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Who’s The Worst Possible Person To Chair A Voting Commission?

Memo Pad Politics

Who’s The Worst Possible Person To Chair A Voting Commission?


Just a few hours before the State of the Union address, officials from the Obama administration leaked what many voting rights activists saw as somewhat promising news: The president would be announcing the creation of a commission to investigate the troubles that plagued Election Day 2012.

You know by now that many voters in Florida — including 102-year-old State of the Union guest Desiline Victor — had to wait hours in line just to cast a ballot. If the election had been closer, these waits — which were the direct result of Republican governor Rick Scott’s efforts to limit early voting — could have stolen the presidency for Mitt Romney.

On election night, President Obama acknowledged these onerous barriers to voting, saying, “…by the way, we have to fix that.”

So a commission could be the start of a real effort to fix our very serious voting problems, depending on who runs it. And here’s the bad news. Who would you say is the worst person to chair a voting rights commission?

Okay, that would probably be Karl Rove. Charles Koch would be pretty terrible, too. But near the top of that list would be Ben Ginsberg.

Why does that name sound familiar? The Nation‘s intrepid Ari Berman explains:

Ginsberg helped lead the 2000 recall effort for George W. Bush. He was forced to resign from the Bush campaign in 2004 after it was revealed that he was also advising the vile Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. In 2006, Ginsberg said, “Just like really with the Voting Rights Act, Republicans have some fundamental philosophical difficulties with the whole notion of Equal Protection.”

Of course Republicans have problems with “equal protection,” a notion which has led to many of the civil rights advances since the 1950s. Ironically, they did not object when conservatives on the Supreme Court invoked “equal protection” in 2000 to stop Florida’s recounts and hand George W. Bush the presidency.

Ginsberg most recently served as counsel to the Romney campaign, which is why picking him is such a conciliatory move. However, it doesn’t bode well for this new commission, which many, including Berman, now expect to resemble the Election Assistance Commission created after the 2000 election — commission that had no power and achieved nothing.

With the GOP’s persistent effort to restrict voting and Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act at serious risk of being struck down by the Supreme Court this session, the right to vote has not been so threatened in half a century.

Now was the time for real action to make sure that long lines and unequal access to the ballot didn’t swing the results of another election, as many think it did in 2004, when thousands of voters in Ohio left their lines and went home.

Instead, we get Ben Ginsberg.

Photo via Daily Kos


  1. Dominick Vila February 14, 2013

    The focus must go beyond taking steps to ensure disenfranchisement never takes place in the USA again. We should take advantage of existing technologies and concepts to ensure voting is made easier and the probability of fraud is reduced to an absolute minimum. Emphasis must be placed on making our ability to vote easier, rather than erecting barriers to prevent segments of our population from exercising one of our most important rights.

    1. Progressive Patriot February 14, 2013

      Dominick, right as usual. There is no significant evidence of Voter Fraud. There is, however, ample evidence of Election Fraud by the Repubs. It’s purely about politics, socio-economics and race. As usual, the repubs are going in the wrong direction with their bald faced attempts to limit access to the ballot box for those not likely to vote for them. They are afraid of democracy, because most of the country does not want what they want (because their policies are hurtful to the majority, and designed to assure that they stay in control. And you know for the repubs, it’s all about power and control.).
      That said, right now, we not only have to work to make access to the democratic process easier, we also have to make as much noise, and take as much action as we can to assure that they don’t make it impossible for us in ’14. We really have to keep an eye on those manipulative, sneaky corporatists and oligarchs.

      To steal a phrase from one of the progressive journals, “The system ain’t broke, it’s fixed!” We have to work hard to re-fix it! The honest way!

      Keep an eye on the Scott Walkers and the repub state legislatures, and…


  2. Debbie Kiesel-Ryan February 14, 2013

    I agree we need to fix the voting problems, but Ben Ginsberg, come on now!!!! We can’t have the Wolf in the Hen House can we!!!!!! It was bad enough Mitt son bought the company that makes the voting machines. I look to the future for a story that says they’ve installed software that changes your vote once you hit the submit button. Fraud is everywhere, but with the voters. It’s our elected officials and the courts that support the fraud in the voting system!!!!

  3. Jim Myers February 14, 2013

    With the tilt of the political Justices in the Supreme Court falling largely towards the Conservative end, I am surprised they haven’t decided to just eliminate the whole voting process.

    Then, they could just declare those candidates supported by the Corporations and the one percent to be the winners.

    Think of how much time and money would be saved.

  4. roguerunners February 14, 2013

    Here in Oregon all votes are cast by mail. We get our ballot about two weeks prior to election day and we have the option of mailing it in or placing it in one of the many drop boxes. This is not rocket science! The Nation needs to follow Oregon’s lead.

  5. Sierra111 February 17, 2013

    Carl Rove!


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