Fox Nation is claiming that the Obama administration is "selling amnesty for $465" through a policy that allows some young undocumented immigrants to stay in the country and possibly avoid deportation. In fact, the $465 is the cost of the application process for deferments from deportation; it is not "amnesty" since applicants are not guaranteed approval and the policy does not confer legal status. The policy is simply a temporary reprieve from deportation that allows immigrants to apply to work in the country legally.
On June 15, the Department of Homeland Security announced:
[C]ertain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.
Of course, Fox Nation's claim isn't true. The website linked to an ABC News blog post stating:
The Department of Homeland Security today announced details of the application and approval process for the DREAM Act-like program, outlining specific eligibility requirements and a $465 fee. It will begin Aug. 15.
A Detroit Free Press article explained that "[t]he total cost for the application process will be $465," but applying for deferment from deportation does not mean it will be granted. As has been explained before, DHS announced that the policy will allow undocumented immigrants who arrived in America as children and meet other eligibility requirements to request "consideration of deferred action" on a "case-by-case basis" starting on August 15.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus today deflected Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) calls for Mitt Romney to release more tax returns by resorting to outright name-calling.
On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Priebus first said he would not respond to the comments and seconds later launched into a personal attack on Reid:
PRIEBUS: As far as Harry Reid is concerned, listen, I know you might want to go down that road, I’m not going to respond to a dirty liar, who hasn’t filed a single page of tax returns himself, complains about people with money, but lives in the Ritz-Carlton here down the street. So if that’s on the agenda, I’m not going to go there. This is just a made-up issue. The fact that we’re going to spend any time talking about it is just ridiculous.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You say you’re not gonna respond, but you just called him “a dirty liar.” You stand by that? You think Harry Reid is a “dirty liar?”
PRIEBUS: I just said it.
Watch the video:
Assuming Priebus meant to say that Reid has not publicly released his tax returns, it is worth noting that given the level of the office, most successful presidential nominees have released their tax returns since the 1970s. The same tradition does not apply to those in Congress and Reid has never been a presidential candidate.
Reid, citing an anonymous source, claimed this week that Romney may not have paid any taxes for 10 years.
On Friday, Romney himself dismissed Reid’s attacks, lamenting the tone of the campaign. He said “I had hoped it would be a debate about the direction of the country. What we?re seeing instead is one attack after the other ? misleading, false attacks.”
I think having land and not ruining it
is the most beautiful art that anybody
could ever want to own.
Born August 6, 1927
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Rush Limbaugh continued to defend Mitt Romney's refusal to release his tax returns by claiming that Americans aren't interested in seeing Romney's tax returns. In fact, polls show that a majority of Americans want Romney to release his tax returns.
On his show today, Limbaugh declared that "there's not a normal person anywhere" who wants Romney to release more tax returns. He added: "The American people are not chomping at the bit here to have this question answered. It's purely, totally fabricated. The media knows that it's been fabricated; it's a lie."
In fact, polling reveals the opposite is true: The American people do want the question of Romney's tax returns answered. A July USAToday/Gallup poll found that a majority of people believe Romney should release additional years of tax returns:
A Public Policy Polling survey found that 61 percent of Independents believe Romney should release his tax returns for the last 12 years.
But Limbaugh has continued to staunchly defend Romney's refusal to release additional years of his tax returns. Just last week, Limbaugh advised Romney to avoid releasing his returns while challenging President Obama to release his college transcripts to prove he received passing grades. In fact, there is no precedent for presidents or presidential candidates to release their academic records, whereas presidential candidates are expected to release several years' worth of tax returns.
This is not the first time Limbaugh has resorted to distorting public opinion to make a point.
Fox News is trying to cover up the fact that Mitt Romney's tax plan would disproportionately benefit the rich and harm the middle class, as the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has concluded. The Center found that Romney's plan would "provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers."
Tax Policy Center: Romney Tax Plan "Would Provide Large Tax Cuts To High-Income Households, And Increase The Tax Burdens On Middle- And/Or Lower-Income Taxpayers." A recent study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center concluded that Romney's plan would have to "provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers" in order to be "revenue-neutral":
Our major conclusion is that a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed - including reducing marginal tax rates substantially, eliminating the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) and maintaining all tax breaks for saving and investment - would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers. This is true even when we bias our assumptions about which and whose tax expenditures are reduced to make the resulting tax system as progressive as possible. For instance, even when we assume that tax breaks - like the charitable deduction, mortgage interest deduction, and the exclusion for health insurance -are completely eliminated for higher-income households first, and only then reduced as necessary for other households to achieve overall revenue-neutrality- the net effect of the plan would be a tax cut for high-income households coupled with a tax increase for middle-income households. [Tax Policy Center, 8/1/12]
Tax Policy Center: Romney's Tax Plan "Would Require Deep Reduction In Popular Tax Benefits" Like "Benefits For Low- And Middle-Income Families And Children." The Tax Policy Center study further found that to offset the $360 billion in revenue losses under Romney's tax plan, Romney would be required to make "deep reductions" in tax benefits such as "mortgage interest deduction, the exclusion for employer-provided health insurance, the deduction for charitable contributions, and benefits for low- and middle-income families and children like the EITC and child tax credit":
Absent any base broadening, the proposed reductions in individual and estate taxes specified in Governor Romney's plan would decrease federal tax revenues by $360 billion in 2015.These tax cuts predominantly favor upper-income taxpayers: Taxpayers with incomes over $1 million would see their after-tax income increased by 8.3 percent (an average tax cut of about $175,000), taxpayers with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 would see somewhat smaller increases of about 2.4 percent (an average tax cut of $1,800), while the after-tax income of taxpayers earning less than $30,000 would actually decrease by about 0.9 percent (an average tax increase of about $130) due to the expiration of the temporary tax cuts enacted in 2009 and extended at the end of 2010.
Offsetting the $360 billion in revenue losses necessitates a reduction of roughly 65 percent of available tax expenditures. Such a reduction by itself would be unprecedented, and would require deep reductions in many popular tax benefits ranging from the mortgage interest deduction, the exclusion for employer-provided health insurance, the deduction for charitable contributions, and benefits for low- and middle-income families and children like the EITC and child tax credit. [Tax Policy Center, 8/1/12]
FactCheck.Org: "We Don't See That" It's "Possible" For Romney Tax Plan Not To Put "A Greater Burden" On Middle-Income Taxpayers. FactCheck.org looked at Romney's tax plan and concluded that Romney "has failed to prove" that his plan will not put "a greater burden, or a larger share of a reduced burden, on middle-income taxpayers." FactCheck.org further noted that "we don't see that it is" possible for his plan not to burden the middle and lower income taxpayers "based on available evidence":
But Romney is not arguing that more jobs and growth should compensate for a tax system that puts a greater burden, or a larger share of a reduced burden, on middle-income taxpayers. He's promising that the share of taxes won't change. He has failed to prove that's possible. And based on available evidence, we don't see that it is. [FactCheck.org, 8/3/12]
Wash. Post: Romney Plan Disproportionately Benefits Wealthy In After-Tax Income. The Washington Post's Dylan Matthews created a chart using data from the Tax Policy Center report which demonstrated that if the Romney tax plan is paid for with tax break cuts, it would create significant increases to after-tax income for the top 0.1 percent, while the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers would see after-tax incomes fall:
The blue bars indicate how the plan would affect after-tax income if the rate cuts are paid for with tax break cuts, and the red bars show its effects without making up the lost revenue. The top 0.1 percent see incomes that are 8.6 percent higher without paying for the rate cuts, and 4.4 percent higher if they're fully financed. Meanwhile, the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers see incomes fall by 1.1 percent if the rate cuts are paid for by cutting tax breaks. [Washington Post, 8/1/12]
Wash. Post's Ezra Klein: "I Can Describe Mitt Romney's Tax Policy Promises In Two Words: Mathematically Impossible." In a Bloomberg View column, Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein wrote, "I can describe Mitt Romney's tax policy promises in two words: mathematically impossible." He continued, explaining how the Tax Policy Center analyzed Romney's proposal:
To help Romney, the center did so under the most favorable conditions, which also happen to be wildly unrealistic. The analysts assumed that any cuts to deductions or loopholes would begin with top earners, and that no one earning less than $200,000 would have their deductions reduced until all those earning more than $200,000 had lost all of their deductions and tax preferences first. They assumed, as Romney has promised, that the reforms would spare the portions of the tax code that privilege saving and investment. They even ran a simulation in which they used a model developed, in part, by Greg Mankiw, one of Romney's economic advisers, that posits "implausibly large growth effects" from tax cuts.
