The truth, however, is that we no longer can. Each side accuses the other of lying, trying to steal elections, and defrauding the populace, so what possible compromise can we make?
Case in point: voter caging v. voter fraud.
Over at One Wisconsin Now and Save Wisconsin Vote 2010 they have accused the GOP, AFP, and Tea Party folks in that state of attempting to suppress the votes of minorities and college students. They allege a nasty scheme of bigoted, intentional fraud.
The Tea Party folks insist the only thing discussed were legitimate ways to prevent voter fraud. Tim Dake, an organizer of the Wisconsin Grandsons of Liberty, explained they never planned to contest a vote based on returned mail alone (the basic definition of vote caging). According to an article in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel,
Dake said his group had planned to turn over any questionable voters or evidence of voter fraud to district attorneys for them to evaluate.
The plan to field volunteer poll workers to look out for other questionable or potentially fraudulent activity on Election Day was separate, he said. “We’re not going to do anything that’s illegal,” said Dake.
See what I mean? Either One Wisconsin Now has it wrong, or the Grandsons of Liberty do. No middle ground.
All we can do is try to find the facts behind the claims. The evidence of voter caging is spelled out here.
If you don’t care to follow that link, let me save you some time. Know what? The evidence is not convincing.
There’s a big deal made of the fact they have secret audio, sure, but nothing in the recorded discussion implies a racist focus on minorities. Mr. Dake merely warned people that they may get accused of racism.
What gives him that crazy idea?
Overall, Mr. Dake’s quotes sound less like a dastardly plan, and more like an attempt to prevent multiple voters and other types of fraud. Take this quote for example:
“This is apparently a very effective deterrent, just having people standing there. Poll watching tends to discourage people when they know someone is looking.”
So the One Wisconsin folks are assuming he wants to deter lawful voting. Presumably, they want to stop a bunch of Tea Partiers from standing in front of the polls and intimidating people like this:
Yeah, right. (The case involving that videotaped incident isn’t disappearing, by the way. Heard the latest? Apparently, new records show DOJ lied about this case’s dismissal.)
Anyhow, the “voter caging” allegation doesn’t seem likely to get anywhere. The AP didn’t muster much enthusiasm for the story. A blogger named GM Roper brings up a good point about the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board being authorized to do the same type of address verification alleged against Dake and the rest. Perhaps a commenter said it best:
Wow – Republicans trying to ensure that only legal voters vote.
What’s next, trying to make sure Democrats only vote once?
What was my whole point? Oh yeah, there is no middle ground. Either the Wisconsin folks are guilty of bigoted voter suppression, or they are attempting to prevent voter fraud. Either we Tea Party types are racist extremists, or we are regular people.
So pick a side, as the WORM recently put it. He has. I have, too.
I pick the side that does not have to back-pedal like this Houston Votes guy, when faced with hard evidence of voter registration fraud (at 1:40 of the clip):
I choose the side of groups like True the Vote down in Texas, and the Wisconsin Grandsons of Liberty. I’ve been involved with the local groups in my area long enough to know they are honorable, authentic salt-of-the-earth folks. I’m willing to bet these others are, too.
So I guess this post is written for anybody out there is still on the fence. Are you that person? Don’t take allegations at face value. If you can’t make up your mind about the Wisconsin situation, then at least investigate your own local Tea Party. Find a local group and attend an event or discussion before you believe everything you hear about those “wing-nut extremists.”
That is all.