I was shocked yesterday to read the use of a report by News21 by UCI Professor and election law blogger Rick Hasen. The News21 report is so biased and flawed I doubted anyone would take it seriously. Here is an excerpt of a rebuttal that we prepared at the time of the report in 2012. it is particularly ironic to use the News21 report in regards to a Wisconsin decision, where an unbiased and nonpartisan report by a task force of the
Milwaukee Police Department came out for voter ID and raised the red flag on vote fraud in Wisconsin. The left has never rebutted the police report.
News21's lead author[i] of the report went to the Democratic National Convention as a Cronkite News Service News21 reporter, but no News21 reporter went to the Republican Convention.Ironically, the author fails to mention the need for government-issued ID requirements at the Democrat convention to be able to cast a vote for President Obama.
News21, an undergraduate program of the Cronkite School of Journalism, published biased articles and reports about vote fraud. The News21 webpage leads[ii] with the headline: “Who Can Vote? You May Not Be Able To” (emphasis added). This highly inflammatory and unsupported statement shows their bias, because all are allowed to vote provisionally.[iii]
In another News21 article[iv] casting Republican Secretaries of State as partisan for their efforts on behalf of voter ID in a few states, News21 fails to mention the qualified support of Democrat and New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner,[v]or the leading efforts of Democrat Rhode Island Secretary of State Ralph Mollis to pass their states' voter ID bills. News21 ignores bipartisan support of voter ID and acknowledgements of the existence of vote fraud. While blaming the American Legislative Exchange Counsel (ALEC) for promoting voter ID legislation in an article, News21 fails to mention heavily Democrat Rhode Island passed voter ID last year under the leadership[vi] of a liberal African American senior citizen, Democrat State Senator Harold Metts. News21 also fails to mention the most important bipartisan report on voting: the Carter-Baker Commission report;[vii] the Commission gave its support to voter ID and was led by former President and staunch Democrat Jimmy Carter. News21 repeats the ugly and completely unfounded accusations that voter ID supporters are vile Jim Crow racists.[viii] News21 ignores efforts of Southern politicians such as South-Asian American and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Governor Haley worked to provide not only voter ID free of cost, but also gave South Carolinians rides to obtain IDs.[ix]
Further, News 21 ignores even liberal vote fraud deniers, such as African American Professor Spencer Overton, have given qualified support[x] for voter ID.
An examination of the political leanings of the people interviewed by News21 suggests that News21 improperly favored one side of the issue when they gathered their information.[xi] Because News21 set out to advance the Democrat agenda, there was no need for them to also go to the Republican Convention or treat liberals who support ID fairly.
News21 narrowly defined terms like “voter impersonation” based on definitions Lorraine Minnite employed. News21 asserts improperly that voter impersonation at the polls is the only type of fraud that can be prevented by voter ID.[xii] This definition is too narrow and inaccurate.
News21’s database is far from comprehensive despite their claims that it is. There are no uniform methods of keeping records on vote fraud. Many records are very difficult to access and a complete record for any state is virtually impossible to obtain. RNLA found records that News21 did not when they made records requests. News21 did not analyze the methodology that different agencies used to compile their records. There are seven examples of how flawed and non-comprehensive that News21 admits, within their own report.[xiii] News21 did not fairly interpret data; in alphabetically the first state of their report, Alabama, News21 failed to count a serious conviction of nine felony counts of falsifying ballots.[xiv]
News 21 does not even count all instances of voter impersonation fraud which they define as the only kind of fraud. One example of an omission is Lafayette Fredrick Keaton who pled guilty to voting multiple times in the name of his dead son.[xv] An example of how narrow News21 definition of vote fraud is comes from that fact that all voting in Oregon is by mail and therefore under the News21 standard impossible to "impersonate" or commit vote fraud.
[i] Twitter Account for Tasha Khan (Digital journalist and graduate student at The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU. Currently a Carnegie-Knight fellow working as a News21 reporter), https://twitter.com/khantasha.
[ii] News21 Website, http://votingrights.news21.com.
