Is this accurate?

I’m seeing this theme at times — namely, that Republicans are creating obstacles for voters, especially if they can establish policies that could lessen the Democrat vote.

Is this piece by Elizabeth Drew accurate?

The Republicans’ plan is that if they can’t buy the 2012 election they will steal it.

The plan, long in the making and now well into its execution, is to raise great gobs of money—in newly limitless amounts—so that they and their allies could outspend the president’s forces; and they would also place obstacles in the way of large swaths of citizens who traditionally support the Democrats and want to exercise their right to vote. The plan would disproportionately affect blacks, who were guaranteed the right to vote in 1870 by the Fifteenth Amendment; but then that right was negated by southern state legislatures; and after people marched, were beaten, and died in the civil rights movement, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Now various state legislatures are coming up with new ways to try once again to nullify that right….

The Republicans have been making particularly strenuous efforts to tilt the outcomes—in most of the “swing states”: Florida, Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin. The Republican leader of the House in Pennsylvania, previously considered a swing state, was careless enough to admit publicly that the state’s strict new Voter ID law would assure a Romney victory in November. In fact a state document submitted in court offered no evidence of voter fraud. On September 18, Pennsylvania’s supreme court sharply rebuked a lower court’s approval of the law, questioning whether the law could be fairly applied by the time of the election. This battle continues despite the fact that the Romney campaign in mid-September suspended its efforts in Pennsylvania because polls show that Obama was substantially ahead. Even if the state’s electoral votes are not in question the outcome could still decide whether a great many people will be allowed to vote in November, and could also affect the popular vote.

Eight states have already passed Voter ID laws—requiring a state-approved document with a photograph in order to register or vote, a form of identification that an estimated 11 percent or over 21 million of American citizens do not possess. But these laws are just part of an array of restrictions adopted to keep Democrats from voting. Some use other means to make registration difficult, or put strict limits on the number of days before the election that votes can be cast , or cut back the hours that polling places can stay open.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

    Stealing it is probably too strong of a word. But voter fraud, unlike how it is commonly portrayed, is a non-issue. It is virtually non-existant.

    So the laws are combating something that is just not a real issue. The result is more difficulty in voting. But so far the courts have said that the ID laws are reasonable. The courts objections are mostly about timing.

    And because so many people drive, it is hard to believe how many people do not have driver’s licenses. But anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of people that are voting age do not. Many of those would not vote anyway (elderly that are in nursing homes, prisoners, etc.)

    But we are talking about well over a million people nationally that are citizens that could potentially vote and do not have a current ID that is approved. Could you get around it and get alternative IDs? Yes. Is it an extra obstacle to voting? Yes. Does it play into racial fears about illegal immigrants? Yes. Are most of the people affected poor and/or minority? Yes.

  • Joe Canner

    NPR had a good piece on this topic this morning. Although their stories were anecdotal, it is clear that this is going to be a significant hurdle for a significant number of people. The troubling this is that the people most affected are the ones least likely to be able to deal with it. If you are poor and/or old and don’t have a driver’s license (nor a car), getting to the DMV (or wherever) to get a photo ID is going to be a substantial hurdle. Those sufficiently motivated will do it, but many will give up.

    I think stealing is a pretty accurate term to describe taking away the voting privileges of those who have voted all of their lives. I could see doing this for a first-time voter, but otherwise it’s pretty *****y treatment of patriotic and civic-minded citizens.

  • http://deadheroesdontsave.com Mike Barlotta

    How can anyone be against Voter ID laws? Why do many think this impacts one group over another? You have a right to vote and I see no problem with a state enforcing you to prove who you are via an ID.

    I may be wrong but I think states with Voter ID laws offer free non-driver ids for those that don’t drive.

    Now should a state adopt this law months before an election? Different question to which I would say no. There should be ample time (say 6 months or more) before enforcing it.

