DISTRACT, DESTABILIZE, DEFEAT…
How the Myth of “Voter Fraud” is Destroying the Left…From the Inside Out
“Voter fraud” is, in itself, a FRAUD. It doesn’t exist in any meaningful way. The number of credible cases is less than negligible. A study from the Brennan Center for Justice found that it is more likely that someone in America will be struck by lightening than impersonate a voter. They also noted a comprehensive 2014 study published in The Washington Post that found only 31 instances of fraud — out of more than ONE BILLION VOTES cast between 2000–2014.
Talking about “Voter Fraud” is and always has been, a tactic used by the Right to take advantage of people’s short attention span and propensity to repeat talking points they hear on TV. It relies on the sad fact that so many of us get our information from candidate and issue surrogates on cable news, as opposed to researching the facts for ourselves. The narrative is then regurgitated so many times that it becomes “fact”. After all, why would surrogates go on TV almost everyday to talk about the “voter fraud crisis” if it wasn’t real? To weaken our resolve and turn us against each other by handicapping the beliefs and facts that are pillars of strength within the progressive movement, that’s why.
As a Field Director, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen some of my best and brightest Field Organizers and volunteers take on the mantle of “voter fraud”. They listen to the never ending droning on about how “voter fraud” is ruining democracy and disenfranchising Left wing and minority voters, and that “it must be stopped!” These organizers and volunteers believe what they hear (as would anyone), and see it as an urgent matter not getting the attention it deserves. Without fail, at least 2 or 3 times a cycle, organizers and volunteers run into the office to tell me that we aren’t doing enough and, among other things, need to add something about this to all our trainings and walk/call scripts ASAP. At that point, it becomes neccessary to call in the team, circle the wagons and have a long conversation about why the organizers and volunteers believe it, where they heard it, and why it’s wrong.
Anyone who has ever been a manager knows how quickly telling folks who report to you, and outnumber you, that they are all wrong and you are right, can devolve into a sticky situation pretty quickly. There is fine line between constructive course correction and straight up mutiny. Basically, the “voter fraud” myth is a way to destabalize us, the left, from within…and it works.
The most brilliant part of the ruse is that while we are trying to explain the “voter fraud” tactic to our own people, the real danger just strolls right in. The very real threat just happens to sound a little bit like “voter fraud”, too….VOTER SUPPRESSION. Voter suppression is the urgent matter, NOT “FRAUD”. It is nauseatingly pervasive, and it is what we need to focus on, fight against and eradicate.
Voter suppression comes in countless forms, and always has. POLL TAXES, LITERACY TESTS, GERRYMANDERING, VOTER ID LAWS… etc.
There is the jury duty myth that says when you register to vote, you are automatically put into a jury pool. While this is a practice in a few states, the threat tactic is rolled out to all 50. It’s meant to dissuade folks from registering to vote, plain and simple.
Heard of “Moto-voters”? Automatic registration for anyone with a driver’s license? In public, conservatives LOVE to point to this as the source and proof that millions of non-citizens are voting. When in fact, as of this article being published, only 8 states have adopted it.
Many on right have fought tooth and nail to make sure automatic registration like that never becomes the law of the land. Why? Because if everyone with a license was registered to vote, then that baseline commonality would be a huge step for equal voter access. If all we had to do was turn out our voters, that red and blue landscape you see every November would start to look very different. Most left wing and progressive activists are consistantly in favor of, and advocate for implementation of auto-registration. We wouldn’t need to advocate for it if it already existed.
Automatic registration scares the hell out of the far right. Think about it, conservatives are premptively attacking a uncommon practice, so that when and if it does come up for debate, public opinion of it wouldn’t be along the lines of, “GREAT! One less hoop to jump through in order to vote! That going to be great for people who work 2 jobs, are single parents, living under the poverty line, don’t have access to internet etc. Those folks wouldn’t have to take time off or risk being late to work in order to figure out how and where to register. It would be game changer for voters and their families who are living paycheck to paycheck, and for whom, taking that time is simply not an option if they want their kids to eat. I’m not being hyperbolic or incendiary, here. …this is real life for many for families. Probably many more than you think. The Right like the game they are playing right now. Of course they do, who wouldn’t like winning at a game you wrote the rules for….so, instead of a positive reaction, automatic registration would ignite immediate and well rehearsed backlash. The surrogates’ talking points, banter and straight up lies about “voter fraud” that the public have been inundated with for years, will have done their job. They will have ensured a kind of Pavlonian response where the public automatically associates increased access to voting with illegal and fradulent voting… kind of genious, actually. If nothing else, the Right knows how to play the long game. These are just a few of the ways the Right (not even FAR right, just Right) try to disenfranchise and suppress the votes of minorities, who just happen to be a large chunk of the Left’s voter base. To recap:
1 — “Voter Fraud” DOES NOT EXIST in any meaning ful way. and by entertaining the idea that it does only wastes time and destabalizes cohesive campagns…which is EXACTLY what it is supposed to do.
2 — If we spend precious time arguing about the existance (or non-existance) of “voter fraud”, then we aren’t spending our time and resources fighting against VOTER SUPPRESION, which is a very real problem on an enourmous scale.
3 — If something about the “voter fraud crisis” crosses your path, take the time out to do a little digging. Google will tell you who is actually funding the disemmintion of these falsehoods, and more than likely, its not us or our allies. Please keep this in mind, pay attention, be skeptical and check your sources.
It is ESSENTIAL that we get this right.
It’s time to change the game….for good this time.