Jan 9, 2018 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 209


Topics: Trump’s voter suppression commission is suspended; oil drilling is expanded to ANWR and offshore all around the coastal US. People: Bill, Rachel, Nate. Produced: Jan 7th, 2018.

Episode 209 (52 min):
AFD 209

Related links

AFD 209 Articles Discussed (PDF)
Ep. 192: The episode on oil industry nationalization and lease reform
Ep. 197: The episode on the voting commission
Ep. 181: The episode on positive voting reforms


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Music by friend of the show Stunt Bird.

Voter fraud belief is sore-loserism

Out of more than 1 billion ballots cast since 2000, researcher Justin Levitt has found that there were no more than 31 credible instances of voter impersonation in the United States.

Levitt argues that those Americans who believe (incorrectly) that there is a widespread problem of elections being “stolen” via such frauds will continue to remain convinced of that as long as their preferred candidates continue to lose, regardless of voter ID laws. This seem plausible given that an existing study found that the relative prevalence of the belief in widespread fraud remains undiminished, even when strict voter ID laws are implemented. In other words, it has a lot more to do with repeatedly losing with unelectable candidates than elections being “stolen” from those candidates. Surprise, surprise.

Worse, thousands of voters (probably overwhelmingly legitimate voters) have already been turned away in 4 states for not having IDs that comply with the law, despite what is essentially the non-existence of the problem. Meanwhile, the laws can’t even stop most of the purported forms of fraud, even as they prevent (or make more difficult) legitimate voting…

Election fraud happens. But ID laws are not aimed at the fraud you’ll actually hear about. Most current ID laws aren’t designed to stop fraud with absentee ballots (indeed, laws requiring ID at the polls push more people into the absentee system, where there are plenty of real dangers). Or vote buying. Or coercion. Or fake registration forms. Or voting from the wrong address. Or ballot box stuffing by officials in on the scam. In the 243-page document that Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel filed on Monday with evidence of allegedly illegal votes in the Mississippi Republican primary, there were no allegations of the kind of fraud that ID can stop.

Instead, requirements to show ID at the polls are designed for pretty much one thing: people showing up at the polls pretending to be somebody else in order to each cast one incremental fake ballot. This is a slow, clunky way to steal an election. Which is why it rarely happens.

And I don’t think that’s an argument for making other voting methods harder or for discouraging voter registration efforts. But it’s certainly an argument against making in-person voting harder and more expensive via voter ID laws that try to “solve” a problem that doesn’t exist.

July 9, 2014 – Arsenal For Democracy 91


Topics: NSA foreign political surveillance, students challenge voter IDs under 26th Amendment, Hobby Lobby ruling. People: Bill, Persephone, Sasha. Produced: July 6, 2014.

Discussion Points:

– Is it wrong for the NSA to spy on non-allied governments and foreign politicians?
– Are state voter ID laws unconstitutional under the 26th Amendment (the right to vote at age 18)?
– What are the implications of the Hobby Lobby ruling?

Part 1 – NSA:
Part 1 – NSA – AFD 91
Part 2 – 26th Amendment:
Part 2 – 26th Amendment – AFD 91
Part 3 – Hobby Lobby:
Part 3 – Hobby Lobby – AFD 91

To get one file for the whole episode, we recommend using one of the subscribe links at the bottom of the post.

Related links
Segment 1

– NDTV: US Hopes National Security Agency Surveillance on BJP Not to Impact Bilateral Ties
– AFD: Australia was spying on Indonesia

Segment 2

– NYT: College Students Claim Voter ID Laws Discriminate Based on Age

Segment 3

– Politico: Supreme Court rulings 2014: SCOTUS sides with Hobby Lobby on birth control
– Mother Jones: Are You There God? It’s Me, Hobby Lobby
– FAIR: The Deeply Held Religious Principle Hobby Lobby Suddenly Remembered It Had
– NBC: Female justices issue searing dissent over new contraceptive case


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And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video blog of our announcer, Justin.

AFD 61 – Non-Functioning Democracy

Latest Episode:
“AFD 61 – Non-Functioning Democracy”
Posted: Tues, 29 October 2013

What is a democracy? Bill and Sasha talk Texas voting laws, then Bill critiques the DC fiscal paralysis and comments on guns in America.

Additional links:







Back on the Air! AFD Ep 48 – June Recap

Latest Episode:
“AFD Ep 48 – June Recap”
Posted: Tues, 02 July 2013

In the first episode of the summer at the new studio, my new co-host, Persephone, joins me to discuss the Voting Rights Act decision, the DOMA and Prop 8 cases, Wendy Davis, Obama’s climate speech, and Syria. This online version of the episode includes a much longer debate on the Syria problem.