and that it is not unreasonable to do so in the case of voting too — it is wrong to discount such a position or search/deliberation for the reasonable amount of burden (through democratic means) as racist or evil.
    I think it is unreasonable for partisans to ignore contrary and recently proclaimed positions on what may constitute reasonable burdening of equally “valued” fundamental rights, although (as gVOR08 accurately indicates above) Second Amendment is even more clearly established as a Constitutional right.

    Faith of the voters is very important. This is not a new subject coming solely from the 2020 election. No doubt it re-emerged. I don’t counter assertions that Trump — or other recent losing candidates, e.g. Clinton Abrams — fanned flames of doubt in the system.
    Covid was bound to exacerbate such problems of perception.

    2
  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Clearly, you don’t understand the monumental fiscal burden of requiring that government providing free photo ID to citizens will entail. Those photo ID badges aren’t cheap you know. They must cost as much as 65 or 70 cents each. It all adds up. 😉

    4
  20. mattbernius says:

    @tubal:

    My suggestion has been that we have decided upon higher burdens, than photo IDs, on other fundamental rights, and that it is not unreasonable to do so in the case of voting too — it is wrong to discount such a position or search/deliberation for the reasonable amount of burden (through democratic means) as racist or evil.

    The issue with the back half of your forumlation is that it ignores recent history of how supposedly “reasonable burdens” like, say, voting tests were implemented in racist and evil ways (as recently as the 1960’s). Beyond that, while it’s clear that constitutional rights (both specific and implied) can be regulated, the scope of that regulation often varies (especially with policy considerations in mind). As folks like Steven and I (in other places) have stated, there in nothing inherently wrong with the idea of universal IDs, however they need to be implemented in such a way that accounts for issues of structural inequality and be implemented in the most consistent way possible. That means designing the process for folks who are the most vulnerable within society.

    Until that is the case, then it is better *not* to implement a disenfranchising system rather than to try to “restore faith” in a process because someone created unsubstantiated doubts–particularly among those in one political party (doubts that most likely cost them a presidency and two senate seats).

    I don’t counter assertions that Trump — or other recent losing candidates, e.g. Clinton Abrams — fanned flames of doubt in the system.

    First the case of both Clinton and Abrams are fundamentally different than Trumps. First both of them were arguing suppression not fraud. In Clinton’s case, she already had accepted the outcome of the election and was not advocating for the overturning of votes (at best, the recounting). That’s completely different than what Trump did for months IN OFFICE and then continues to do out of office.

    Second, in Abrams case, there is a pretty good amount of evidence to support her arguments. In fact, it’s telling that one of the plus sides of the GA legislation is it changed what had happened in 2016 and removes the Secretary of State (Kemp’s role at the time of the election) from overseeing elections.

    7
  21. mattbernius says:

    I meant to include that I don’t support the false assertions of suppression that Clinton made post-2016.

    1
  22. Gustopher says:

    If push came to shove, as long as there was a pretense of not being race related, I’m not at all confident the “Originalist” Federalist Society justices would find a right to vote in the Constitution. They already gutted the Voting Rights Act. And “one man, one vote” is clearly a matter not of the Constitution, but of court decisions. “Originalism” is designed to overturn precedent.

    5his is why I want a liberal state to institute a series of laws to restrict rural voting, and then get sued — to force the courts to recognize an affirmative right to vote.

    The Hopefully Unconstitutional Voting Rights Test Case Act could require extensive disinfection of voting machines between each voter, in areas with lots of livestock, to ensure that hoof and mouth disease is not being spread, etc. Poll workers trained by the state, with training only offered in urban centers with no parking. A requirement that every polling station be on a bus line.

    4
  23. tubal says:

    @mattbernius:
    > “The issue with the back half of your forumlation is that it ignores recent history of how supposedly “reasonable burdens” like, say, voting tests were implemented in racist and evil ways (as recently as the 1960’s).”

    And how is history different for the Second Amendment burdens? Do you dispute a similar historical wrongs?

    I continue back to Second Amendment because it is a contemporaneous issue in which many opposing voter ID are in support of broader burdens on a fundamental Constitutional right, universal 4473 processing, which requires photo ID.

    Re Clinton, Abrams, yes different … different sides of the same coin.
    The call to reasonable line drawing also applies to the extent to which we would design the process for folks who are the most vulnerable within society. A sober search for reasonable lines is not served by refrains/accusations of racism, while ignoring surrounding context for the reasonableness of opposed positions.

    1
  24. Gustopher says:

    @tubal:

    Also, I would not so blithely discount the damage in perception, or reality, of potentially fraudulent votes discounting legitimate ones.

    Until such time as a state can run elections where people aren’t waiting more than an hour to vote, I don’t see why we should even pretend that the arguments being advanced about “ensuring the integrity of the vote” should be assumed to be in good faith.

    @mattbernius:

    I meant to include that I don’t support the false assertions of suppression that Clinton made post-2016.

    I don’t recall the details of her claims, but placing a drastically unequal burden on voters, such as the lines Black voters often face, is clearly a form of suppression.

    4
  25. tubal says:

    @Gustopher:
    I am in favor of more assuming of good faith.
    The opposite assumptions have grown tiresome and unconstructive.

    Some things just take time.
    I am for low tech, low cost, election ink, allows for a long voting windows.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Election_ink

    And I have concerns we’ll go more in the more costly and intrusive directions like Clearview AI.

    1
  26. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @tubal: @tubal: @tubal: @tubal:
    RE your comparison with voting and gun purchases:
    My view is this –
    The risk to society of one person voting without proper ID is miniscule.
    The risk to society of one person purchasing a gun without proper ID is monumental.

    10
  27. @Mister Bluster:

    Agreed 100%

  28. Timn says:

    @tubal: [PORTION DELETED BY EDITORS AS VIOLATING SITE COMMENTING POLICY] As Scalia noted in Heller, all rights are regulated. Regulating firearms, which are unnecessary to the functioning of a democracy and pose great harm to others (see the 30,00 dead Americans every year) makes public safety sense. Regulating votes, which are necessary and inherent to citizenship and which aren’t used to murder 54 at a concert, is accomplished by registration and poll workers.

    5
  29. mattbernius says:
  30. Timn says:

    @tubal: it’s awesome when bright right wingers pretend that laws and policies are performed in a society with no history or records. We KNOW from just the last decade that GOP legislatures specifically drew maps to make it impossible for them to lose, often on the basis of race and always on the basis of partisanship. They are brazen enough to be called out in Federal Court for it. In Wisconsin, they are successful enough, so that Democrats win 53% of the vote and end up with 33% of the seats.

