PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The right and the left agree on a few things about current trends in voting laws: democracy is being threatened by a desire to win elections and wield power.
But at panels a mile apart this weekend, the two sides presented different views of the state of election practices. The right sees widespread electoral fraud that needs to be stopped with tougher laws to prevent stolen elections, and the left sees this as a massive effort at voter suppression to steal elections.
“These laws are the new Jim Crow laws of our times,” said Maryland U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin on a panel about “The War on Voting” at Netroots Nation, a large conference of progressive activists. “This is really an effort to control the outcome of elections” and not protect “the integrity of our electoral system.
A mile away at a conference on journalism sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund countered “this myth that voter fraud does not exist.”
If an election “is perceived as close, someone will try to steal it,” Fund said.