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Tilting at Windmills

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September 12, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

VOTER ID....Peter Wallsten has a long story in the LA Times today about conservative efforts to pass laws that require voters to show a picture ID in order to vote in state and national elections. This is, rather plainly, an effort to reduce Democratic turnout, since people who don't have picture IDs (the poor, the elderly, and minorities) tend to vote disproportionately for Democrats.

Of course, that's not what conservatives say. What they say is that this is an effort to cut down on voter fraud. This, then, presents an obvious question: is there, in fact, any widespread evidence of the kind of voter fraud that picture IDs would prevent? You have to wait until nearly the last paragraph of the story for this question to even be addressed, in a description of a court battle currently being fought in Arizona:

A lawyer for the state argued that the voting system was vulnerable to fraud by impersonators and noncitizens; lawyers fighting the new law said there was little to no evidence of past fraud.

Pathetic, no? This is probably the key question in the whole controversy, and the story doesn't even make an attempt to say anything about. That state lawyer, of course, is quite correct: there is virtually no evidence of anything more than minuscule amounts of fraud associated with impersonation of legitimate voters. You would think, perhaps, that this would be important enough to make it into the story.

Alternatively, conservatives could put their money where their mouth is by supporting ID laws that include aggressive provisions to ensure that everyone has quick and easy access to proper ID, free of charge. Or that ID would also be required for those who vote by mail, who are predominantly white, upper income, and Republican. But they don't. I wonder why?

Kevin Drum 11:59 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (121)

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Comments

Diebold!

Posted by: Stephen on September 12, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Why not a law that says: "Show ID to vote, and here's the ID, which we'll provide free of charge"?

Posted by: CJColucci on September 12, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

That state lawyer, of course, is quite correct: there is virtually no evidence of anything more than minuscule amounts of fraud associated with impersonation of legitimate voters.

In the clip you cite right before this sentence, it's the [AZ] state lawyer saying the system is vulnerable to fraud and impersonation.

Posted by: dj moonbat on September 12, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

How the US manages to maintain a democratic, technocratic society without a proper ID system boggles the mind...

Posted by: OmniDane on September 12, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

is there, in fact, any widespread evidence of the kind of voter fraud that picture IDs would prevent?

Definitely. Here's a example of voting fraud by illegal Mexicans aliens reported by the Washington Times.

Link

"Nearly 2,500 people of questionable eligibility voted in the election in which Democrat Loretta Sanchez defeated former Rep. Robert K. Dornan last year, the California secretary of state said yesterday. Mr. Dornan lost by fewer than 1,000 votes.

After a year of comparing California voter lists with immigration service citizenship lists, the House Oversight Committee had winnowed its list of potential non-citizens down to 4,761 names and referred them to the office of Secretary of State Bill Jones.

Last week, an Orange County grand jury declined to issue indictments of officials at Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, a Latino rights group suspected of illegally registering hundreds to vote before they became citizens."

Posted by: Al on September 12, 2006 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

If the Democratic Party wasn't a complete supporter of illegal immigration, such proposals wouldn't get so much traction.

As for pathetic, that's how I'd define relying on the LAT quoting the other side's lawyers. Of course both parties are going to downplay it.

On the wider issue:

Immigration march organizers have foreign links (and, several Dems have links to those organizers or the marches)

Democrats in California State Senate support foreign citizens marching in our streets

Democrat Roberto Maldonado: Cook County should be an illegal alien sanctuary

Posted by: TLB on September 12, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

"... reported by the Washington Times."

The very definition of an oxymoron.

Kevin nails it with his question about voting by mail (or "absentee" as we call it here). Publicans, more and more, don't even show up to the polls, so they wouldn't have to show ID.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 12, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Voting by mail is open to abuse and ought to be limited rather than extended. The problem is a vote-by-mail ballot is no longer secret. The patriarch could fill out all the mail in ballots for his clan or a political machine could provide the 'service' of mailing the unsealed ballots of its supporters (checking their votes to make sure they're earning their patronage).

For people who are going to be out of the area at election time, we could provide national voter service offices where the ballots would be verified as blank by a staffer, then the voter would fill out the ballot, seal the envelope and give it to the staffer to mail.

Posted by: Slocum on September 12, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

I read the same article this morning and had the same complaint. I thought about writing a letter to the paper complaining. Long live the blog (and to a lesser extent, Kevin Drum)!

Posted by: Mavis Beacon on September 12, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, this is America. There doesn't need to be any actual evidence that something really is a significant or measurable problem; if you can spout a theory about how something could be a problem and then throw in an anecdote or 2, the public will go into a full fledged panic. See: Flag Burning, Welfare Queens, Estate Tax, Hardened Criminals as Illegal Aliens, Child Abductions, terrorist Attacks, etc... We're not so good at actual risk assessment, not when emotion can play into it.

Posted by: Doug-E-Fresh on September 12, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Nearly 2,500 people of questionable eligibility voted in the election in which Democrat Loretta Sanchez defeated former Rep. Robert K. Dornan last year, the California secretary of state said yesterday. Mr. Dornan lost by fewer than 1,000 votes.

What a pile of stinking offal!! What repukeliscum bullcrap!!!

This happened in 1998? 1996? 1994?

Posted by: POed Lib on September 12, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

BRAHAHAHAHA

I tried clicking on Al's link, but the company I work for lists it as a restricted site.

Al, give up.

Posted by: Ack Ack Ack Ack on September 12, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Al, you blithering moron:

In the run-up to the Mexican War, HUGE AMOUNTS OF REPUKELISCUM fraud involving German voters crossing the border from IL to MO were encountered...

Why didn't you mention that?

Posted by: POed Lib on September 12, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder why?

Because they are assholes?

Posted by: gregor on September 12, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Why not a law that says: "Show ID to vote, and here's the ID, which we'll provide free of charge"?

More than the cost, it's the convenience of obtaining an ID that poses an obstacle. Many poor and elderly don't drive or have vehicles, so it's difficult to get to a DMV office or similar setup, possibly having to take off work first, bum a ride and then stand in line all morning. If you live in a rural area and have to go great distances, this is a real dilemma.

I'm not saying these problems couldn't be addressed, but Republicans tend to be oblivious and/or dismissive of them.

Posted by: shortstop on September 12, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

What a pile of stinking offal!! What repukeliscum bullcrap!!!

This happened in 1998? 1996? 1994?

Well, yes, but B1 Bob has yet to officially concede the seat, doesn't he? For Rep. Sanchez' first term in office, didn't he daily run down the aisle with her and try to wedge his rear into the seat before she could sit down, making for a few hilarious "Loretta on Bob's lap" moments?

Dang, that was an entertaining election. One of my favorites.

Posted by: shortstop on September 12, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

I just wish Bush would stop making a mockery of the flag of our country!

Posted by: A Cynic's Cynic on September 12, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

"This, then, presents an obvious question: is there, in fact, any widespread evidence of the kind of voter fraud that picture IDs would prevent?"

Yes there is. Wisconsin and Minneapolis 2004. See for example here and lots of other reporting on that blog on that topic.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw on September 12, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Al fails to realize that all illegal immigration is the product of people breaking the law by offering employment to the immigrants.

Once again, profit prevails.

Posted by: stumpy on September 12, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: ...people who don't have picture IDs (the poor, the elderly, and minorities)...

Which minorities would that be? Does Kevin believe that Asian Americans don't have picture IDs? I don't think so. I think Kevin is implicitly criticizing African Americans -- implying that getting a picture ID is too hard for them. Actually, African Americans drive cars just as Kevin does, so they get drivers licenses. For non-drivers, states offer a picture ID card, which can be used for cashing checks and other ID purposes.

The elderly also have drivers licenses and need to cash checks, so they have picture IDs. Kevin's assumption smacks of ageism as well as racism.