    In my state of Indiana, there are 6 million people, almost half of which live in 2 metro areas. Yet, both houses of the legislature have vast super majorities of hooting racists, nutty evangelists, and corporate stooges. 60% of the voters in those two metro areas vote Democratic, yet the Senate is 39-11 in favor of the GOP.

    Taking the opportunity from the majority to govern itself in favor of a reactionary, white, rural minority is not democracy. In fact, it’s what basically led to the one man, one votes cases. Right wingers repeating Jim Crow-lite strategies for control over the majority is distasteful.

    5
  31. Tubal says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:
    Ok.
    That is a reflection of how each fundamental right is valued, and may be reasonably burdened, in your view.
    We have established rules and processes for determining reasonable burdens on fundamental rights. My point is that photo ID is currently viewed as within a zone of reasonableness.

  32. gVOR08 says:

    @tubal:

    although (as gVOR08 accurately indicates above) Second Amendment is even more clearly established as a Constitutional right.

    Now, right. But only because GOP Justices have decided to ignore the “well regulated militia” thing on the well established Constitutional grounds that it would lead to conclusions they don’t like.

    3
  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Northerner: While I was living in Korea, I didn’t have a card for the healthcare system. My Alien Registration card stood in for it–as did a similar national ID card for citizens. To be fair though, each time I had to reregister (because my sponsor had changed for example) I had to supply the pictures that went onto the card. Lots of places offer ID pictures, though, and you get 10 for about 5 or 6 dollars (in case you need more than one card). The last time, I went with digital pictures that were sent to me by email for a $3 picture taking charge. I can’t remember anymore how I used them, though. (I think they were for resumes the last time.)

    3
  34. gVOR08 says:

    @tubal:

    although (as gVOR08 accurately indicates above) Second Amendment is even more clearly established as a Constitutional right.

    Now, sure. But only because GOP justices have decided to ignore the whole “well regulated militia” thing because of the well established Constitutional principle that it would lead to conclusions they don’t like.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: “A requirement that every polling station be on a bus line.”

    This might not work as well as you would hope. In Daegu, there is a subway stop on one of the lines named “Kyeong Dae Back Gate” (for Kyeongpook University). The stop is not close to the university by any reasonable measure, and the back gate of the university is near the top of a fairly steep hill on an alleyway of a small residential district of short mazelike streets in the surburban cul-de-sac style. I happened upon the gate one day when I got lost taking a wrong turn into the neighborhood. Until then, I did not believe in Kyeong Dae Back Gate, though I had been at Kyeong Dae many times.

  36. Tubal says:

    @gVOR08:
    “Now, sure” — Yep!
    An individual right, as properly interpreted within the Bill of Rights and through (not ignoring) the prefatory and operative clauses.

    Still allows for reasonable burdens.

  37. Scott F. says:

    @tubal:

    I continue back to Second Amendment because it is a contemporaneous issue in which many opposing voter ID are in support of broader burdens on a fundamental Constitutional right, universal 4473 processing, which requires photo ID.

    Thank you for pointing out the heart of the issue. In a 21st century democracy the fact that unrestricted access to guns is a Constitutional right, while unrestricted access to voting is not a Constitutional right is THE PROBLEM. Large scale disenfranchisement, anti-majoritarian electoral infrastructure, and unparalleled gun violence aren’t the kind of results one should point to in support of an argument on what ought to be fundamental to an enlightened nation.

    I, for one, would be happy to revisit our mindless bondage to a document written for an 18th century agrarian society of less than 3 million. The US Constitution was designed to be amended. Let’s have at it.

    12
  38. mattbernius says:

    @tubal:

    And how is history different for the Second Amendment burdens? Do you dispute a similar historical wrongs?

    You are entirely correct that many gun regulation laws have historically been intertwined with racism, up to and including examples like the Mulford Act (1967).

    An argument can also be made that the importance of electoral laws that historically were enacted to disenfranchise minority (Black and PoC voters) in so much as if they had adequate representation either then, or now, laws like the ones your are referencing would be harder to pass.

    But, at this point we’re arguing values. And, btw, I appreciate you picking up the “Second Amendment is even more clearly established as a Constitutional right” as I predicted someone would eventually get to way back in my first post in the thread.

    4
  39. Tubal says:

    @Scott F.:
    > “ unrestricted access to guns is a Constitutional right”

    Huh?

    No one I know of suggests unrestricted access to guns.
    In fact, I’m suggesting reasonable restrictions on one fundamental right can inform consideration of the bounds of what is a reasonable restriction on other fundamental rights.

  40. Gustopher says:

    @tubal:

    I am in favor of more assuming of good faith.
    The opposite assumptions have grown tiresome and unconstructive.

    Unfortunately, while the individual supporter of voter ids might be acting in good faith, history has shown that those driving the policies and passing the laws are not.

    The lines to vote show that. The acceptance of gun licenses as valid id but not college ids shows that.

    Make ids universal, and easy to get. Show that there isn’t a disproportionate impact in who has the id. And then ids are a reasonable policy.

    3
  41. Gustopher says:

    @mattbernius: Skimming the links… Clinton said people were turned away at the polls when they were effectively turned away before they got to the polls, and the numbers are just estimates?

    Yeah, she’s wrong, and her sloppy speech provides ammo for those who claim voter suppression claims are made up. She’s also a lot closer to right than they want to admit.

    1
  42. Scott F. says:

    @Tubal:

    No one I know of suggests unrestricted access to guns.

    You apparently don’t know many Republicans – you know the ones who loudly proclaim after every mass shooting that the restrictions you are calling reasonable here are actually undue burdens on the good people who want guns.

    I can accept that your arguments for “reasonable burdens” are being made in good faith. I don’t accept that your good faith translates to a broader good faith in the legislators passing these laws. And I’m arguing that what is considered a fundamental right in a nation should evolve with the times and should be informed by historical precedent and the societal impacts of the rights bestowed.

    3
  43. Andy says:

    I think tubal makes some good points about consistency when it comes to rights generally and ID’s specifically.

    I think for voting, though, ID’s don’t matter all that much in many cases. But, like with everything else (and my constant refrain), the details matter.

    Every voting system is a little bit different. Something like ID verification needs to be seen not in isolation, but as part of the entire system. So one needs to look at voting from a systemic POV to understand the systemic strengths and vulnerabilities. The efficacy and subjective fairness regarding rules about ID or anything else depend on understanding the system.

    Here in my own state of Colorado, we have an all-mail system where no one who is registered has to go vote in person. There is an ID requirement here but it doesn’t do much since identity is verified when one registers and the vast majority of people register when they get or renew their driver’s license or official ID. At the polls, ID is required, but someone can cast a provisional ballot with an affidavit that will be judged by an election official. So we have an ID requirement here, but it’s actually not that important given the other features of the system.

