The fact that 32 voter registration workers have been referred to the district attorney for allegedly submitting a few dozen falsified registrations no doubt will make it into the Charlie Sykes show and into the bandwidth of quasi-literate right wing blogs across the state. The fact it's less than a hundred registrations out of tens of thousands will no doubt be ignored in this "reporting." "Tip of the iceberg!" Sykes will cry.
All of them repeating the lie: These faked registrations show that we're susceptible to massive voter fraud.
The faked registrations don't show a massive conspiracy to commit voter fraud. Rather they're the work of some folks scrambling to make a few bucks and think they can get away with pulling a scam. Only, unfortunately for them, Acorn and other groups registering voters (cash-strapped groups with overpaid employees, mind you) caught a fair number of cheaters and alerted authorities. If only the White House were so honest.
In any event, these faked registrations -- even if they had slipped through -- would have had zero impact on the election. Faked registrations, despite the bleating of dimwits like Brian Fraley, don't translate into votes. Why does the Brawler know this? Because of the Washington State precedent, in which it was revealed that voter registration workers, at least one of whom was hopped up on reefer, submitted 1,800 fake registrations.
From that coverage (Brawler's bold):
The defendants faked cards as an easy way to get paid, not as an attempt to influence the outcome of elections, said King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg. None of the phony registrations led to illegal voting.
A real life case study of phony registrations not leading to illegal voting! ( The Brawler cited this story a while back, as Patrick McIlheran cited it as conclusive proof we needed voter ID. Though of course Voter ID, a smooth way to suppress the vote of the elderly or inner city poor, wouldn't have caught imaginary voters that didn't show up to vote.) That may be germane to the debate about right wingers' fear of massive voter fraud. Of course, we don't expect the Journal Sentinel to make this point.
Now, clearly submitting fake registrations is wrong and should be punished. But what we've seen here is an effort to get paid, not sway elections.
That said, one can't expect reason to stop Charlie Sykes -- who spent part of today bemoaning George Bush's EPA fining some counties for excessive particulates in the air (and if you're getting fined by George Bush's EPA it's fair to say you deserve what you get), something that could have an impact on people even if it makes the WMC uncomfortable -- from whipping up hysteria about voter fraud.
For the record, the Brawler would like to see Wisconsin or the fedguv register voters -- universal voter registration -- (an idea borrowed from Richard Hasen) though he suspects rightwingers willing to write checks for the occupation of Iraq in perpetuity would balk at the cost of democracy.