Kevin Drum’s logic is not exactly bulletproof here:
A friend writes to complain about press treatment of the biannual frenzy over voter fraud. Here is the New York Times, for example, in a story headlined “Fraudulent Voting Re-emerges as a Partisan Issue” yesterday:
A report by the public-integrity section of the Justice Department found that from October 2002 to September 2005, the department charged 95 people with “election fraud”; 55 were convicted. Among those, fewer than 20 people were convicted of casting fraudulent ballots.
Statistics! Actual facts! For all practical purposes, there is no voter fraud. Charges of fraud are merely a cynical tactic designed to suppress the vote of various demographic groups who are likely to vote for Democrats. So, my friend asks, why not collect some actual facts about that?
There is no voter fraud. The conclusion does not follow from the evidence. It is entirely possible that there is lots of voter fraud and that the DOJ did not prosecute much of it from 2002–05. There are lots of things the DOJ is not very good at. For instance, the DOJ does not bring a lot of convictions for terrorism crimes; does that mean there is no terrorism and no terrorism threat? Or does it mean that the government is more focused on disrupting terrorism plots than on getting convictions? Or does it mean that terror suspects are getting convicted of lots of non-terrorism crimes instead?
I’ve witnessed a fair amount of voting shenanigans (six years in Philadelphia will do that to you), and it does not at all seem to me unlikely that a country with relatively high levels of public corruption would also have relatively high levels of direct election fraud. Perhaps that is worth investigating, no? Especially when there seem to be indictable shenanigans afoot.
UPDATE: I wonder if Mr. Drum has any thoughts on this.
UPDATE II: I was if Mr. Drum has any thoughts on this.
Kevin Drum has really, really bad timing, I think.