November 16, 2012

Republican says black voters = fraud

Maine GOP Head Suspects Voter Fraud Because ‘Dozens, Dozens Of Black People’ Voted

By Annie-Rose StrasserThe head of the Republican Party in Maine thinks there might have been voter fraud in his state because “nobody in town knows anyone who’s black,” but black voters came in to vote on election day.

GOP state chairman Charlie Webster aims to find those who committed the alleged fraud fraud by sending thank you cards to voters, and seeing if they are returned to sender.

In an interview with an NBC affiliate, Webster said he was astounded by the “dozens, dozens of black people” who voted, and thought it was odd because he personally doesn’t know anyone who knows a black person in town:In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day. Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in town knows anyone who’s black. How did that happen? I don’t know. We’re going to find out….

I’m not politically correct and maybe I shouldn’t have said these voters were black, but anyone who suggests I have a bias toward any race or group, frankly, that’s sleazy.
Webster isn’t alone in using race to explain away Republicans’ losses this election season. Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan claimed that Obama won because of the “urban vote.” His running mate, former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, also said yesterday that Obama won re-election because of the “gifts” he gave black people, Latinos, and women.

On top of that, Webster’s methodology is, to say the least, flawed. Not knowing any black people isn’t evidence that they don’t exist, and having a piece of mail bounce back is not proof that voters intentionally lied about their address. Indeed, even though Maine has one of the smallest black populations in the country (just 1.3 percent of the state is black), it’s much more likely to find a black Mainer than an instance of voter fraud in the US. Voter fraud is less common than being struck by lightning, of which there’s just a 0.000001 percent chance.
Comment:  Short version of the Republican "voter fraud" fiction: If any brown-skinned person votes, it's probably fraudulent.

An example may help explain the problem. My hometown includes a mosque and a Baha'i temple. I've passed them many times, but I haven't seen huge numbers of congregants.

If 20 people dressed in robes or whatever showed up at my polling place, I wouldn't assume they were strangers brought in to commit fraud. I'd assume they lived in a neighborhood I wasn't familiar with. I'd assume that I was the problem, not them.

That's the difference between a typical liberal like me and a typical conservative like Webster. He sees diversity as a scary assault on traditional "norms." I see it as the way things are. He's biased to think people of color are somehow "wrong." I'm not.

For more on the subject, see Romney:  Obama Gave "Gifts" to Win and White Men Lose to Demographic Change.

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