As you know, the Supreme Court heard oral argument today on the challenge to Indiana’s voter fraud act, which requires that voters have picture ID. CNN already predicts that a “conservative” Supreme Court (and I really don’t remember that, before the numbers shifted, it was referred to as a “liberal” Supreme Court) is inclined to sustain the law. What amuses me today is the two things I read, one after the other regarding that case.
The first was Jeffrey Toobin’s confident assertion that voter fraud is a myth. Thus, in response to Indiana’s assertion that it was enacting the law to protect voters from fraud, since the state was in fact highly vulnerable to that perversion of democracy. Au contraire, says Toobin:
Actually, it is this purported justification that is the real fraud. The latest and most extensive examination of electoral irregularities, released in November by the nonpartisan research institute Demos, determined that voter fraud was “very rare,” and every other respectable study has reached the same conclusion. This is certainly true in Indiana, where legislators said they were aiming to stop “voter impersonation,” which was already a crime in the state; in the entire history of Indiana, the number of prosecutions for this offense has been zero. Nationwide, despite an attempt by the Bush Justice Department to crack down on voter fraud, there were only a hundred and twenty federal prosecutions and eighty-six convictions between 2002 and 2006—a period in which close to four hundred million votes were cast.
That’s as may be. I tend to distrust Toobin ever since I caught him in numerous lies and misrepresentations about a series of Supreme Court decisions. Still, even assuming he’s correct, it turns out that voter fraud strikes very close to home when it comes to the case known as Crawford v. Marion County Election Board:
On the eve of a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Indiana Voter ID law has become a story with a twist: One of the individuals used by opponents to the law as an example of how the law hurts older Hoosiers is registered to vote in two states.
Faye Buis-Ewing, 72, who has been telling the media she is a 50-year resident of Indiana, at one point in the past few years also claimed two states as her primary residence and received a homestead exemption on her property taxes in both states.
Monday night from her Florida home, Ewing said she and her husband Kenneth “winter in Florida and summer in Indiana.” She admitted to registering to vote in both states, but stressed that she¹s never voted in Florida. She also has a Florida driver’s license, but when she tried to use it as her photo ID in the Indiana elections in November 2006, poll workers wouldn’t accept it.
Subsequently, Ewing became a sort-of poster child for the opposition when the Indiana League of Women Voters (ILWV) told media that the problems Ewing had voting that day shows why the high court should strike it down.
But Indiana Republican Secretary of State Todd Rokita said Monday that Ewing’s tale illustrates exactly why Indiana needs the law. “This shows that the Indiana ID law worked here, which also calls into question why the critics are so vehemently against this law, especially with persons like this, who may not have a legal right to vote in this election,” Rokita said.
So Ewing is too incompetent to vote, but clearly competent enough to own two homes, travel between the two of them, and register in at least two states.