Conservative media are pushing the conspiracy theory that the Obama administration deliberately created the humanitarian immigration crisis on the Southern border for political reasons. The rhetoric echoes claims from Republican politicians, most notably Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who said he didn’t want “to be conspiratorial,” but the administration may be “in on this somehow.”
Child migrants have surged across the border in recent months to flee violence in Central America. President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion to respond to the crisis, as the mass migration has overwhelmed existing detention facilities and border resources.
The president has publicly discouraged the migration, stating in an ABC News interview on June 27: “That is our direct message to the families in Central America: Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.” PolitiFact called the claim that Obama planned the border crisis “pants on fire” false, writing: “Many of the factors behind the surge of children lie outside the control of the administration. No expert we reached gave any credence to the idea that the administration planned this crisis on the border.”
Gov. Perry has responded to the humanitarian crisis by suggesting the Obama administration is secretly coordinating the effort. In a June 17 Fox News interview with Sean Hannity, Perry said: “We’re doing our part to make sure we can keep our citizens as safe as we can. But the federal government is just absolutely failing. We either have an incredibly inept administration or they’re in on this somehow or another. I hate to be conspiratorial, but how do you move that many people from Central America across Mexico and into the United States without there being a fairly coordinated effort?”
The potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate subsequently appeared on ABC on July 6 and said Obama may have an “ulterior motive” on the crisis.
Other Republican politicians have also suggested President Obama is deliberately creating the border crisis. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told conspiracy website WND, “If you don’t see them bring reinforcements down there to seal the border, that means that, yes, it’s a Cloward-Piven maneuver to flood the country until we get to the point where we are an open-borders country that welcomes everybody, legal and illegal” (“Cloward-Piven” is a reference to a right-wing conspiracy theory that believes progressives are attempting to overwhelm capitalism, leading to its collapse). Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) similarly claimed it’s “an open secret Obama is trying to flood Texas with illegals to make it into a blue state.” Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) told Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs on June 10 (via Nexis), “Everything that Barack Obama’s doing is intentional, deliberate … This is deliberate, Lou, and all Barack Obama’s asking for is more money to do more of the same.”
Despite evidence to the contrary, many members of the right-wing media have followed their Republican partners in accusing Obama of having “planned” and “orchestrated” the crisis for political gain. Here are ten examples:
Rush Limbaugh Speculates “This Whole Thing Was Planned In Advance By Somebody.” Speaking on the June 24 edition of his radio program, Limbaugh said: “Somebody needs to go to the Oval Office. I don’t know who. I wouldn’t want to be the guy, but somebody better make tracks to the Oval Office right now and tell Obama that this whole thing was planned in advance by somebody. Don’t wait for the newspapers on this — and they’re not gonna trust me when they hear about it.” Limbaugh’s website headlined his remarks, “Obama Regime Planned the Influx of Illegal Alien Children at the Border.”
Newt Gingrich: There’s A “Deliberate Policy Of Maximizing The Number Of Illegal Immigrants.” The CNN host wrote on his website on June 27 that the crisis “is a direct result of deliberate Obama administration policy that encourages illegal immigration” and “appears to be a deliberate policy of maximizing the number of illegal immigrants allowed to stay in the United States.” Gingrich added: “If you have any doubt consider that the Obama administration is deliberately encouraging this surge in illegal immigration, consider that instead of focusing on controlling the border and stopping people from entering illegally, we now have our government using our tax money to hire ‘escort services for unaccompanied alien children.’”
Sarah Palin: “Opening Our Borders To A Flood Of Illegal Immigrants Is Deliberate.” The Fox News contributor called for Obama’s impeachment in a July 8 Breitbart.com post, citing Obama’s allegedly “purposeful” actions with regard to the immigration influx:
Without borders, there is no nation. Obama knows this. Opening our borders to a flood of illegal immigrants is deliberate. This is his fundamental transformation of America. It’s the only promise he has kept. Discrediting the price paid for America’s exceptionalism over our history, he’s given false hope and taxpayer’s change to millions of foreign nationals who want to sneak into our country illegally. Because of Obama’s purposeful dereliction of duty an untold number of illegal immigrants will kick off their shoes and come on in, competing against Americans for our jobs and limited public services. There is no end in sight as our president prioritizes parties over doing the job he was hired by voters to do. Securing our borders is obviously fundamental here; it goes without saying that it is his job.
