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News from the Votemaster

Romney Calls on Akin to Drop Out of Missouri Senate Race

The fear the Republicans have of the Democrats striking paydirt with their accusation that the Republicans are waging a war on women reached a new high with Mitt Romney now calling on GOP Senate nominee Todd Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race against Sen. Claire McCaskill. Akin said no way. The whole situation is now more complicated because the deadline for dropping out with no fuss has passed. To drop out now, Akin would need to get a court order which would no doubt result in a big fight in court thus bringing even more attention to the matter.

If Akin continues to resist all calls for him to resign the nomination and stays in the race, he will be unbound from all constraints that politicians are normally subject to. He will no longer have to be nice to the NRCC, Karl Rove, or anyone else. He knows he is not getting any money from them, so he can go full right wing and hope the anti-abortion forces step up to the plate. Of course by doing this, McCaskill is going to go after him more and more for being way out of the mainstream. McCaskill is hoping he ignores the entire Republican leadership and stays in the race, ideally moving far to the right. Her campaign was stalled, but this incident has breathed new life into it. Donations from woman incensed by Akin are pouring in. If the race looks winnable, McCaskill's colleague, chairwoman of the DSCC, Patty Murray, will surely get out her checkbook. Who knows what is next here, but it will be an exciting race.

Akin Incident Brings Up the Akin-Ryan Anti-Abortion Bill

While most of the attention around Veep nominee Paul Ryan centered on his plans for Medicare, he is no Johnny-One-Note. He cosponsored a bill in the House with Akin called the "Sanctity of Life Act." It declares that a zygote is a legal person with constitutional rights. There are clearly interesting areas the bill does not mention, like these:

But these interesting legal questions aside, all this publicity for Akin puts the Akin-Ryan bill in the spotlight at a time when the Republicans want to campaign on the faltering economy, not make the election a referendum on abortion. The timing of this mess couldn't be worse. Today the Republican National Committee is expected to approve a platform plank calling for a Consitutional amendment banning all abortions, even in the case of rape.

Needless to say, the Democrats would like nothing better than move the economy to the back burner and talk about the alleged "war on women." As long as Akin is in the race--and there is no legal way for the Republicans to get rid of him--abortion is going to be there front and center. This is why Romney, Mitch McConnell, and just about every other Republican is pleading with him to quit, since control of the Senate may depend on what he does. But since he ignored the deadline yesterday, one has to assume he has no intention of quitting.

Six Theories about Why Akin Refuses to Drop Out

The Week has a list of six theories why Todd Akin is not giving up despite massive pressure from his party to call it quits:

  1. At 65, this is his last hurrah and he doesn't give a hoot what Reince Priebus or Mitch McConnell think
  2. Missouri is trending Republican and he really thinks he can win even without the party
  3. The party has never especially helped him so he doesn't owe it anything
  4. He fired most of his staff and gets his advice from his family, which doesn't realize the fix he is in
  5. He has a direct line to God and was told this is his mission
  6. He thinks the GOP is bluffing and in the end the NRSC will open its wallet rather than lose the seat

New Study Shows That In-Person Voting Fraud Is Microscopic

A new study of over 2000 cases of alleged voter fraud, including registration fraud, voter impersonation, absentee-ballot fraud, voting twice, and other illegal voting practices in all 50 states turned up 10 cases of fraud. With nearly 150 million eligible voters, fraud occurred once for every 15 million potential voters. The conclusion of the study is that in-person voter fraud barely exists and is certainly no reason to have laws that disenfranchise millions of voters in the name of preventing fraud.

One group that has complained loudly about voter fraud is the Republican National Lawyers Association. The study examined each of the 77 cases of alleged voter fraud in its database and did not find a single case of voter-impersonation fraud.

Prof. Richard L. Hasen, a professor of law at the University of California at Irvine and an expert on elections and election law said that the U.S. has the worst election system among all the mature democracies, with thousands of electoral jurisdictions, partisans at the top of the election food chain and amateur volunteers at the bottom.

Biden to Campaign in Tampa During Republican Convention

In an unprecedented move Vice President Joe Biden will hold a rally on Tampa the day the Republican convention starts. RNC chairman, Reince Priebus, warned him that whatever he does, the Republicans will do it to the Democrats ten times more at their convention in Charlotte. Historically, the parties don't interfere with each other's conventions but this year no holds are barred.

Voters Are Ignorant on Medicare Proposal

A new Pew poll shows that 49% of the voters oppose Paul Ryan's plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system while 34% like the idea. Nothing wrong with some people liking it and others not liking it. But here's the kicker. Only 23% could identify the plan as Ryan's, even though he has been pushing it hard for two years. Worse yet, 17% of the respondents thought the idea came from Obama, even though he has violently opposed it from the moment Ryan released it. How do you run a democracy when the voters don't have a clue what the parties and candidates stand for?

Today's Presidential Polls

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
New York 62% 33%   Aug 14 Aug 19 Siena Coll.
Virginia 50% 45%   Aug 16 Aug 19 PPP
Wisconsin 47% 48%   Aug 16 Aug 19 PPP

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren 44% Scott Brown* 49%     Aug 16 Aug 19 PPP
Missouri Claire McCaskill* 43% Todd Akin 44%     Aug 20 Aug 20 PPP
Montana Jon Tester* 43% Denny Rehberg 47%     Aug 20 Aug 20 Rasmussen
New York Kirsten Gillibrand* 65% Wendy Long 22%     Aug 14 Aug 19 Siena Coll.

* Denotes incumbent