[iii] Provisional ballots were the bipartisan solution under the Help America Vote Act cosponsored by former Democratic National Committee Chair Senator Chris Dodd to ensure that no legal voter was disenfranchised and that fraudulent votes were not counted. Help America Vote Act, 116 Stat. 1666, P.L. 107-252 (107th Cong. 2002) http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-107publ252/html/PLAW-107publ252.htm. Provisional ballots provide protection against fraudulent ballots being counted and protect the ballots cast by legal voters which are verified and counted after election day.
[iv] Joe Henke and Emily Nohr, Secretaries of State Lead Charge for Strict Voter Requirements, News21 (Aug. 12, 2012), http://votingrights.news21.com/article/secretaries-of-state.
[v] Debating voter ID: Who is defending current law? (editorial), Union Leader (Jan. 18, 2012), http://www.unionleader.com/article/20120119/OPINION01/701199973.
[vi] Harold M. Metts, Why is Voter Integrity Still Being Ignored in RI?, Woonsocket Patch (Nov. 3, 2011), http://woonsocket.patch.com/articles/letter-why-is-voter-integrity-still-being-ignored-in-ri.
[vii] ,Report of the Commission of Federal Elections, Building Confidence in U.S. Elections (Sept. 2005), http://www1.american.edu/ia/cfer/report/full_report.pdf.
[viii] Nick Andersen, Kassondra Cloos and Caitlin O’Donnell, Voting Rights Battles Re-emerge in the South, News21 (Aug. 12, 2012), http://votingrights.news21.com/article/south.
[ix] Robert Kittle, SC DMV Announces Free Rides for Voter Who Need Photo IDs, WSPA-TV ABC (Aug. 31, 2011), http://www2.wspa.com/news/2011/aug/31/3/sc-dmv-announces-free-rides-voters-who-need-photo--ar-2346123.
[x] Zoe Tillman, Federalist Society Panel Debates Civil Rights and Voter Fraud, The Blog of Legal Times (Nov. 14, 2011), http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2011/11/federalist-society-panel-debates-civil-rights-and-voter-fraud.html.
[xi] The News21 article reporters interviewed “David Schultz, professor of public policy at Hamline University School of Business in St. Paul, Minn.,” “Lorraine Minnite, professor of public policy and administration at Rutgers University,” Daniel Lowenstein, a UCLA School of Law professor,” “Richard Hasen, a professor of political science and election law expert at the University of California, Irvine,” “Democratic state Sen. Vincent Hughes,” “John Fortier, a political scientist at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C., think tank,” Keesha Gaskins, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law,” and “Eddie Hailes, managing director and general counsel of the Advancement Project.” Others interviewed included “Bill Denny, a Mississippi Republican state representative elected in 1987,” “Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington, D.C.-based policy center” and “Trey Grayson, the former Republican Kentucky secretary of state who is director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.”[xi] Only three of these were supporters of voter ID while the rest, double those interviewed of the other side, were liberals or opponents of voter ID. Natasha Khan and Corbin Carson, Comprehensive Database of U.S. Voter Fraud Uncovers No Evidence That Photo ID Is Needed, News21 (Aug. 12, 2012), http://votingrights.news21.com/article/election-fraud.
[xii]“The cases reported to News21 from all the public-records requests cover a dozen different kinds of election illegalities and irregularities. Only one of those categories — impersonation of another voter at a voting place — involves the kind of fraud that Election Day voter ID laws could prevent.” Corbin Carson, Exhaustive Database of Voter Fraud Cases Turns Up Scant Evidence That It Happens, News21 (Aug. 12, 2012), http://votingrights.news21.com/article/election-fraud-explainer.
[xiii] Justin Danhof, Media Shows Pervasive Bias When Covering Voter ID, National Policy Analysis (Sept. 2012), http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA641.html.
[xiv] News21, Document Cloud Database, http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/394032-alabama-voter-fraud.html
[xv]Oregon AG gets guilty plea voter fraud case, Oregon Catalyst (Attorney General Kroger Press Release) (Sept. 18, 2010), http://oregoncatalyst.com/3510-Oregon-AG-gets-guilty-plea-voter-fraud-case.html.