Lou Dobbs: “All Of This Is Orchestrated By This Administration.” Dobbs stated on the June 26 edition of Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight: “All of this is orchestrated by this administration. Anybody who doesn’t understand that hasn’t got the common sense that, you know, God gave a goat … The fact is that this administration is working in concert with the Central American governments.”
Monica Crowley: "He Created This Crisis, He Orchestrated It, And He’s Perpetuating It." The Fox News contributor added on the July 10 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Co. that Obama “wanted the chaos” to pressure Republicans on immigration reform and to turn red states blue.
Jeanine Pirro: “One Conclusion: Barack Obama Is Intentionally Using The Immigration Crisis As An Excuse To Change The Demographics And Ultimately The Electorate.” Pirro added on the July 12 edition of her Fox News program Justice with Judge Jeanine that Obama is using a “Trojan horse” of children to advance his political party, his agenda and his legacy.”
Peggy Noonan Suggests Obama “Let The Crisis On The Border Build To Put Heat On Republicans.”Noonan accused the president of trickery for political gain in her July 11 Wall Street Journal column.
Allen West: “A Planned Event By The Obama Administration.” The Fox News contributor and former Florida congressman wrote on his website on July 3, “it seem [sic] harder to believe it was not a planned event by the Obama administration. That’s not that conspiracy theory - it’s trend analysis.” West wrote on July 14: “I believe the whole immigrant surge is purposeful” and asked if it’s to turn red states blue.
Dinesh D’Souza: Obama Wanted Border Chaos To Put “Republicans On The Defensive.” The conservative filmmaker and campaign finance felon claimed on Fox News on July 15 that Obama wants the crisis to “put the Republicans on the defensive and say, listen, either you give me amnesty or I’m just going to let these people start coming across the border and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Bryan Fischer: “This Is All Deliberate On The Part Of President Obama.” American Family Association’s Fischer added on the July 14 edition of his program that it was part of his “anti-American agenda” to transform the country.
In the 1830s, cholera was described as an “Irish disease.”
In the late 1800s tuberculosis was portrayed as a “Jewish disease.”
In 1900, San Franciscans quarantined Chinatown and threatened to burn it down.
In 2005, Lou Dobbs’s CNN show falsely reported that there had been 7,000 leprosy cases.
In 2006, Pat Buchanan claimed that that “clearly the illegal aliens” were to blame for the rise in bedbug infestations.
From the 06.03.2014 edition of FBN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight:
Nevermind that this story was already debunked a couple of weeks ago, the yappers over at Faux “news” are going to keep hyping it anyway. Her cohort Lou Dobbs was pushing this same garbage a couple of weeks ago and bernardpliers at KOS did a nice job of taking him apart here: Fox & Lou Dobbs Push The “Harry Reid Stealing Bundy Ranch For Chinese Solar Farm” Conspiracy Theory:
What the reporter seems to be dancing around is the fact that the proposed solar energy project was in Laughlin NV, while the Bundy ranch is in Bunkerville, nearly 200 miles away on the other side of Las Vegas and Lake Mead.
Oh, and the Chinese project was canceled in 2013 anyway. But the fact that the associated web pages were taken are just “proof” that it’s a conspiracy man.
And where were those reports Lou?
[Cross-posted at Hatewatch.]
Richard Mack, the former sheriff of Graham County, Ariz., and an antigovernment “Patriot” movement figure who leads the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, has a long history of promoting the theory that county sheriffs, not federal law enforcement, represent the supreme law of the land. This radically decentralized vision of government was first promoted by the old far-right Posse Comitatus movement.
Mack shot from obscurity to right-wing stardom in the mid-1990s when he challenged the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and won a victory in the U.S. Supreme Court that weakened the law. For the past two years, he has zigzagged across the country spreading conspiracy theories about the federal government and promoting his organization as a “line in the sand” against government agents.
