“A lie can get round the world before the truth has put its boots on.” So can a “fact check” headline – and the “fact checkers” know it. I was scrolling down my timeline on Facebook and I saw this post with a “partially false information” designation on it regarding Proposal 2 in Michigan, which is a proposed Amendment to the Michigan Constitution citizens will be voting on in November.
Ryan D. Kelley, an opponent of Proposal 2, has printed up information cards to summarize one perspective of why Proposal 2 ought to be opposed. The first point on the card reads, “Removes voter ID requirements so we don’t know who is voting.” This appears to be the primary information that prompted the “fact check” designation. When you click on the “See Why” button, you get this:
So in general, the “fact checker” is claiming that Michigan’s Proposal 2 does not end the state’s voter ID requirement and they labeled a claim that it does “Mostly False.” As we will see however, the reasoning they use for their “Mostly False” designation would also apply to their own “fact check,” which does not give full consideration to the point and could therefore also be labeled “Mostly False” by their own standards.
When you click on the actual PolitiFact article, you find out that they decided to “fact check” not the overall idea that Michigan’s Proposal 2 would remove voter ID requirements, but only a single statement by Ted Nugent. This appears to be a common tactic deployed by these “fact checkers,” find a simple statement about a complex topic, halfway “fact check” it to find a fault or half-truth, label it “false,” and then apply the label to any and all future material on social media that addresses the same ideas.
Their reasoning of why this statement by Ted Nugent is “Mostly False” is summarized below:
It is clear from their summary that they are focusing on in-person voting in the “fact check.” But is this the extent of voting in Michigan? Is this the extent of the changes you will find to voting procedures and ID requirements in Proposal 2? The answer is no. There is also the matter of absentee ballots, voting by mail, and the on-going issue of election integrity. This “fact check” fails to even mention this, never mind address the actual changes and additions to the law in Proposal 2’s wording that could technically make it possible and easier to vote in Michigan without ever showing an ID. For people that are concerned with election integrity and stopping possible fraud, this is a big deal. Here is their conclusion of their analysis:
I propose these “fact checkers” chose to “fact check” Ted Nugent’s limited words on purpose because the selected quote allows for them to focus more on the experience most of us have with voting (in-person) and not the overall concern of fraud with absentee mail-in ballots and other procedures that may be weakened by changing ID requirements as suggested in Proposal 2. Most people will relate to this procedure and stop inquiring there. These “fact checkers” know most people will not look into the actual language of the proposal and will take their word for it that the extent of the changes apply only to ID requirements for in-person voting. What does the actual language of the proposal say? See below:
As you can see, the “fact checker” only addressed the language in Section G regarding in-person voting. Move on to the next section (Section H) however and you can plainly see that the language added by the proposal (all capitals) states that signature verification alone will be sufficient to verify the identity of a person requesting an absentee ballot or voting by absentee ballot in a manner other than in-person (vote by mail for example). Now, you may disagree that it is a problem to allow for signature verification alone or that mail-in ballots are more likely to result in fraud, however it would be difficult to argue that signature verification alone is as good as requiring an ID in-person for purposes of identity verification. In this context, Nugent’s words, and the general idea that the proposal “removes voter ID requirements” is not “false,” on the contrary, it is “true” insofar as a person inclined to vote following the procedure outlined in the proposal would in fact be able to vote without showing an ID. It follows too, that if voter fraud is at all possible (it is), then this change would likely make it easier for people inclined to commit voter fraud to do so.
The concept of “telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” never applies to these “fact checkers,” which are usually nothing more than partisan propagandists. I find the last part of their conclusion to be ironic, “The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate this claim mostly false.” I rate their “fact check” deceptive. These “fact checkers,” like many of these big-money, manipulative Constitutional Amendment proposals, depend on low-information consumers for success. They find popular opinions that benefit their selfish interests, dress them up with nice-sounding language, and push through policy at the Constitutional level that can be harmful in ways the unassuming masses never considered. They are really a challenge to the concept of democracy within our Constitutional Republic, as the results of their success often weaken the structure and protections to fundamental rights our Founders intended to remain true.
Whatever you think about the merits of some of the points within Proposal 2 (most of which were not addressed in the “fact check” or this article) the fact that this is being placed into the Michigan Constitution is dangerous, as it will be more difficult to fix any problems it may cause. Vote “NO” on Proposal 2!