It might seem odd, but the report from the North Carolina Board of Elections about potential widespread voter fraud and registration error has got me thinking of the legendary spinmeister "Baghdad Bob."
The Iraqi diplomat denied the success of the US and its allies during the 1991 Gulf War. As smoke billowed in the distance and bombs landed all around his ears, Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf denied Iraq had been invaded at all.
"They're not even [within] 100 miles [of Baghdad]. They are not in any place. They hold no place in Iraq. This is an illusion ... they are trying to sell to the others an illusion."
It was all an illusion, you see.
And this is the position now of many North Carolina leftists, Democrats, and the traditional media (but I repeat myself), now that the state Board of Elections produced an analysis that should blow open the entire debate.
From the News & Observer:
North Carolina elections officials told state lawmakers Wednesday that they have identified hundreds, and potentially thousands, of voters who may have cast ballots in two states in the 2012 general election.
It's actually TENS of thousands. But why quibble?
One group of 765 voters in NC had their first names, last names, plus dates of birth and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers matched with voters in other states. This group of 765 voted in both NC and another state in 2012.
Another group of 35,750 NC voters had matches of first name, last name, and date of birth with voters in other states. These 35,750 voted in both NC and another state in 2012.
The Board of Elections must now investigate each case to see if it was registration error, clerical mistake, or fraud.
I don't expect all of these cases to be fraud. But I don't expect NONE to be, either.
Progressives were immediately defensive.
State reporters and editors cautioned everyone not to rush to judgement.
And some are adopting the Iraqi Minister of Information strategy: denial.
Opposition to voter ID and voting reforms by the NC Republican-controlled legislature helped spark the Moral Mondays protests. The organizer and NC NAACP president Rev. William Barber won't let this report dissuade him from his opinion. He told the Goldsboro Daily News:
“Our objection has been to voter suppression and the false claim of voter fraud as a bases for voter id ending same day registration early voting etc and our position remains the same”
Claims of voter fraud are false, you see.
To quote Baghdad Bob, "It's an illusion."
Alex Jones at the progressive Politics NC blog adopted a similar stance:
Further, the allegations they so confidently endorse are less damning when put into perspective. For example, the 35,750 figure simply represents people with the same name and birthday as one of millions of voters. I happen to have the same name as America’s top conspiracy theorist; does that prove that I voted in Texas? And given the number of transplanted voters in NC, it’s not surprising that 765 could have forgotten to cancel their previous registrations. That their information is documented in another state doesn’t prove they voted there, too.
This is actually not true.
For starters, the 35,750 NC voters identified are those who have the same first name, last name and birth DATE. And, records show, these people voted in both NC and another state during the 2012 election.
Furthermore, this is just a cross check of the 28 states that participate in the voluntary elections data program. New York, California, and Florida do not. There are a whole lot of transplants in North Carolina from these three states.
It's safe to say that this 35,750 would be much higher.
Jones dismisses the 765 voters identified in the report as probably just innocently forgetting to cancel their registration in the states from which they just moved.
Yes, that is possible.
Of course, that would also mean they all failed to file a change of address form with the Postal Service (which is how the departure of the voter from the state gets back to the Board of Elections).
So, perhaps 765 people moved to NC in 2012... forgot to alert the Board of Elections... and forgot to file a change of address with the USPS. Fine. For the left, this is easier to believe than voter fraud, I guess.
But the records show these 765 still voted in both their former state of residence and North Carolina. That's not an "Oops! I forgot to cancel my voter registration" kind of thing.
It's becoming increasingly clear that some progressives are arguing that voter fraud doesn't exist because they don't think it does or because they don't want it to.
But what are we to conclude when the left's reaction to this report is defensiveness, defiance, and denial?