Rice University expert available to comment on voter intimidation cases


first_imgAddThis ShareCONTACT: Franz BrotzenPHONE: 713-348-6775E-MAIL: [email protected] University expert available to comment on voter intimidation casesRice University sociologist Chandler Davidson is available to comment on the recent spate of cases of voter fraud/voter intimidation as the Nov. 2 election approaches.In Houston, a conservative group known as King Street Patriots is engaged in a verbal duel with Houston Votes, an organization that seeks to register voters. King Street Patriots has accused Houston Votes of submitting fraudulent voter registration applications, a charge Houston Votes denies.Meanwhile, the Texas Democratic Party has filed a suit against King Street Patriots and accused the group of trying to suppress turnout among minorities.Davidson, a research professor and the Tsanoff Professor Emeritus of Public Affairs and Sociology, has studied voting rights in the United States for almost half a century. He has authored and edited numerous books on the subject.In 2006, Davidson testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee as it considered reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He co-wrote a 2008 amici curiae brief for the Supreme Court’s landmark case Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, which dealt with voter ID laws. He was an expert witness at a federal trial in 2009 in which the Republican National Committee unsuccessfully requested to be removed from a consent decree it had signed in the 1980s that prevented, without prior court approval, its engagement in tactics linked to efforts to suppress the votes of racial minorities. “As the November elections approach, groups and individuals associated with the GOP and the Tea Party have made headline-grabbing statements about the likelihood of voter fraud — often described as ‘massive’ or of ‘epidemic’ proportions,” Davidson said. “Such claims have become standard in the last few election cycles. Typically Democrats and, more specifically, black and Latino voters, are alleged to be the perpetrators of polling-place fraud. The claims are sometimes followed by Republican efforts to confront black and Latino voters at the polls. “Yet the best academic research on the subject in recent years finds only an infinitesimal amount of proven election fraud of any kind, and it mostly involves registration fraud, absentee ballots or other legerdemain before Election Day, not activities at the polls. Further, there is no evidence of which I am aware that election fraud of any kind is more likely to be engaged in by Democrats than Republicans. Even so, the claims of massive Democratic polling site malfeasance have provided the basis for a widespread effort by GOP officials in the current decade to advocate enactment of laws requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls in order to vote, which experts generally believe disproportionately diminish the number of Democratic votes cast. Whether the vote fraud claims within the Republican camp are sincerely made or cynically advanced, in either case they are largely without merit and can have the effect of disfranchising racial minorities, the elderly and the poor.” To interview Davidson, contact Franz Brotzen at 713-348-6775 or [email protected] last_img read more