Accuracy in Media

chris matthews texas voting

Chris Matthews, who thinks Republican efforts to enact Voter ID laws are aimed at voter suppression and constitute a poll tax, picked up on that theme again on Wednesday when he discussed the Texas Voter ID law with Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Center for Justice:

MATTHEWS: So what about registration? How do you prove you’re a citizen? It’s a border state, Texas, how do you prove you’re in this country legally? How do you do it?

WEISER: You actually don’t have to file proof of citizenship when you register to vote. You have to swear an affidavit under the penalty of perjury and that is the proof of citizenship. And the election officials can investigate whether there are any questions and prosecute or remove people where there are questions.

MATTHEWS: What’s the real disincentive for people who shouldn’t vote, but vote? What is the real way it works, in practical terms?

WEISER: As a practical matter, the penalty for fraudulently voting is dramatic.

MATTHEWS: I see.

WEISER: It is five years in prison, ten thousand dollars in fines, those are the federal penalties. It is very easy to get caught, and the benefit to that very individual voter of casting a fraudulent vote are quite small. It just doesn’t really make sense to do that and it makes sense that very little people actually do.

MATTHEWS: We were actually talking about that in the office with the producers trying to figure out what it is that actually stops, the disincentives now. To everyone watching, it’s common sense. Why would a person, who is in the country illegally, undocumented in this country, why would they risk exposure, why would they risk imprisonment, a serious charge, simply to vote as an American when they’re not legal in America.

Why would they “risk exposure?” Because despite the stiff penalties that Weiser referred to, very few cases of voter fraud are ever investigated, much less prosecuted. So the risk of exposure, as Matthews put it, is virtually nil, and he knows it.

Matthews isn’t interested in fair and honest elections, just ones that favor the liberals and the Democrats.





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