Fox Imagines That Obama Is Letting Immigrant Rapists And Murderers Loose On The Streets (They're Wrong)
Fox News used a misleading report from an anti-immigrant organization to baselessly claim the Obama administration is now releasing immigrants who have been convicted of rape and murder. In fact, those crimes, classified as Level 1 offenses by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), are automatically subject to deportation.
On March 31, the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies reported that in 2013, ICE released nearly 68,000 immigrants who had been convicted of some type of crime. According to CIS, that number represented 35 percent of all immigrants convicted of a crime that CIS had come into contact with in 2013. CIS did not describe the specific crimes these immigrants had been convicted of but nevertheless concluded that the “release of so many convicted criminals back into U.S. communities, when they could be removed to their home countries, is a large-scale abuse of authority that inevitably leads to public harm.”
Fox News seized on the report to repeatedly argue that the Obama administration “is destabilizing the nation by allowing hordes of dangerous illegal aliens to invade the country,” as Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes put it.
Fox hosts have since escalated those claims, asserting that immigrants who were released were those convicted of rape and murder, even though the CIS report makes no such claim.
On Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy stated: “That’s kind of scary that we released close to 70,000 people who had criminal convictions. I know some of them were drunk driving, but they did include murder in some cases and rape as well. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.” Guest Jessica Vaughan, CIS’ director of policy studies, replied: “Well, ICE has not released all the details on the exact crimes that these people are associated with, but it is concerning that interior immigration enforcement has deteriorated.”
Later on America’s Newsroom, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs noted that CIS is a “restrictionist advocacy group” “and therefore you have to take their numbers with a grain of salt.” But Dobbs went on to push the same wild claim, saying that “some” of the immigrants released were found to be guilty of crimes “running up to rape, murder and far down as taking off.”
In fact, any immigrant — legal or undocumented — who has been convicted of an aggravated felony such as rape or murder is automatically subject to deportation, without the benefit of a court hearing.
As the Washington Post explained:
Immigrants convicted of such crimes are automatically required to be detained by federal immigration authorities after they’re released from criminal custody and can then be summarily deported without a hearing before a judge. Aggravated felons are also ineligible for asylum or reprieve from deportation by a change due to family hardship, and they’re prohibited from ever returning to the United States without special permission from the government. (Permanent residents are granted a hearing, but the judge still has limited authority to prevent deportation.)
ICE describes such aggravated felonies as Level 1 offenses and they can include “major drug offenses, national security crimes, and violent crimes such as murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and kidnapping.”
In a memo outlining the Secure Communities deportation program, the Department of Homeland Securityacknowledged that immigrants convicted of such crimes were a “priority” for deportation:
ICE is committed to identifying aliens convicted of serious criminal offenses who are subject to removal in all three category levels, with a priority assigned on the basis of risk to individuals convicted of Level 1 offenses. ICE continues to exercise discretion through its field offices in taking enforcement action in cases of aliens convicted of Level 2 and 3 offenses as each situation demands. At no time shall this MOA be construed to limit the discretion of ICE in managing detention resources.
However, as the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse has documented, an “aggravated felony” for purposes of immigration law can include many crimes that “have been interpreted by federal courts to include misdemeanors, even though misdemeanors are generally meant to encompass less serious or dangerous acts than crimes traditionally designated as felonies.” An Immigration Policy Center fact-sheet on aggravated felonies shows that the definition “covers more than thirty types of offenses, including simple battery, theft, filing a false tax return, and failing to appear in court.”
After analyzing the CIS report, the American Immigration Council wrote:
The report would have us believe that the federal government is knowingly letting tens of thousands of violent foreign-born criminals go free. It’s certainly a sensational claim, but it has no basis in reality. CIS distorts the numbers, and stereotypes immigrants — all in an attempt to cast doubt on the practice of “prosecutorial discretion” by immigration-enforcement agents.
AIC went on to note that the “claim in the CIS report that ICE has simply chosen to ‘release’ 68,000 ‘criminal aliens’ through the exercise of ‘prosecutorial discretion’ is inaccurate. Being released by ICE is not the equivalent of being set free. It often means being released with an ankle bracelet or under an order of supervision, or issued a notice to appear in court.”
