Sunday, February 5, 2012

Conservative Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White (R) Convicted Of Voter Fraud

Conservative Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White (R) Convicted Of Voter Fraud

Though President Ronald Reagan called the right to vote the “crown jewel of American liberties,” many Republicans around the country have begun demanding increased voting restrictions in the name of fighting “voter fraud.” Though actual cases of voting fraud are so rare that a voter is much more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit fraud at the polls, one Republican official in Indiana has proved that lightning can strike himself.

Yesterday, a jury found Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White (R) guilty on six felony counts of voter fraud, theft, and perjury. The conviction cost White his job, though he plans to ask the judge to reduce the charges to misdemeanors and hopes to perhaps regain the position.

In a statement, Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) announced White’s deputy will take over on an interim basis:

    I have chosen not to make a permanent appointment today out of respect for the judge’s authority to lessen the verdict to a misdemeanor and reinstate the elected office holder… If the felony convictions are not altered, I anticipate making a permanent appointment quickly.

But a second court case could ultimately give the job to Democrat Vop Osili, who lost to White in November 2010. A judge’s December 2011 ruling — currently on hold, pending appeal — held that due to the voter fraud charges, White’s election was invalid. Should that ruling survive the appeals process, Osili would assume the office.

Ironically, White’s now-removed 2010 campaign website listed election integrity as among his top concerns, and promised he would “protect and defend Indiana’s Voter ID law to ensure our elections are fair and protect the most basic and precious right and responsibility of our democracy-voting.”

Voter fraud is very rare. You have a better chance of being struck by lightening. yet is has been conservatives who have made a big deal out of restrictive voter ID laws. Maybe it was to help them resist their own devious ideas about committing actual fraud.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Politics

The important point to make here is that all these bogus numbers are coming from seemingly authoritative sources — Fox News, which is a big organization, the WSJ editorial page, the American Enterprise Institute. You could not imagine a similar level of statistical dishonesty from, say, The Nation, or Washington Monthly, or EPI.

This is what I mean when I say that the left and right aren’t symmetric. People of all persuasions lie; but the right has a whole institutional structure of lying that has no counterpart on the left.