Justice Department to monitor special election in South Carolina

posted at 9:21 am on May 7, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Today’s the day that voters in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District march to the polling stations and decide whether to elect the disgraced former governor or the comedian’s sister to represent them in the House of Representatives.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, now visitors will be coming to town to watch them make this embarrassing choice, and I don’t mean the media:

The Justice Department will monitor voting in Charleston County, South Carolina, in Tuesday’s special election to fill a House of Representatives seat, the department said on Monday.

Former South Carolina Republican Governor Mark Sanford is facing Democratic newcomer Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of television political satirist Stephen Colbert, in the First District House race.

The Justice Department said in a statement it was monitoring the election under provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The law bars election discrimination on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group.

Wait — did the DoJ get wind of some plot to steal the election?  (Given the choices, who would want to steal it?)  After all, the last time the DoJ decided to sit in on an election in this district was twelve years ago.  Why the sudden interest?

The department did not give a reason for the monitoring. Tuesday’s vote will take place under South Carolina’s new law mandating photo identification for voters, and Justice Department monitors observed primary elections.

Ah, right.  Attorney General Eric Holder opposed that law, and now appears to be trolling for anecdotes for his challenge to it.  Oddly enough, Holder didn’t appear too concerned about potential discriminatory conduct last November or in 2010 under then-existing law, when an African-American was on the ticket … for the Republican Party.  The DoJ apparently didn’t have enough concern to monitor those elections.

Trolling aside, the election today looks to be a nail-biter, even if neither side can take much satisfaction in having the winning candidate.  Politico offers five keys to watch in today’s election, but the real key is the second point:

There’s little doubt South Carolina Democrats are fired up about this race — volunteers have been pouring into Colbert Busch’s campaign offices, eager to elect one of their own in a Republican stronghold. Her supporters dominated the audience at a debate last week.

Colbert Busch needs all the enthusiasm she can muster, given the district’s conservative tilt; Mitt Romney won it by 18 percentage points.

“The Democratic base is energized in a way I’ve never seen before,” said Jaime Harrison, the South Carolina Democratic Party chairman. “We will have very strong Democratic turnout.”

Republicans, meanwhile, have to hope that their voters put aside their qualms with Sanford and head to the polls.

“Will [GOP turnout] be what we’ve seen in other elections or will it be depressed because they’re unhappy with Gov. Sanford and his past history?” said Republican state Sen. Tom Davis, a Sanford ally. “She has to hope for those who vote for Republicans not turning out.”

Turnout north of 28 percent would be seen as high — and a sign that Republican voters are heading to the polls despite their reservations about voting for Sanford. Anything lower than that would suggest Sanford is struggling and point to a good night for Colbert Busch.

Maybe the DoJ’s sudden presence will annoy enough Republicans to turn out, too.  Turnout is the only real clue that matters.  A higher Republican turnout will bury Colbert Busch no matter what happens in the other demos, and a low GOP turnout will bury Sanford similarly.  Sanford has a long history in this district — he won three House terms in SC-01 before becoming governor — and he knows how to turn out voters, as he proved in the primary.  Keep an eye on overall turnout.

Update: “Win or lose, Mark Sanford is having the time of his life,” says BuzzFeed’s Kate Nocera:

Driving, walking, and shaking hands with the formerly disgraced former governor through South Carolina’s first congressional district, it’s hard to remember that this was a guy whose national ambitions were shattered when he disappeared to Argentina for several days in 2009 to cheat on his then-wife.

Equally hard to remember is that when he entered the race there was a collective groan from Republicans across the state and in Washington D.C., who thought Sanford’s past was a liability that would put a safely Republican seat in Democratic hands for the first time in decades.

“The thought was it’s too early, you do a tour, you write a book, you do all those things to rehab your image and then you run,” said one former Sanford staffer. “But it turns out he’s crazy as a fox and it looks like he’s going to pull this off.”

We’ll see, but he’ll need that enthusiasm to extend to the act of voting, and not just showing up to watch the show.


