The usually even-tempered William Galston—a smart liberal typically worth reading (especially if you’re a liberal, as he’s usually flagging liberal mistakes)—takes to the pages of The New Republic this week to disparage Republican efforts to promote more rigorous ID standards for voting. Galston inexplicably joins the MSNBC/ Leftist line that this effort is purely and simply an “odious” attempt at voter suppression:
Because there’s such little evidence that these changes are needed to eliminate widespread voter fraud, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that many Republican legislators want to discourage voting among groups—especially minorities and the poor—that cast their ballots mainly for Democrats.
“Little evidence”?? Leave aside the dodge of “widespread” voter fraud; it doesn’t need to be widespread—it only needs to be at the margin in a handful of precincts to tip a close election, such as Minnesota’s 2008 Senate race. Let’s check in with Byron York in today’s Washington Examiner, noting the strong evidence that nearly 1,100 fraudulent ballots were cast in that Senate race, which was won by only 312 votes:
And so far, Fund and von Spakovsky report [in their new book Who’s Counting?], 177 people have been convicted — not just accused, but convicted — of voting fraudulently in the Senate race. Another 66 are awaiting trial. “The numbers aren’t greater,” the authors say, “because the standard for convicting someone of voter fraud in Minnesota is that they must have been both ineligible, and ‘knowingly’ voted unlawfully.” The accused can get off by claiming not to have known they did anything wrong.
Still, that’s a total of 243 people either convicted of voter fraud or awaiting trial in an election that was decided by 312 votes. With 1,099 examples identified by Minnesota Majority, and with evidence suggesting that felons, when they do vote, strongly favor Democrats, it doesn’t require a leap to suggest there might one day be proof that Al Franken was elected on the strength of voter fraud.
I’m disappointed with Galston, whom I know slightly and like quite a lot. And be sure to pick up a copy of Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk, which ought to be one of the hot books of this political season.