Anyone who has been around the criminal justice system, whether in law enforcement, a district attorney’s office, or simply serving on a jury, is familiar with criminals going to any lengths to shift blame or distract attention away from their malfeasance. Politicians caught up in untoward or unethical behavior are no different, and it was bound to happen sooner or later that a Republican under investigation would lash out at Democrats and accuse them of shocking and underhanded tactics to win elections. However, unlike Republicans accused of bribery, violations of campaign finance regulations, and trading political favors for cash and gifts, the head of the Republican Governor’s Association is on the warpath because a state with a Democratic governor is making it easier for its citizens to participate in the democratic process.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was absolutely outraged that a bipartisan election commission in Illinois simplified the voting process that he claimed is “shocking,” and a “major obstacle for the GOP’s gubernatorial candidates.” According to the man being investigated for a wealth of political improprieties said making it easier for Republicans and Democratic voters alike to cast ballots is all the proof any American needs that Democrats “will try every trick in the book” to encourage voter participation in the hallmark of any democracy, and one most Americans take great pride in; the electoral process where all Americans have a voice.
Christie’s outrage was over the Illinois State Board of Elections that is made up of equal parts Democrats and Republicans who attempted to increase voter turnout by simplifying same-day voter registration. Something Christie slammed as an “underhanded Democratic tactic.” However, it is an initiative that eleven other states, many with Republican governors, are promoting because unlike the corrupt Christie, some states champion the democratic process. The reason Democrats and some Republicans support same day voter registration is because they want more Americans to turn out to vote and have their voices heard.
According to data gathered by think tank Demos, in states that allow their citizens to register on the day they cast ballots, the average voter turnout is over 10% higher than those that do not. The data also reveals that in “four of the top five states for voter turnout in the 2012 general election,” there was a policy in place to allow residents to register the same day they voted. Even in Wisconsin where same-day registration appeared to help Democratic voter turnout, Republican strongholds “saw heavy use of the state’s last-minute registration law.” A law, by the way, that was adopted by deeply-Republican states such as Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah that according to Christie are engaging in “shocking and underhanded” tactics.
Although it seems peculiar for a politician to publicly condemn as “shocking” a state’s efforts to encourage participation at the ballot box, this is Chris Christie representing the Republican Party. And, as good law-abiding Republicans, they are out to stop criminals from committing voter fraud by restricting the right to vote.
Where Christie condemns same-day registration as Democratic corruption, most Republicans across America fighting voter turnout attempts assert that same-day registration increases the out-of-control crime of voter fraud encouraged by Democrats. It gives Republicans the appearance of fighting crime instead of suppressing voter participation, but they have yet to prove there is even an appearance of voter fraud. In fact, there is incredibly overwhelming contrary evidence proving voter fraud is virtually non-existent.
According to data surveyed from six states that allowed voters to register the same-day they voted, results showed “there has been very little voter fraud in [same-day registration] states over the past several election cycles.” For example, in North Dakota where Republicans dominate and has no voter registration whatsoever, Republican Secretary of State Alvin Jaeger reported that “voter fraud has not been widespread in North Dakota,” and that there “has been very few known incidents of voter fraud” in the state.
Indeed, according to a very recent analysis of primary, general, special, and municipal elections, Loyola University professor Justin Levitt reported that since the 2000 general election, out of more than a billion ballots cast in every election in America, there were only “31 credible incidents of voter fraud.” That’s right, exactly 31, or as a percent of all one billion votes cast; 0.000000031 percent.
The real reason Republicans are Hell-bent to suppress the vote, obstruct same-day voter registration, and deny every American an opportunity to have their voices heard is that typically when more Americans vote, they vote for Democrats. There is nothing “shocking or underhanded” at play, just that the majority of Americans comprehend that Republicans do not work for their best interests. It is something Chris Christie, like corrupt Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and the rest of the Republicans under investigation for corruption or campaign violations know all too well or they would not engage in truly “shocking and underhanded” tactics.
What is shocking is that Christie has the temerity to say out loud that an election commission law allowing more Americans to participate in the democratic process is an outrage and condemned it as underhanded. Where is his condemnation of Scott Walker, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Ron Paul for their underhanded tactics to garner support and win elections to maintain power? Likely, Christie is savvy enough to understand he cannot possibly condemn any of his corrupt Republican cohort for their underhanded, and likely illegal, tactics without drawing more attention to his own legal woes.
Chris Christie has embraced a tactic that Republicans are becoming well-versed in; projecting his and his GOP cabal’s underhandedness on a Democratic governor who signed a same-day voter registration law. A law, incidentally, that was contrived by a bi-partisan election commission, and in condemning an attempt to increase voter turnout, Chris Christie effectively condemned America’s democratic process as “shocking and underhanded.”