CBC Chairman: ‘We Cannot Even Find an Instance of Voter Fraud’

By Melanie Arter | September 24, 2012 | 6:17 PM EDT

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.)

(CNSNews.com) - Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emmanuel Cleaver said Thursday “we cannot even find an instance of voter fraud,” but a Justice Department fact sheet tells a different story.

“We’ve had 176 restrictive bills regarding voting laws that have been proposed in 41 states. Now understand that we cannot even find an instance of voter fraud. In the last 20-something years, the Justice Department has investigated like two,” Cleaver said during a panel discussion on voter ID laws.

However, according to a Justice Department fact sheet dated July 2, 2008, over 140 individuals have been charged with election fraud offenses and over 100 people have been convicted of voter fraud since the Attorney General’s Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative was launched in 2002.

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Cleaver claimed that the voting public has been under attack since 2011.

“We never would have predicted in the 1970s or in the 1980s that in the year 2011 that we would be fighting an attempt to suppress or discourage minority voting power,” he said.

Cleaver suggested there was a conspiracy to suppress minority votes because of the record high turnout of black and Latino voters in the 2008 presidential election, when the nation elected the first black president.

“We should have understood it, because in 2008, African-American and Latino turnout was the highest ever, and for the first time in U.S. history, African-American voter turnout equaled white voter turnout percentage-wise – not in numbers, but percentage-wise,” Cleaver said.

“And we were dumb and thoughtless if we did not understand that there would be a response to that, and we did not predict what happened, and so it’s been estimated that the block-the-vote efforts could cost about 5 million black votes across the country. And that could jeopardize the election, whichever way you choose to vote,” he said.

“So why other than what I mentioned earlier would there be such an effort to deter minority voting power. So we see this assault as both numerous and dangerous,” Cleaver added.

Meanwhile, liberal biographer Robert Caro, author of the book, “The Passage of Power,” the fourth book of his series, The Years of Lyndon Johnson, on Saturday said President Johnson stole the election when he ran for U.S. Senate in 1948 after a ballot box was discovered in the desert.

In an interview on C-SPAN’s Book TV, Caro said, “Ballot box 13 is the ballot box with which Lyndon Johnson stole the election that got him to the Senate. Six days …he’s running for the Senate in 1948. Six days after the election, he is still behind when suddenly a ballot box from precinct 13 in Alice, Texas – that’s ballot box 13 - is found in the desert.

“It contains a number of votes – actually, if I have this right, it’s been years since I wrote it – 202 votes. And they’re interesting votes, because they’re all written in the same handwriting, and they’re all written with the same pen, and then you had to sign a register book in Texas when you voted, and these 202 people voted in alphabetical order,” he said.

“Those 202 votes were the crucial votes where Johnson emerged as the winner by 87 votes, and that’s how he got to the Senate,” Caro added.