Friday, June 05, 2009

My Afternoon Jay

Would we all wade so deep in the minutiae if it were something about which we did not care so deeply?

Now, Jay Bookman is taking Karen Handel to task over those pesky voter database searches.
So, casting the state’s policy in the best possible light, Handel’s approach may have found as many as 30 illegal voters. But that is far outweighed by the invalidation of hundreds of legal votes cast by U.S. citizens, and by the fact that thousands of additional citizens were effectively discouraged from voting by additional obstacles put in their way.
Hundreds.

Thousands.

You know I expect this kind of stuff from Cynthia Tucker, but despite CB's howling, I expect a little more sense from Jay.

One of the problems with the left's arguments about these purges is even when they're right (which technically Jay is), they end up making people shrug.

Jay has a valid point that ultimately the database search produced somewhere between 30-300 potential voter fraud cases. As has been said before, Handel is using a sledgehammer to kill a fly.

But in explaining how he arrived at that number, Jay presents the breakdown of how many voters were actually affected by these database queries.

About 4700.

Out of 4 million around 600,000.

That's .1% .5%

But that's not all. What was required of those 4700?

They had to go down to the registrar's office before the election and show proof of citizenship.

Wow. That sounds tough. So tough, that 2000 actually passed through the struggle and accomplished the task.

So what happened to the other 2700? Well, 600 showed up and were required to complete a challenge ballot. They were also required to show citizenship within 48 hours. Amazingly, 370 were able to accomplish this monumental task.

So what is the final tally? About 2300 people out of 4 million were arguably disenfranchised from their right to vote.

But too often this is the way of things with liberals - if ain't perfect, we gotta pursue it with a thunderous righteous fury. And I guarantee you, sometime in the next week, when I am arguing with one on this very subject, even if I agree that there is some injustice, when I point out it is a fight they will never win because people will see those numbers as absurd, they will still angrily disagree and search for another windmill to stab.

CORRECTION: As Sara pointed out in the comments my numbers were off because I was doing vote totals from the last election instead of new registrants during the last cycle. The numbers above reflect this change. But as I indicated in the comments, it does not change the figures so drastically that my perspective or point has changed.

25 comments:

Sara said...

The queries occurred at registration, so 4 million is the wrong number to use. I believe the DoJ letter says how many voters registered during the time the queries were being used to validate registrations. I will go check, but I think it was a couple hundred thousand rather than 4 million.

griftdrift said...

If that's so I'll make a correction. But it's still not going to change my viewpoint.

Sara said...

The DoJ letter doesn't give a total number of registrants that I can see but does indicate it's registrants between May 2008 and March 2009. I bet one of the politically inclined folks around these parts has a sense of how many registrations that would encompass. Based on this article, I would guess it was in the vicinity of 500-600K.

I recognize that doesn't change the point much (7000 out of 600,000 is still a tiny fraction) but I just wanted to be clear we are talking about registration vs. voting. If they are checking the active voter rolls using the same method looking for people to purge, then we have a much bigger problem on our hands than I believed. (And then the Katharine Harris moniker really would fit.)

Sara said...

Or rather 4700 out of 600,000 is a tiny fraction. I forgot the numbers after wading through the DoJ letter again. (That thing is so dense it even gives lawyers a headache.)

nast said...

I'll grant you that the indignation is a bit much. It irks me when people say things like "thousands were effectively discouraged" with no proof to back that up.

But, I'm kind of surprised to see you argue that it's only a matter of scale. How many, exactly, would be too many before it becomes a problem?

I'm not going to argue that we don't need to prove who we say we are when we vote. But I have yet to be convinced that this is actually a problem. Seems like we have enough actual problems to tackle without making bogus stuff up.

griftdrift said...

I'll issue a correction.

It's not really a matter of setting a line, nast. It's the matter of winning a political fight which you also point out.

If you tell people its a problem and they ask you how big a problem then you give them this number they are going respond "so"? And if they also ask well what does this people have to do to overcome this and you tell them the method, they are then going to go "so, that's not that hard"?

Its about winning the political fight and you just can't. Plus it makes you play defense which is always a loser in politics.

Richard Campbell said...

If anyone else were using a test that had, oh, a false negative rate of 98.7% (taking the 2300 who never completed the process and the 30 that were illegal voters), you'd call bullshit...you damn sure wouldn't want your doctor using it.

Catherine said...

I can't argue with you that many will see this and shrug, but if I was one of those who was unable to vote I wouldn't shrug.

I have long held the belief that a Secretary of State should be in the business of easing the voting process, which in some ways has been done (early and advanced voting, absentee voting) but in other ways it seems to this observer that Ms Handel is more interested in limiting access and creating barricades to voting.

Voting is a right. It's not the same as renting a video, cashing a check, or renting a car. It shouldn't be limited to those who have the time, ability, and overall wearwithall to jump through random hoops set by some bureaucrat.

griftdrift said...

Now that's spinning the numbers quite a bit. Fact is we don't even know that's an accurate gauge of false positive.

And after what you and I did for two years, you really want to talk about ginning numbers to make someone happy? ;)

Little inside joke there folks. Just ignore.