    But it’s not all upside from a security perspective here. A mail-focused system is great in terms of access and convenience, but it does come with systemic vulnerabilities. Here in Colorado, the validity of a mailed ballot primarily rests on a signature verification of the outer envelope as well as the pre-coded info on the envelope itself. If the signature and other info is deemed valid, the ballot is removed from the envelope and is counted. If it doesn’t match, the envelope with the ballot is set aside and becomes a provisional ballot where the voter must take action to prove the vote is valid.

    Overall I think we strike the right balance, but there is still a significant vulnerability with signature verification.

    I’ve mentioned here before that I’m the court-appointed legal guardian for my older sister, who is institutionalized with a cruel form of dementia that strikes younger people. My sister is still registered to vote and still receives ballots. In fact, I’ve been unable to find any way to remove her from being registered despite my powers as guardian. So the only thing preventing me from voting in her name is the signature verification on the outer envelope. If you count all the guardians, those with power-of-attorney, or those who simply care for someone without specific legal authority, or who have control over their affairs, then here in Colorado that is at least 60k people (good numbers are hard to come by, but we have 40k in nursing homes alone).

    Now, I’m very civic-minded and take my civic responsibilities very seriously and I shred my sister’s ballots. Is everyone so inclined? No one knows. And the state government has no way to detect or investigate this kind of potential fraud except via signature verification. I that check fails, then the provisional ballot isn’t verified by the voter and never gets counted. But the state almost never goes to check to see if there is potential fraud – the rare exception is if the fraudster is especially stupid. And if the ballot does pass the signature check, then that is that. There is no method in the system to detect or investigate fraud in this case.

    So as great as the system is here in Colorado (and we are recognized nationally as perhaps the best system except perhaps Oregon), that is a systemic vulnerability here. It’s one that we can’t measure so we don’t know if it’s a problem or how big of a problem it is. But looking at it from a systemic POV, it’s easy to see the vulnerability, even if it can’t be quantified. Hence why the “no evidence of fraud” arguments can’t be taken at face value, they need to be evaluated.

    And note that I’m not trying to argue there is massive fraud here – the truth is I don’t know, and neither does anyone else (which is the problem). Mailed-ballot fraud may amount to dozens or hundreds, or thousands of votes across the state. Who knows?

    Even if we can’t quantify the extent to which the vulnerability is being exploited, it is still worth implementing some additional measures as a deterrent, or to at least be better able to detect, track and monitor this particular vulnerability. But no one is interested in doing that. Very few are even interested in talking about it.

    3
  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    When @Bob@Youngstown: wrote this. . .

    The risk to society of one person voting without proper ID is miniscule.
    The risk to society of one person purchasing a gun without proper ID is monumental.

    . . . this debate was over.

    The reason we don’t have universal ID in this country is because conservative religious nuts start yammering about the Mark of the Beast. But like all deeply-held conservative beliefs that is easily dismissed when facing the existential threat of Black people voting. Republicans will say and do and pretend to believe anything, if it keeps down the numbers of Black people voting, and that is the only purpose of this law.

    I’m all for universal ID if it’s free, phased in over ten years, and there’s a single national website that helps people assemble the necessary documents. And if, in the case of the elderly or infirm who cannot travel, the process is brought to them rather than the reverse.

    11
  45. Kurtz says:
  46. Kurtz says:

    @gVOR08:

    This is worth your while.

    I buggered it on an edit. Retry.

    James or Steven, feel free to delete my preceding reply to gVOR.

  47. Andy says:

    @Gustopher:

    Yeah, she’s wrong, and her sloppy speech provides ammo for those who claim voter suppression claims are made up. She’s also a lot closer to right than they want to admit.

    I haven’t researched claims made by Clinton or Abrams. But it seems to me this is something that could be resolved with some data, which the claims as described in the press never seem to provide. Same thing with claims of “disenfranchisement” in a general sense. Given my view on looking at voting in a systematic way, I would think there is ample room for a more rigorous look at potential cause and effect with any change. If there are studies out there that you or Matt are aware of, I’d be interested in seeing some real numbers.

    @Scott F.:

    Just to interject for one point:

    I’m not a Republican, but the problem I have with the same litany of “reasonable” reforms from gun-control advocates that follow every mass shooting is that none of them would have prevented the shooting.

    So I think the arguments of gun control advocates would be more effective if they could demonstrate their proposals have a specific cause and effect in actually reducing mass shootings or other violent gun crime. In this country, we sadly have a lot of mass shootings but even more general gun violence. There are, in other words, plenty of examples and data that gun control advocates could dissect and analyze to determine what measures – had they been in place – would have been effective. Yet that’s never done. The same dogmatic proposals are rolled out after each incident regardless of how germane they are.

    So when people – even Republicans – see that kind of disconnect where advocates call for reforms that wouldn’t solve the problem they claim they want to solve, then suspicions about the actual goals of those calling for reforms are inevitable.

    2
  48. Moosebreath says:

    @tubal:

    “I am in favor of more assuming of good faith.
    The opposite assumptions have grown tiresome and unconstructive.”

    There is zero reason to assume good faith on the part of voter ID proponents. Not since Mike Turzai gave the game away almost a decade ago”

    “Critics of the law claimed that this would prevent groups such as the older population and minorities from voting as they would be less likely to possess or be able to obtain the kinds of identifications specified by the law. This was substantiated in 2014 when a 2012 video of then Majority Leader Mike Turzai was leaked. In the recording, he described the passage of the Voter ID law as a successful plan to help Mitt Romney’s chances of winning Pennsylvania in the 2012 presidential election.”

    2
  49. tubal says:

    @Scott F.:
    > No one I know of suggests unrestricted access to guns.

    > “You apparently don’t know many Republicans – you know the ones who loudly proclaim after every mass shooting that the restrictions you are calling reasonable here are actually undue burdens on the good people who want guns.”

    I know my fair share of Republicans, ones who are interested in such issues. I know of no Republicans that are proposing wholesale repeal of the 1934 National Firearms Act, which even if repealed would not equal unrestricted access to guns.

    I have referred to the existing restrictions as presumptively reasonable.
    I would not say that the currently proposed universal background checks are presumptively reasonable (the contrast on voter ID matters is what was interesting). I tend to agree with Senators Manchin and Tester on universal background checks.

    > “And I’m arguing that what is considered a fundamental right in a nation should evolve with the times and should be informed by historical precedent and the societal impacts of the rights bestowed.”