The one minority group that lacks picture IDs is illegal aliens. Stopping non-citizens from voting is a good argument in favor of requiring picture IDs.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 12, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, oblivious and dismissive. And immune to reality.

Posted by: shortstop on September 12, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Any law meant to address an alleged problem must pass three tests:

1. Is there really a problem?

2. Will this law actually solve that problem?

3. Will the negative side-effects of the law be acceptable?

If the answer to all three is not YES then the law should not be passed.

Posted by: Chris Andersen on September 12, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Far more likely that the stupid do not have picture ID, for otherwise how does one explain that Bush gets even a 30% turnout?

Democrats, who claim the brains should be the biggest supporters. If we remove the idiots from voting then Democrats can present sound, scientifically based policies without worrying about the idiots and the liars who demogogue.

Posted by: Matt on September 12, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the case regards the old story LBJ used to tell -- it seems that a little boy was sitting on a corner crying in southern Texas border town. When asked why he was crying, the lad said that his daddy came into town and voted for LBJ and never stopped to see him. It seems the little boy's daddy had been dead for several years and was buried in a cemetary.

Posted by: Ray Waldren on September 12, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

A beautiful example of agitating against voter fraud comes from Utah a few years ago.

Utah had one of the most lenient DMVs in the country. Illegal immigrants were getting driver's licenses there in large numbers. Legislators wanting to curb immigrants from getting licenses brought up the additional rational that they were also able to register to vote simply by checking a box on the form.

All of this is true. What was extraordinary is that of the 60,000 or so licenses granted to illegal immigrants, only about 100 or so registered to vote (I would have expected a vastly higher number from response error). Of the 100 or so that registered 7 actually did vote.

Even more extraordinary, Republicans in Utah continued to agitate the issue even when it was clear that 'voter fraud' had nothing to do with it.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on September 12, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I bet there is a big problem in Utah, what with patriarchs voting GOP for all their wives, without their wives even knowing it. No wonder Utah went 70% for Bush.

This problem must be stopped. And the only way to stop it is to require white men in red states to bring their wives to the polls, so that the wives can verify that the votes being cast are, in fact, legit.

That should solve the problem. The huge, big, really scary problem. You bet.

Posted by: craigie on September 12, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps ex liberal has a problem with facts or logic. But plainly, Kevin is not talking about wealthy people. No, the point concerns those who may not have an i.d., yet vote for Democrats. To pretend this is racism (or whatever) is just stupid. Now, imagine the point the other way round: if Democrats demanded that, say, Evangelicals offer something to vote (perhaps their credit card information). If Demoncrats could do this, it would reduce the Republican vote. That is the point.

Posted by: tim on September 12, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

I understand now, why 9/11 was chosen as the date for the attack.

Every two years for the next several decades, the Republicans will be able to trot it out a month and a half before elections, to fire-up the "Dems are weak on security" debate.

This reason, more than any other, is why I believe that 9/11 was an inside job. "You covered your ass now. . ." is another good reason.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 12, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

You know what else? When I go to vote, all the poll workers are doddery old codgers, who really have no clue what is going on around them. I could go vote, go get back in line, and come up and say I was someone else, and cast that person's ballot too; and I could probably do this several times before the old dears got a clue.

This fraud must end!

I say we require that all poll workers be perky young teenagers, preferably women, ideally in cheerleader outfits. That would solve this huge, destructive problem right away!

Please sign here...

Posted by: craigie on September 12, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

A little more objective a source on the Wisconsin allegations than Special Ed: No vote fraud plot found:

The nearly yearlong investigation into voter fraud in 2004 has yielded no evidence of a broad conspiracy to try to steal an election, U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic said Monday. He predicted that perhaps "a couple of dozen" isolated cases of suspected fraud might be charged, and he said that sloppy recordkeeping by election officials was a key impediment to proving such cases.
Nothing in the cases that his office has examined has shown a plot to try to tip an election, Biskupic said during a meeting with Journal Sentinel editors and reporters.
Critics had raised such fears of partisan voter fraud schemes in the election aftermath. But Biskupic said, "I wouldn't say that at all."
He said, "We don't see a massive conspiracy to alter the election in Milwaukee, one way or another."
Biskupic, a Republican whom President Bush appointed in 2002, and Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann, a Democrat, announced a joint effort to investigate allegations of illegal voting in January.