Catherine said...

Yeah, what Richard said ;-)

griftdrift said...

I see my Democrat flypaper has worked!

Excellent.

Victory is mine!

griftdrift said...

And even if everything everybody said is correct, the bottom line is you cannot win the political fight. And if you insist (which Democrats tend to do, bless their hearts), the Republicans are just going to beat you over the head with it.

Sara said...

Just to turn this thing even further on its head...

The Voting Rights Act and the 15th amendment prohibit restriction or denial of an individual's right to vote on the basis of their race. These are absolutes, and even one single instance in which a person is turned away from the polls because of their race would constitute an actionable violation. Sure, average people on the street might shrug that it's just one guy out of hundreds of thousands...but that doesn't make it legal or constitutional. It's an absolute standard.

So I think all the talk about percentages is somewhat misleading. If it's illegal, it doesn't matter whether 40,000 people or one person are racially discriminated against in the right to vote. It matters if there is evidence, statistically significant evidene, of racially discriminatory impact. DoJ claims there is, and that's enough to meet their burden under VRA.

Of course Handel can spin the numbers in a politically effective way, but it won't matter to the legality of her policy. If the facts are as the DoJ's letter says they are, barring a Supreme Court ruling that eliminates pre-clearance and that weakens the VRA, she is going to lose the legal battle. (Also, even if SCOTUS eliminates preclearance, which I know you think they might, any lawsuit challenging the constitutionality and legality of the SoS program will still likely prevail.)

nast said...

That swings both ways, though. "We 'maybe' prevented 30 illegal votes? That's it?" I'd like to see someone add up the cost to implement and support this process, not to mention defend it in court, and divide that by the number of known illegal votes it stopped. Then I can make a judgement on whether I think it's worthwhile

griftdrift said...

Exactly Nast.

As I said in "The Competency Constituency", if you can spin this into we spent untold millions and screwed up an election, then people will notice.

Richard Campbell said...

"Now that's spinning the numbers quite a bit. Fact is we don't even know that's an accurate gauge of false positive."

I took the smallest numbers you could get from your list...use the 4700 number if you want.

And keep in mind the tradition of "better to let 10* guilty men go free than convict one innocent man"; this purging doesn't track that score.

*Different sources put this number anywhere from 1 to 100.

griftdrift said...

I understand what you are saying Richard which is why I ended with this.

"And I guarantee you, sometime in the next week, when I am arguing with one on this very subject, even if I agree that there is some injustice..."

Anonymous said...

"It shouldn't be limited to those who have the time, ability, and overall wearwithall to jump through random hoops set by some bureaucrat."

Getting an ID is part of being a grownup. We only allow grownups to vote. No ID=not a grownup, no right to vote.

There is tons of BS we have to do get full rights as a citizen, and even to exercise said rights. It's hardly new or different to require someone who wants to vote to have a $10 piece of plastic that is a FACKIN NECESSITY in life. Just saying. If you don't want to have the most basic, fundamental proof that you are part of the state and willing to show you are actively participating in the state, I don't want you voting anyway.

Sara said...

This debate isn't about Voter ID. Please stop confusing the issue. This is about the administrative steps that a person who was flagged for possible non-citizenship had to go through in order to correct their registration and be eligible to vote.

Anonymous said...

I like to think I'm always correct. Please don't change that view of mine by pointing out I fundamentally misread something. :(

JerryT said...

So when Dems are back in charge they can make having an ACLU card a prerequisite to vote because it's so easy to get and therefore should only affect a few people?

JonF said...

Quote:

"But too often this is the way of things with liberals - if ain't perfect, we gotta pursue it with a thunderous righteous fury. And I guarantee you, sometime in the next week, when I am arguing with one on this very subject, even if I agree that there is some injustice, when I point out it is a fight they will never win because people will see those numbers as absurd, they will still angrily disagree and search for another windmill to stab."

Okay, Shorter Grift:

Even if you dirty liberals are right on the merits (which I'm ready to admit), it pales in comparison to the politcal calculus. You silly hippies with all those "principles" and stuff.

I mean, seriously, we are only talking about voting rights. Clearly, you pussies worried about this stuff are doomed to fail.

Losers.

That's some serious high class wanking. Sorry, but the Handel fever is showing grift.

Gray said...

My whole objection to the issue is that it's a non-starter. The disenfranchisement of voters is a big issue, but it seems like my outrage meter only hits a high 2/low 3 when it affects so few people.

Not excusing it, but I'm focusing on the log in my eye rather than the splinter in my finger (or however that applicable verse goes).

griftdrift said...

I got a fever! And the only cure is more Han-del!

Anonymous said...

The clear motivation behind State Election Board Member Randy Evans' partisan rant at the SEB Meeting against the Secretary of State Karen Handel over the process of checking citizenship is Randy supports gubernatorial opponent Eric Johnson.

Ironically his candidate Eric Johnson has voted twice in favor of HB86 that requires ALL applicants provide proof of citizenship at registration time, to be verified through this very same process, not just those who when checked show as non-citizens...