A key to political affiliation

Want to find out — without seeming a nosy parker — the political leanings of casual acquaintances? (We’re assuming that you already know how your friends lean, and perhaps selected your friends because of that particular angle.) Here’s a test, a simple and direct one, and probably not too much of a giveaway as to its devious underplay.

Ask your acquaintance if s/he worries about voter fraud.

That’s it.

Chances are — and I have no statistical data to support this contention — that a person who worries about voter fraud is…
a Republican, one who does not is a Democrat. (The test may be still more accurate in distinguishing between conservative and liberal, which often but not invariably coincide with R and D.)

The only evidence I can provide at the moment for my faith in this test is that campaigns to prevent voter fraud — that is, attempts to pass new laws on the matter — all come from Republican states.

But but but, you may say. Maybe it is a serious issue, the Dems just don’t see that it needs to be addressed. Maybe there’s an army of ineligible voters out there, just waiting for a Tuesday in November to subvert the electoral process.

My answer to that is perhaps best summed up by a piece recently on NPR. (Right. A full-bore liberal outlet. Hang on, I’ll send you to a conservative one in a moment.)

Ari Berman, who’s reported on these laws for Rolling Stone magazine, says that requirements in the name of protecting against voter fraud actually suppress certain voter demographics.

“I believe what Republicans are trying to do is make it harder for Democratic candidates to turn out an electorate [like] they turned out in 2008, which is young voters, African-Americans, Hispanics,” Berman tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

He says those are the people who are disproportionately affected by the new laws.

Okay, so maybe, well, maybe it’s those people, you know, those people, who are just waiting for Election Day to do their worst. There could be thousands of them, ready to take over. Or something. Voter fraud is still a BIG DEAL.

Oh really. According to the Brennan Center for Justice,

Americans are more likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than commit voter fraud. And the Bush administration’s five-year national “war on voter fraud” resulted in only 86 convictions of illegal voting out of more than 196 million votes cast. Instead conservatives are employing an old tactic: using the specter of false voting to restrict the voting rights of minorities and the poor.

And Fox News, hardly a bastion of liberal hanky-panky, argued a couple years ago that

Several states adopted new laws last year requiring that people show a photo ID when they come to vote even though the kind of election fraud that the laws are intended to stamp out is rare.

You want more detailed, researched, and establishmentarian sources for this stuff? A recent op-ed in the Washington Post (I know, I know, WaPo is not one of my favorite go-to sources, but the Post’s wishy-washy pseudo-liberalism helps certify them here) presented and demolished five myths about voter fraud.

These are the five myths which it debunks. A few are dodgy on the surface, others are more complex but still bogus. Read the whole article.

  1. We need state voter ID laws to prevent fraud.
  2. Requiring identification at the polls affects all voters equally.
  3. The new laws are cheap for states and voters.
  4. There’s no way to fight photo ID restrictions.
  5. Perpetrators of voting fraud don’t face serious legal consequences.

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