Tag Archives: voter fraud

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/8/17: Hybrid Topics! CNN, Hillary, DACA And More…

Good morning, all.

1 The Public Interest Legal Foundation, a conservative non-profit public interest group that focuses particularly on voting issues, claims to have data suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s narrow win in New Hampshire in the 2016 election—about 2,700 votes gave her the state—may have been achieved by fraud. A study showed that more than 6,000 voters in New Hampshire had used the state’s same-day voter registration procedures to register and vote.  The current New Hampshire speaker of the House, Shawn Jasper, sought and obtained data about what happened to these 6,000 “new” New Hampshire voters who showed up on Election Day. Most of them are no longer in the Granite State. Only 1,014 have ever obtained New Hampshire driver’s licenses. Of the 5,526 voters who have not, just 3% have registered a vehicle in New Hampshire.  70% of the same-day registrants used out-of-state photo ID to vote in the 2016 presidential election in New Hampshire and to utilize same-day registration.

All of which suggests that it would be prudent if a group other than a right-wing advocacy organization did an unbiased and objective study.  Since Democrats won several top races last year along thin margins, notably Maggie Hassan defeating Kelly Ayotte in the U.S. Senate race by 1,017 votes, some Republicans are claiming that out-of-state voters illegitimately tilted the election. Of course, for all anyone knows, the same-day voters may have voted Republican. The episode does compel three conclusions:

  • Same day registration is a recipe for chicanery. I am suspicious of any elected official or activist who supports it.
  • The Democratic/ mainstream media cant that there is no voter fraud is incredible on its face, and manifestly dishonest.
  • The nation’s lack of eager, objective investigators without partisan agendas is crippling. I don’t believe what conservative sources and pundits conclude about the New Hampshire vote, and I find the lack of interest the liberal national mainstream news media seems to have in the story— on Google, I see New Hampshire sources and conservative sources like Breitbart, BizPac, Fox and the Washington Times—gives the story more credibility, not less.

2. For those who are still having trouble accepting that the DACA was an illegal measure as executed by President Obama, I highly recommend the article by Constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley, who explains why he regarded it as “a flagrantly legislative act by President Barack Obama.”  So did I, but he’s a legal scholar and I’m just a lawyer. From an ethics perspective, my area of expertise, I’m still disturbed at the attitude of the supporters of this Obama’s end-around the Constitution (and others). which can be summarized as, “Let’s see if we can get away with it, because we like the results.” It translates into “the ends justifies the means,” and epitomizes the drift of the Left toward totalitarian methods and philosophy. Continue reading

28 Comments

Filed under Childhood and children, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Research and Scholarship, Science & Technology, Sports

Illegal Immigrant Ethics Do’s And Don’ts

DON’T do this:

A customer’s cell phone video caught  a  7-Eleven clerk on Tampa, Florida screaming at a customer and asking about his immigration status after the customer used the Spanish word for ‘green’ to ask the clerk for a specific brand of cigarettes. The clerk demanded Hernandez speak English, and is is heard saying, “Are you here legally? Do you have papers? Do you have papers?”

This isn’t the clerk’s job, and if the company has not directed that all customers should not be treated with dignity, courtesy and respect, no employee should be going free-lance ICE on anyone.

A spokesman for the 7-11 owner  wrote, “Every customer is important. The statements made by the sales associate were inappropriate and offensive. We are investigating the matter and will ensure it is handled appropriately.”

“Appropriately” means firing the clerk. In addition to acting ultra vires, the clerk is also making the store unpleasant and unwelcoming for other customers, risking an escalating confrontation, and being a jerk while representing the enterprise. Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

However…

Continue reading

88 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Etiquette and manners, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, Workplace

OK, Voter ID Opponents, Here’s An Integrity Test: Is This A Smoking Gun Or An Amazing Coincidence?

Wow! Just a handful of fraudulent voters in the whole country for years, and one of them just happens to be captured for terrorism! What are the odds?

Wow! Just a handful of fraudulent voters in the whole country for years, and one of them just happens to be captured for terrorism! What are the odds?

Those opposing voter ID requirements as a thinly-veiled Republican effort to suppress black voting maintain that there is no need for identification at the polls because voter fraud doesn’t exist. Last week, discussing the controversy,  I flagged a New York Times editorial  titled, The Success of the Voter Fraud Myth.

It argued in part,

As study after study has shown, there is virtually no voter fraud anywhere in the country. The most comprehensive investigation to date found that out of one billion votes cast in all American elections between 2000 and 2014, there were 31 possible cases of impersonation fraud. Other violations — like absentee ballot fraud, multiple voting and registration fraud — are also exceedingly rare. So why do so many people continue to believe this falsehood?

Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, wrote in U.S. News & World Report in 2012  that voter fraud didn’t exist:

“Voter fraud would be a real problem if it actually happened. It’s a serious crime, and one that can undermine our democracy. Fortunately, it’s a crime we have largely figured out how to prevent.”

Huh.

