Charles Kuffner, the best blogger in Texas, reminded me about this last week in his post, “So much for Abbott’s big “voter fraud” case.” I'll let him set the stage:
Back in 2005, Attorney General Greg Abbott announced with a flourish a rash of arrests in South Texas on various counts of voter fraud. These arrests, some of which were announced while the Lege was debating a voter ID bill, were cited as evidence by Abbott of an “epidemic”, for which voter ID was naturally the solution. Many of these cases ultimately wound up being dismissed, with the last batch in Hidalgo County getting dropped last week.
Kuff points back to the McAllen Monitor story, “McAllen voter fraud case finally falls apart”:
Despite the fanfare, nearly all the charges have been dismissed five years later.
What was once trumpeted across the state as one of the premier examples of the “epidemic of voter fraud” plaguing Texas polls evaporated even as debate over the divisive reform measures it helped spawn continues.
I'm going to bookend with Kuff again, and let him conclude it:
See here, here, and here for some background. One thing that’s been true in all of the cases Abbott has pushed is that they involved mail in ballots, which as I’ve observed would be unaffected by any legislation that required photo ID to vote in person. Abbott and his allies, of course, never drew that distinction, since the purpose of the voter ID legislation that keeps getting pushed in the Lege isn’t about stopping the kind of voter fraud that actually happens, it’s about making it harder for certain people to vote. In the end, even the fraud cases that Abbott claimed to have found turned out to be a whole lot of nothing. It’s no surprise to me.
Thankfully, Texans have a much better choice than Abbot on the ballot. Barbara Ann Radnofsky is challenging Abbott for the AG spot this November. Last week was her turn in the Texas Democratic Party's “Meet the Statewides” campaign — a great series that highlights every statewide candidate with a video, op-ed, issue piece, biography and more. Here's the latest from Radnofsky and the TDP: