I recently saw this comment over at Climate Audit:
I recognized the commenters, Jeff Id, as a notable Skeptic who has shown up in various controversies (for example, being a person directly misrepresented by Stephan Lewandowsky in a scientific paper). Having not seen anything from him in a while, I was curious what he's been up to and clicked the link to his site. I quickly found this:
The irony hurts too much not to discuss.
For people who don't recall, earlier this year the Texan Secretary of State's office came up with a list of 95,000 people registered to vote in Texas who it said had been flagged to be checked to see if they were U.S. Citizens. It also said 58,000 of those people had voted in at least one election between 1996 and 2018. Jeff Id breathlessly reported on this issue, saying things like:
Liberal news papers love to make the claim that there is NO evidence of illegal aliens voting in large numbers — these claims are false.
You know when mainstream media speaks on political issues, there is a near certainty that you are being misled. Of the 15.8 million registered voters in Texas, how many of those weren’t dumb enough to self identify as illegal aliens!! These are literally the people who admitted to it in a government office!
What we have in Texas is evidence of MASSIVE fraud. Even if the number is only double what the idiotic self reporting illegals have listed, we have an enormous voter fraud issue.
I don't know how anyone could believe something this ridiculous. To be frank, I think some form of racism/xenophobia is the only answer because there is no rational way to reach these conclusions. How can one believe tens of thousands of people were "dumb enough to self identify as illegal aliens!!"? It seems to me the amount of contempt for the people in question can only arise from some form of bigotry.
Even if one thinks that level of contempt could somehow be justified, these beliefs contradict every piece of evidence available. That includes the very things Jeff Id cites. For instance, Jeff Id insults these people as being dumb enough to self-identify as illegal immigrants, yet the Washington Post article he cites about this announcement says this in its second paragraph:
In an advisory released Friday afternoon, the office said it was flagging people who had provided the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) with some form of documentation — including work visas or green cards — that showed they were not citizens when they were obtaining driver’s licenses or ID cards.
These people were flagged not because they were dumb enough to self-identify as illegal immigrants, as Jeff Id claims, but because they said they were not U.S. citizens while providing something like a green card or work visa, documents which say they were legally allowed to be in the country. People presented documentation which said they were legally present in the United States, and Jeff Id claims that means they were dumb enough to identify themselves as illegal immigrants!!
But it gets worse. The Washington Post article Jeff Id cites goes on to say:
It is possible that people flagged by the state — who provided the DPS with documentation that indicated they were authorized to be in the country — could have become naturalized citizens since they obtained their driver’s licenses or ID cards. A spokesman for the secretary of state said officials are “very confident” that the data received from the DPS is “current.”
In announcing the review of the rolls, Secretary of State David Whitley — who was appointed to the post last month after serving as deputy chief of staff to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — immediately handed the data over to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), who said his office will “spare no effort in assisting with these troubling cases.”
But without additional verification, one cannot say these individuals all engaged in illegal voting, said Chris Davis, the head of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators.
"People get naturalized,” Davis said. “It's entirely too early to say that.”
Meaning Jeff Id's own source pointed out potential concerns about these numbers, and he ignored them completely. No genuine skeptic would ever do that. Any real skeptic who heard such outlandish claims as there having been tens of thousands of fraudulent votes would have at least taken a moment to consider why such claims might be wrong. Jeff Id didn't. Even worse, he ignored it when other people did, citing them as sources while hiding the words of caution they offered.
Indeed, Jeff Id didn't just ignore the words of caution from the Washington Post. He ignored the words of caution from the Texan Secretary of State's office, which warned the matches in question were "WEAK" (their emphasis), meaning they couldn't even be sure they were matching names to the right people.
And while Jeff Id was unable to come up with any reason to express any skepticism of the claims (or even understand what the claims actually said), others found it easy. It took little time for errors in the list of 95,000 names to be found. By January 29th, the Texan Secretary of State's office was already acknowledging problems with the list:
Officials in five large counties — Harris, Travis, Fort Bend, Collin and Williamson — told The Texas Tribune they had received calls Tuesday from the secretary of state’s office indicating that some of the voters whose citizenship status the state said counties should consider checking should not actually be on those lists.
The secretary of state’s office incorrectly included some voters who had submitted their voting registration applications at Texas Department of Public Safety offices, according to county officials. Now, the secretary of state is instructing counties to remove them from the list of flagged voters.
“We’re going to proceed very carefully,” said Douglas Ray, a special assistant county attorney in Harris County, where 29,822 voters were initially flagged by the state. A “substantial number” of them are now being marked as citizens, Ray said.
No later than January 30th, specific errors were known. For instance:
Williamson County Elections Administrator Chris Davis said more than half of the 2,033 voters on his county’s list were being removed after the state’s revision, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Travis County Tax Office spokeswoman Tiffany Seward said 634 people the state identified for review, 14 percent of the county’s initial list, have been removed, the Morning News reported.
Within a week, it was known beyond and doubt the avisory Jeff Id cites as proof of voter fraud was horribly flawed. This led to lawsuits, and by April, the advisroy was rescinded (which is why I had to use a Wayback Machine archived copy when I linked to it) with $450,000 in feed being paid after a lawsuit over the advisory was settled.
Claims of voter fraud in Texas were horribly flawed.Within a week of them being made, it was already known, and confirmed, tens of thousands of names from the list of 95,000 shouldn't have been listed. Within months, the claims were rescinded because the people who made them acknowledged they were baseless. Yet Jeff Id, a notable Skeptic, not only failed to express any skepticism about the claims, he exaggerated them by falsely claiming they involved illegal immigrants as opposed to non-citizen residents. And he still stands by all this, failing to correct his errors even now. Yet he has the audacity to say:
I can’t understand how people can be so blatantly wrong and seemingly fail to recognize it. Everything in their perception has to be twisted into some kind of mobius truth so that the ends can match up. Schmidt was out there recently claiming that climategate was simply emails taken out of order. Somehow people seem to find ways to cram that bit of wrinkled logic into their reality. It’s like a psychological defense mechanism gone wrong.
The irony is painful. But perhaps, what's more painful is Jeff Id also said this in his blog post (my emphasis):
A lot of good folks died to give me the right to vote I’m told. The caviler attitude by the left with giving my vote to folks who have no right is beyond disturbing. It is in fact a line where violence begins to make sense. 70% of these illegal immigrants end up on welfare, stealing my money. They vote in vast majority for Democrats who promise them free everything – again stolen from those of us who have earned what we have.
Based upon nothing but his delusions, Jeff Id is suggesting violence is beginning to make sense. That's deranged. And unfortunately, it seems no Skeptic is willing to say so.