    I simply disagree, especially to the scaling back of enumerated fundamental Constitutional rights. Constitutional rights are not meant to be subject to evolving (devolving) away as apparently suggested.
    That is, with regard to what is and isn’t a fundamental right, not necessarily the bounds and scope of such rights. There is a process for consideration of bounds and scope.
    There is also a process to remove them. I don’t expect any of the Bill of Rights to be repealed any time soon.

    1
  50. tubal says:

    @Moosebreath:
    > “I am in favor of more assuming of good faith.
    The opposite assumptions have grown tiresome and unconstructive.”

    >> “There is zero reason to assume good faith on the part of voter ID proponents. Not since Mike Turzai gave the game away almost a decade ago”

    All that indicates is that Mike Turzai may have forfeited presumptions as to his position, not that all with the same position have forfeited a reasonable presumption of good faith.

    1
  51. tubal says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    > “When @Bob@Youngstown: wrote this. . .

    The risk to society of one person voting without proper ID is miniscule.
    The risk to society of one person purchasing a gun without proper ID is monumental.

    . . . this debate was over.”

    I’ve purchased a firearm without an ID, from a neighbor — totally legal, at the time. I don’t think the risk is/was monumental, and it’s seemingly been proven not to be.
    That statement and the situation is related to my tending to agree with Senators Manchin and Tester against currently proposed universal background checks.

    > “while the individual supporter of voter ids might be acting in good faith, history has shown that those driving the policies and passing the laws are not.
    The lines to vote show that. The acceptance of gun licenses as valid id but not college ids shows that.
    Make ids universal, and easy to get. Show that there isn’t a disproportionate impact in who has the id. And then ids are a reasonable policy.”

    I have seen in 2020 lines at gun stores too. So what? I applaud people exercising their rights, and patiently doing so.
    You may be surprised to see the demographics that were represented in those lines.

    > The acceptance of gun licenses as valid id but not college ids shows that.
    One is, as I understand, more difficult to obtain. Although my state does not require gun licenses!

    If the universal IDs (you allow for) should be free, as representing a necessary step for exercise of rights, should 4473 background checks also be free?

    1
  52. Moosebreath says:

    @tubal:

    “All that indicates is that Mike Turzai may have forfeited presumptions as to his position, not that all with the same position have forfeited a reasonable presumption of good faith.”

    Sorry, no. It means that the other people claiming the same remedy for a non-existent problem have the burden of proving there is any reason to assume they aren’t doing it for the same reason, and just not saying the quiet parts out loud.

    2
  53. Gustopher says:

    @Andy:

    I’m not a Republican, but the problem I have with the same litany of “reasonable” reforms from gun-control advocates that follow every mass shooting is that none of them would have prevented the shooting.

    Given that one of the reasonable requirements is a five day waiting period (with background check), and that the recent Georgia shooter bought his guns that day… I think we can say that your statement is at best only partially accurate.

    We don’t know that he would have gone on a killing rampage five days later, but the nature of the event (he was kicked out of his parents that day) suggests that there’s a good chance he wouldn’t have. The “he had a bad day” statement was callous, but it has a lot of truth to it too.

    3
  54. tubal says:

    @Moosebreath:
    > “a non-existent problem”

    This post/thread, and the news it addresses, is indicative of a problem, at least one of perception. Wishing, or insisting it, away will not work.
    One may quibble about the causes of the problems and perceptions, about election integrity.
    ‘Others who disagrees are presumptively acting in bad faith, because of evidence that one such person was acting in bad faith’ just doesn’t work for me. But, good luck to you with that outlook.

  55. Gustopher says:

    @tubal:

    All that indicates is that Mike Turzai may have forfeited presumptions as to his position, not that all with the same position have forfeited a reasonable presumption of good faith.

    The supporters might well be acting in good faith, but if they’re being taken for the ride by someone who isn’t, does it matter?

    In theory, I support a universal id requirement, but the people pushing voter id now have a long history, and I’m not blind to it.

    3
  56. Gustopher says:

    @tubal:

    This post/thread, and the news it addresses, is indicative of a problem, at least one of perception. Wishing, or insisting it, away will not work.

    A problem manufactured by right wing propaganda and lies repeated at the highest level. I have difficulty accepting that the people who perpetrated The Big Lie are the ones to offer a solution to it.

    4
  57. Moosebreath says:

    @tubal:

    “This post/thread, and the news it addresses, is indicative of a problem, at least one of perception. Wishing, or insisting it, away will not work.
    One may quibble about the causes of the problems and perceptions, about election integrity.”

    Again, sorry, but no. There is a perception of a problem because some people have been fed lies and believe it without evidence. When asked to actually point to some evidence for their belief there is a problem, they continually fail to do so. So the rest of us have no more duty to accommodate their beliefs than we do towards flat-earthers, who have just as much evidence for their beliefs.

    4
  58. Scott F. says:

    @Andy:
    I agree that the “same litany of “reasonable” reforms from gun-control advocates that follow every mass shooting is that none of them would have prevented the shooting. Yet,

    In this country, we sadly have a lot of mass shootings but even more general gun violence. There are, in other words, plenty of examples and data that gun control advocates could dissect and analyze to determine what measures – had they been in place – would have been effective. Yet that’s never done.

    You seem to suggest that this analysis is never done, whereas I would say the analysis is there, but it’s rarely discussed in our political circles – because our national debate starting position is that there is a fundamental right (enshrined in our Constitution) to bear arms.

    But, this isn’t the baseline assumption in other nations of the world and my position is that this is our problem. Though the right to bear arms in the Bill of Rights was reasonable for the times, our definition of arms we have the right to bear has expanded over the centuries and our fervent devotion to gun ownership has far outstripped every other developed country in the world. I’m reminded of the article The Onion repurposes after every mass shooting here: ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.’ The gun buyback program in Australia worked to reduce gun death, the safety training requirements in Canada reduce mass shootings there, and the safe storage requirements in Switzerland reduce suicide rates there. But, we have a fundamental right, so sucks to be us – it’s the price we pay for freedom.

    Which brings us back to the right to vote. The right to vote is not in the Bill of Rights. I contend that this leads to a persistent vulnerability to the right to vote doesn’t apply to the right to bear arms. And our country is the worse for it.

    4
  59. Tubal says:

    @Moosebreath:
    @Gustopher:

    Both recent comments are about the “cause” of the perception problem, not the existence.

    I stand by the notion that broad perceptions about election integrity do matter for democracies.

  60. Mister Bluster says:

    should 4473 background checks also be free?

    So you would approve of background checks as long as they are free.

  61. flat earth luddite says:

    @Andy:
    If we use your estimate, 60k/4.3M = 1.3% potentially fraudulent votes. In fact, according to a June 2020 report, Colorado reported 62/1.5 million ballots = 0.0027% (2018). Apparently most people remain true to their better natures. I would note that those 62 were forwarded to the AG; there were no numbers provided as to actual prosecutions.