The numbers never worked out. No matter how hard the Tax Policy Center labored to make Romney's promises add up, every simulation ended the same way: with a tax increase on the middle class. The tax cuts Romney is offering to the rich are simply larger than the size of the (non-investment) deductions and loopholes that exist for the rich. That's why it's "mathematically impossible" for Romney's plan to produce anything but a tax increase on the middle class. [Bloomberg View, 8/2/12]
Tax Policy Center: "Reasonable Models Would Show That These Tax Changes Would Have Little Effect On Growth." The Tax Policy Center's study explained that when you look at "reasonable models," Romney's tax plan would have "little effect on growth." Moreover, the study shows that "even with implausibly large growth effects", Romney's tax plan "would likely result in a net tax increase for lower- and middle-income households and tax cuts for high-income households":
In addition, we also assess whether these results hold if we assume that revenue reductions are partially offset by higher economic growth. Although reasonable models would show that these tax changes would have little effect on growth, we show that even with implausibly large growth effects, revenue neutrality would still require large reductions in tax expenditures and would likely result in a net tax increase for lower- and middle-income households and tax cuts for high-income households. [Tax Policy Center, 8/1/12]
Wash. Post: "Romney Tax Plan Won't Help Economic Growth." The Post's Matthews explained in a Wonkblog post that "if you make [Mitt Romney's] tax plan revenue-neutral by cutting deductions and credits" the economic growth effect caused by cutting taxes "goes away":
One of the many ways in which the Tax Policy Center's analysis of the Romney tax plan went out of its way to be fair to the candidate was its inclusion of "dynamic scoring." And when analysts used this method -- where, as Suzy explained, any economic growth caused by a tax change is considered when estimating its cost -- found that the plan would cause $53 billion in increased revenue.
That's nowhere near enough to offset its $360 billion annual cost, but still a substantial chunk of change. Given that tax revenue is expected to be 17.7 percent of GDP in 2015, the year for which these estimates apply (assuming current policy continues) and GDP is projected to be $15 trillion, this would mean the taxes caused $300 billion in economic growth, or a 2 percent increase.
That's a big number! Dynamic scoring is controversial, so it should be taken with a grain of salt, but for perspective, if the United States were growing 2 percentage points slower at the moment, we'd be in a recession. The problem is that if you make the tax plan revenue-neutral by cutting deductions and credits, that economic growth effect goes away. One of the best recent explanations of this was written by Alex Brill and Alan Viard of the American Enterprise Institute, who concluded that "base-broadening" reform of the kind Romney is proposing would not increase growth much at all. The reason: It doesn't remove the incentive to not work created by the income tax. [Washington Post, 8/2/12]
Fox's Kilmeade Suggested Romney's Tax Plan Would Not Benefit The Rich At The Expense Of The Middle Class. During the August 6 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade and Reagan administration economist Art Laffer suggested that the claim that Romney's tax plan would cut taxes for the rich "at the expense of the middle class" was not "the truth." From the show:
KILMEADE: [W]hen you talk about the message amongst both parties, about the middle class and the refrain from President Obama is Mitt Romney wants to become president to give himself a tax cut and do it at the expense of the middle class. What's the truth? What do the numbers really look like?
LAFFER: Well the truth is Jack Kennedy, which you showed right there, was a very wealthy family. He didn't cut the highest rate to help his family. He did it to help the country. Kennedy cut the tax rates across the board to stimulate. He cut government spending. He reaffirmed the dollar's convert ability to gold in May of 1962. And he did free trade, which is called the Kennedy round tariff negotiation. Every one of those is opposed to what Obama is doing. Obama is going just the opposite direction. And I just don't understand why the Democrats lost their play card. Why they don't really support what they used to be the champions of.
CAROL ALT: Art just really quickly, why you don't tell us why it's so important to have these tax cuts, what that would do to the economy. [Fox & Friends, 8/6/12]
Laffer Falsely Claimed Tax Cuts For The Rich Create An "Environment Of Growth." Later in the show, Laffer tried to hype the plan saying it would create an "environment of growth":
LAFFER: Basically what you really need to do is incentivize producers to hire people Carol. You need to create an environment of growth; prosperity and you cannot love jobs and hate job creators. And that's what's going on here is the president is really talking down business, talking all these regulations everything. Those are the people who create jobs output and employment; those people who make over $250,000 a year are the very people who employ the middle and lower class people and create those jobs. It's ridiculous to think those people will continue to provide jobs, output and employment if you raise their taxes, and you are raising their taxes. It's not giving them a tax cut. For ten years, those tax rates have been this way. Now they're going to pop them up on one small segment, the job creators. It's silly.