Posted by: kth on September 12, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Osama, I hate to admit it, but that thought actually occurred to me too. Damn these people for making every conspiracy seem completely reasonable...

Posted by: craigie on September 12, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

JEEZUS if there was widespread fraud by liberals and democrats, they would friggin be in office.

DUH.

SHEESH ARE AMURRIKKANS THE STUPIDEST PEOPLE ON EARTH OR JUST THE MOST GULLIBLE?

Posted by: marblex on September 12, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Wait - I thought we heard that there was no voter fraud after the most recent elections, in places like Ohio, Florida.........

Posted by: Gerry on September 12, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Obvious solution. Issue picture IDs to voters. The cost of doing that will probably change their minds. The poor, elderly, and the like can have the registrar brought to their homes since they are not capable of going to him that will increase cost even more. The cat can usually be skinned without a lot of fanfare.

Posted by: BG on September 12, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think there is any question that conservatives are somewhat disengenuous about their motives here.

That being said, this is really an absurdly low bar. Federal law does not even allow someone to get (legally) hired without a recognized form of ID. You have to have birth certificate or picture ID for the I-9 and generally most employers require you to produce your social security card as well.

So where is this mass of legal voters without ID? People posit that the poor and old don't have picture ID, but I can't say that I have ever seen anyone demonstrate it with any numbers. Is the issue ID, or picture ID? I would certainly be OK with a birth certificate or social security card as ID.

I am a big pro-immigration guy, and therefore have a very narrow definition of what "citizen" means. I think anyone who wants to be in this country should be able to work and live, citizen or no, without the government's permission. Citizenship should only mean you can vote, and in the modern welfare state, that you have access to certain government handouts. I don't see why it is unreasonable to prove your identity for these limited functions. Instead, in this strange world, we don't require ID for these functions but do require an ID before you can legally work and pay taxes. Weird world - you can vote and be a parasite on public benefits without restriction but you have to prove you are a citizen to be productive, earn a living and pay taxes.

Posted by: coyote on September 12, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

When I go to vote later today, I am taking the two kinds of ID and refusing to use my drivers license. Make the gate keepers work while I bitch and moan about how discriminatory this Republican idea is. The voter fraud this ID is supposed to prevent was never a problem. The real problem the Tancredo fucks of this world want to solve is poor people of color exercising the right to vote.

Posted by: Hostile on September 12, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

The cat can usually be skinned without a lot of fanfare.

Well sure, but at our house, the Festival of Cat Skinning is a big deal. We invite the neighbors, get a bouncy castle, and have a marching band. And the booze, of course. It's kind of a tradition, a little like Burns Night.

Posted by: craigie on September 12, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

I have to admit that I don't see much problem with this. While there may be some knowledgeable voters that won't have ID i think that most people who should vote will care enough to find proof of citizenship. Fact of the matter is, if you can't take the time to register and identify yourself you'll probably not be educated about the issues and candidates.

There are two ways to disenfranchise legitimate voters. One is to stop them from voting, the other is to drown their vote in a sea of fraudulent ballots. Id like to see both methods reduced.

Posted by: Joe on September 12, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who is serious about eliminating election fraud would be looking at removing that potential from the system that registers and counts the votes.

Voter ID is about vote suppression.

Not a serious conversation.

Posted by: Peanut on September 12, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think there is any question that conservatives are somewhat disengenuous about their motives here.

Here, there, and everywhere.

Posted by: craigie on September 12, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin pondered: "I wonder why?"

