May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
June 14, 2007
/ 28 Sivan, 5767
Americans overwhelmingly support voter ID. Are they all racists?
John H. Fund
Appointments to the Federal Election Commission rarely draw attention. But at a confirmation hearing today, there's likely to be some fireworks over Hans von Spakovsky.
Mr. von Spakovsky has already amassed an 18-month long, largely uncontroversial record at the FEC as a recess appointment. But that's not likely to stop Senate Democrats from grilling him about his time at the Justice Department during President Bush's first term. The aim will be to portray him as a partisan who mishandled voting rights cases. Exhibit A will be his support for state voter ID laws.
For months, since the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys sparked a mini scandal, Democrats have insisted that the president has improperly politicized the Justice Department. Specifically, the accusation is that, under Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, DOJ has pursued a political agenda by enforcing laws to curb voter fraud.
Last week, Judiciary Committee Democrats held a hearing aimed in part at discrediting a 2005 Justice lawsuit seeking to force Missouri to cull ineligible voters from its rolls. But while the Missouri case was thrown out by a district judge, similar Justice lawsuits in Indiana and New Jersey led to voter rolls being cleaned up.
There is no limit to the hyperbole directed at Mr. von Spakovsky. He has come under such vitriolic fire from Gerald Hebert, now with the liberal Campaign Legal Center, that even Bob Bauer, the counsel to the Democratic Senatorial and Congressional Campaign Committees, has called his criticism of the nominee's FEC record "an argument boiling over with personal contempt and so short on reasoned argument."
Other critics claim that Mr. von Spakovsky ignored concerns that a Georgia law requiring photo ID at the polls would disenfranchise poor and minority voters who have a hard time obtaining documentation. They note that a federal judge twice blocked the law from going into effect.
But yelling "voter suppression" in a crowded congressional theater should be done with caution. In the Georgia case, the federal judge didn't find evidence that the law was racially discriminatory. He struck it down on other grounds. Also, the Georgia Supreme Court on Monday unanimously threw out a separate challenge to the state's photo ID law.
Indeed, courts have tended to uphold voter ID laws. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned a Ninth Circuit ruling that had blocked an Arizona ID law. In doing so, the Court noted that anyone without an ID is permitted to cast a provisional ballot that could be verified later. The court also noted that fraud "drives honest citizens out of the democratic process."
Voter ID laws are hardly the second coming of Jim Crow. In 2005, 18 out of 21 members of a federal commission headed by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker came out in support of voter ID laws. Andrew Young, Mr. Carter's U.N. ambassador, has said that in an era when people have to show ID to travel or cash a check "requiring ID can help poor people." A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll last year found that voters favor a photo ID requirement by 80%-7%. The idea had overwhelming support among all races.
One reason for such large public support is that the potential for fraud is real. Many people don't trust electronic voting machines. And in recent years Democratic candidates have leveled credible accusations of voter fraud in mayoral races in Detroit, East Chicago, Ind., and St. Louis.
Last week, election officials in San Antonio, Texas determined that 330 people on their voter rolls weren't citizens and that up to 41 of them may have voted illegally, some repeatedly. In 2004, San Antonio was the scene of a bitter dispute in which Democratic Rep. Ciro Rodriguez charged his primary opponent with voter fraud.
In Florida, a felon named Ben Miller was arrested last week for illegally voting in every state election over a period of 16 years. The Palm Beach Post discovered that in Florida's 2000 infamous presidential recount, 5,643 voters' names perfectly matched the names of convicted felons. They should have been disqualified but were allowed to vote anyway. "These illegal voters almost certainly influenced the down-to-the-wire presidential election," the Post reported. By contrast, only 1,100 people were incorrectly labeled as felons by election officials, the Post estimated.
Everyone has reason to be concerned about a politicized Justice Department. But to set up a cartoon version of reality in which principled career lawyers at Justice were battling Bush political appointees bent on voter suppression is absurd. The Civil Rights shop at Justice has been stuffed with liberal activists for decades. Many of the former career Justice lawyers complaining about Mr. von Spakovsky today now work at liberal groups such as People for the American Way. And their imaginative, hyperaggressive enforcement of the Voting Rights Act hasn't fared well in court. During the Clinton years, when their theories were allowed to be put to a legal test, courts assessed Justice over $4.1 million in penalties in a dozen cases where it was found to have engaged in sloppy, over-reaching legal arguments. In one case, the Supreme Court noted "the considerable influence of ACLU advocacy on the voting rights decisions of the Attorney General is an embarrassment."
Voter suppression and fraud both deserve to be vigorously addressed. But those concerned with the first who would paint those worried about the second as racially discriminatory are engaged in a form of willful blindness.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor John H. Fund is author, most recently, of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)
Comment on this column by clicking here.
© 2006, John H. Fund
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
Ask Doctor K