ICE has also disputed the CIS report, noting that in “Fiscal Year 2013 the agency removed 216,000 convicted criminals” and that the “percentage of criminals removed continues to rise.” ICE continued: ”Nearly 60 percent of ICE’s total removals had been previously convicted of a criminal offense, and that number rises to 82 percent for individuals removed from the interior of the US. The removal of criminal individuals is and will remain ICE’s highest priority.” Indeed, ICE totals from the past few years show that the number of immigrants with Level 1 offenses who were deported has gone from about 3,400 in 2009 to to nearly 29,000 in 2013.
Vaughan, who wrote the CIS report, claimed today that the critics who have denounced her findings “neither detracts from or changes the fundamental truth that ICE is taking a pass on huge numbers of illegal aliens located by ICE officers, including an alarming number of criminal aliens.”
Fox News has repeatedly tried to discredit the Obama administration’s enforcement record even as data show that 30 percent of all federal convictions in 2012 were for immigration offenses, the second-highest conviction behind drug offenses.
From the 01.02.2014 edition of FBN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight:
Right-Wing Media’s Misplaced Rage, Foot-on-Desk Edition
President Obama does something many Presidents have done, White House publishes photo of it.
Fox contributor: Liberals who reject that men should dominate women are anti-science
From The Raw Story 30 May 2013 -
Fox contributor: Liberals who reject that men should dominate…
Minutemen never actually caught many if any immigrants. What they caught, Neiwert shows, were journalists. Fox News journalists, of course; no surprise there, and not much to be done about that. (Sean Hannity hosted an entire show from the Arizona border with co-founders Chris Simcox and Jim Gilchrist beside him.) But it is CNN that is this book’s villain as much as the brutal murderers at the center of the true-crime subplot. “Over the years,” Neiwert counts, “Simcox would be featured over twenty-five times on CNN.” Fifteen of those were on the notorious Lou Dobbs show—which became the transmission belt for the invented claim that thousands of immigrants were carrying leprosy. But ten of those appearances were not. CNN’s news side treated the Minuteman as exactly what they claimed to be: a massive (it was tiny) movement, responsibly organized to weed out dangerous extremists (that never happened), successfully helping the Border Patrol by conscientiously calling in intelligence, a process no more threatening than—a favored Minutemen and media trope—one of those “neighborhood watch” organizations (this was before George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin). “Casey,” Dobbs said, “I had the opportunity to spend a little time down there with you along the border with the Minutemen. The success is remarkable.” In fact all they did was trip ground sensors and call in false alarms.
What did CNN, and many other mainstream media outlets besides, miss in their zealotry in making out Minutemen not to be zealots? Well, for example, the original 2004 Minutemen advertisement (“I invite you to join me in Tombstone, Arizona, in early spring of 2005 to protect our country from a 40-year-long invasion across our southern border with Mexico”) ran on the Aryan Nations website, trumpeted as “a call for action on part of ALL ARYAN SOLDIERS.” Among those gathered at the original encampment was a faction that called itself “Team 14”—a reference to the neo-Nazi fourteen-word slogan, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” A local news crew, more enterprising than the Most Trusted Name in News, recorded what these fine patriots said when they thought the cameras were off: “It should be legal to kill illegals. Just shoot ‘em on sight. That’s my immigration policy recommendation. You break into my country, you die.”
These are people who say things like, in the words of Chris Simcox, “The Mexican Army is driving American vehicles—but carrying Chinese weapons. I have personally seen what I can only believe to be Chinese troops.” And, in the words of the founders of one of the first border militias, addressing Mexican immigrants, “You stand around your entire lives, whining about how bad things are in your dog of a nation, waiting for the dog to stick its ass under our fence and shit each one of you into our backyards.” Who believe the government has begun to detain citizens with “don’t tread snake bumper stickers” on their cars. And that criminal El Salvador gangs were on their way to massacre Minutemen where they stood.
Here were the sort of people who ascended the ranks as leaders: a PTSD-stricken Marine involuntarily retired from the Postal Service after “[W]hat you call a post-traumatic-stress breakdown breakdown. Now I function pretty normal. They tell me it’s incurable and blah blah blah, but I function just fine in my opinion.” And a woman named Shawna Ford with a criminal record as long as Wilt Chamberlain’s arm, who constantly tells her comrades, “I’m the person that is willing to take it to the next level,” and who endeavors to prove it by—well, I’m not going to say. That, you’re going to have to read about yourself. It will have you on the edge of your seat.