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Democrats from neighboring states bussed in to help out…

workingclass artist on May 7, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Justice Department to monitor special election in South Carolina

Because of sequestration, the Justice Department can not afford to send their high-priced lawyers from DC down to South Carolina, so they’ve subcontracted the task to the New Black Panther party from Philadelphia.

olesparkie on May 7, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Priorities

Fast and furious docs? Mehu
Show your I’d? Racism

cmsinaz on May 7, 2013 at 9:25 AM

You mean Justice Department to find votes in someone’s trunk?

melle1228 on May 7, 2013 at 9:26 AM

“The Democratic base is energized in a way I’ve never seen before,” said Jaime Harrison, the South Carolina Democratic Party chairman.

Eh, liberals would vote for the love child of Charles Manson and Lizzie Borden if they had a “D” after their name. Even if Colbert wins she will be such a kowtowing lickspittle for Barky that she will only be in office until next year.

Bishop on May 7, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Is he formerly disgraced, or formerly a governor? I mean I’m sure he’s formerly a governor. He no longer holds the office. It’s the disgraced part I’m wondering about…

trigon on May 7, 2013 at 9:27 AM

I live in that district and I’m not going to vote. Hmm, do I elect someone with severe psychological issues known for lying and corruption or do I elect a bleeding-heart liberal and satisfy the Dem base? I simply refuse to make the choice. The complete idiots who voted for Sanford in the primary should have known better.

JackForce on May 7, 2013 at 9:29 AM

I hate to say it, but candidates like these are pretty much the standard fare any more, nationwide.

Liam on May 7, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Preview preview preview

cmsinaz on May 7, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Maybe he’s looking for armed Black Panthers standing outside polling places.

RadClown on May 7, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Oh, absolutely the administration is trying to steal this for Colbert-Busch. And the trolls will be along shortly to:
a. mock Sanford
b. cry racism for Voter ID
c. defend DOJ/Obama

What none of them will be willing to do, however, is discuss Voter ID in the context of Indianapolis, Indiana, a predominately African-American city that has now experienced a number of elections, including presidential, with Voter ID.

And will all remember all the screaming headlines about how awful and oppressive and unfair those elections were, right? ////

M240H on May 7, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Justice Department to monitor special election in South Carolina ensure the Democrat cheats & wins

Fixed

22044 on May 7, 2013 at 9:34 AM

I live in that district and I’m not going to vote

Can’t believe it. BOTH of them supposedly would be tossed in 2014 and I couldn’t stomach the Colbert gloating on Comedy Central, not that I’ve seen ten seconds of him – but I’d have to read about it.

Just go to the polls and vote “What would Obama want me to do?” and do the opposite.

Marcus on May 7, 2013 at 9:35 AM

…decide whether to elect the disgraced former governor or the comedian’s sister to represent them in the House of Representatives

And it’s all being overseen by an organized crime syndicate with the full force of the feral government behind it.

We have arrived

forest on May 7, 2013 at 9:35 AM

will=we’ll

M240H on May 7, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Almost forgot. South Carolina, wusssup?! (NSFW, language)

forest on May 7, 2013 at 9:37 AM

I live in that district and I’m not going to vote. Hmm, do I elect someone with severe psychological issues known for lying and corruption or do I elect a bleeding-heart liberal and satisfy the Dem base? I simply refuse to make the choice. The complete idiots who voted for Sanford in the primary should have known better.

JackForce on May 7, 2013 at 9:29 AM

or perhaps you’re a concern troll trying to depress GOP turnout

commodore on May 7, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Holder is such a douchebag.

BuckeyeSam on May 7, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Even if Sanford loses the Dems shouldn’t get too excited as the win won’t have much meaning outside this specific race nor would they be likely to retain the seat next Nov.

A win for the D’s won’t affect the balance of power in the House either.

Charlemagne on May 7, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Racist thugs swinging nightsticks outside a polling place = Meh.

Making voters show they are eligible to vote = All DOJ hands on deck!

Bishop on May 7, 2013 at 9:45 AM

I’ll take a disgraced Pub anytime over an Obama sycophant…

hillsoftx on May 7, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Send in the Black Panthers to monitor the election. That should keep those old white women at home.

Grunt on May 7, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Are the voters living in the shadows or are we going to document them?…for the children!

trs on May 7, 2013 at 9:51 AM

someone with severe psychological issues known for lying and corruption

I call BS on this one. Hey Jack, what are his severe psychological issues and what was the corruption he was charged with?

He lied about an affair. That’s a badge of honor for your dems. What else you got?

