Media Matters gets it right–and WRONG–about John Fund’s latest “argument” for voter ID laws

Kudos to Media Matters for noting the illogic of John Fund’s “argument” that the electoral problems in Waukesha County “prove” the need for voter ID laws. As MM points out, if voters there had been required to flash ID’s, it would have made no difference whatsoever in the way that Kathy Nickolaus managed that election (although it might have helped to disenfranchise poorer voters, which is precisely why Fund belts out so much propaganda for such laws).

While Media Matters is quite right about Fund’s argument, however, they get it wrong— dead wrong—about the problem in Wisconsin. The “lesson” there, they claim, is “better training and regulation of election clerks”–as if Prosser wouldn’t have “prevailed” if Kathy Nickolaus weren’t ill-trained, and/or if she were more tightly “regulated.”

This is dangerously wrong in two ways. First of all, the problem in Wisconsin is obviously not Waukesha County, but the statewide vote. Why else would the Prosser camp be so dead-set against a recount anywhere, even though it’s legal, and even though they can’t come up with any reason why they won’t approve it? The last thing they want is any inquiry beyond Waukesha County; and so “better training and regulation” of that county’s clerk is quite beside the point–and MM, by focusing on Waukesha alone, is only (passively) abetting the Republicans.

And, beyond this contest, what Wisconsin badly needs is not “better training and regulation of election clerks,” but the elimination of computerized voting systems. With opscans programmed, and networked, secretly–opscans manufactured and maintained by private companies with a partisan agenda–you can train and regulate the county clerks until the cows have all come home and gone to bed, and the elections in Wisconsin won’t be any more secure, or their “official outcomes” any more reliable, than they are now; and the same goes for the other states.

Why can’t liberals get this? Their blindness poses just as grave a danger to American democracy as the resolve, and cunning, of the GOP.


WSJ’s Fund Somehow Concludes That WI Vote Proves We Need Voter ID Laws
April 18, 2011 4:16 pm ET – by Adam Shah

Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund is famous for crying voter fraud whenever a conservative is in danger of losing an election. We recently caught him making up facts to raise the specter of voter fraud when it appeared that conservative incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser had lost his bid for re-election.

Now that Prosser is in the lead, Fund has changed his tune a bit and is saying that the lesson from Wisconsin is that states must require voters to show ID notwithstanding the likelihood that such laws would disenfranchise some voters.

Fund argues that the actions of a clerk in one Wisconsin county — who says she initially failed to report more than 14,000 votes, which gave Prosser a 7,000 vote lead — prove that states must pass laws voters to “show photo ID at the polls.”

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