Well, it seems like our site's Inspector
Javert Clouseau is back, and John Bambenek has really got us on the ropes now:
Yesterday, I filed a complaint with the Michigan Attorney General against Daily Kos' blogger Markos Moulitsas, requesting an investigation into whether Moulitsas is encouraging voter fraud in next week's Michigan GOP primary.
The idea of the freedom to vote is part of the bedrock foundation of this nation. Vote fraud is not a new concept; likely it reaches back even to the time of the founders. However, once vote fraud is discovered, it should be prosecuted aggressively like all flagrant violations of the law. Daily Kos' call, under the direction of Markos Moulitsas himself, for a conspiracy to commit massive vote fraud during the Michigan primaries may be one of those serious attempts to circumvent election law.
Let's look at that complaint:
I am writing to file an official complaint and a request for your office to investigate a case of conspiracy to commit voter fraud. On Jan 10, 2008 at 01:31:01 PM (PST), Marcos Moulitsas Zuniga... posted on his blog a request for Michigan Democrats to vote for Romney in order to help Democrats win in November. I allege that this violates 168.932a(c) of Michigan state law by "aiding or counseling a person who is not a qualified and registered elector to vote or offer to vote at the place where the vote is given during an election." Further, I allege that such voters who do participate in "crossing party lines" potentially violate 168.933 of Michigan state law. Lastly, I allege that using a high-profile blog with many editors and contributors, such an attempt also violates 750.157a of Michigan state law....
This attempt constitutes a conspiracy against the voters of Michigan in calling for and organizing a massive criminal conspiracy to commit vote fraud. The fact that it is being done so in a public and flagrant way demands a response to ensure the integrity of our election system or other attempts to engage in more far-reaching voter fraud may appear justified by lack of enforcement. I ask your office to investigate this matter and take the appropriate criminal action if the facts so warrant.
[links mine.] If this blustering reminds you of Doug Neidermeyer's indictment of the "Roman Toga Party" in Animal House, you're not alone -- though in this case decorum requires me to review the relevant facts:
- Michigan has an open primary. In other words, it is legal for voters to decide what party's ballot they want for the presidential primary. Indeed, "An elector shall not be challenged at a presidential primary based upon the participating political party ballot selected by the elector."
- Which leads Bambenek to argue "but open primaries are unconstitutional!" Which is true, to a point: it is unconstitutional to force a political party to accept primary voters from outside the party. It is completely constitutional for a party to choose an open primary, as the Supreme Court held in Tashjian v. Republican Party of Connecticut (1986). Michigan's Republican Party has done so here, as have the Democrats.
Here's the thing: once you concede that there is an open primary, then there's nothing that Markos has done which can possibly be illegal. Since it is legal for all registered Michigan voters to choose to vote in its GOP primary, it is legal to encourage them to do so. Period.
There once was a complainant named Bambenek:
Setting sail against Kos, all (two) hands on deck:
Though his ship’s run aground,
He thinks his course is quite sound,
Seeing not that he’s stuck in the sand -- a wreck.
As of the latest poll, Mitt Romney now leads in the Michigan GOP Primary. Or does he?