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Purported Voter Fraud and the "Illegal" Bogeyman

Yikes--just when you thought this election season could not get any crazier. Last Wednesday, a Tea Party Congressional candidate from Arizona, Jesse Kelly, appeared on the Mark Levin show. Kelly stated that "rumors" were floating around that "Mexicans" were going to be bused in to vote against him in the election.

LEVIN: You’re gonna have to squeeze out every single vote there plus some because they’re gonna pull their dirty tricks like they always do, Jess.

KELLY: They already are down here. We’re already getting reports of voter fraud. Especially in one of the counties in my district there is actually rumors — people have video of them busing people across from our southern border. We’re a border district. They literally bus people across from Mexico to have them vote at the polls on election day, give them a meal, and then bus them back. So we’re really fighting against that down here.

You can listen to this segment here in case you cannot believe what you read:

The Arizona Secretary of State tried to quash this rumor by detailing the fact that such a thing has never happened nor is there any evidence it is going to happen. But, facts be damned--if I heard it on the radio, or saw it on the internet, or someone sent it to me in a forwarded chain email, it must be true.

Not to be dissuaded, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (he of the thousands of unserved warrants), is urging his "supporters" to become actively involved in rooting out voter fraud by being physically present at the polls across Arizona. Presumably, they are going to confront people they do not think may be authorized to vote. Here is what Sheriff Joe said:

STOP ILLEGALS FROM STEALING THE ELECTION! . . . Our grassroots army of VOTER FRAUD PREVENTION VOLUNTEERS will stand vigilant across the nation. We will be the first and strongest line of defense to ensure that only legal citizens vote on November 2nd. . . .(Emphasis in original)

While some might say there is nothing wrong with this call to ensure that only qualified voters register, there are some things to keep in mind. First, there is no evidence of any voter fraud of the kind imagined by Sheriff Joe. Second, this technique is oddly reminiscent of the efforts to stop black Americans from voting after the Civil War--from Answers.com:

QUESTION: Which of the following techniques was used to prevent blacks from voting in the south during the late 19th century?

ANSWER: The end of the Civil War, the period of Reconstruction, and the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution were attempts to protect the rights, including voting, of the ex-slaves, especially in the states of the defeated Confederacy. The first attempt involved threats, violence, and scare tactics. . . .

So, you decide where the truth stops and the fabrications begin.

Sheriff Joe now says that he did not authorize this email. Well, he may or may not have authorized it, but it sure sounds like him!

For sure, we must remain vigilant against people that would bring the bogeyman back in whatever form. Inciting fear and hatred works. It is for good people everywhere to stand up and say--"No More." The failure of our Congress to fix our broken immigration system allows politicians like Sheriff Joe to demagogue this issue and use it to drive a wedge through our society. Wouldn't you like Congress to finally fix the system that causes and permits this divide to exist? Don't hold your breath. Politicians from both parties benefit too much from not fixing the immigration system.

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