State Representative Russell
Pearce of Mesa Arizona has warned us:
"There is a massive
effort under way to register illegal aliens in this country."
How many? According to the
Congressman's office, there are five million: Democrats, he says, who are not good Americans - they're Mexicans! Really?! Holy Cow! The Senator has uncovered a conspiracy to flood the voter rolls with Brown Hordes who've
swum the Rio
Grande just for a chance
to vote for Hillary Clinton?!
Thank the Lord for vigilant
citizens like Senator Pearce. His efforts, along with the work of other patriotic (Republican) politicians, successfully stopped
300,000 voters from obtaining ballots in 2004 - because these voters had brought the wrong ID to the polls. New ID laws in
Arizona and half a dozen states blocked these voters at the polling-house
door. Others with "wrong" ID's were handed what are called 'provisional' ballots - which were then not counted.
On Wednesday, the Republican
majority on the US Supreme Court indicated it would vote to uphold these new voter ID requirements. And just in time. If not for these new ID laws, warns Senator Pearce and other Republicans across the nation,
a dark wave of illegal aliens would vote again in our upcoming Presidential election; or maybe not. Maybe there aren't five
million illegal voters for Hillary or Obama or Edwards. Maybe there are just five hundred. Maybe there are none.
I called Senator Pearce's
office to get a couple of the names of these illegal voters. After all, it should be easy as pie to catch them: they have
to give their names and addresses to register and vote. Odd thing, out of five million illegal registrants, the Senator, after
a week of looking, couldn't provide me the name of one. Not one.
Another Republican politician,
this one in New Mexico,
the sponsor of the voter ID law there, said on the floor of the State Legislature that she had the names of two illegal voters.
Well, that's a start.
I called her, Representative
Justine Fox-Young (yes, that's her name, and she has the ID to prove it).
Q. Justine, you've uncovered
felony criminals [illegal voting is a jail-time crime in every state]. Do you have the names?
A. Oh, yes!
Really? Wow! Did you turn these names over to the US Attorney?
A. Well, no ….
Q. You had evidence of a crime and you didn't have
the bad guys arrested?
A. Not exactly ….
Fox-Young promised to send
me the names of the illegal voters. The names never arrived. But shortly thereafter, based on her claim, the Legislature passed,
and Governor Bill Richardson signed, a voter ID law certain to knock out Hispanic citizens.
(In fairness to Richardson, I should note that he forced the Republicans to drastically
alter their bill.)
Our investigations team talked
to some of New Mexico's allegedly illegal voters.
In 2004, the Catholic Church organized a bus and caravan to take newly registered Chicano
"low-riders" to a Roswell,
New Mexico polling station. The white officials turned away several of the
young Hispanics for presenting the wrong ID. Maybe the middle initial on the voter form was missing from the driver's license,
or "Jr." was added. No perfect match, no vote: a gotcha! set of rules that seemed to apply only to voters of a darker
hue. One of the rejected young Chicanas said she wouldn't return to try again to vote; one round of humiliation was enough.
"They don't want me to vote there anyway," she said. And they don't.
But hey, what's wrong with
requiring voter ID? I'll give you a million reasons. Since 2004, when 300,000 citizens lost their right to vote because of
ID challenges, the number of states that have passed voter ID laws has quadrupled. Expect the challenges to quadruple as well,
to over a million in the upcoming 2008 presidential election. Does ID challenges make a difference? In New Mexico, George Bush's victory over John Kerry by 5,900 votes can be completely accounted for by minority provisional ballots rejected.
ID was the key.
In Louisiana, the law says voters may be asked to produce a photo ID. A study conducted by the US Department of Justice discovered that Black voters are
only one-fifth as likely to have photo ID's as white voters. (That figure may be optimistic - as Justice took the survey before
Black voters' ID washed away with Hurricane Katrina.)
Mexico, in Louisiana, in Georgia, in Alabama and in Florida, it's the same story. It's not a random set of voters who lose out on ID challenges; it's voters of color.
Fourty years ago, the Jim
Crow era ended when biased impediments to voting were struck down by the courts and Congress: poll taxes, "literacy" tests,
citizenship tests that blocked Blacks more than whites. From that time until now, almost every state has accepted your signature
matched to prior records as proof you're a legal voter. Now we're going to change this system to prevent the crime of folks
voting more than once and the crime of aliens voting. The odd thing about these crimes:
they virtually don’t exist.
Yet to prevent crimes that aren’t committed, we are allowing elections officials to commit a greater crime: stopping
legal voters - especially new, young, Hispanic voters - from having their piece of our democracy.
Who was behind these viciously
undemocratic, racist Josť Crow attack on brown-skinned voters? His initials are Karl Rove. In
2006, I smelled out the link to Rove, then White House political chief, when I reached out to
the US Attorney for New Mexico. That US Attorney, David Iglesias, had indeed investigated the "illegal" voters identified
by Fox-Young, working from a list of 150 sent to him by Republican officials. After marching all over the mesas with the FBI, Iglesias found exactly zero cases to prosecute. So,
finding folks innocent, Iglesias did not arrest them. That was a mistake - at least for his career. Karl
Rove, visiting New Mexico,
heard from the state's Republican Party chiefs that Iglesias was not bringing prosecutions and would not continue the witchhunt
for "illegal" voters. Iglesias contends that Rove took the Republican complaint to the Oval Office. There, a man who goes
by the alias, "The Decider," decided to fire Iglesias and other US Attorneys who wouldn’t agree to phony prosecutions
of innocent voters.
Iglesias told me, "This voter
fraud thing is the bogeyman. It was designed to scare up, rile the [Republican] base. I looked into [the fraud allegations]
...We didn't find the evidence."
I met with Iglesias at the
park overlooking the Statue of Liberty in New York. The wistful ex-prosecutor, who has returned to his former post with the Navy as
a JAG lawyer, said, "Looking back, I mean I feel like I was set up; that they really felt that I would go forward with some
half-baked prosecutions and hope for a guilty plea. That's not what a legitimate federal prosecutor does."
(Rove won't respond to BBC's
requests for his views - nor respond to a subpoena from Congress to explain his involvement in the firings.)
Whatever Rove's political
motives, I did have to ask if there's a legitimate reason for these new ID laws. I challenged the leader of the New
Mexico Catholic Charities voter drive, Santiago Juarez, to answer Ms. Fox-Young's charge that, without voter ID, his
new citizens could steal elections by voting more than once using someone else's name.
Santiago replied, "How do you organize thousands of people to vote twice?
Hell, it's hard enough organizing them to vote once!"
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