Okay, so let Scott Walker and J.B. Van Hollen and the rest of the Wisconsin GOP crowd drone on about supposed vote fraud and the wisdom of the party's Voter ID law (currently stoppered by two courts and counting). Here's the thing: Even some noteworthy Republicans are beginning to come clean and describe the whole issue -- not just in Wisconsin but nationally -- as nothing other than what Democrats have been saying it is: A badly disguised and crudely enacted part of a widespread GOP vote-suppression scheme. A conspiracy that at least one Republican says ought to be the subject of widespread civil and perhaps criminal investigations.

That idea came from John Weaver, a leading Republican strategist who has worked on a number of presidential. Senate and gubernatorial campaigns. Weaver served as John McCain's chief strategist for almost 11 years, and most recently worked for Jon Huntsman, one of the saner and more experienced GOP presidential candidates.

Weaver jousted recently with Esquire writer Mark Warren in the online pages of that magazine. They discussed a number of current campaign issues but at one point focused on the GOP effort to "protect" the vote from supposed hordes of individuals trying to cast ballots illegally (the boldfacing below is my own). Weaver even called out Van Hollen by association as a state attorney general:

WARREN: John, can you explain to me how a party that pretends to have some claim to the votes of blacks and Latinos has as an integral part of its electoral strategy a devastating plot to keep as many of them from voting as possible? This claim that these laws are meant to combat vote fraud, while offering zero evidence of such fraud, is perhaps the most hideous and pernicious and un-American lie being perpetrated on our civil society today....

WEAVER: Mark, prepare to be shocked. Not only do I agree with you about the effort to suppress votes in this country, I urge investigations at every level of government into this contemptible, organized scheme. Great parties and great causes work at attracting voters and supporters. Causes without the infusion of fresh oxygen, of fresh support, begin to die on the vine and try to hang on through means that are morally bankrupt. We need to make the ballot box more accessible, with early voting locations convenient to all citizens, and, in fact, I support same-day voter registration. Why? Clearly we must make the voting marketplace mandatory for our participation. Only this will force us to accept, I suppose, what demographers already know about the make up of America.

I've worked all over the country: in South Texas and the rural South, in Dade County and New York and Los Angeles and Chicago. While I'm totally supportive of legitimate ballot-security efforts, what is being sold to the GOP base, the media and the courts is complete bullshit. The days of widespread voter fraud, the kind that South Texas patrons and Mayor Daley used in 1960 to help the Kennedy/Johnson ticket, are long gone. Long gone. I've never seen widespread voter fraud, and certainly there is little evidence of it. The various GOP attorneys general should be ashamed to be part of this effort, especially as they've produced damn few true cases of fraud.

We should side on access to the ballot. Too many lives have been lost, too many troubled roads traveled, for us to walk back from a process that not only allows our citizens the right to vote, but easy access to it. Have we forgotten that bloody day on the Edmund Pettus Bridge?

I say we follow the money trail behind this national effort to suppress the vote. As soon as the election is over in November, the Justice Department should leave no stone unturned in pursuing this. The two worst programs that strike at the core of our Republic is the Citizens United decision and this program to subvert and suppress Americans from voting. And I have no doubt that funds hiding in the shadows of the Citizen's United decision are being used in this program.

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/john-weaver-voter-fraud-13067348#…

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