Election-law expert Rick Hasen picks out
an interesting passage from the minority section of the Senate Judiciary Committee's just-released report
into the US Attorneys firings.
Some members of the committee's Republican minority -- including senior senators like McCain pal Lindsey Graham, new NRSC chair John Cornyn, and ex-presidential candidate Sam Brownback -- strenuously disagreed with the findings of the Majority (and with an internal report produced by DOJ's Office of the Inspector General) that the White House helped engineer the firings, and that several of the dismissals were made for inappropriate political reasons.
Instead, they used the report as a chance to bang the drum on "voter fraud" one more time. But they continue to willfully confuse voter registration
fraud with voter fraud -- even though numerous experts have now pointed out that there's no evidence that fraudulent voter registration forms lead to fraudulent votes being cast.
The dissenting Republicans wrote:
Perhaps the most Orwellian aspect of the Majority report is its repeated insistence that there is no vote fraud in this country that is ever worth investigating. At one point, the Majority even places scare quotes around the term, lest anyone receive the impression that the Majority believes that voter fraud could ever be a real problem. Yet during the federal elections just concluded, the American public saw numerous examples of serious attempts to commit voter fraud in this country.
Most of these incidents involved the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a group that actively promotes voter registration in many cities across the nation. ACORN tends to target areas where it believes that it can register Democratic voters, such as parks, public-assistance agencies, and liquor stores, ACORN's history is littered with claims and convictions of fraud. and generally hires part-time workers who are paid for each registered name to canvas these areas. In this election cycle, many different groups, from journalists to the GOP, strongly criticized the integrity of the organization's registration methods. As early as September, state officials reported fraudulent voter registrations submitted by ACORN, and as of October 6th, the New York Times reported that about 400,000 ACORN filings had been rejected by authorities as duplicates, incomplete, or fraudulent. After comparing their voter registration rolls, Georgia, Florida, and Ohio found 112,000 duplicate voters registered in two states, and authorities have rejected ACORN applications attempting to register such "voters" as Mickey Mouse and the Dallas Cowboys' offensive line.
Notice that the Republicans stop short of saying voter fraud was actually committed. They do say flatly, however, that faulty registration forms submitted by ACORN amount to "serious attempts" to commit voter fraud.
But they don't offer a single piece of evidence to support even this reduced charge.
Not one citation given -- most of which are to columns by conservative opinion columnist John Fund, or to posts on the conservative blog Powerline -- leads to an example that contains any evidence whatsoever of an effort to actually commit voter fraud.
It's one thing for Fund or Sean Hannity to try to muddy up these distinctions in an effort to confuse people into believing that voter fraud actually exists in significant numbers. But it's pretty shocking when Senate Republicans do so.