A few weeks after he stunned the Nevada political world, especially elected officials and activists in his own party, with a “visual verification” plan (Don’t call it voter ID!), Secretary of State Ross Miller is in fence-mending mode. Or explanatory mode. Or “what I meant to say” mode. Miller acknowledged on “Ralston Reports” shortly after Review-Journal reporter Ed Vogel broke the story that it was not his most graceful unfurling of a policy initiative (damn media didn’t help). Beyond a few economia here and there, Miler has been savaged by the left, which sees this as some kind of nefarious plot to win over Republicans in his attorney general’s campaign, as well as a seemingly less than cardinal sin: suppress voters.
Now Miller has decided to bring into the state his Minnesota counterpart, who tried a similar idea and failed. And on Dec. 20, he is meeting with progressives who see him as a Benedict Arnold – or at least a triangulating Bill Clinton. “We hope you will join us to let Secretary Miller know that there is no need to bring Voter Suppression to Nevada and that he should reconsider this ill conceived proposal,” progressive activist Derek Washington wrote in an email to Democrats notifying them of the Las Vegas meeting.
The blowback has continued during the last few days from the left, including two members of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. In an op-ed he co-authored in the Reno Gazette-Journal, PLAN boss Bob Fulkerson lacerated Miller. “He should not work to manufacture a problem or issue that simply doesn’t exist,” Fulkerson wrote in a piece that also bears the byline of Judith Browne-Dianis of the Advancement Project.
The issue came up again this afternoon on KSNV’s “The Agenda,” when PLAN’s Howard Watts III competed with liberal commentator Hugh Jackson to eviscerate and mock Miller’s proposal. Watts deemed the law unnecessary and costly. “It’s literally pandering to and reinforcing the message that something’s wrong, Watts said.
That’s the issue that concerns me, too. It’s not so much that this will suppress voters; it’s that it’s manna for the kooks. Or, as Jackson put it, “It’s reinforcing the message that something is wrong with the process out here, something is wrong with the system.”
Indeed. Miller may say he is doing this because of polling that shows people fret about the system’s integrity and what people have said to him – that he has to be worried about perception. But the perception that may be reinforced by the state’s chief elections officer embracing the idea that fraud may be a problem potentially is much more pernicious.