  • megan

    Of course ID laws affect one group over another. If my state were to require IDs for voting, I’d be fine. I have a driver’s license. But then again, I was able to afford to purchase a nice, reliable Honda, and I can afford the not insignificant costs associated with driving my vehicle–such as insurance, maintenance, repairs, and gas (well, well over $4 a gallon where I live). Last year, when my license expired, I went to the DMV early in the morning and simply informed my office that I would be a bit late to work that day. No problem. I’m salaried so I wasn’t docked pay, and I didn’t even stay late than evening to make up for it. Plus, I’m female and Caucasian (blonde, in fact) and thus not likely to be singled out for further scrutiny when I enter a government office.

    So yes, I’d be fine. But I’m not blind to the incredible amount of economic and social privilege that makes it “fine” for me, nor to how it might present a much higher barrier to those with less privilege.

    As Adam #1 points out, voter fraud is not nearly as common as it’s made out to be. And most fraud occurs with things like absentee voting. Fraud caused by an individual going to a polling place and claiming to be someone else, this is almost unheard of. Certainly not enough to justify a policy that affects certain groups disproportionately–and yes, groups that tend to vote for democrats, though I’m divided on how much I want to attribute deliberate malice to those pushing for these laws.

  • Barb

    I live in one of the very few states with all mail-in voting for all elections. Once you are registered you get a ballot and you can vote–privately, slowly, and with the voter guide in front of you. I thought more states were adopting this way of voting but when I looked I found that I was one of the lucky ones.

  • Phil Miller

    I do understand the arguments about the prospect of voter disenfranchisement, but on the other hand, we get asked to show ID for so many other things in this country – flying, riding a bus, going to a college football game, etc. Heck, I’ve been asked to show an ID when buying an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen with my debit card. I guess my feeling is that if voting is a duty that we’re supposed to take seriously, having some standard of responsibility to fulfill that duty isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  • PJ Anderson

    I’m a big fan of voter ID laws if for no other reason that it simply is the final step of a process that is sensible and necessary for quality elections. Maybe I’m unfamiliar with every state’s laws about voting, but in the 5 states I’ve lived in, everytime I show up to vote I’m asked for my name and address. Nobody just walks up to a polling station and is handed a ballot.

    We live in a constantly evolving society. How is it that you can’t supply a government issued ID or driver’s license to verify who you are? When I go to buy wine, use my credit card, or pick up dry cleaning I’m asked for some kind of ID. Are we really saying that people living in the US don’t have this?

    Now I recognize that I live in a sheltered community with no apparently no access to the outside world. (Ironic tone ends here) But I’ve never met someone who hasn’t had some kind of legitimate ID on them. This is a sensible law and will help us as a nation.

  • T

    Mike,

    I agree with your point about the timing being a problem. But make no mistake, there are definite demographic reasons that Repubs are pushing these laws while Dems resist them. The (working or not-working) poor, the old, the naturalized citizen–all these will be less likely to have correct ID’s and more difficulty getting them. The #’s regarding (current) voter fraud are miniscule. But if we put more red tape around voting, what groups do you think will be most affected and unable or discouraged from voting? If we look at how (and why) voting districts are drawn, it’s not hard to see the motivation for these laws.

  • http://restoringsoul.blogspot.com Ann F-R

    Yes, from what I’ve read and the laws that I’ve seen passed by Rep-dominated state legislatures, the article is true. Between GOP Attorney Generals “purging” voter rolls (recently in Florida & within last couple of years in Colorado, e.g.) and these photo-ID card requirements, it confirms the data that the GOP historically benefits in elections with proportionally lower voter turn-out. Laws which demand Photo IDs to be required of every voter seem to ignore, intentionally, the poor, elderly, college students, and minorities (cf. the youtube of the GOP Pennsylvania Senate leader bragging that Romney would win Pennsylvania because of the new ID law). The laws disregard age, ability to pay for the photo ID cards (the cards aren’t free, whether the person is a driver or not), and ability to make it to a government office with all the necessary forms of identification which need to be presented in order to obtain the photo ID, etc. Many state budgets have eliminated satellite offices of their DMV’s, for instance, and the ones closed are often in the neighborhoods where people don’t have the resources (or cars) to make it to the suburban offices which remain open. Fairvote.org wrote, The barrier of registration in the United States has been estimated to deter voters and decrease turnout by as much as 10 percent. Furthermore, registration barriers that depress turnout contribute to the “socioeconomic skew” of elections in which the wealthy are more likely to turnout than low-income voters. Thus Universal Voter Registration would likely reduce class barriers to voting. http://www.fairvote.org/voter-turnout#.UGS1FK6aKSo

  • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

    The reason why it is disproportionate is not getting the ID itself. Yes some of the states provide free non-driver’s license IDs. The problem is getting the documentation to get the IDs.

