Friday, August 03, 2012

AP Story Fabricates Claim About Elderly Couple Being Deprived Of Right To Vote Because of Voter ID Law

Breitbart exposes how the AP's Mike Baker created a patently false narrative about how an elderly Indiana couple was supposedly disenfranchised from voting in Indiana's May primary this year because of the state's Voter ID law. Hans Von Spakovsky contacted the Indiana Secretary of State's general counsel, Jerry Bonnet, who had investigated the claims made in Baker's story, which ran in newspapers across the country, and found the claim that Ed and Mary Weidenbener had been disenfranchised to be completely baseless. Baker had quoted Ed Weidenbener as saying that he was unaware of the requirement of showing a photo ID, even though the law had been on the books since 2006 and the couple had voted in several election prior to this year's primary election without incident. More importantly, Bonnet learned that both Ed and Mary had a driver's license and a passport, either of which would have sufficed for purposes of voting.
There are some glaring problems with Baker’s story. First of all, Indiana’s law has been in place since 2006. There have been numerous federal, state and local elections in the state since then. How could the Weidenbeners not know about the voter ID requirement? Had they voted in prior elections? Did Baker ask them these basic questions? And when voters are given provisional ballots because they showed up at the polling place without an ID, they are specifically informed that they have 10 days to provide election officials with an ID so that their vote will be counted.
The Office of the Indiana Secretary of State was extremely concerned about the story. So General Counsel Jerold Bonnet did some checking of state records and even called the Weidenbeners to talk to them.
It turned out that the AP had left out significant information. Baker, for example, never said a word about whether or not these elderly voters had photo IDs. Since he makes no mention of that issue, anyone reading the story is left with the impression that they do not. It turns out that not only do the Weidenbeners both have valid Indiana driver’s licenses, but they also have passports, according to the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State.
Either of those IDs is acceptable under Indiana’s law. Contrary to the AP story, they told the Office of the Secretary of State that they were well aware of the voter ID requirement and had voted in prior elections in Indiana, since the voter ID became effective after showing their photo IDs at their polling place.
Although the Weidenbeners apparently forgot to bring their IDs to their polling place for the May primary, they live in a retirement community with an assisted living center, a communal dining and activity facility, and a number of detached houses for independent living. Their polling place is located within the assisted living center, adjacent to the dining room. It is so close to where they live that the Weidenbeners usually walk over to the dining room for meals. Thus, it would have been easy for them to have returned to their home to get their IDs, then gone back to their poll to vote an actual ballot. This is all information the AP could have easily found out.
Instead, however, the Wedienbeners cast a provisional ballot. Their home is only 2.24 miles from the county courthouse where they could have gone after the election to show their photo IDs so that their provisional ballots would have counted. And transportation would not have been a problem; they could get there via their own car, a city bus, or a community shuttle bus. But the Weidenbeners claim they weren’t told that they needed to show an ID to officials after the election in order for their provisional ballot to be counted.
But the Indiana state form that is given to all provisional voters specifically informs them that they must appear before county election officials no later than noon on the second Friday after election day either with an ID or to sign an affidavit that they are exempt from the ID requirement because they are “indigent and unable to obtain proof of identification without the payment of a fee, or that you have a religious objection to being photographed.” The AP also neglected to mention that since the Weidenbeners are over 65, they could vote by absentee ballot without an ID.

According to the Breitbart story, Bonnet contacted newspapers that ran the bogus AP story in an effort to correct the record. None of the newspapers ran a correction. We continue to see numerous mainstream news media reports just like this AP story making bogus claims about how Voter ID laws disenfranchise voters when the record in Indiana proves that voter participation actually expanded after the enactment of the state's Voter ID law in 2006. If the law disenfranchised so many disadvantaged and minority voters as opponents of the law claim, how was Barack Obama able to buck history and carry the state in 2008, the first time since 1964 that a Democrat has carried Indiana? This is yet another example of why you simply cannot trust anything  you read in the mainstream media any more. These reporters have a leftist agenda, and they won't allow the facts to get in the way of their predetermined narrative, even if that requires reporting outright lies to the public.

1 comment:

Mary Roger Bowser said...

Remember, a lie to the left is not a lie if it fits their agenda.