An Oct. 24 Newsmax article by Nat Helms featured conservative Heritage Foundation panelists who claimed that "The U.S. election process is under siege from liberal election officials trying to wrestle it away from the electorate," but Helms whitewashed the history of one panel participant, Hans von Spakovsky.
Von Spakovsky, an expert on voter integrity issues and the Bush administration’s point man in the Justice Department, drew the ire of Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and CNN political analyst Jeffrey Toobin in 2006 for supporting photo IDs for voters and questioning the validity of felons on Georgia’s voter lists.
Kennedy told the Associated Press that requiring photo ID’s hurt black voters. Toobin accused von Spakovsky in “The New Yorker” magazine of secretly targeting black voters to gain a Republican advantage in Georgia.
The truth is vastly different, said von Spakovsky, who said he was interested only in protecting the system from schemes taking advantage of lax voter registration laws.
Helms makes no effort to present the other side of the story on any of the claims made during the panel, and that includes von Spakovsky's version of the Georgia case.
In fact, as Slate's Dalia Lithwick details, von Spakovsky has a long history of acting in a partisan manner on voting issues, acting against Democratic interests and in favor of Republican ones. Regarding the Georgia law von Spakovsky championed, Lithwick states that "State and federal courts later found that statute unconstitutional."
Helms also writes that "Democrats killed a law this year that would have ensured that all military absentee ballots would be sent home via Express Mail instead of languishing for three weeks via regular mail. The Democrats sided with the postal service union, which opposed the measure," then quoted another panelist, "Virginia lawyer, Republican activist, and party consultant" Roman Buhler, as saying, "They clearly don't want the military to vote." In fact, as the Armed Forces Press Service points out, all properly submitted absentee ballots are counted in every general election, meaning that arrival time is irrelevant.