Well then, what does this mean?

From King5 TV (NBC):

The Cascade Mall shooting suspect, Arcan Cetin, may face an additional investigation related to his voting record and citizenship status.

Federal sources confirm to KING 5 that Cetin was not a U.S. citizen, meaning legally he cannot vote. However, state records show Cetin registered to vote in 2014 and participated in three election cycles, including the May presidential primary.

Cetin, who immigrated to the United States from Turkey as a child, is considered a permanent resident or green card holder. While a permanent resident can apply for U.S. citizenship after a certain period of time, sources tell KING his status had not changed from green card holder to U.S. citizen.

While voters must attest to citizenship upon registering online or registering to vote at the Department of Licensing Office, Washington state doesn’t require proof of citizenship. Therefore elections officials say the state’s elections system operates, more or less, under an honor system.

“We don’t have a provision in state law that allows us either county elections officials or the Secretary of State’s office to verify someone’s citizenship,” explained Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “So, we’re in this place where we want to make sure we’re maintaining people’s confidence in the elections and the integrity of the process, but also that we’re giving this individual, like we would any voter, his due process. We’re moving forward, and that investigation is really coming out of the investigation from the shootings.”

The penalty for voting as a non U.S. citizen could result in five years of prison time or a $10,000, according to Secretary of State’s Office.

The options are: Continue reading

98 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, Research and Scholarship, Rights

Voter IDs And The “Don’t Lock The Barn Door Because The Horse Hasn’t Escaped Yet” Argument

horse-in-barn-door

There are some political and partisan controversies in which I just cannot comprehend, from an ethical perspective, why there is any serious disagreement. Illegal immigration is one of them. Of course we need to control immigration; of course it is madness to encourage illegal immigrants to enter the country; and of course we have to enforce our laws. The arguments against these obvious and undeniable facts are entirely based on rationalizations, emotion, cynical political strategies and group loyalties. The advocates for illegal immigrants have  one valid argument that only applies to those who currently live here: it’s too late and too difficult to get rid of them now. I agree, but that doesn’t mean it is responsible to keep adding to the problem.

Voter identification requirements is another one of those debates. Of course it makes sense to protect the integrity of elections by requiring valid IDs. The last time the Supreme Court visited the issue, an ideologically-mixed court found a voter ID requirement reasonable, necessary and constitutional. Writing for the 6-3 majority in 2008, Justice Stevens (who in retirement has become something of a progressive icon), wrote,

“The relevant burdens here are those imposed on eligible voters who lack photo identification cards that comply with [the Indiana law.] Because Indiana’s cards are free, the inconvenience of going to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, gathering required documents, and posing for a photograph does not qualify as a substantial burden on most voters’ right to vote, or represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting. The severity of the somewhat heavier burden that may be placed on a limited number of persons—e.g., elderly persons born out-of-state, who may have difficulty obtaining a birth certificate—is mitigated by the fact that eligible voters without photo identification may cast provisional ballots that will be counted if they execute the required affidavit at the circuit court clerk’s office. Even assuming that the burden may not be justified as to a few voters, that conclusion is by no means sufficient to establish petitioners’ right to the relief they seek.”

Of course.  Our government is entirely dependent on elections. Nobody questions the reasonableness of requiring IDs to buy liquor, open a bank account, rent a car or check into a hotel, yet we’re going to rely on the honor system for our elections? The idea is madness, though, to be fair, two current members of the Court, Justice Ginsberg and Breyer,  argued that avoiding “disparate impact” justified allowing a gaping vulnerability in the integrity of elections to go unaddressed. Breyer wrote:

“Indiana’s statute requires registered voters to present photo identification at the polls. It imposes a burden upon some voters, but it does so in order to prevent fraud, to build confidence in the voting system, and thereby to maintain the integrity of the voting process. In determining whether this statute violates the Federal Constitution, I would balance the voting-related interests that the statute affects, asking “whether the statute burdens any one such interest in a manner out of proportion to the statute’s salutary effects upon the others (perhaps, but not necessarily, because of the existence of a clearly superior, less restrictive alternative)…”

Justice Breyer concluded that the alleged “burden” to some groups outweighed the integrity of the democratic system, thus embodying the current delusion of modern liberalism: race is more important that anything else, especially when that race is a reliable and uncritical source of power for Democrats.

It wasn’t until several political and judicial factors changed that the Ginsberg-Breyer rationale became politically weaponized, among them the increasing employment of the dubious “disparate impact” doctrine, the Democratic party strategists’ realization that painting Republicans as racists was an excellent way to get minorities to the polls; the growing tendency of African Americans to automatically vote a straight Democratic ticket regardless of who the candidates were and what they had accomplished; an aggressively political and partisan Justice Department and, yes, the realization that all those illegal immigrants here who are counting on keeping the borders as porous as possible might somehow find ways to vote, that requiring IDs became controversial.

