Sunday, July 22, 2012

Let's keep talking about voter "fraud"

Until some people finally get it. This report was filed back on July 12 by the CBS affiliate in D-FW, though it is Jeremy Desel, a Houston reporter for KHOU, that filed it.

Here also is PolitiFact.

We also asked how many election fraud cases had been referred to the attorney general’s office since 2002. Abbott’s list shows 311 accusations of election fraud spanning 2002-12. The 57 investigations we’re checking represent only those cases that were both prosecuted and resolved.

Six of the prosecutions ended in dismissal or acquittal, Strickland told us by telephone, leaving 51 prosecutions that resulted in convictions.

By our analysis, three-quarters of the cases involved election code violations classified as "illegal voting" -- which includes acts such as voting more than once, impersonating a voter or voting despite ineligibility -- and "method of returning marked ballot," often meaning the defendant was accused of having someone else’s ballot.

Only two cases are described as "voter impersonation" on the list. Whether voter impersonation is a standing problem has been a hot button in the state’s legislative debates over proposed voter ID laws in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011; Austin American-Statesman news stories say legislators mostly split along party lines, with Democrats claiming impersonation is rare and Republicans claiming the problem is significant. Abbott drew criticism in 2006 for creating a special unit to target voter fraud that by mid-2008 had yielded, according to a May 19, 2008, Associated Press news story, only 26 prosecutions.

Looking at all 57 election fraud prosecutions from 2002 to 2012, we tallied up the resolutions (some had multiple outcomes, when charges were pursued as separate cases):
  • Specified as convictions: 26
  • Guilty plea resulting in conviction: 2
  • Deferred adjudication: 19
  • Pre-trial diversion: 10
  • Acquitted: 2

Out of more than 39 million votes cast in Texas over the past decade across the state in all elections, the number of convictions for voter impersonation fraud -- between 20 and 60, give or take 2 or 3 according to both links I embedded above and depending on how the term is defined -- represents, according to Desel and the most generous rounding (62/39,000,000), all of .0001%. That's one ten-thousandth of one percent. My calculator drives out .0000015, however.

Chances of winning the MegaMillions lottery: about one in slightly under 176 million. That's much poorer, by the way.
Chances of being struck by lightning: much better; 1 in 576,000
Chances of being killed by lightning (this happened in Houston to two men just last week): one in 2,320,000
Chances of being mauled by a polar bear and a regular bear at the same time: I don't know, ask the e-Trade Baby.

There are many more sightings of Bigfoot in the Lone Star State, and almost exactly as many reported captures of a live one... or a dead one, for that matter. There is a much greater likelihood of your becoming an astronaut, and significanty better odds that you can draw a royal flush on the first hand dealt than find a voter fraud conviction in the state of Texas.

When you say there is no voter fraud -- so small an amount that it is infinitesimal; essentially and statistically 'none' -- taking place in Texas, and your friendly conservative moron says "one is too many", or "we jes' ain't catchin' all the damn Ill Eagles", or "Mickey Mouse and the Dallas Cowboys are registered in Harris County", or "ACORN", be prepared. Keep a few facts to slap their dumb shit down with.

And don't forget to make fun of them for being so stupid.

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