    In Oregon, as noted elsewhere, you had to review 19 years of data to find a grand total of 15 fraudulent votes.

    Numbers like this lead me to believe that restricting the vote is nothing but an effort to keep *CLANG* from voting.

    5
  62. Teve says:

    @Moosebreath: ginning up a ‘controversy’ and then using said controversy to demand accommodation is the kind of transparent bullshit that creationist dumbasses frequently attempt.

    4
  63. Tubal says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    > “ …should 4473 background checks also be free?
    So you would approve of background checks as long as they are free.”

    I am fine with current federal background checks, but was responding/relating to the notion of undue and unfair cost and administrative burden on IDs for voting.
    IDs are only part of the costs and burdens on background checks and gun ownership, which carry similar allegations of historical animus behind the burdens.

    I’m not for universal background checks, as recently proposed. But, I’d be open minded for proposals in and around the Toomey/Manchin proposal, free 4473 might influence things.

  64. Teve says:

    Politico, Jan 24:

    Some Republican officials have been blunt about their motivations: They don’t believe they can win unless the rules change. “They don’t have to change all of them, but they’ve got to change the major parts of them so that we at least have a shot at winning,” Alice O’Lenick, a Republican on the Gwinnett County, Ga., board of elections in suburban Atlanta, told the Gwinnett Daily Post last week. She has since resisted calls to resign.

    Anybody with two brain cells to rub together can understand what’s happening here.

    3
  65. @tubal:

    I don’t know that. Assuming facts not in evidence… Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    Except this has been studied and those concerned about the issue have every incentive to try and find it and yet…nothing.

    There are a handful of cases out of millions and millions of votes cast over decades of people looking.

    10
  66. Teve says:

    AP, 8/3/18

    Report: Trump commission did not find widespread voter fraud

    By MARINA VILLENEUVE
    August 3, 2018

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The now-disbanded voting integrity commission launched by the Trump administration uncovered no evidence to support claims of widespread voter fraud, according to an analysis of administration documents released Friday.

    In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who are both Republicans and led the commission, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said the documents show there was a “pre-ordained outcome” and that drafts of a commission report included a section on evidence of voter fraud that was “glaringly empty.”

    3
  67. wr says:

    @tubal: “I have seen in 2020 lines at gun stores too. So what”

    Not to suggest bad faith in your argument or anything, but you are aware that if there is a long line at a gun store you can either immediately to a different gun store or you can leave and come back any time during the store’s opening hours, on any day you choose. I suspect you are also aware that with voting you are only allowed to cast your ballot at the appointed place at the appointed time. So these two things have nothing to do with each other.

    13
  68. And, yes, gun rights are in the constitution. And guns are, fundamentally, tools of violence that should be regulated differently than voting, because even if they both fall in the same category as “constitutional rights” doesn’t mean that they are identical and, I must confess that I find it tiresome to suggest that the two rights should be treated identically. (And that should be read less as confrontational in tone and more in a weary tone).

    For example, I think it is a far graver violation of a key right for someone to be denied the opportunity to vote versus having to wait a few days to buy a gun.

    FWIW, I am not opposed to gun ownership but I do think that the idea that owning guns should be counted in the same constellation of rights are speech, worship, voting, assembly, the press, etc., to be problematic (to be kind). But, of course, I fully understand that the second amendment exists.

    Although, I will gladly note that I appreciate your reasonable willingness to engage in the thread.

    6
  69. Tubal says:

    @Teve:
    From the same Politico article:
    Voter ID laws are usually very popular among the general public — a 2018 Pew Research poll found that three-quarters of Americans surveyed supported laws requiring voters to present a photo ID — but activists say they are problematic for several disparate groups of voters.

    According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan organization, 36 states have some form of voter ID law in place.

    Goes to reasonableness.

    1
  70. mattbernius says:

    @Andy:
    Beyond anything else, this is the first time I have seen you reference your sister. I just want to say thank you for sharing that and I want to acknowledge how difficult that must be.

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Although, I will gladly note that I appreciate your reasonable willingness to engage in the thread.

    110% to this @tubal, thank you for pushing on us. Apologies for where I might have let snark come through. I appreciate how metered you have been in advocating a different position.

    3
  71. Tubal says:

    @wr:
    >
    “ you are aware that if there is a long line at a gun store you can either immediately to a different gun store or you can leave and come back any time during the store’s opening hours, on any day you choose. I suspect you are also aware that with voting you are only allowed to cast your ballot at the appointed place at the appointed time.”

    Neither is true, as suggested, (practically in the first instance or legally in the second) in my location.
    But understand, I wasn’t complaining

    1
  72. @Steven L. Taylor:

    Except this has been studied and those concerned about the issue have every incentive to try and find it and yet…nothing.

    There are a handful of cases out of millions and millions of votes cast over decades of people looking.

    And let me add: for in-person voter impersonation fraud to work, the fraudster has to know that the person they want to impersonate is a) registered, and b) not going to show up to vote.

    What are the odds of a scheme of that nature being anything more than a one or two vote offing?

    6
  73. Tubal says:

    @mattbernius:
    And to
    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Re “appreciate your reasonable willingness to engage”

    Cheers!

    Didn’t mean to veer too much into 2A, more so to relate to IDs as a reasonable burden, conceding/open-minded to free or subsidized.
    I still like election ink, and the ritual, communal day(s) of voting

    2
  74. Kurtz says:

    @tubal:

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    This doesn’t apply here. We have reams and reams of positive evidence of absence. We have this in addition to practical issues with committing impersonation fraud at scale.

    But let’s try this. I will admit this lacks rigor, but with the numbers involved, I don’t think it matters much.

    According to UF Professor Michael MacDonald’s United States Elections Project, there have been 1,251,221,830 (est.) total ballots cast in November general elections since 2000.

    According to Heritage’s database of voter fraud, which goes back to 1979, there have been a total of 1317 proven instances of voter fraud of any kind.

    Using that 1317 figure is generous, because it includes instances that have nothing to do with the November general election ballots and it goes back an extra 20 years. It’s also higher than the rate calculated for mail-in ballots alone. So I am way overcounting fraud here.

    1,317/1,251,221,830=0.0000010526

    0.00010526%

    Kris Kobach’s commission found a much lower rate: 0.00000017%.

    I will continue to be generous to my Republican friends and use my inflated rate. It could have changed the Hart vs Miller-Meeks race, as that comes out to about 42 fraudulent ballots. (This assumes that all of the fraudulent ballots went one way.

