On Friday the RWer website Human Events published a hair-raising and jingoistic account of alleged early voter fraud in Columbus, Ohio by (gasp!) African immigrants who supposedly can’t speak English.
The author is a Sarah Palin devotee named Sara Marie Brenner, who the magazine calls a “special correspondent” in Ohio. That means she’s a bush-league freelancer, who also writes for something called AntiObamaBlog, and if want to know any more about her, here’s her self-description: “A snarky conservative” who “doesn’t let public opinion get in the way of telling the truth.”
Brenner is also on the Powell, Ohio, city council, where she apparently has weathered a mini-scandal in which liens were placed on her private business for failing to pay overdue taxes. Here are some reviews of her business. By the way, she’s married to a GOP state representative.
Here’s how the article opened up:
Two volunteer poll workers at an Ohio voting station told Human Events that they observed van loads of Ohio residents born in Somalia — the state is home to the second-largest Somali population in the United States — being driven to the voting station and guided by Democratic interpreters on the voting process. No Republican interpreters were present, according to these volunteers.
While it’s not unusual for get-out-the-vote groups to help voters get to the polls, the volunteers who talked to Human Events observed a number of troubling and questionable activities.
A source, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a volunteer outside the Morse Road polling center. She has witnessed Somalis who cannot speak English come to the polling center. They are brought in groups, by van or bus. The Democrats hand them a slate card and say, “vote Brown all the way down.” Given that Sherrod Brown is the incumbent Democrat Senator in Ohio, one can assume that this is the reference.
Go ahead and click on the link above and read the rest of that article.
Why is this important? Because Obama is widely expected to win re-election to the White House by winning Ohio. And if that happens, look for this garbage story to be trotted out afterward as evidence the Democrats “stole it” in the Buckeye state.
But even a cursory review of the article shows it to be rank sophistry at its best, masquerading as an objective account of what supposedly transpired. At its worst it, it tries desperately to create a false impression of “the truth.”
The first clue that the story deserves skepticism is that it’s sourced to anonymous volunteers. They weren’t relating opinion (in which case their anonymity wouldn’t matter a hell of a lot); they were describing facts. Those are impossible to verify because Brenner didn’t bother to go there herself and witness them, and we don’t know who her sources are.
But there’s much more wrong with this account of an election supposedly being “stolen” before our very eyes.
1. Brenner describes “van loads” of people “born in Somalia” showing up at the polls. Was it two minivans vans that showed up, with 6 voters each? Or was it hundreds of 15-passenger van loads? Why doesn’t Brenner offer some magnitude of the fraud she seems so worried about? Is that because there’s no magnitude to offer?
2. How do the anonymous observers a know the passengers in the vans were born in Somalia? What clued them in that it wasn’t the Ivory Coast, Angola or South Africa? The article doesn’t say, but it does note there are 45,000 Somalian refugees in Ohio. It appears to be a simple assumption these van loads must be some of them. Maybe — and maybe not.
3. Brenner notes that “only 40 percent” of the Somalis in Ohio have become citizens. Let’s do the math: There are more than 16,000 American citizens of Somalian descent in Ohio. Which means it’s quite likely the 12 in those two minivans ARE AMERICAN CITIZENS! In which case there is nothing whatsoever wrong with them voting — and there’s no story whatsoever. Except that it appears they were voting for . . . a Democrat! Oh no.
4. Some of anonymous observers told Brenner those voters couldn’t speak English, to which Brenner adds: “The logical follow-up question is whether a non-English speaking person is an American citizen.” Incredibly, she doesn’t answer her own question. Here’s an answer: Nothing in federal immigration and naturalization law allows anonymous poll watchers the right to judge whether voters are sufficient in English or not. Brenner didn’t answer it, because that would have undercut the straw-man argument she builds: these supposedly non-English-speaking Africans shouldn’t be citizens, even if they are, which means they should not be voting, which means (I guess) that this is all blatant evidence of voter fraud. Which it is not at all. It’s total BS.
5. Brenner’s article notes there were Democratic interpreters present, but no Republican interpreters. Oh no! As if that was somehow unfair. What she doesn’t note is why there were Democratic interpreters but not Republican ones: The Democrats sent some; the Republicans evidently chose not to. Because no Republican interpreters showed up, should they ban the Democratic interpreters, too?
There is more, but you get the gist. Brenner promises to “update” her account. If Ohio proves to be the linchpin of Obama’s re-election, it will surely be updated, all right.
And it will probably be more flawed and biased then than it is now, even though it’s a stretch to believe that is possible. Good grief!