And there you have it: More outrage in Wingnut World. A new report postulating large amounts of potential voting fraud has conservatives giddy. Before the conversation on this report even begins, several points must be established.
This legislature has no credibility on voting issues. Take Thom Goolsby, who called the report’s claims “outrageous,” “criminal,” and “wrong.” Goolsby is a white conservative from Alabama–a profile more associated with disenfranchisement than any other group. There’s no reason for people of good will to assume he and the other white, Southern reactionaries hailing this report have honest motives.
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.
Even if they all did, however, it still wouldn’t legitimize HB 589. Most of that law’s provisions don’t even pretend to fight voter fraud. Shrinking early voting, eliminating same day registration, et cetera, have nothing to do with verifying identities. They simply obstruct ballot access for the 4,504,000 voters the report doesn’t question.
Despite newfound hysteria, then, voter suppression remains a solution in search of a problem. It’s just that the search has intensified.