    When I got my first drivers lisence I needed two forms of id, one had to be a picture and one had to have my address on it. I could bring in my high school year book and my library card or a bill with my name one it.

    If this is what was required then I would say fine and not worry about it. But it isn’t. Most states require an original birth certificate (which costs money, especially if you were not born local to where you live and especially if you were born out of the country, or are old and the records are not well kept.)

    If you are non-poor. Then you probably have a driver’s license or a passport and an original social security card and it isn’t a problem because you need those things in your normal course of life.

    (By the way I have seen estimates that say between 20 and 28% of adults have never flown. And according to a US Dept of Transportation study from 2000, 26 million driving age people do not have a driver’s license.)

  • LeslieS

    MMM, when you get a job you have to have a driver’s license and a social security card or a passport to fill out your I-9 form. You have to have a photo ID to take a plane or ride the train. Some public libraries require a photo ID before obtaining a library card. You have to have two forms of ID to register to vote in my state. The timing of the laws is problematic and any laws passed in the next few weeks can’t be implemented before the election, but I think requiring a photo ID to vote is a good thing. I see us moving closer and closer to a mandatory national ID which I think the democrats would like.

  • Tom Howard

    Aside from the fact that I am a privileged white guy living in a wealthy town….for me Integrity in a voting starts with ID. Now tell why I can’t start a discussion there? If not why not? If I can start a discussion there…..then how do you suggest we get to an election that one could call legitimate. This can easily jump into immigration. And I have heard Sam Rodriguez and others tell family stories that make me cry…so that is not my point. We just can’t get to the top floor of social justice or whatever name you wish to bring to the table without building a staircase. What are your steps? Honestly I would like to hear dialogue.

  • Tom F.

    Okay, here’s my proposal that would hopefully satisfy everyone.

    1.) All voters have to have IDs.
    2.) All voters are legally required to vote, like in Australia. Intentional non-voters are allowed to vote for “non-of-the-above”.

    Presto! Complete integrity of elections, with no possibility of suppressed voter turn-out!

  • Tom Howard

    Tom F: if that is your top floor….then do you imagine certain steps?

  • Perry L Stepp

    “But voter fraud, unlike how it is commonly portrayed, is a non-issue. It is virtually non-existant.” According to whom? Thirty thousand dead people remain on the voter roles in North Carolina: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/09/02/3497857/group-says-it-found-30000-dead.html#storylink=cpy

    From the pro-voter id side, the danger is that the election will indeed be stolen–by voter fraud. Florida (therefore the 2000 election) turned on a few hundred votes. LBJ beat Coke Stevenson in the Dem primary for the US House by 87 votes, in what is widely regarded as a stolen election.

    I support voter ID laws because I want everyone to vote. ONCE.

  • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

    Tom Howard, can you point to an election that has not had integrity and where voter ID would have helped?

    Florida 2000 was questionable in some precincts but it was because of ballot design. And every election there are about 2% of ballots thrown out because of problems with voting machines, duplicate votes, etc.

    Those are real problems with the current system and neither are addressed by voter id laws. The reality is that there is not currently a problem with the integrity of elections, at least in regard to voters.

  • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

    Perry, but 30000 dead people didn’t vote.

    According to a Dept of Justice study, Out of the 197 million votes cast for federal candidates between 2002 and 2005, only 40 voters were indicted for voter fraud, according to a Department of Justice study outlined during a 2006 Congressional hearing. Only 26 of those cases, or about .00000013 percent of the votes cast, resulted in convictions or guilty pleas.

    It is just not reasonable to potentially not allow hundreds of thousands of people (or even tens of thousands of people to not vote for the same of an almost infintessimally small number of cases of fraud.