    Likewise Florida in 2000, as the final spread was 537 votes and my rate results in 627 fraudulent ballots. Again, if the fraud only went one way.

    How about the 2020 Presidential race Georgia? There were 4,999,960 ballots cast. That would be 526 fraudulent ballots in a state Biden won by 11,779 votes.

    But that’s the point, I had to pick two high profile barnburners in 20 years, artificially inflate the rate in multiple ways, and assume that only the eventual loser benefitted from fraud in order to change results.

    Yet GOP voters think they need to take it to the streets.

    10
  75. Tubal says:

    @Kurtz:

    > “I will admit this lacks rigor, but with the numbers involved, I don’t think it matters much.

    According to Heritage’s database of voter fraud, which goes back to 1979, there have been a total of 1317 proven instances of voter fraud of any kind.”

    I think the perception matters. I understand critiques of how perception came about. Then perhaps I should amend to “Pervasiveness of perception matters.”
    As to the 1317 proven instances of voter fraud of any kind. Is that limited to proven cases against a perpetrator (found guilty)? I’d offer that far more instances of any type of crime occur than are proven as such. But regardless pervasive perception matters.

  76. Andy says:

    @Gustopher:

    Given that one of the reasonable requirements is a five day waiting period (with background check), and that the recent Georgia shooter bought his guns that day… I think we can say that your statement is at best only partially accurate.

    We don’t know that he would have gone on a killing rampage five days later, but the nature of the event (he was kicked out of his parents that day) suggests that there’s a good chance he wouldn’t have. The “he had a bad day” statement was callous, but it has a lot of truth to it too.

    So you can’t say that it would have prevented the rampage you selected (the details of which I’m not familiar with), the best you can suggest is that it might have prevented it, assuming a best-case scenario with a lot of subjective assumptions that break in one direction.

    That’s actually a good example of what I tried to describe. Passing a law based on hopeful assumptions that can’t even be shown to be effective for historical cases is not a strong argument. And it gets even weaker once all the negative effects of the law on law-abiding citizens are factored in.

    It’s possible to go back and look at some of these historical cases where all the knowable facts are known, analyze them, and potentially do more than guess at the effects of a 5-day waiting period, or any other measure you want to pick. Is this the best case study for a 5-day waiting period? And why 5 days? Why not 4 days or 10 days or 24 hours?

    I’m not trying to be a dick here, but my point is that gun control advocates need to show their work – at least if they want to convince me.

    And to lay my cards on the table, I’m amenable to more gun control laws, but only those that actually have some realistic basis to achieve some actual goal.

    @Scott F.:

    You seem to suggest that this analysis is never done, whereas I would say the analysis is there, but it’s rarely discussed in our political circles

    Well, I have spent some time researching and studying this topic and have not found this kind of analysis. But if you are aware of some I honestly would appreciate a pointer to it.

    – because our national debate starting position is that there is a fundamental right (enshrined in our Constitution) to bear arms.

    That may be because it is enshrined as a fundamental right and as long as that remains the case it deserves the same deference as other enshrined rights in the Bill of Rights.

    But, this isn’t the baseline assumption in other nations of the world and my position is that this is our problem. Though the right to bear arms in the Bill of Rights was reasonable for the times, our definition of arms we have the right to bear has expanded over the centuries and our fervent devotion to gun ownership has far outstripped every other developed country in the world.

    I think that’s a reasonable and coherent view. But as already mentioned, the right to bear arms is enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Your position suggests the way forward is to repeal the 2nd amendment.

    Again, to lay my cards on the table, I’m not opposed to a movement to overturn the 2nd Amendment. In fact, I think that’s what the gun control movement should focus on. It’s a perfectly honorable endeavor. That is going to require convincing a lot of people who don’t agree with that position. But instead, the current gun control movement seems determined to pursue a Quixotic hope they can gut the 2nd amendment without doing the hard work and by whining a lot about the NRA. As a practical matter that won’t work and demonstrably hasn’t worked for several decades.

    Which brings us back to the right to vote. The right to vote is not in the Bill of Rights. I contend that this leads to a persistent vulnerability to the right to vote doesn’t apply to the right to bear arms. And our country is the worse for it.

    Yes, and I find it strange that there is no movement to add voting rights to the Bill of Rights. Certainly, it deserves to be there.

    And if we look at historical actions such as the Temperance movement and the Civil Rights Movement (among others), we see a very different mode of action than what takes place today – one that isn’t based on raising money for DC-based lobbying groups along with action on social media.

    These things are related IMO and are a result of our dysfunctional politics, which emphasized virtue signaling and trolling over strategy and effectiveness. But that’s a subject for another thread.

    2
  77. Tubal says:

    @Andy:

    “ And if we look at historical actions such as the Temperance movement and the Civil Rights Movement (among others), we see a very different mode of action than what takes place today – one that isn’t based on raising money for DC-based lobbying groups along with action on social media”

    Yep!
    Those temperance fools, by their temporary success, missed out on the big bucks of a never ending mission.

    And there’s lots of effective focus on keeping the currently running divisive, unrealistic, lobbying (rational to the lobbyists) going.
    But, I’m all open for ongoing petitioning of govt.

    1
  78. Andy says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    If we use your estimate, 60k/4.3M = 1.3% potentially fraudulent votes. In fact, according to a June 2020 report, Colorado reported 62/1.5 million ballots = 0.0027% (2018). Apparently most people remain true to their better natures. I would note that those 62 were forwarded to the AG; there were no numbers provided as to actual prosecutions.

    Yes, those 62 were only the ones referred to the AG for further investigation. I’m not sure how many were actually found to be fraudulent.

    But that actually is in line with the point made in my comment, which is that the system here is not designed or able to detect this particular kind of fraud because it primarily relies on signature matching.

    And to reiterate, I’m not suggesting there is massive fraud here. The point is we don’t know. And, I don’t think we really need to know.

    If there is a systemic vulnerability then the thing to do is patch the vulnerability and then move on, as we do with software. That’s the ideal solution and I fully realize we don’t live in an ideal world.

    Even with this flaw, I think Colorado has an excellent system that I would like to see other states emulate. Critically, it has the support of the vast majority of our state’s population and legitimacy is essential.

    @mattbernius:

    Beyond anything else, this is the first time I have seen you reference your sister. I just want to say thank you for sharing that and I want to acknowledge how difficult that must be.

    I really appreciate that very much, thank you. It has been a tough road, especially this past year given Covid restrictions that have prevented me from seeing her in person since last summer. Fortunately, visitation is starting up again next week.

    2
  79. Andy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And let me add: for in-person voter impersonation fraud to work, the fraudster has to know that the person they want to impersonate is a) registered, and b) not going to show up to vote.