Do some, even many, Republican legislators and conservative pundits promote state voter ID laws because they believe there would be a disparate impact on Democratic voting blocs? Absolutely; I have no doubts whatsoever. Does responsible and necessary legislation become magically irresponsible and unconstitutional because unethical motives merge with the ethical ones in passing it? Again, of course not. It is a principle of ethical analysis discussed here many times: many actions have both ethical and unethical motives, but the ethical nature of the conduct must be judged on its intended purpose, reasonably anticipated results, and effect on society as a whole. In the case of voter identification, the obvious and reasonable approach is to pass legislation to protect the integrity of the system and then seek to mitigate any inequities by separate means. In an ethical, reasonable system where one party didn’t see itself gaining power by allowing loose enforcement of voting requirements and the other party didn’t similarly see happy side-effect of enforcing them vigorously, this wouldn’t be a partisan issue at all. Of course we should have laws making sure that voters are who they say they are. Of course we should make sure that every citizen has access to such identification.

The current ascendant argument against voter ID laws is articulated by the New York Times in an editorial today titled, The Success of the Voter Fraud Myth.  Continue reading

52 Comments

Filed under Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

KABOOM! There’s nothing else to say, really…My head is all over the room…

Voter fraud

Melowese Richardson, a poll worker who was convicted of multiple counts of voter fraud and just released on probation from a five year prison sentence, was brought up on stage  to rousing applause as Rev. Al Sharpton joined State Representative Alicia Reece at a rally to kick off the drive for an Ohio “Voter’s Bill of Rights” amendment.

My head is scattered all over my hotel room, so I am struggling to be articulate, restrained and calm.

The cynicism of Democrats on the voter fraud issue approaches…oh, hell, I can’t do it!

HOW DARE THEY? Continue reading

62 Comments

Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

Case Study In How Bias Rots Integrity: Washington Post Columnist Harold Meyerson

You see, Harold, this is your brain on bias. Yes, I know it looks yummy...

You see, Harold, this is your integrity on bias. Yes, I know it looks yummy…

Back in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, I exchanged some e-mails with Harold Meyerson, the left-est of the Post’s op-ed liberals. He had been condemning the Bush administration’s decision to go to war against Iraq—we were technically still at war with Iraq, since no peace terms had ever been agreed upon from the previous war, and Saddam was blatantly violating the terms of a cease-fire, but never mind—saying, among other things, that this was the first time in American history that the nation had embarked on a “war of choice” rather than necessity. This was a popular, and ignorant, “talking point” used by the anti-war critics at the time, and I was thoroughly sick of it being shouted in CNN debates without any objective participant protesting that it was a lie. I pointed out to the columnist that this was historical fantasy clothed as fact, and that he owed his readers better.

Most U.S. wars have been “wars of choice,” I wrote, and presumably Meyerson knew this. Arguably only the War of 1812, World War II and Afghanistan didn’t fit that description. The Revolution wasn’t a “war of choice”? Of course it was….most of the country would have been happy to stay subjects of the Crown. The Mexican War was not merely a “war of choice” but a war of “let’s trump up a reason to take away all this land belonging to Mexico” war.  Lincoln certainly didn’t have to oppose the secession of the Southern states and start the Civil War; indeed, the best Constitutional analysis is that he was acting beyond his authority to do so.The Spanish-American War? World War 1? Korea? Vietnam? Granada? Desert Storm? What country was Meyerson talking about?

To my surprise, Meyerson replied, politely and, I thought, a bit sheepishly. Yes, he said, of course you are right, but this war is more of a war of choice than those were. Translation:I oppose this war, and the party of this President, so I’ll say whatever is necessary to get people to agree with me, and I’ll convince myself in the process.” I’ve never taken a Meyerson column seriously since. His reasoning process, like so many on the ends of either side of the political spectrum, is to frame reality in the way that most comfortably supports his ideological objective, and then to allow that warped reality to become part of his own world view. I think this kind of thought process by confirmation bias should disqualify any infected media pundits from commentary, as much as habitual dishonesty, dementia or insanity.

Today, Meyerson once again shows how his biases rot his reasoning and integrity. Continue reading

18 Comments

Filed under Character, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Professions

Ethics Dunce: Nicollet County Attorney Michelle Zehnder Fischer

Yes, this is certainly a good use of time, money, and public opprobrium.

The evil miscreant, facing her just desserts!

The evil miscreant, facing her just desserts!

An 86-year-old woman in Minnesota, Margaret Schneider, admits that she voted twice in a primary election, and attributes it to confusion, a memory lapse (she may have early dementia), and maybe believing that her later vote would cancel out her earlier one. The local Jaubert, prosecutor Michelle Zehnder Fischer, is bringing felony charges against Margaret, supposedly because a statute requires her to do so or risk misdemeanor charges herself.

Did I mention that Margaret, in addition to being 86 and having cognitive issues, suffers from Parkinson’s? Throw the wily old bat in the clink!!!! Continue reading

13 Comments

Filed under Ethics Dunces, Law & Law Enforcement