"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
Hans A. von Spakovsky wants you to know that if Democrat David Weprin pulls it out and wins the special election tomorrow for the congressional seat vacated by Anthony Weiner, Weprin will have won this longtime Democratic district through voter fraud. So, you know, just be prepared!
Polls show Republican Bob Turner slightly leading, so obviously any result other than a Turner victory means ACORN paid homeless people to vote 100 times under false names. “Will [close polls] tempt some locals to resort to the kind of voter fraud that Kings County and Brooklyn are infamous for?” asks former Fulton County, Georgia Republican Party head Hans A. von Spakovsky, who is apparently unaware that “Kings County and Brooklyn” is redundant.
Spakovsky suspects imminent voter fraud because some people listed on the registration rolls have moved or died:
A source within the Turner camp tells me the campaign sent a letter and campaign literature to all the voters on the permanent list maintained by the Board of Elections who are automatically mailed absentee ballots. They have received hundreds of pieces of returned mail marked “address unknown” or “return to sender” and at least five marked “deceased.”
“Voter fraud,” as Matthew Vadum recently explained, is a phony threat hyped by Republican operatives in order to whip up support for rules making it more difficult for poor people, minorities, and other traditional Democratic constituencies to vote. There’s the lowbrow form of “voter fraud” trolling — screeching conspiratorial nonsense about ACORN — and there’s the highbrow kind, practiced most expertly by former Justice Department attorney and Federal Election Commission member Hans A. von Spakovsky.
In classic George W. Bush administration form, von Spakovsky was a Civil Rights division lawyer who hated enforcing civil rights laws and an FEC advisor who hated election laws. His sole, driving concern was doing everything in his power to help the Republican party. Now von Spakovsky, a prime mover behind the politicization of Bush’s Justice Department, spends much of his time accusing the Obama administration of politicizing the Justice Department.
In all his years of attempting to prove that poor people voting too many times is a widespread problem, von Spakovsky has never managed to find any example of documented vote fraud (as opposed to “registration fraud,” which doesn’t actually affect elections) that happened more recently than 1982.
Concerns about “voter fraud” are a fig leaf for anti-democratic restrictions on voting by undesirable populations. If the Democrat does win tomorrow, Republicans have already invented a conspiracy theory explaining why.
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @pareeneMore Alex Pareene.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)