State Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa Arizona has warned us:
"There is a massive effort under way to register illegal aliens in this
How many? According to the representative's office, there
are 5million: Democrats, he says, who are not good Americans -- they're
Really? Holy Cow! Rep. Pearce has uncovered a conspiracy to
flood the voter rolls with Brown Hordes who've swum the Rio Grande just for a
chance to vote for Hillary Clinton?
Thank the Lord for vigilant citizens like Rep. Pearce. His
efforts, along with the work of other patriotic (Republican) politicians,
successfully stopped 300,000 voters from obtaining ballots in 2004 -- because
these voters had brought the wrong ID to the polls. New ID laws in Arizona and
half a dozen states blocked these voters at the polling-house door. Others with
"wrong" ID's were handed what are called 'provisional' ballots --
which were then not counted.
On Wednesday, the Republican majority on the US Supreme
Court indicated it would vote to uphold these new voter ID requirements.
And just in time. If not for these new ID laws, warns Rep.
Pearce and other Republicans across the nation, a dark wave of illegal aliens
would vote again in our upcoming presidential election.
Or maybe not. Maybe there aren't 5 million illegal voters
for Hillary or Obama or Edwards. Maybe there are just 500. Maybe there are none.
I called Rep. Pearce's office to get a couple of the names
of these illegal voters. After all, it should be easy as pie to catch them:
they have to give their names and addresses to register and vote. Odd thing,
out of 5 million illegal registrants, the representative, after a week of
looking, couldn't provide me the name of one. Not one.
Another Republican politician, this one in New Mexico, the
sponsor of the voter ID law there, said on the floor of the state legislature
that she had the names of two illegal voters. Well, that's a start.
I called her, Rep. Justine Fox-Young (yes, that's her name,
and she has the ID to prove it).
Q. Justine, you've uncovered felony criminals [illegal
voting is a jail-time crime in every state]. Do you have the names?
A. Oh, yes!
Q. Really? Wow! Did you turn these names over to the US
A. Well, no. . . .
Q. You had evidence of a crime and you didn't have the bad
A. Not exactly. . . .
Fox-Young promised to send me the names of the illegal
voters. The names never arrived. But shortly thereafter, based on her claim,
the Legislature passed, and Governor Bill Richardson signed, a voter ID law
certain to knock out Hispanic citizens. (In fairness to Richardson, I should
note that he forced the Republicans to drastically alter their bill.)
Our investigations team talked to some of New Mexico's
allegedly illegal voters.
In 2004, the Catholic Church organized a bus and caravan to
take newly registered Chicano "low-riders" to a Roswell, New Mexico,
polling station. The white officials turned away several of the young Hispanics
for presenting the wrong ID. Maybe the middle initial on the voter form was
missing from the driver's license, or "Jr." was added. No perfect
match, no vote: a gotcha! set of rules that seemed to apply only to
voters of a darker hue.
One of the rejected young Chicanas said she wouldn't return
to try again to vote; one round of humiliation was enough. "They don't
want me to vote there anyway," she said. And they don't.
But hey, what's wrong with requiring voter ID? I'll give you
a million reasons. Since 2004, when 300,000 citizens lost their right to vote
because of ID challenges, the number of states that have passed voter ID laws
has quadrupled. Expect the challenges to quadruple as well, to over a million
in the upcoming 2008 presidential election. Do ID challenges make a difference?
In New Mexico, George Bush's victory over John Kerry by 5,900 votes can be
completely accounted for by minority provisional ballots rejected. ID was the
In Louisiana, the law says voters may be asked to produce a
photo ID. A study conducted by the US Department of Justice discovered that
Black voters are only one-fifth as likely to have photo ID's as white voters.
(That figure may be optimistic -- as Justice took the survey before Black voters'
IDs washed away with Hurricane Katrina.)
In New Mexico, in Louisiana, in Georgia, in Alabama and in
Florida, it's the same story. It's not a random set of voters who lose out on
ID challenges; it's voters of color.
Forty years ago, the Jim Crow era ended when biased
impediments to voting were struck down by the courts and Congress: poll taxes,
"literacy" tests, citizenship tests that blocked Blacks more than
whites. From that time until now, almost every state has accepted your
signature matched to prior records as proof you're a legal voter. Now we're
going to change this system to prevent the crime of folks voting more than once
and the crime of aliens voting. The odd thing about these crimes: they
virtually don't exist. Yet to
prevent crimes that aren't committed, we are allowing elections officials to
commit a greater crime: stopping legal voters -- especially new, young,
Hispanic voters -- from having their piece of our democracy.
Who was behind this viciously undemocratic, racist Jos� Crow
attack on brown-skinned voters? His initials are Karl Rove. In 2006, I smelled
out the link to Rove, then White House political chief, when I reached out to
the US attorney for New Mexico.
That US attorney, David Iglesias, had indeed investigated
the "illegal" voters identified by Fox-Young, working from a list of
150 sent to him by Republican officials. After marching all over the mesas with
the FBI, Iglesias found exactly zero cases to prosecute.
So, finding folks innocent, Iglesias did not arrest them.
That was a mistake -- at least for his career. Karl Rove, visiting New Mexico,
heard from the state's Republican Party chiefs that Iglesias was not bringing
prosecutions and would not continue the witch hunt for "illegal"
voters. Iglesias contends that Rove took the Republican complaint to the Oval
Office. There, a man who goes by the alias, "The Decider," decided to
fire Iglesias and other US attorneys who wouldn�t agree to phony prosecutions
of innocent voters.
Iglesias told me, "This voter fraud thing is the bogeyman.
It was designed to scare up, rile the [Republican] base. I looked into [the
fraud allegations] . . . We didn't find the evidence."
I met with Iglesias at the park overlooking the Statue of
Liberty in New York. The wistful ex-prosecutor, who has returned to his former
post with the Navy as a JAG lawyer, said, "Looking back, I mean I feel
like I was set up; that they really felt that I would go forward with some
half-baked prosecutions and hope for a guilty plea. That's not what a
legitimate federal prosecutor does."
(Rove won't respond to BBC's requests for his views -- nor
respond to a subpoena from Congress to explain his involvement in the firings.)
Whatever Rove's political motives, I did have to ask if
there's a legitimate reason for these new ID laws. I challenged the leader of
the New Mexico Catholic Charities voter drive, Santiago Juarez, to answer Ms.
Fox-Young's charge that, without voter ID, his new citizens could steal
elections by voting more than once using someone else's name.
Santiago replied, "How do you organize thousands of
people to vote twice? Hell, it's hard enough organizing them to vote once!"Greg
Palast is the author of �Armed
Madhouse: from Baghdad to New Orleans -- Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a
White House Gone Wild.� See Palast�s reports for
BBC Television�s Newsnight, now filmed by Rick Rowley and partners, at www.GregPalast.com.