Lou Dobbs' Paranoid Theory: Obama Will Seize Guns, Remove Bill Of Rights | Blog | Media Matters for America
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs pushed the extreme conspiracy theory that President Obama wants to destroy the Second Amendment as a first step in eliminating the entire Bill of Rights. But Obama has consistently voiced his support for the Second Amendment, including during the Monday press conference that Dobbs referenced on his show.
During his program, Dobbs aired a partial clip of Obama saying at the press conference, “The issue here is not whether or not we believe in the Second Amendment. The issue is: Are there some sensible steps that we can take to make sure that somebody like the individual in Newtown can’t walk into a school — “
Dobbs responded by claiming that Obama is “so committed to constraining or dismissing outright our Second Amendment rights, it makes you wonder why he’s not ridding the Constitution of the First Amendment as well.” He later said, “You’ve got to wonder why the president doesn’t double down in his assault on the Constitution, taking on not only the Second, but the First Amendment, the Fourth, the Fourteenth.” Dobbs then suggested that the reason Obama has “begun with the Second Amendment” is because “[w]ithout our rights under the Second Amendment, removing the rest of our Bill of Rights would be a lot easier.”
The context of Obama’s comments clearly shows that Obama was not “dismissing outright” Second Amendment rights.
In response to a reporter’s question about potential government actions to reduce gun violence, Obama said, in part, “I think that those of us who look at this problem have repeatedly said that responsible gun owners, people who have a gun for protection, for hunting, for sportsmanship, they don’t have anything to worry about.” He also said that he believes we can reduce gun violence “in a sensible way that comports with the Second Amendment.”
And while Obama has not yet outlined specific executive actions he will take to strengthen gun laws, none of the possible executive actions reportedly offered by the Justice Department involve restrictions on weapons that law-abiding Americans may purchase.
From the 01.14.2013 edition of FBN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight:
Fox Business’ Dobbs: “What This Law Changes Is Forced Union Membership. I Repeat: Forced Union Membership.” Discussing Michigan’s new law on the December 11 edition of his Fox Business program, host Lou Dobbs mislead viewers about the effect of right-to-work laws. He claimed that “Michigan workers still tonight have the right to form and join a union. They still have the right to bargain collectively. And what this law changes is forced union membership. I repeat, forced union membership.” [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 12/11/12]
Maine Center For Economic Policy: “Under Federal Labor Law, Workers Cannot Be Legally Required To Join A Union.” The Maine Center for Economic Policy laid out how forced union membership is illegal in a February 2011 op-ed: “A right-to-work law is not needed to protect nonunion workers. Several federal laws already protect the rights of nonunion employees in unionized workplaces, such as the NLRB vs. General Motors Supreme Court decision in 1963, and the Communication Workers vs. Beck decision of 1988. Under federal labor law, workers cannot be legally required to join a union as part of a collective bargaining contract.” [Maine Center For Economic Policy, 2/19/11]
National Right To Work: “No Employee In The United States Can Legally Be Required” To Be A Full Union Member. Even National Right To Work, an organization that promotes right-to-work laws, acknowledges that forced union membership is already illegal. Informing workers of their rights concerning unions, Right To Work makes clear that “[n]o employee in the United States can legally be required to be a full-dues-paying, formal union member. But in many states, an employee can be forced to pay certain union dues or be fired from his or her job.” [National Right To Work, accessed 12/11/12]
NLRB: Workers That Don’t Want Full Union Membership “Pay Only That Share Of Dues Used Directly For Representation” Of Union Contract They Work Under. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) explains that workers do not have to be full union members, but instead must only pay for the union representation they receive by working at a union shop, regardless of their membership status. The NLRB says that “employees who object to full union membership may continue as ‘core’ members and pay only that share of dues used directly for representation, such as collective bargaining and contract administration. Known as objectors, they are no longer full members but are still protected by the union contract.” NLRB also notes that right-to-work states allow non-union members to pay nothing, “even though all workers are protected by the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the union.” [National Labor Relations Board, accessed 12/11/12]
Center For American Progress: “Right-To-Work” Laws “Allow Some Workers To Receive A Free Ride.”A Center for American Progress report titled “Right-to-Work 101” explained that “right-to-work” laws simply “allow some workers to receive a free ride” by receiving benefits from a union contract without having to pay for it:
In states where the law exists, “right-to-work” makes it illegal for workers and employers to negotiate a contract requiring everyone who benefits from a union contract to pay their fair share of the costs of administering it. Right-to-work has nothing to do with people being forced to be union members.
