Voter Fraud

As we all know by now, the 4th Circuit recently overturned North Carolina's voter ID law.

In the North Carolina case, the 4th Circuit panel agreed with allegations that North Carolina’s omnibus bill selectively chose voter-ID requirements, reduced the number of early-voting days and changed registration procedures in ways meant to harm blacks, who overwhelmingly vote for the Democratic Party.

“The new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision” and “impose cures for problems that did not exist,” Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote for the panel. “Thus the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation.”

The case was heard by a three-justice tribunal: Diana Gribbon Motz,  James A. Wynn, Jr., and Henry F. Floyd. All joined in the decision to overturn the statute, with Motz dissenting regarding Part V.B., which has to do with the decision not to remand the case back to the trial court.

Predictably, proponents of the law were Outraged!™. Once again, we have liberal judges 'legislating from the bench.' Never mind that heretofore the 4th Circuit has been considered '... the most aggressively conservative federal appeals court in the nation ...', though as that article notes, we are seeing a swing back to center.

Motz, 73, was nominated by President Bill Clinton. The other judges on the panel were Henry Floyd, nominated to the federal bench by President George W. Bush and elevated to the 4th Circuit by President Obama, and James A. Wynn Jr., a former North Carolina Supreme Court justice nominated to the federal circuit by Obama.

It's interesting to note that all three justices received the unanimous approval of the Senate. That includes all the Republicans ... and the farthest right of the Tea Party contingent. Clearly, these justices were considered well-qualified to sit on the federal appeals courts by the most liberal and the most conservative of our elected officials.

Here is an excellent analysis of the court's decision:

Breaking and Analysis: Partially Divided 4th Circuit Strikes NC Strict Voting Law, Finds Discriminatory Intent

Despite the clear justification for overturning not only the NC statute, but similar Wisconsin and Texas statutes, 'conservatives' continue to beat the voter fraud drum.

Unfortunately, they are relying on erroneous information to make their case, citing long debunked examples of voter fraud.

We can turn first to Snopes to shoot holes in the above allegations. If that is insufficient, we can go to the Columbus Dispatch. Or US News and World Report Or FactCheck.org.

Voting fraud does in fact occur. To think otherwise would be naive at best, downright stupid at worst. One noteworthy case involves Hamilton County, Ohio. Far right self-styled voter fraud watchdog J. Christian Adams rants about how the Department of Justice refuses to bring charges against the known offender in this case. Yet he fails to note the reason for that - there is no need for DoJ involvement; the state of Ohio has sentenced the offender to five years in prison.

The thing is, voter fraud and voter ID requirements are not linked.

This is why the 4th Circuit described the NC statute as - among other things - a solution in search of a problem.