    What are the odds of a scheme of that nature being anything more than a one or two vote offing?

    Very well said. If there is fraud in the voting system it is likely occurring elsewhere. Even systems that don’t require an ID at the polling place require some kind of identity verification to register or somewhere else along the line.

    And to repeat what I said earlier, one has to consider the whole system. I haven’t surveyed all states, but every one I’m familiar with requires some kind of identity verification in the process usually at registration. The mere fact that some particular form of ID is not required at the end of the process doesn’t mean the system is vulnerable.

    @Tubal:

    I just want to say that I appreciate your participation in the thread – it’s always nice to have more diversity of thought and ideas that are argued with reason and without invective or snark.

    I don’t recognize your handle so I assume you are new here, but I would encourage you to stick around. We need more contrarians in the comment section and the possibilities for reasonable discussion are much greater here than in most other venues. And the hosts are reasonable, tolerant, and engaging as well.

    5
  80. Kurtz says:

    @Tubal:

    The amount that resulted in conviction was slightly lower.

    Doing a quick count:

    Fraudulent use of absentee ballots: 213

    Ineligible voting: 274

    Duplicate voting: 117

    Impersonation at polls: 13

    Altering the vote count: 4

    Illegal “assistance” at polls: 13

    False registration: 197

    Some of these are admittedly under counted, because some of the entries involve multiple people.

    Steven had a post in the last few months about this database. I suggest reading it. I’ll probably duplicate some of the arguments he made back then.

    I looked through it pretty extensively today, so let me give you my impressions. I also did the math to figure out how many total ballots have been cast in general elections since 2000, something I had not previously done. That number is above, but just to reiterate: it’s over 1 billion. The vast majority of the entries are dated 2000 or after. The few from before that are peanuts in the grand scheme.

    -I’m troubled by the structure of the database. Under the “miscellaneous” category, you find all sorts of shenanigans. But the first three entries are from a scheme in a Philly race for the state House. Whereas in other places and categories they group similar instances into one entry. I’m not sure why they do this, and it would take quite a bit of work to see if it is deliberate in some way.

    -It’s bipartisan.

    -I take your point that there are instances that have gone undetected. But the number of confirmed cases of fraud are spread across two decades, 50 states, and three levels of government.

    In order for it to be a decisive factor, the number of undetected cases would have to outnumber confirmed instances by many orders of magnitude.

    -In order for it to go undetected, it would require an enormous number of people to stay silent, avoid errors and cover their tracks over multiple iterations, and all of that has to stand up to intense scrutiny by motivated investigators.

    -Most of the types of voter fraud in the database are not prevented by voter ID or maintaining registration rolls.

    2
  81. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Andy:

    I’m very civic-minded and take my civic responsibilities very seriously and I shred my sister’s ballots. Is everyone so inclined?

    Let me ask (since no one knows) a rhetorical question? How many of your guesstimated 60K guardians are sufficiently motivated to cast a fraudulent ballot with a potential prison sentence?
    My guess would be damned few, but for the sake or argument let us say 10 % are willing to take that risk. Now, on a partisan basis about one-half are Rs and one half are Ds. If they were exactly equal (50/50) then the fraudulent votes cancel each other, and no one gains advantage. So, to extend the example, let’s further stipulate that Rs have a 3 point advantage. So the risk calculation is now 6,000 voters will cast fraudulent votes to gain a total of 180 votes for the party.

    The punishment for casting a fraudulent vote (voter impersonation) is simply too steep to be worth the risk.

  82. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Andy:

    Here in Colorado, the validity of a mailed ballot primarily rests on a signature verification of the outer envelope as well as the pre-coded info on the envelope itself.

    BTW, Colorado has one of the best, well trained, extensively documented voter signature verification processes in the States.
    Link

  83. Mister Bluster says:

    There’s no voting in baseball.

    There’s no firearms either yet here we are.

    (Unless you consider George Shotgun Shuba)

    1
  84. Mister Bluster says:

    @Tubal:..I’d offer that far more instances of any type of crime occur than are proven as such.

    You are the one advocating that there are “far more instances” of voter fraud occurring. Why don’t you go out on a limb and give us a number. And while you are at it help us all out and identify the juristictions where this is taking place.

    1
  85. Gustopher says:

    @Andy:

    So you can’t say that it would have prevented the rampage you selected (the details of which I’m not familiar with), the best you can suggest is that it might have prevented it, assuming a best-case scenario with a lot of subjective assumptions that break in one direction.

    The only way to ensure, 100%, he would not go on a murderous rampage would be to run him over with a car the day before.

    The best I can do is point to suicide statistics, where someone who hits their breaking point but is interrupted before attempting suicide, is much less likely to commit the act. It’s not a perfect comparison, but generally speaking, murderous rampages are either planned out long before, or heat of the moment, and breaking that moment helps.

    He was kicked out of the house for being a never-do-well wastrel son, blamed harlots leading him to temptation and went on a spree killing to get revenge. If he had to wait a few days, and figure out where he was going to sleep that night, he would have had to think rationally for a bit, and that likely would have stopped it.

    Dylan Roof, on the other hand, was pretty determined to go kill some black folks. Disrupting there, short of removing his ability completely, would likely just have moved it to another day.

    1
  86. Gustopher says:

    @Tubal:

    Both recent comments are about the “cause” of the perception problem, not the existence.

    I stand by the notion that broad perceptions about election integrity do matter for democracies.

    And I stand by the notion that you don’t let the people who deliberately created a problem try to “fix” it until after they have shown that they can be trusted.

    The Republicans have been promoting lies so outrageous that Trump’s lawyer, being sued for defamation, is claiming that no reasonable person would believe them. We can quibble on whether the Republicans are reasonable people.

    We don’t take pity on the guy who kills his parents and then pleads that he is an orphan, after all. We don’t let a known child molester watch our children. We don’t let a crack ho watch our stash. And we shouldn’t let Republicans who have been pushing The Big Lie try to fix it.

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  87. Kurtz says:

    @Andy:

    Very well said. If there is fraud in the voting system it is likely occurring elsewhere. Even systems that don’t require an ID at the polling place require some kind of identity verification to register or somewhere else along the line.

    And to repeat what I said earlier, one has to consider the whole system. I haven’t surveyed all states, but every one I’m familiar with requires some kind of identity verification in the process usually at registration. The mere fact that some particular form of ID is not required at the end of the process doesn’t mean the system is vulnerable.

    Yeah. In my view widespread systematic fraud is unlikely. Why risk all that would entail when you have the ability to tinker with the mechanics of the system and deploy social engineering techniques on your partisans? That combination carries less downside risk and seems more efficient over time.