Federal law already guarantees that no one can be forced to be a member of a union, or to pay any amount of dues or fees to a political or social cause they don’t support. What right-to-work laws do is allow some workers to receive a free ride, getting the advantages of a union contract — such as higher wages and benefits and protection against arbitrary discipline — without paying any fee associated with negotiating on these matters.
That’s because the union must represent all workers with the same due diligence regardless of whether they join the union or pay it dues or other fees and a union contract must cover all workers, again regardless of their membership in or financial support for the union. In states without right-to-work laws, workers covered by a union contract can refuse union membership and pay a fee covering only the costs of workplace bargaining rather than the full cost of dues. [Center for American Progress Action Fund, 2/2/12]
From the 12.11.2012 edition of FBN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight:
Limbaugh: “This Early Voting — It’s A Recipe For Fraud.” During the October 1 edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh expressed dismay that “85 percent of the country” will be able to vote “before the last [presidential] debate is over.” He then said, “This early voting — it’s a recipe for fraud.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 10/1/12]
Limbaugh: Early Voting Is “A Recipe For Cheating. It’s One Of The Reasons It Exists.” During the May 31 broadcast of his show, Rush Limbaugh said, “All of us know [Democrats] cheat. All of us know they engage in [unintelligible] — they use fraud. They use early voting. It’s a recipe for cheating. It’s one of the reasons it exists.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/31/12]
Fox’s Dobbs: I’m Concerned About “The Possibility Of Manipulation Of The Results That Comes With Early Voting.” During the September 24 broadcast of his Fox Business show, host Lou Dobbs discussed early voting with his guest, Wall Street Journal editor James Freeman. Dobbs said, “I’m a little more concerned about the outcome and the capacity and exposure and the possibility of manipulation of the results that comes with early voting, in the minds of many.” He later asked Freeman, “You’re not worried about all of those ballots being insecure?” [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 9/24/12]
But Studies Say Early Voting Boosts Integrity Of The Voting Process …
Florida Senate Report: “Early Voting Increases Procedural Integrity Resulting In More Accurate Ballot Counts.” In an October 2010 interim report on the effect of early voting on Florida elections, the Florida Senate Committee on Ethics and Elections wrote that “early voting increases procedural integrity resulting in more accurate ballot counts.” [FLSenate.gov, October 2010]
.. And In-Person Voter Fraud Is Extremely Rare
In Person Voter Fraud Is Very Rare. On September 20, a voting expert on Fox News said that voter fraud is extremely rare, “on the order of winning the lottery.” A 2007 report from New York University’s Brennan Center noted that allegations of voter fraud “simply do not pan out.” In November 2011, Fox host Megyn Kelly admitted that voter fraud is “not overwhelming.” [Media Matters, 9/20/12, 9/10/12, 11/4/11]
… But Voting Expert Notes That Majority Of Early Voting Ballots Are Cast During Final Two Weeks — By Decided Voters
Voting Expert Gronke: “The Overwhelming Majority Of Early Votes Are Cast During The Last Two Weeks.” On the blog of the Early Voting Information Center (EVIC),PaulGronke, EVIC’s director, wrote:
Most voters don’t cast a ballot during the “extended” early voting period (he must mean the weeks before the “final weeks”, although he contradicts himself there). I’ll write again what I wrote a few days ago: the overwhelming majority of early votes are cast during the last two weeks, and the majority, in most states I have examined, in the last week. [Early Voting Information Center, 9/29/12]
Right-Wing Media Attack Early Voting As Unconstitutional And Untraditional …
Newsmax: “Early Voting Violates [The] Constitution.” In an October 10 column on Newsmaxheadlined “Early Voting Violates Constitution,” former Bush aide Bradley Blakeman wrote:
The U.S. Constitution sets forth the following criteria for the date of presidential elections in Article 2, Section 1:
Clause 4: Election Day
"The Congress may determine the Time of chusing [sic] the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
Congress sets a national Election Day. Currently, Electors are chosen on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November, in the year before the President’s term is to expire. The Electors cast their votes on the Monday following the second Wednesday in December of that year. Thereafter, the votes are opened and counted by the Vice President, as President of the Senate, in a joint session of Congress.
