So the dead aren’t rising from their graves to vote.
And, it turns out, no one is using their names to cast fraudulent votes, either. That’s what the State Law Enforcement Division says.
In other words, South Carolina Republicans were crying wolf all along.
Of course, you probably missed the report on this since SLED issued it over the July 4th holiday — and then only to the Columbia Free Times, which had requested the information a year earlier.
You know, a conspiracy-minded soul might find it curious that the state chose to reveal this information over a holiday, when many people aren’t paying attention.
Now, why would they do such a thing?
Uh, because the governor, attorney general and Republican legislators claimed they had evidence of “widespread voter fraud” last year — and used their trumped-up claims to pass a completely unnecessary voter ID law.
And they would prefer no one realize it was all a bunch of bull.
State Rep. David Mack said last year that these claims of voter fraud were baloney.
But then, anyone but blind partisans could see that.
“It was boilerplate legislation, introduced in many states,” Mack says. “I think it was a strategy by the Republican Party to suppress the vote.”
The claim that the dead were voting came days after the U.S. Justice Department struck down the state’s first attempt at a new Voter ID law. The feds said there was no proof. Then presto, there was “proof” from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
State election officials reviewed the evidence and said there was no fraud, but Wilson asked SLED to investigate anyway. They finished their review months ago, but still haven’t posted the study to their website.
Basically, they said all these instances of the dead voting were either cases of mistaken identity, bureaucratic mix-ups or false alarms.
So far, the effects of the voter ID law have been minimal. Mack says the real problem is, since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, the state doesn’t have to get pre-clearance before further monkeying with election laws.
So photo ID may be just the start. We could be headed back to the days of aggressive voter roll purges and last-minute changes to precinct locations.
You know, partisan high jinks.
“It’s not going to be a good time,” Mack says. “We should not try to put partisan politics into the process. It’s not what we’re supposed to be about.”
Too late for that.
Stacking the deck
State Rep. Todd Rutherford has said Gov. Nikki Haley and Attorney General Alan Wilson should apologize for, at best, misleading the public.
Wilson’s office said he could not ignore such claims, which is fair. And Haley’s office says much the same thing.
“No matter what kind of distractions, rhetoric, or lawsuits have come from opponents of voter ID, the truth is it has always been about one thing and one thing only — securing the electoral process,” Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey says. “It’s a shame to see Democrats like Todd Rutherford continue to oppose simple measures like showing a picture ID to vote, measures that make sure those who are eligible to vote do vote, and those who aren’t don’t.”
That would be absolutely correct, if there was any evidence there was a problem. But there isn’t.
The GOP holds a clear electoral advantage in this state, but if they keep wasting tax dollars to try and stack the deck like this, even some of the sheep may get sick of it.
And then it will be the Republicans who need dead people voting.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or join his live chat today at noon at www.postandcourier.com