    And without dealing with the problems of actual votes being not counted because of bad voting systems. For instance this 2010 election in Queens where 80000 ballots were not counted because of a bad voting system. http://gothamist.com/2010/12/03/17_of_nyc_votes_not_counted_in_midt.php

  • AndyM

    why should you be able to vote without proving you are actually the person claiming eligibility to vote? Forget about the numbers convicted of voter fraud, it seems amazing that you can’t get on a plane without showing you are who you claim to be, but somehow it is meant to be ok for you to vote without proof of identity.

    Add one more instance when the rest of the free world shakes its head at amazement at how things are done in the USA. Common sense in short supply.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    If folks want integrity in the voting system where all legitimate votes count and are valid, then the last thing on the list to do is voter ID. Given the folks who are running this thrust are not stupid, it is most likely that they are doing this for some sort of good reason. It is simply irrational for people who are familiar with our voting system to target voter fraud over many of the other possible issues, like polling hours, training, clear and consistent voting equipment, security and many others.

    So what could be the reason? I can think of two, and they are related in my view. One is the stance of the republican party that it is OK to throw some segment of our population under the bus as we try and improve the condition of the country. So the voter ID laws play to the constituents who have already written off those who are disadvantaged in pursuit of their view of the greater good.

    The second is that they consciously want to suppress democrat voting folks from voting. The policy is quite clearly in line with that.

    I believe most people look at this from their situation (like Phil Miller #6) without considering the situation of others well enough. Like getting a voter ID, taking the position of the other into account requires effort, so why not do it?

  • EricW

    The Republicans’ plan is that if they can’t buy the 2012 election they will steal it.

    I thought that was the Democrats’ plan.

  • http://transformingseminarian.blogspot.com Mark Baker-Wright

    I’m seeing a lot of folks asking questions like the above “why should you be able to vote without proving you are actually the person claiming eligibility to vote?”

    I think this is rather missing the point that others are making, and the sides are talking past each other. If the necessary “proof” (usually a photo ID, but there are alternatives, I know) was universally accessible, I don’t think there’d be much push-back.

    But consider these two important facts: 1) some people, already in danger of being disenfranchised for various reasons — I need not repeat them here — have a harder time going through the red tape to get that proof than others, and 2) the current system — which for better or worse has not required such proof until now — has yield such a low amount of fraud so as to demonstrate isn’t near non-existence.

    I think the question of “why are some people putting so much effort into making sure that proof is given?” is a more important one than “why should you be able to vote without proving you are actually the person claiming eligibility to vote?” If you can answer the first question with something that doesn’t amount to greater voter disenfranchisement (intentional or not, it doesn’t matter), and I’ll be happy to answer the second one with “you shouldn’t.” But until then, I think it’s more important to presume would-be voters innocent until proven guilty. We’re supposed to have that bias in this country, aren’t we?

  • http://transformingseminarian.blogspot.com Mark Baker-Wright

    I’m going to take this opportunity to beg (for the umpteenth time) for a comment system that allows me to edit my own comments (other blogs have them).

    In the third paragraph of my comment (#21), point #2 should read:

    2) the current system — which for better or worse has not required such proof until now — has yielded such a low amount of fraud so as to demonstrate its near non-existence.

  • http://timmillerblog.wordpress.com/ tim Miller

    Why is it, that at the Democratic Convention ID was required to enter the convention, but the Dems don’t think the same requirement is necessary for our national election?

  • http://transformingseminarian.blogspot.com Mark Baker-Wright

    Are all Democrats supposed to be able to go to the Convention? I’m pretty sure Conventions are only for a few people. This is hardly the hypocrisy you seem to want to argue that it is.

  • Patrick

    An issue I don’t understand. I’m 58, I’ve always had to show a photo ID to vote in Tennessee. Why is having a valid photo ID so weird? Why is this a racial issue, you can’t fly w/o one, think the TSA is a racist org under Obama also??? If not, why make this ignorant charge?

    Looks to me like the majority of Pennsylvanians, almost always a democrat Presidential vote, are for this .

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/27/poll-pennsylvanias-voter-i-d-law-has-solid-support/

    Why do you have to show a photo ID to fly? Because they really need to know that’s you and not Osama Bin Terrorist, right? Now, why would any state want me to ID myself before voting??