KILMEADE: And unfortunately, we're in the silly season when things couldn't be more serious. Art Laffer, economist extraordinaire, thanks so much for joining us. [Fox & Friends, 8/6/12]
From the August 6 edition of Fox News' America Live:
From the August 6 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
Muse in the Morning[...]
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Right-wing media have distorted efforts by President Obama's re-election campaign to restore early voting for all Ohio voters, claiming the campaign is suing to restrict voting for members of the military. In fact, the Obama campaign's lawsuit seeks to restore early voting for all Ohioans, including members of the military and their families.
Columbus Dispatch: Obama Campaign "Is Suing To Allow" All Ohio Voters Access To Early Voting. The Obama campaign's lawsuit seeks to overturn an Ohio law that stripped early voting rights from all Ohio voters except members of the military and their dependents. From a Columbus Dispatch report on the suit:
President Barack Obama is suing to allow Ohioans to vote in person the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before he's either re-elected or defeated by Mitt Romney.
Obama's campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party argue that they're seeking equal access for all Ohio voters in the federal lawsuit filed yesterday against Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine, both Republicans.
The suit in the Southern District of Ohio seeks to restore the ability for county boards of elections to keep polling places open the final three days before Election Day -- an authority first stripped by the Republican-passed House Bill 194 last year. The measure was subject to a voter referendum but repealed first by GOP lawmakers, who passed a different bill that gives military families later polling access than other Ohio voters. [The Columbus Dispatch, 7/18/12]
Obama Campaign: Lawsuit Was Filed To Ensure "Every Ohioan Has Early Voting Rights, Including Military Members And Their Families." The Obama campaign noted that the suit makes no effort to impact early voting for military members:
In addition to reducing Ohioans' access to the polls, the [Ohio] legislature created inequality between military voters who can cast early ballots in person through the day before the election and all other voters who only have until 6 p.m. on the Friday before the election to vote in-person absentee.
These restrictions are a violation of the equal protection guarantees in the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit seeks to make sure that all Ohioans, including military members and their families, can exercise their right to vote early. "This lawsuit seeks to treat all Ohio citizens equally under the law," said Obama for America attorney Bob Bauer. "We want to restore the right of all to vote before Election Day." [BarackObama.com, 8/3/12]
Fox Anchor Bill Hemmer: The Obama Campaign Suit Aims To "Limit Military Voters' Early Voting Time." American Spectator editor John Fund appeared on America's Newsroom and called the Obama campaign's lawsuit over Ohio's early voting restrictions "hostage-taking," saying, "in other words, we're not going to let the military vote unless everyone gets to vote early." Host Bill Hemmer joined in, asserting the suit aims to "limit military voters' early voting time":
HEMMER: Now the Romney campaign [is] calling a White House lawsuit to limit military voters' early voting time shameful. Obama campaign senior advisor David Axelrod firing back with Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday".
HEMMER: It appears the argument David Axelrod's making here is that Governor Romney is hiding behind a military vote. Because the argument Axelrod makes is, you know, if you're going to make early voting for one group, you should make it for all. And he went to great lengths to explain they were not targeting members of the military. Does the explanation fly?
FUND: Well that's interesting, but that is not what their lawsuit says. And, you know, you can say that Romney is hiding behind the military. On the other side you can say this is a hostage-taking. In other words, we're not going to let the military vote unless everybody gets to vote early. But as I've said, it's very easy to vote early in Ohio. You can cast an absentee ballot weeks before the election. So I think this is a hostage-taking more than anything else. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 8/6/12]
Fox's Bream: "The [Obama] Campaign Is Suing To Keep Members Of The Military From Having Extra Time To Cast Their Ballots." Guest-hosting Special Report, Shannon Bream characterized the lawsuit as an attempt by the Obama campaign to "keep members of the military from having extra time to cast their ballots":
BREAM: If President Obama gets his way, the special voting rights of some of America's finest will be eliminated. The [Obama] campaign is suing to keep members of the military from having extra time to cast their ballots in one key battleground state. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, via Media Matters, 8/3/12]
Breitbart.com: "The Democratic Lawsuit Is Intended To Disenfranchise Some Unknown Number Of Military Voters." Breitbart blogger Mike Flynn twisted the suit to declare the complaint was filed to "restrict" military members' voting ability:
Obama, in particular, enjoys being seen visiting troops and having photos taken with members of our military. So, why is his campaign and the Democrat party suing to restrict their ability to vote in the upcoming election?