    Plus you get to do cool things like recruit fake candidates who share a last name with your opponent to siphon votes. Makes you feel clever and spookish.

    Oh, are you alarmed at all by these lawsuits in Georgia seeking access to scanned ballots?

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  88. SC_Birdflyte says:

    For anyone who has more knowledge than I about legalese: Why does the Second Amendment cite a right both to “keep” and “bear” arms? Why use two verbs when one will do? Or is there a hidden message here?

  89. mattbernius says:

    @Andy:

    I really appreciate that very much, thank you. It has been a tough road, especially this past year given Covid restrictions that have prevented me from seeing her in person since last summer. Fortunately, visitation is starting up again next week.

    I can only imagine how hard that was. And what an additional pressure to carry during an already really difficult time. I’m so glad that you are able to visit again soon.

    @Andy:

    If there is fraud in the voting system it is likely occurring elsewhere.

    And that is born out in the data. See, for example, the many successful prosecutions of voter *registration* fraud.

    @Tubal:

    Both recent comments are about the “cause” of the perception problem, not the existence.

    I stand by the notion that broad perceptions about election integrity do matter for democracies.

    While I appreciate this point, I think this easily becomes a slippery slope argument, especially with the direction that the current Supreme Court appears to be taking. For more on that, I highly recommend this episode of the “All the Presidents’ Lawyers” podcast featuring Franita Tolson of USC’s Gould School of Law, where they dive a bit into the issue of “securing elections.”

    https://www.kcrw.com/news/shows/lrc-presents-all-the-presidents-lawyers/overturning-election-results-goal-anymore

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  90. @Kurtz:

    Steven had a post in the last few months about this database. I suggest reading it.

    For anyone who might be interested, here are the posts:

    The Reality of Electoral Fraud
    A Return to the (Lack of) Evidence of Significant Fraud

    The database is…not good and the more I look at it, the more that position is solidified. It is a mish-mash of a very broadly defined notion of “electoral fraud” (much of which has nothing to do with casting votes, and the majority of which would not be stopped by voted ID).

    (My video conference with the guy who runs the database earlier this year did not make me feel any better about its quality).

    That “database” is, as best as I can tell, the premier collection of examples of fraud. It is a common source for “evidence” for fraud in the US.

    And if this is best that can be generated, then that just bolsters my view that electoral fraud, even broadly defined, simply isn’t a problem of significance in the US. And studies far more rigorous than Heritages confirm this.

    I think that what most people who are sincerely concerned about fraud do is allow their imaginations and anxieties to overwhelm the actual evidence.

    I understand why one might think that IDs are needed (as I have noted, I have no problem with the idea in the abstract), but I think that the broader cost (in terms of citizen access to the ballot box) needs to be taken into account and, ultimately, the evidence suggests it isn’t worth that cost.

    In regards to the database itself:

    Whereas in other places and categories they group similar instances into one entry. I’m not sure why they do this, and it would take quite a bit of work to see if it is deliberate in some way.

    This kind of thing drives me crazy as a social scientist, and I tried to tell Heritage that they had all kinds of coding problems. That “database” (which deserves the scare quotes) is clearly not developed nor maintained by anyone with basic social science training. The definitions are sloppy, the way different cases are treated are problematic, and there is no detailed explanation of how cases are classified in the first place.

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  91. Kurtz says:

    @tubal:

    All that indicates is that Mike Turzai may have forfeited presumptions as to his position, not that all with the same position have forfeited a reasonable presumption of good faith.

    I can agree with this as it applies to voters. I can’t extend a presumption of good faith to elected officials, members of the media, think tanks, or party officials.

    1
  92. Andy says:

    @Gustopher:

    The best I can do is point to suicide statistics, where someone who hits their breaking point but is interrupted before attempting suicide, is much less likely to commit the act. It’s not a perfect comparison, but generally speaking, murderous rampages are either planned out long before, or heat of the moment, and breaking that moment helps.

    I think the relationship for suicides is stronger, but far from conclusive. So arguing for such a law to combat suicide prevention at least has some justification, even if the statistical evidence is weak.

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    Let me ask (since no one knows) a rhetorical question? How many of your guesstimated 60K guardians are sufficiently motivated to cast a fraudulent ballot with a potential prison sentence?
    My guess would be damned few, but for the sake or argument let us say 10 % are willing to take that risk.

    That would be my guess as well, though the perceived stakes in politics appear to be pretty high at the moment. We had, after all, calls for people to “move” to Georgia in order to vote in the runoff election there. On that score, maybe someone has done the research – it would be interesting to see how many people actually did move to Georgia to vote. My guess is probably close to zero.

    Anyway, I’m not super-concerned about this here in Colorado even though it is a vulnerability that I think should be patched. I brought it up primarily as an example of why systems analysis is important.

    After this last election, I called our county election office to ask about my sister’s situation and the possibility of deregistering her. There is no law or special considerations for this case – The only way she can be deregistered is by filling out the form that anyone would use to deregister and have my sister sign or make a mark, even though she would have no idea what she was signing. I was assured this is legal, but it all seems very dodgy to me, especially since Colorado law specifically limits the authority of guardians when it comes to voting. So I’ll just keep receiving and shredding her ballots.

    1
  93. Mattbernius says:

    @Andy:

    After this last election, I called our county election office to ask about my sister’s situation and the possibility of deregistering her. There is no law or special considerations for this case – The only way she can be deregistered is by filling out the form that anyone would use to deregister and have my sister sign or make a mark, even though she would have no idea what she was signing.

    As someone who is increasingly being involved in civic service design, what Andy mentions here is exactly the type of edge case that befuddles systems.

    Trying to account for it in law is a difficult choice (largely because you usually get one bite at that apple every one to two years and there are a lot of other folks trying to advance legislation). And if the law isn’t crafted well, the the decision revenge back to the county and then there is a patch work. But push for a State commission to address the edge cases and supporters can balk.

    And then you also get to conflicting rules and spirits of the law (as Andy mentions later).

    I don’t have a good answer other than careful crafting of policy, but even then you need it to be enacted to understand where that gaps are.

    2
  94. Andy says:

    @Mattbernius:

    Those are all excellent points. Such lines are difficult to draw, much less enforce. When I first received guardianship from the court my sister was much more cogent than she is now – enough, in my judgment, to express at least a general voting preference for national elections. Now she is much different and half the time she thinks she’s 8 years old and wonders where her little brother is. There really isn’t a way to design a system to account for that and it’s an area where society just has to trust that people will do the right thing.

    And I agree these are edge cases, but that’s where a lot of policy and political debate resides and it’s useful to consider the effects of policy on such cases.