Former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis is either trying to out-Harold Ford Harold Ford by being a Democratic turn-coat, or he's auditioning for a slot on Fox News. Or maybe this is all just sour grapes because he lost in a Democratic primary to Ron Sparks when he ran in 2010.
Anyway, Davis made news last week (the only news he's made since losing in the primary) by writing an editorail in the Montgomery Advertiser alleging that voter suppression laws were perfectly reasonable. That's because, he says, "the most aggressive contemporary voter suppression in the African American community, at least in Alabama, is the wholesale manufacture of ballots, at the polls and absentee, in parts of the Black Belt."
Voting the names of the dead, and the nonexistent, and the too-mentally-impaired to function, cancels out the votes of citizens who are exercising their rights -- that's suppression by any light. If you doubt it exists, I don't; I've heard the peddlers of these ballots brag about it, I've been asked to provide the funds for it, and I am confident it has changed at least a few close local election results.
Ah, he's "heard" about voter fraud happening in Alabama's African-American community. So Dave Weigel asked him "who are the vote fraudsters?" Like that would work.
"I choose not to make allegations regarding specific individuals in the media," Davis told me, via e-mail. "As you might guess, the purpose of my editorial was to voice an opinion and to state the foundation for it, not to engage in name calling. Anyone who is even a casual observer of Alabama politics, however, knows quite well the frequency of absentee ballot charges and convictions within counties in the congressional district I represented, specifcially Hale, Greene, Lowndes, Perry, and the Bessemer areas within Jefferson County."
TPM also asked Davis that key question, and got an even better answer.
“I know that those are the talking points that some groups opposed to my article have disseminated and I choose not to play that game with you or them,” Davis told TPM in an email. “It strikes me as the ‘shoot the messenger’ politics both the left and the right deploy and I hope you will do me the courtesy of printing my reply."
Because asking for evidence is just the same as shooting the messenger. In fairness to Davis, there was a case in the 1990s of absentee ballot fraud in Greene County, Alabama, a case that the Heritage Foundation and Hans von Spakovsky (the Bush administration Justice Department's go-to guy for voter suppression) keep citing. Since actual voter fraud, particularly the kind of individual fraud that all these new voter ID and registration restriction laws would address almost never happens.