    Not a chance I could go county to county voting is there? Not a chance I could get a ton of college kids to go county to county voting while paying them in cash, some pot and booze.

    Photo ID , what a serious issue of anti democratic hate and prejudice of the corrupt GOP who “buys” elections:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2012/jul/20/will-barack-obama-be-outraised-mitt-romney/

  • Jon

    I would be fine with requiring either a photo ID, or a voter registration card, which one receives at no cost after registering to vote.

  • AndyM

    if voter ID legislation were introduced mid-term, with a pleasantly long lead-in time so all the identity card-less could in the space of a year or more (or whatever generous timeframe) get themselves sorted, would that appease the concerns that this was an evil republican conspiracy to beat obama?

  • Barb

    So if ID is required to vote then I guessing you would throw out all mail in ballots in any state? How would that work?

  • Tom F.

    Tom Howard-

    Sure, I would guess there would be steps. It would be important to make sure the steps are gradiated along both lines, because otherwise the compromise doesn’t work. So for example, one step could be that a small state enacts this sort of compulsory voting. The fine needn’t be oppressive, perhaps something like 15$ or so.

    As part of the process of enforcing compulsory voting, states would automatically have to update their voter rolls, and part of that process could be getting a voter ID. The states would be compelled to make sure that everyone had the required ID with the least possible amount of time, hassle, and money required.

    More importantly, it has the possibility of taking the partisan politics out of voting laws. Neither side has anything to gain by throwing obstacles in the way of voters, because 97% of the population will vote. Neither side has any reason to object to voter ID, because 97% of the population will vote.

  • metanoia

    Barb hit the nail on the head. The biggest loophole for voter fraud is absentee mail in ballots. Community organizers can easily determine who is shut-in, in the hospital, in jail, etc. and help these people get a ballot. They can then “coach” the recipients in how to fill out the ballot.

    I lived in Chicago for 53 years, 40 of those years I was eligible to vote. This is not anecdotal, I saw voter fraud in every election I participated in. Just because voter fraud isn’t reported or prosecuted leading to a minimum number of convictions doesn’t mean the problem isn’t there and real.

    Elizabeth Drew’s comments are not much more than the talking points for the Democratic Party.

  • metanoia

    I inadvertently hit “enter” without finishing my thought.

    “Elizabeth Drew’s comments are not much more than the talking points for the Democratic Party. . . A party that has exploited minorities (of which I am one) who are the most likely to be taken advantage of in the voter fraud she claims they are trying to protect from. State IDs can be made easily available and precinct captains, community organizers and others can assist those who have “difficulty” accessing an ID to be able to get one.

    If the problem is that it is too close to the election, this issue has been fought by the Democrats every time it has been brought up even when it has been brought up immediately after an election where voter fraud has been suspected and proven.

  • LT

    The idea that voter fraud is not a problem is untrue in some cases, and unproven in others.

    In the 2008 Minnesota senate election, there were 75 convictions for voter fraud, more than 200 cases in which the statute of limitations expired. In addition, there were something like 3000 same day voter registrations who have never been found anywhere. That is 3000 people registered on election day, voted, and have never been found anywhere. All of this in an election that was won by 312 votes (many of which were disputed).

    I know in my city there is widespread problems with absentee ballots where candidates pay people to get absentee ballots. These people go and get people to sign their ballots without filling them out, and then they are later filled out by the campaign worker. Other large cities have similar problems.

    There was a story recently were a white man was able to obtain the ballot for Attorney General Eric Holder.

    In many cases, since we have no mechanisms to examine the problem, we simply don’t know if there is voter fraud. So the declaration that voter fraud is no problem is, at best, an unproven assertion that should not be tolerated in a court of law.

    So the idea that voter fraud is insignificant or unimportant is simply false. If one false vote is cast, it disenfranchises someone by canceling out their legitimate vote.

    Voting is a constitutional right granted to citizens. Therefore, to verify citizenship is constitutional. There is no reason not to.