DanMan on May 7, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Where’s Jimmah Carter when you need him.

BacaDog on May 7, 2013 at 9:54 AM

Personally, I would mostly vote against anyone who is, or represents another potential supplicant for The Obama Administration.

Personalities and baggage aside, that would be my deciding measure.

We’ve watched our countries destruction for the last 5 years. So I will take any vote against this regime in order to wrestle back our liberty.

Sanford, warts and all, will at least vote in the best interests of South Carolina’s electorate. He won’t be a blind zombie or apologist for every measure that liberals and the Obama Administration can dream of.

Busch (what’s with the hyphened last name by the way)? Do you even have to ask that question? People are tired of government tyranny (yes, tyranny Mr President) and the Vichy Democrats who obediently obey like a bunch of cultists.

Marcus Traianus on May 7, 2013 at 9:58 AM

DHS to build new headquarters in SouthEast DC.

Of course, the site does have history.

St. Elizabeths Hospital was founded by the United States Congress in 1852, largely as the result of the efforts of Dorothea Dix, a pioneering advocate for people living with mental illnesses. It opened in 1855 as the Government Hospital for the Insane.

I guess DHS will live up to the zoning requirements, insane.

J_Crater on May 7, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Driving, walking, and shaking hands with the formerly disgraced former governor through South Carolina’s first congressional district, it’s hard to remember that this was a guy whose national ambitions were shattered when he disappeared to Argentina for several days in 2009 to cheat on his then-wife.

He lives to campaign as much as any big government Democrat out there — fish gotta swim, Mark Sanford’s gotta campaign.

It’s why I have a hard time getting up much passion for this race, because as liberal as Colbert-Busch is, it’s fairly obvious Sanford has learned nothing from his recent embarrassments — i.e., he thinks he can campaign his way out of anything — and if he wins, odds are better than 50-50 he’ll create some new embarrassments for Democrats and the media to obsess about and use to claim Mark represents the hypocrisy of all conservative Republicans.

jon1979 on May 7, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Justice Department to monitor special election in South Carolina

… to ensure they get the result they want, of course.

Midas on May 7, 2013 at 10:05 AM

There are those of us who value voting for people to represent us in our political processes. That citizens have the right to vote is a cornerstone of our form of government. Nothing I have ever read said that this form of government would be easy or that we should make it easier for people who were not citizens to have a say in who we choose to represent us. The manipulation of our elections by not insuring that only citizens are voting is an egregious violation of the oath of office taken by our officials. As we have just seen in Boston where a newly sworn citizen planted a bomb that killed and maimed people, there are people who use oathes of alliegence for their own ends and not for the benifit of our country.

duncantwn on May 7, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Stay classy, DoJ…

Khun Joe on May 7, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Democrats from neighboring states bused in to help out…

As well as poll workers with car trunks full of completed ballots.

Making voters show they are eligible to vote = All DOJ hands on deck!

Hey! Anybody, and everybody, walking into a polling place and demanding to be given an ballot to vote for any dem or dem backed measures must be accommodated, no questions asked. It’s their God given right.

hawkeye54 on May 7, 2013 at 10:27 AM

“The Democratic base is energized in a way I’ve never seen before,” said Jaime Harrison, the South Carolina Democratic Party chairman. “We will have very strong Democratic turnout.”

translation,

The dead, felons, multiple voters, illegal aliens and non Palmetto state residents will have a record turnout at this election.

Wonder what the record will be for the most votes cast in a single election? Probably 40-50 since they won’t have to wait that long at the polling stations. Some places will probably allow them to just vot at the same machine.

acyl72 on May 7, 2013 at 10:36 AM

I am sure that South Carolina can be assured a honest election with the Injustice Department monitoring it. When it’s all over the Injustice Department can do an internal investigation and clear itself again.

savage24 on May 7, 2013 at 10:48 AM

I live in that district and I’m not going to vote. Hmm, do I elect someone with severe psychological issues known for lying and corruption or do I elect a bleeding-heart liberal and satisfy the Dem base? I simply refuse to make the choice. The complete idiots who voted for Sanford in the primary should have known better.

JackForce on May 7, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Obama sends his thanks, for your support.

slickwillie2001 on May 7, 2013 at 10:51 AM

For all of his faults, Sanford hasn’t run from the issues, he has addressed them head on. Colbert, on the other hand, is hiding out hoping that peoples disgust will get her elected.