Our Founding Fathers specifically set forth “a national Election Day” —not days. In the early days of national elections it was no easy logistical task to vote. People had to plan to cast their ballot. Many citizens had to endure long travel and hardship to cast their ballot on a single day.
You would think that the authors of the Constitution in light of the hassle citizens had to go through to exercise their right to vote would have provided a period of days for ballots to be cast. The fact is they didn’t. I believe the Founding Fathers set forth one day for voting because they knew that in order to best execute a fair election and in order for Americans to understand and appreciate their right to vote that voting should involve some level of “sacrifice” of time and effort.
If our founding fathers saw no need for elections to be conducted over days and weeks in light of the inconvenience and sacrifice required at the time, why now in 2012, when travel and access to polling places is so convenient do we disregard the constitutional requirement for national elections to be conducted on just one day? [Newsmax.com, 10/10/12, emphasis added]
Dobbs: “Well, 200 Years Of History Would Suggest [Voters] Wait Until” Election Day To Vote. During the September 24 broadcast of his show, Dobbs said that voting “traditionally has been on one day” and later said of early voters, “Well, 200 years of history would suggest they wait until Tuesday, November 6.” [Fox Business,Lou Dobbs Tonight, 9/24/12]
.. But Early Voting Was Practiced In Earliest Days Of U.S.
Voting Expert McDonald: At “The Founding, Elections Were Held Over Several Days To Allow People Living In Remote Areas To Get To The Courthouse.” From an online conversation with voting expert Michael McDonald, an associate professor at George Mason University, that was hosted by the Brookings Institute:
12:47 Comment from Jennifer S. : Why do we vote on Tuesday? It seems inconvenient. Wouldn’t more people vote if we did it on the weekend? Or over a period of days that offered both morning and evening hours?
12:48 Michael McDonald: We used to have early voting in the US! Back at the Founding, elections were held over several days to allow people living in remote areas to get to the courthouse (the polling place back in the day) to vote. In the mid-1840s, the federal gov’t set the current single day for voting because — what else? — claims of vote fraud. That people could vote more than once. [Brookings, 9/26/12]
Prior To 1845, Presidential Elections Took Place Over A 34-Day Period. According to a 1992 report prepared by William Kimberling, then the deputy director of the Federal Election Commission’s Office of Election Administration, before 1845, Congress allowed states to conduct their presidential elections over a 34-day period.
Early Voting Was Expanded In Response To Problems At The Polls …
Beacon Journal: Early Voting Was Expanded In Ohio After 2004 Election Saw Unacceptably Long Wait Times For Voters. Early voting was expanded to include the weekend prior to election day after the 2004 presidential election, when long lines and equipment problems caused voters to wait nearly all day to cast their ballot. The Akron Beacon Journal reported:
The legislature expanded absentee voting in Ohio after the 2004 presidential election that saw long lines, with some voters waiting up to seven hours and others giving up and going home. The first presidential election that allowed early voting without a special reason was four years ago, when nearly 21 percent of all registered voters in Ohio cast absentee ballots. [Akron BeaconJournal, 7/17/12]
Voting Problems Prior To Expanding Early Voting Effectively Left Many Citizens Disenfranchised. The complaint noted that the long lines in 2004 left people who could not spend an entire day at the polls disenfranchised:
Between 2005 and 2011, Ohio successfully administered an early voting system that included in-person voting in the three days prior to Election Day. This early voting system increased participation among voters, including those for whom work or family obligations make it difficult to vote on Election Day, and reduced the congestion that caused such severe waits during the 2004 presidential election in Ohio that some citizens were effectively denied the right to vote. [Obama for America v. Husted, accessed 10/2/12]