I think the correct way to understand why Al Schmidt was willing to put his name on this hilariously unscientific “study” on voting irregularities in Philly is that conservative politicians, pundits and blog trolls needed a passable comeback to the overwhelming evidence that voter fraud is a fake thing.
How it works is that nobody on the right actually cares that there’s no such thing as voter fraud, and they don’t care that this report actually shows zero evidence of a systemic problem, let alone some vast conspiracy of double voters.
Here’s the bottom line, from Isaiah Thompson’s post on the report over at City Paper:
It’s worth noting here that Schmidt’s investigation found very few instances of these alleged crimes. Schmidt reports one (1) case of voter impersonation, which dates back to 2007 and which has already been reported. The reports cites one (1) example of someone allegedly voting twice. The report also found 7 voters who voted in the last ten years and were subsequently rejected from the rolls because they were not U.S. citizens [...]
Less difficult to see are the political ramifications: Republicans will likely flock to this report as proof of a need for “tougher” voting laws, whether or not those laws address the problems at hand.
Indeed. It doesn’t matter that Schmidt’s report shows no evidence of a systemic problem. They’re just going to say “teh Philly report!” anyway. In my blog comments, and on the radio, and in speeches on the Capitol floor, “But teh Philly report!” will serve as a stand-in for any actual evidence of voter fraud.