Tater Salad on May 7, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Considering Colbert Busch is on the ballot twice…yep…twice…as the “candidate” of two “separate” parties…but gets to count the cumulative votes cast…nothing improper going on in N. Carolina.

But…let one poll worker ask anyone of color for a photo ID…major major federal offense.

And DoJ is in NC for what reason, again?

coldwarrior on May 7, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Just go to the polls and vote “What would Obama want me to do?” and do the opposite.

Marcus on May 7, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Believe me, I sympathize with you. But it’s like trading one form of danger for another. Sure, Mark Sanford has voted conservative. But he’s so unstable he could easily lose it again and make very questionable decisions/quit/pull a Jesse Jackson, Jr./become another lightning rod of shame. We can’t be sure. Likewise, Colbert-Busch might try to “moderate” her votes to be palatable for 2014. Then again, she’s a flaming liberal. We can’t be sure. And honestly, given the circumstances, the former type of danger is the kind I’d rather not be responsible for.

or perhaps you’re a concern troll trying to depress GOP turnout

commodore on May 7, 2013 at 9:38 AM

lolwut

I call BS on this one. Hey Jack, what are his severe psychological issues and what was the corruption he was charged with?

He lied about an affair. That’s a badge of honor for your dems. What else you got?

DanMan on May 7, 2013 at 9:52 AM

If you actually can’t ascertain answers, go look for them. I’m not your professor. And your accusation is a joke. OH, HOW DARE I TRY TO KEEP A SKETCHY DIRTBAG FROM POWER, MY MISTAKE SIR PLEASE DON’T CALL ME A DEMOCRAT AGAIN

dan pls

JackForce on May 7, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Obama sends his thanks, for your support.

slickwillie2001 on May 7, 2013 at 10:51 AM

I voted against Sanford twice — once in the primary, once in the runoff. I did my part, Obama be damned. I’m sure you’d find it easy to vote for this cretin, but some can’t.

JackForce on May 7, 2013 at 11:02 AM

I voted against Sanford twice — once in the primary, once in the runoff. I did my part, Obama be damned. I’m sure you’d find it easy to vote for this cretin, but some can’t.

JackForce on May 7, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Dems will be voting for Colbert-Busch twice. Have fun staying home:

Dem Candidate Listed Twice on Ballot in South Carolina Special Election

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on May 7, 2013 at 11:10 AM

At least Sanford didn’t get thrown in jail for contempt of court during his divorce case….can Colbert-Busch say the same thing? Say, doesn’t “The Smoking Gun” have a copy of her mug shot available from when she went to jail?

olesparkie on May 7, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Obama sends his thanks, for your support.

slickwillie2001 on May 7, 2013 at 10:51 AM

I voted against Sanford twice — once in the primary, once in the runoff. I did my part, Obama be damned. I’m sure you’d find it easy to vote for this cretin, but some can’t.

JackForce on May 7, 2013 at 11:02 AM

We understand; your lofty principles come before nation. Pat yourself on the back for me.

slickwillie2001 on May 7, 2013 at 11:14 AM

JackForce on May 7, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Dems will be voting for Colbert-Busch twice. Which will cleverly create an argument for them to contest the ballot should they lose. Have fun staying home:

Dem Candidate Listed Twice on Ballot in South Carolina Special Election

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on May 7, 2013 at 11:21 AM

We understand; your lofty principles come before nation. Pat yourself on the back for me.

slickwillie2001 on May 7, 2013 at 11:14 AM

I just did. And once more, for pointing out how absurd the idea is that the fate of the nation rests on one erratic, disgusting, and insidious prospective Representative from one district of South Carolina returning to power for a year.

JackForce on May 7, 2013 at 11:24 AM

…it’s fairly obvious Sanford has learned nothing from his recent embarrassments — i.e., he thinks he can campaign his way out of anything —

jon1979 on May 7, 2013 at 10:04 AM

What, precisely, do you imagine he is trying to campaign himself out of? Other than, of course, political unemployment…

JohnGalt23 on May 7, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Justice Department to monitor “verify” the votes in the special election in South Carolina

Fixed.