If anyone proposes legislation to combat voter fraud, Democrats will loudly scream that the proposal could "disenfranchise" some voter, somewhere. We must ensure, they argue, that voting is easy and accessible to every single voter. Every voter, that is, except the men and women of our military.
Make no mistake, the Democrat lawsuit is intended to disenfranchise some unknown number of military voters. [Breitbart.com, 8/2/12]
Columbus Dispatch: "All Ohio Voters Could Cast Early Ballots In Person Up To Election Day" Until Republicans Banned It. From a Columbus Dispatch article on the lawsuit:
The lawsuit does not ask the judge to reduce early voting days for military personnel, which is required to stretch through the day before Election Day by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act. Rather, it reminds the court that all Ohio voters could cast early ballots in person up to Election Day until Republican state legislators in Ohio passed House Bill 194 last year.
Subsequent legislation restored in-person voting privileges on Saturday, Sunday and Monday for military families but left the new deadline for the rest of the voters on the Friday before Election Day. [The Columbus Dispatch, 8/5/12]
Bloomberg: Ohio Now Allows Only The Military, Their Families, And Those Overseas To Vote Early On Weekend Before Election Day. Bloomberg reported that under Ohio's current law, "families of armed forces members and civilians overseas can vote through the Monday before an election, while early voting for all other Ohio residents ends on the preceding Friday, a disparity Barack Obama's campaign claims is unconstitutional." [Bloomberg News, 7/17/12]
Beacon Journal: Early Voting Was Expanded In Ohio After 2004 Election Saw Unacceptably Long Wait Times For Voters. Early voting was expanded to include the weekend prior to election day after the 2004 presidential election, when long lines and equipment problems caused voters to wait nearly all day to cast their ballot. The Akron Beacon Journal reported:
The legislature expanded absentee voting in Ohio after the 2004 presidential election that saw long lines, with some voters waiting up to seven hours and others giving up and going home. The first presidential election that allowed early voting without a special reason was four years ago, when nearly 21 percent of all registered voters in Ohio cast absentee ballots. [Akron Beacon Journal, 7/17/12]
Voting Problems Prior To Expanding Early Voting Effectively Left Many Citizens Disenfranchised. The complaint noted that the long lines in 2004 left people who could not spend an entire day at the polls disenfranchised:
Between 2005 and 2011, Ohio successfully administered an early voting system that included in-person voting in the three days prior to Election Day. This early voting system increased participation among voters, including those for whom work or family obligations make it difficult to vote on Election Day, and reduced the congestion that caused such severe waits during the 2004 presidential election in Ohio that some citizens were effectively denied the right to vote. [Obama for America v. Husted, accessed 8/6/12]
NY Times: In 2004, 15,000 People Left The Columbus Polls Without Voting Because Of Long Lines. The New York Times revealed the need for early voting in Ohio after tens of thousands of voters were left disenfranchised on Election day 2004. A voting machine shortage in Youngstown left 8,000 African-American voters disenfranchised when they were unable to cast a ballot. In one county, more than 1,300 people were expected to vote on just two machines:
Everyone complains that young people don't vote, but consider the experience of students at Kenyon College in Ohio in the 2004 election. Officials in Knox County, Ohio, provided just two voting machines for the school's 1,300 voters. Some students waited in line for 10 hours, and the last bleary-eyed voter did not cast a ballot until nearly 4 a.m.
[T]ens of thousands of votes were suppressed by something so mundane that no one thought to focus on it: long lines.
