Right Wing Anxiety Over Voter Fraud Grows
As midterm election campaigns heat up, so too are allegations of voter fraud, the majority of which are being made by right wing groups. TPM reports that the fears among such groups focus on “the perception that racial minorities are disenfranchising whites”:
The most prominent example, of course, is the aforementioned New Black Panthers case. After the Obama administration decided only to act against one member, ordering him away from polling places in Philadelphia until 2012, Adams and other Bush appointees cried foul. They allege that Obama’s DOJ, under Attorney General Eric Holder, is purposely dropping cases against black defendants, and got the conservative-dominated Commission on Civil Rights to investigate it. Gail Heriot, who sits on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, expressed concern in one meeting that the New Black Panther who held a nightstick at the polling place could “just hop on a bus” and intimidate other voters on election day this year.
Then came a situation in Harris County, Texas, where a tea party–affiliated group called True The Vote accused a voter registration organization of forging thousands of applications in low income neighborhoods as part of ”an organized and systematic attack”:
True The Vote says they found the alleged fraud by scouring voter registration records in districts with a high number of households with six or more registered voters — which also happened to be the predominantly poor, black voting districts. True The Vote is now advocating for proof of citizenship to be required at the polls. And the Tea Party Nation has told its members to “steal their good idea.”
Emerging from the resulting hysteria has been a concerted effort among some tea party groups, most notably the one in Harris County, to conduct training sessions for poll workers and recruit volunteers to monitor the polls during election day. This development, in turn, has alarmed voting experts who are less concerned about dead or imaginary people showing up to vote than poll watchers who might unfairly challenge votes because they are partisan or don’t understand the rules of polling places.