With the passage of Citizens United, the floodgates of secret campaign money have opened up on our election process like never before. And what’s wrong with that? Our elected officials cannot serve two masters – the people who elected them into office and their corporate benefactors. It’s no wonder the average person representing you and I in Congress today has a net worth approaching a million dollars. In fact, there are more than 260 millionaires in Congress and 55 of those have a net worth exceeding $10 million. How can people with a net worth of nearly $1 million honestly represent the average American with an average net annual income of less than $27,000?
Add to that, the attempts of more than 30 states across this country to make voting for the elderly, the poor, minorities and college students more difficult than ever. Disenfranchising as many people as possible, could potentially keep as many as 10 percent of Democratic voters out in the cold. How can they take away a person’s most basic right to vote, you ask? Simple. Do it all in the name of stopping voter fraud, and you’ve made it palatable to the most uneducated voter. There’s only one problem with that: voter fraud is simply not a problem in the United States. Here are the facts:
* Fraud by individual voters is both irrational and extremely rare.
* Many vivid anecdotes of purported voter fraud have been proven false or do not demonstrate fraud.
* Voter fraud is often conflated with other forms of election misconduct.
* Raising the unsubstantiated specter of mass voter fraud suits a particular policy agenda.
* Claims of voter fraud should be carefully tested before they become the basis for action.
But we’re not asking you to take our word for it, we’ve invited Ian Millhiser from the Center For American Progress to join us for this hour to discuss both of these very pressing issues. Ian is a Policy Analyst for CAP where his work focuses on the Constitution and the judiciary.
Ian previously held the open government portfolio for CAP’s Doing What Works project, and was a Legal Research Analyst with ThinkProgress during the nomination and confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court. He also clerked for Judge Eric L. Clay of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and has worked as an attorney with the National Senior Citizens Law Center’s Federal Rights Project, as assistant director for communications with the American Constitution Society, and as a Teach For America corps member in the Mississippi Delta.
He received a B.A. in philosophy from Kenyon College and a J.D., magna cum laude, from Duke University, where he served as senior note editor on the Duke Law Journal and was elected to the Order of the Coif. His writings have appeared in a diversity of legal and mainstream publications, including The Guardian, AOLNews, The American Prospect, Politico, Huffington Post, and the Duke Law Journal. He has been a guest on CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazerra, and Fox Business television, and many radio stations including NPR and the BBC.
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