  • http://www.parkpresbyterian.org J. Christy Wareham

    Well, in Florida they definitively identified 182,000 suspect voters (58% Hispanic!), from whom the discerning parental units of the Sunshine State culled 2,700 especially dubious characters. Under careful scrutiny, it turns out, ALL FEARS WERE CONFIRMED! The Australian born Josef Sever, age 52, was in fact determined to be fraudulently registered to vote. The American electoral system is now safe, thanks to the Republicans of Florida. Someone should be awarded a medal.

  • http://www.parkpresbyterian.org J. Christy Wareham

    Austrian. In the word of an unjustly forgotten Texan, “Oops.”

  • Dan

    Maybe we can link the requirement of ID to vote with the requirement to prove one is insured under Obamacare.

    #34, the scorn loses some of it’s steam when when you mess up the stat.

  • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

    LT, why should it be more concerning that one vote is cast fraudulently, than one vote is prevented from being cast legally?

  • AndyM

    Adam: a person is prevented only insofar as they choose not to meet the (not that unreasonable) requirements to prove their identity.
    fraud relates to deception. someone choosing not to get an ID sorted out so they can vote is their own sloth.

  • Mike M

    I have to show an ID when I buy wine. I have to show an ID when I buy spray paint. I have to show an ID when I pick up my blood pressure medication. I have to show an ID when I buy glue. I have to show an ID when I board a plane, Greyhound bus, or Amtrack train. Is this so hard to understand?
    If liberals want to lump seniors living in assisted living facilities with illegal aliens, why don’t they start empowerment programs that bring the ability to vote to those facilties? It is disengenuous to portray Medicare recipients as being in the same boat as illegal aliens.

  • http://azspot.net Naum

    1. Requiring a “Voter ID” is akin to a poll tax — it affects the young and the elderly, those who do not have an acceptable photo ID that meets stipulations. Voting is not like buying/driving a car, buying alcohol, etc.… — civic duty of voting should be more inclusive, not exclusive.

    2. It solves a non-existent problem. A minuscole amount (estimates of like like 1-3 cases per state per year). While there are larger voting fraud issues that should be addressed — like lack of transparency in voting machine software, corruption in state government election offices, etc.… And these laws DO NOT address absentee ballots, which can be rife with illegality.

    3. Republican campaign strategists and party leaders speaking candidly have been up front that it is definitely an effort to restrict the vote and scratch votes that have a higher probability of going to the other side (the poor). That the smaller the voter turnout, the better their chances.

    4. It has already been empirically demonstrated that such compiled lists of voter name scratch lists are highly inaccurate, often with marks of 50-90% incorrect. Again, a concerted strategy by Republican election officials to shade a percent or two in their favor. This is not conjecture, it is well documented in every election since 2000.

  • Andy W.

    Anyone who thinks one party has the edge when it comes to trying to cheat, steal or do any and all things neccessary to win an elections is delusional. Each party does everything possible to win power. In Massachusetts the democratic controlled government has basically re-arranged all the districts so that voting is hugely scewed in there favor. It’s such a joke that during elections a large percentage of democrats don’t even have a rebulican running against them. I’m not saying Voter ID is right, but it certainly seems more reasonable than the re-districting startegies to gain and maintain power.

  • corey

    I’d love to see Republicans get this excited about requiring ID’s and background checks to purchase guns online, you know, things that actually kill people.

  • LT

    @36, Adam — Who said that one was better than the other? I have no idea who you are talking to because I never said anything remotely similar to that. I am in favor of making sure that every legal voter can vote, and no illegal voters can vote. And the way you do that is through voter ID. It is necessary to protect the votes of everyone, right and left. It’s not a Republican issue. It is an American issue.

    @39, Naum, To #1 It’s not a poll tax because (1) in most states its free, and (2) even if it weren’t, it’s the cost of a pack of cigarettes or a few bottles of pop every four years. Hardly unreasonable in order to uphold hte constitution and protect the right of people to vote.

    To #2, you are just wrong. It is a problem as I demonstrated. At least one senator sits in the Senate under the cloud of significant voting irregularities. But even if it is a miniscule problem, why is it okay? It’s not.