In Columbus, as many as 15,000 people left the polls without voting, many because of long lines. At a postelection hearing, a Youngstown pastor estimated that 8,000 black voters there did not cast ballots because of a machine shortage. [The New York Times, 8/25/08]
WSJ: More Than 1.7 Million Ohioans Voted Early In The Last Presidential Election. "More than 1.7 million people in Ohio voted before Election Day in 2008, accounting for about 30% of all ballots cast," according to The Wall Street Journal. [The Wall Street Journal, Law Blog, 7/18/12]
Beacon Journal: In The Weekend Before Election Day In 2008, Nearly 100,000 Votes Were Cast In Ohio. Almost 100,000 Ohioans utilized the in-person, early voting option the weekend prior to Election Day in 2008. [Akron Beacon Journal, 7/17/12]
Brennan Center for Justice: Early Voting Restrictions Most Heavily Disrupt Minorities' Vote. The Brennan Center for Justice noted that ending early voting on Sundays heavily restricts the African American and Hispanic vote:
New restrictions on early voting will also have their biggest impact on people of color. Opponents of these restrictions have been particularly angered by the efforts to eliminate Sunday early voting, which they see as explicitly targeting African-American voters. Florida eliminated early voting on the last Sunday before Election Day, and Ohio has eliminated early voting on Sundays entirely. There is substantial statistical and anecdotal evidence that African Americans (and to a lesser extent Hispanics) vote on Sundays in proportionately far greater numbers than whites. [Brennan Center for Justice, accessed 8/6/12]
Professors Smith And Herron: Eliminating Early Voting The Final Sunday Before Election Day Disproportionately Impacts Minorities And Young Voters. Analyzing changes to Florida's early voting laws, political science professors Daniel Smith and Michael Herron wrote:
We find that Democratic, African-American, Hispanic, younger, and first-time voters were disproportionately likely to vote early in 2008 and in particular on weekends, including the final Sunday of early voting. [Souls to the Polls study, 5/22/12, via PolitiFact]
Veterans' Group Chairman: Cancelling Early Voting The Weekend Prior To Election Day Affects More Than 900,000 Veterans. VoteVets.org chairman Jon Soltz wrote on Think Progress that the Ohio law targeted by the Obama campaign's lawsuit restricts voting access for veterans. He explained:
[S]upporting the Ohio law that would do away with three days of early voting for all but those covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act ('UOCAVA'), is supporting the restriction of voting rights for as many as 913,000 Ohio veterans. This includes military retirees with over 20 years of service and multiple deployments.
Once you leave the military, you are no longer covered by UOCAVA. Your voting rights are the same as any civilian. That means the early voting law which Mitt Romney wants to undo, provided hundreds of thousands of Ohio veterans with more of an opportunity to vote. [Think Progress, 8/6/12]
On the eve of the 47th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer relied on notorious voter fraud huckster Hans von Spakovsky and other dubious sources to continue to distort the debate over voter ID laws. Specifically, Von Spakovsky argued that voter ID laws do not affect minority turnout and suggested that, in fact, the opposite is true. From the article:
Von Spakofsky [sic], a senior legal fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, says voting in both Georgia and Indiana increased dramatically in the states' presidential primaries and general presidential elections after photo ID laws went into place.
"In Indiana, which the U.S. Supreme Court said has the strictest voter ID law in the country, turnout in the Democratic presidential primary in 2008 quadrupled from the 2004 election when the photo ID law was not in effect," von Spakofsky last year told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "According to Census Bureau surveys, 59.2 percent of the black voting-age population voted in the 2008 election compared to only 53.8 percent in 2004, an increase of over 5 percentage points."
In reality, as Colorlines.com has reported, such a conclusion cannot be drawn:
Von Spakovsky noted that "Georgia had the largest turnout of minority voters in its history," and then drew the conclusion, "As shown by these data ... voter ID requirements can be easily met by almost all voters and do not have a discriminatory or disparate impact on racial minorities." The message sent: Georgia 2008 voter turnout was good; therefore voter ID laws are good.
These are specious conclusions to draw at best because it relies on a non-existent causation or correlation between the implementation of the state's voter ID law and voter turnout without controlling for other factors such as the growth in voting age population and the growth in the number of people registered to vote during the same period.
I spoke with Charles S. Bullock III, the Richard B. Russell Professor of Political Science at the University of Georgia who said that the state's voter ID law "is not a cause" for the increase in minority voter turnout and "that you can't build a case for a causal link" between the implementation of the voter ID law and the increase in minority voter turnout. In fact, voter turnout would have increased in Georgia in the 2008 presidential election with or without the voter ID law for a number of other factors, says Lubbock, including a "gradual increase" in the voting-age population of African Americans, and also the excitement around the possible election of the nation's first black president. But this does not mean that everyone was able to "easily" get an ID card. [...]
The Increase in Georgia's minority voter turnout was due to large increases in voter registration and the excitement around the Obama campaign, despite the voter ID law, but not because of it.