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Democrat "super-precinct" plan degrades election integrity

Some odd politics seem to be at play in considering two sets of bills, HB 12 and SB 16 which allows people who registered to vote without providing positive identification between the last presidential election and the declaration of emergency as a result of Hurricane Rita, and HB 14 and SB 22 which would set up regional voting centers in registrars’ office in ten large-population parishes.

Of the sets, which would last until Jul. 16, the former which would enable almost 15,000 people statewide, nearly 2,000 in Orleans Parish, to cast votes without ever being positively identified by election officials, would seem to contain the greatest opportunity for voting fraud to occur. Yet opponents, almost exclusively legislative Republicans, have let these pieces of legislation go largely unchallenged. Instead, they have fought strenuously the latter pair which, at first glance, would seem to address a less-important issue than ballot security.

Yet consider: regarding election accessibility, Democrats statewide have a vested interest in making the state go beyond any state or federal requirement, written in the constitution or law or intimated by the judiciary, because they believe likely Democrat voters disproportionately were scattered from Orleans Parish. Their goal, from Gov. Kathleen Blanco to Secretary of State Al Ater and on down, is to create a structure that can funnel as many likely Democrat voters as possible to a polling place, any polling place, that will accept them – and get the government to pay for it.

A typical get-out-the-vote effort would entail transporting geographically-dispersed people to geographically-dispersed precincts, normally an expensive process. But under current conditions, with many refugees concentrated, the creation of, in essence, 10 super-precincts that will accept anybody, could dramatically reduce the costs of organizations dedicated to hauling voters to them (and keep in mind Democrat Ater is spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to find these individuals which the state is not obligated to do, either).

Republicans consistently have pointed out that existing legal and infrastructural mechanisms exist to accommodate the unusual circumstances presented, and so their objections to additional cost and unnecessary complication are legitimate (contrary to the feeble assertions of Blanco that anyone against these bills are deliberately trying to keep Orleanians from voting). Even Democrat attempts to argue that the absentee ballot process wouldn’t be good because of people moving constantly around temporary addresses is largely mooted because it is so easy to get a ballot sent almost immediately through Internet contact with Ater’s office!

In short, both Republicans and Democrats know that there is just limited upside in watering down ballot security in order to create more eligible voters. The real payoff comes from creating a mechanism that improves Democrats’ ability to direct existing voters in their direction. Republicans cannot be faulted for objecting to a plan that does nothing to create more ballot accessibility or democracy but does cost the state more in terms of money credibility. Democrats can be faulted for being disingenuous by saying mistakenly that this plan actually does increase accessibility, and then to have the nerve to argue opponents of it are against voting rights.

And that’s why it’s a bigger issue, because even as they loudly proclaim they are making elections better, with this Democrats actually are eroding the integrity of the process by trying to use government to try to convey advantage to their candidates.

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