Physics Geek on May 7, 2013 at 11:42 AM

This election is like a Michigan – Notre Dame game. I wish both sides could lose.

By the way, I am an Irish Catholic from the detroit suburbs.

bw222 on May 7, 2013 at 11:43 AM

D0J is afraid some white people might vote.

RebeccaH on May 7, 2013 at 12:08 PM

What, precisely, do you imagine he is trying to campaign himself out of? Other than, of course, political unemployment…

JohnGalt23 on May 7, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Pop psychology time, I guess — Sanford, like others such as Bill Clinton or Marion Barry, apparently sees voter approval at the polls as validation of their lifestyle. If they win election, it not only means people are OK with their politics; they’re also OK with how they live their personal lives. They campaign not just for forgiveness, but for the permission to do it again.

The problem being, of course that the big media is OK with how Bill Clinton lives his personal life, and if there are a few bumps, well, that’s just Bill, it doesn’t reflect on all Democrats — you’ve got to be a sleaze of major proportions like John Edwards to get the Dems and the media to abandon/report on you, and that’s only because the National Enquirer got their first — the others would have been perfectly happy to see Edwards become president without doing anything to adjust his lifestyle. Sanford, on the other hand, will be the poster child for all GOP moral hypocrisy if he wins and continues to act the way he has.

Will he vote better in the House than Colbert-Busch?

Of course.

Will he become the Mark Foley/Christine O’Donnell/Todd Akin of the 2014 or 2016 election cycles if he goes to Washington and doesn’t change his ways?

Of course. How people vote today may depend on how much they fear the Democrats winning the seat vs. how much they fear Sanford costing the Republicans seats next November or three years from now.

jon1979 on May 7, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Eric Holder: “Do you know how that makes my people look?”

slickwillie2001 on May 7, 2013 at 12:12 PM

someone with severe psychological issues known for lying and corruption

I call BS on this one. Hey Jack, what are his severe psychological issues and what was the corruption he was charged with?

He lied about an affair. That’s a badge of honor for your dems. What else you got?

DanMan on May 7, 2013 at 9:52 AM

What else? Breaking and entering his ex-wife’s apartment. DURING THE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN. Sanford obviously has problems. Given his history, I fear that it is only a matter of time before he pulls another boneheaded move, that the press will use to smear each and every Republican and conservative on the planet.

It would be one thing if the one extra vote was critical in the House. It is not. We have a comfortable margin, and SC-1 will put in a solid conservative in 2014. But the downside is huge – does anyone remember what the state controlled media did with the Mark Foley scandal? They used it to smear the entire Republican caucus. It was one factor (among others) that helped to FLIP THE HOUSE that year.

The Dems can afford to have their Charles Rangels, because the establishment press allows unethical behavior among Democrats. Because we have to fight against a hostile press, we have to maintain some modicum of ethics among those who we send to Congress.

SubmarineDoc on May 7, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Sanford, on the other hand, will be the poster child for all GOP moral hypocrisy if he wins and continues to act the way he has.

Precisely.

It would be one thing if the one extra vote was critical in the House. It is not.

Thank you.

JackForce on May 7, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Stay classy, DoJ…

Khun Joe on May 7, 2013 at 10:21 AM

What? This would imply that the DOJ currently has class of some kind. I’ve seen no indication of that over the last 4 + years.

dentarthurdent on May 7, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Our Justice Department: Keeping us safe from registered voters.

(Armed drug cartel foot soldiers: not so much.)

Socratease on May 7, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Considering Colbert Busch is on the ballot twice…yep…twice…as the “candidate” of two “separate” parties…but gets to count the cumulative votes cast…nothing improper going on in N. Carolina.

coldwarrior on May 7, 2013 at 10:58 AM

The Republican Party needs to learn how to read the fine print of the election law, so Republican candidates can set up these types of advantages too….to “level the playing field” in every possible legal way.

In the meantime, the Republicans should also be working to change the law so that each candidate only appears on the ballot once, with the opportunity to have multiple parties listed after the candidate’s name.

Multiple parties per candidate – Fine

Multiple appearances on a ballot by a single candidate – Wrong!

The Republican Party will deserve its label of “the Stupid Party” until it learns to play major league politics.

wren on May 7, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Monitoring the election=insuring Dem victory

rjoco1 on May 7, 2013 at 4:27 PM