    #41, Corey, First, remember that guns don’t kill people. People kill people. I live in Detroit where people are killed almost every day from gun violence. And not one time has a gun killed someone without being handled by an actual person who points it and pulls the trigger in some manner. Second, everyone who lives in a big city or a small city know that laws preventing the purchase of guns do not apply to the place where most people get their guns–the black market, theft, or borrowing. Third, I am fine with background checks and IDs to purchase guns. They already exist.

    Lastly, both sides try to cheat and manipulate the vote. It is wrong. But this is a constitutional matter. The constitution requires that only citizens vote. To uphold the constitution, we need to ensure that only citizens vote.

  • P.

    #40 Andy – Excellent points! Neither party has a lock on virtue or evil. To think otherwise is naive.

    #41 Corey – Excellent point also – and I’m a Republican. I just don’t worship guns.

  • Fish

    “I’d love to see Republicans get this excited about requiring ID’s and background checks to purchase guns online, you know, things that actually kill people.”

    Me, too. It’s highly strange that I can go to a gun show and exercise my constitutional right to legally buy as many AKs as I have cash to afford with no ID, but I can’t go to the polls and exercise my constitutional right to vote without ID. On the face of it, gun ownership is of higher importance in this country than democracy itself.

    Follow the money. Corporations make money when guns are encouraged to be bought and sold, and corporations make money when the people are discouraged from voting.

  • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

    LT,

    I think you did says what I suggested you did. You said, “So the idea that voter fraud is insignificant or unimportant is simply false. If one false vote is cast, it disenfranchises someone by canceling out their legitimate vote.”

    And I said, why are you more concerned with the one false vote than with the one person that was unable to vote because of a requirement that they could not meet?

    In both cases there is a problem. My point is that focus should be on people voting, not in the relatively small problem of people fraudulently voting. The reality is (and study after study has shown) that more people are prevented from voting than are voting fraudulently.

    These rules place a hindrance on what is one of the most fundamental rights. What is constitutionally most important here, is the right TO vote, not the right of the country to make someone prove who they are.

  • LT

    And I said, why are you more concerned with the one false vote than with the one person that was unable to vote because of a requirement that they could not meet?

    That’s my point: I never said I was more concerned with one that then other. I was simply only talking about one. There is no evidence that anyone in unable to meet the requirements. All state voter ID law, so far as I know, make it very easy to obtain the necessary ID.

    My point is that focus should be on people voting, not in the relatively small problem of people fraudulently voting. The reality is (and study after study has shown) that more people are prevented from voting than are voting fraudulently.

    It’s not a relatively small problem. It is a big problem where we know of it (e.g., Minnesota) and in many cases we simply don’t know. Here’s the reality: When a white man can walk up to the table and obtain a ballot for Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States, there is a significant problem.

    Here in Michigan a long time congressman was forced to resign when it came to light that his campaign staff was forging ballot petition signatures. That’s election fraud.

    If people are prevented from voting, it is only because of their failure to do what is easy and necessary. Campaigns on election day routinely drive vans and buses to help people get to polling places. Here’s an idea: Use those vans and buses four weeks earlier and drive them to get ID.

    This is a very easy problem to solve that creates no undue hardship and serves a vital constitutional purposes, that of making sure that the government of “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” the people being citizens.

    How would you like it if I walked up and obtained a ballot in your name and you were then prevented from voting because they thought you had already voted? My guess is that you would be very upset by that and cry foul. And you should be. Right now, there is nothing to stop me in many states, but you don’t want to do what it would take to stop it.

    Why have a rule that only citizens can vote unless you are willing to enforce and protect the vote of citizens? Why not be willing to take simple and easy steps to protect the right of citizens to vote and have their vote count?

    If you don’t like voter ID, what is a better solution to make sure that I don’t vote as Adam Shields?

  • LT

    Messed up the formatting on that last post. The third paragraph beginning with “My point is” is a quotation of Adam Shields in #45 that I am responding to.

