Why It Matters

October 22, 2010 6:20 a.m.

One more point to make on these pre-election seminars put on by the Republican National Lawyers Association: The RNLA has been putting on these kinds of seminars for a while.

They held a national election law conference in St, Louis back in the summer of 2008, for example, that included John Ashcroft and Trevor Potter, the former FEC chairman who was then general counsel for John McCain’s presidential campaign.Back in 2006, Karl Rove addressed the RNLA and thanked it for its efforts to protect the “integrity of the ballot.” Rove, who has long been at the center of whipping up hysteria over “voting fraud” among minority voters, told the group: “We have in some parts of the country, I’m afraid to say, beginning to look like we have elections like the ones run in countries where the guys in charge are colonels in mirrored sunglasses, it’s a real problem.”

As we now know, Rove was using his White House perch at the time to push for federal prosecutions of alleged “voter fraud” cases. When the U.S. attorney in New Mexico, David Iglesias, refused to go along, he was removed from office by President Bush, at Rove’s behest.

You can’t understand what’s happening in this election cycle without understanding that we’re a decade or more into a long-term Republican strategy to plant the seed that voting by minority groups is rife with fraud. At one point that effort led to the sacking of U.S. attorneys in the darkest episode for the U.S. Justice Department since Watergate. But that hasn’t stopped it.

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