  • http://deadheroesdontsave.com Mike Barlotta

    T@8 “But make no mistake, there are definite demographic reasons that Repubs are pushing these laws while Dems resist them. The (working or not-working) poor, the old, the naturalized citizen–all these will be less likely to have correct ID’s and more difficulty getting them. ”

    Again, I am not in favor of laws pushed through a few weeks/months before an election. However I can’t understand why proving your identity before getting to vote is something anyone could be against. As Phil@6, PJ @7, Leslie@11, AndyM@18 and others noted we all have to show proof of identify for a variety of activities. I would venture that the poor are required to show various proofs of identity and circumstances to collect various benefits so this really should not be the problem many make it out to be.

    DRT@19 – maybe the OP was targeting Voter ID so these other issues were not brought up. ;)

    Barb@28 – I agree and would do away with mail-in ballots. I am sure that would make me very popular, but I think a national “holiday” where employers all had to allow employees to vote and having everyone vote on the same day would be a good thing.

    Voting is a right and a responsibility.
    My 2cents

  • http://azspot.net Naum

    @LT, those vote irregularities/illegalities are not the kind remedied by Voter ID laws. Again, it has not been demonstrated at all that Voter ID restrictions are addressing anything other than one-sy and two-sy (per year) infractions.

    OTOH, Republican party leaders and campaign strategists are fairly upfront that it is a concerted scheme to restrict or block the vote as a means of increasing Republican win probability.

  • Barb

    For the record–I would advocate for all mail-in ballots for the whole country. I’m glad that this is still the right of each state to determine how elections are conducted. I’m glad I’m in a state that has already progressed to an all mail-in system.

  • LT

    @LT, those vote irregularities/illegalities are not the kind remedied by Voter ID laws. Again, it has not been demonstrated at all that Voter ID restrictions are addressing anything other than one-sy and two-sy (per year) infractions.

    I am not following you here. Every irregularity I mentioned would be addressed by voter ID laws. And the 1/2 a year is simply inaccurate. In Minnesota, in one election, there were 75 convictions, 200 that were charged but didn’t go to trial, and three thousand voters who don’t exist anywhere.

    But is one vote or two votes not enough? How many people need to be disenfranchised before it matters>?

    OTOH, Republican party leaders and campaign strategists are fairly upfront that it is a concerted scheme to restrict or block the vote as a means of increasing Republican win probability.

    I don’t doubt that, but it’s pretty irrelevant. It doesn’t really matter why; it matters what. The law specifies that only citizens are to vote. It is possible that illegal voters are having significant impact on elections, and it should be stopped.

    The question isn’t “Why are Republicans doing this?” The question is “Why aren’t Democrats doing this?” At some point we need to be asking why Democrats are so determined to avoid the constitution protections of the ballot box.

  • LT

    I would advocate for all mail-in ballots for the whole country.

    Mail in ballots are probably the worst solution since there is no way to know who is filling it out, whether or not they are delivered, whether or not they are counted when they are delivered, etc.

    Absentee ballots are also a major source of problems. All absentee voting should be eliminated and voting stretched to a two-three day period so everyone has a chance to make it. Voting overseas for military or ex-pats can be conducted in person at embassies or appointed places.

    I am increasingly of the opinion that national elections such as presidential elections need to be governed by nationally policy for equal protection. Differing standards in differing states lead to inequities in the process. The elections should be governed according to the level at which they apply (cities by cities, states by states, nation by national).

  • Ian Kirk

    Stepping into this late in the discussion…

    It seems (on the surface) ironic that those that are (supposedly) under the threat of disenfranchisement are those that already disenfranchised due to employment regulations. If this is the fuel to help (you can even read that as “force”) them have valid identification so that they can get better (versus under-the-counter) jobs, wouldn’t that be good? That being ID’d for voting is considered disenfranchisement, but being ID’d for employment is not, shows a disconnect.

    Perhaps, instead of fighting voter ID, there ought to be a push for government issued ID so that people have the documentation needed for employment.

    One of the comments above say one or two fraudulent votes are a small price. That reminded me of an illustration that a pastor once used. If I were to make you brownies and give you one, then told you, “oh, by the way there is a bit of dog poo in it, but that’s okay,” would you eat it?

  • EricW

    I’ll be so glad when the Minority Report (movie) world becomes a reality and we can prevent not only voter fraud but also thinking about voting for the wrong candidate.


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