Because the only way the Republican Fascist Party can win elections is by stealing them through voter disenfranchisement, intimidation and fraud.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 12, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Even if, as Al asserts, people who are ineligible to vote are being registered, what does that have to do with photo ID?

Having a photo ID just proves that I'm the person who matches the name on the list at the polling place. If that list is wrong, photo ID doesn't fix it.

Until I see evidence that lots of people are voting as someone else, photo ID just seems authoritarian to me.

There is an implied assumption that those eligible to vote will have IDs, and those ineligible won't, but that's just not a valid assumption.

Posted by: biggerbox on September 12, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the conservative riposte is that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, better safe than sorry, teach the controversy, etc.

Posted by: scarshapedstar on September 12, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Most illegal aliens stay as far away from any government process as possible for one reason, they don't want to get caught. Republicans have yet to produce any real evidence of voter fraud of this type.

Meanwhile, many blacks (see Florida, 2000) are taken off the voter lists without their knowledge and accused of being felons or some such thing when they aren't.

Posted by: tomeck on September 12, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

While there may be some knowledgeable voters that won't have ID i think that most people who should vote will care enough to find proof of citizenship.

Anyone who can legally vote, should vote if he/she wishes to. The most illiterate, ill-informed person is perfectly capable of asking his son/daughter/neighbor/pastor "who do you think is the best man for this job?" And that's as legitimate a deliberative process as any.

Posted by: kth on September 12, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Can we pass a law banning Al from voting?

That would be great for America.

Posted by: dee on September 12, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a Democrat, and to be honest, I don't see what the big fuss is over photo ID's, unless its on privacy and civil liberties grounds. Virtually everyone has one (you pretty much can't get a job or open a bank account without one), and it's would not be that hard to make sure that the elderly and infirm get one if needed.

There have been more examples of fraud (usually small-scale, but every vote matters) than I care to remember and this is a fairly simple solution to eliminating a significant amount of that. The bigger issue, as someone else has pointed out, is with absentee voting and vote-by-mail, which have no mechanism for ensuring that the person casting the vote is actually a registered voter. This is especially important in states like Oregon, which are completely vote-by-mail.

The bottom line is that requiring pitcure ID is not the big deal that some make it out to be.

Posted by: mfw13 on September 12, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

wasn't there also some questions about worries with law enforcement for unpaid tickets, etc among poorer voters?

Posted by: Michele on September 12, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Picture IDs have been required at the polls here in Kentucky for more than 20 years. I believe the reasoning then was to cut down on vote buying, although how showing an ID prevents someone from buying your vote escapes me - especially since vote buying continues to thrive here. The same problem applies to voter "fraud" - if a fake ID can get you a job, it's more than sufficient to pass muster at the polls.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on September 12, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

This isn't rocket science folks. When you are an adult, you need ID. And when you do any important transaction, you're going to be asked to show it. Voting is an important transaction.

If cost is the issue, take up a collection. I find it hard to believe there are that many legal citizens running around without IDs, and they only cost like $10. A couple million from the DNC coffers should easily cover those who truly can't afford it.

Posted by: Randy on September 12, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with the ID laws completely: we should be absolutely sure of who a person is before send their vote into digital limbo with our touch-screen voting systems...

Seriously, this is yet another example of how Dems debate stupidly. When a Repug says "voter fraud" you don't waste time defending yourself--you shove their organized voter fraud efforts up their ass until they shout uncle.

Posted by: GOP = vote fraud on September 12, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

If we're talking about election fraud, we've got ample evidence that voters need to be protected from Republican machinations. Luckily some of them have been convicted:

    James Tobin is sentenced to 10 months in prison, 2 years probation, and a $10,000 fine. He's due to report to prison June 23rd. He faced up to seven years in prison and $500,000 in fines. The judge denies Tobin's December 21st appeal and also denies his bail pending appeal.

Posted by: cyntax on September 12, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

If it were up to me, I would have literacy a requirement. I never understood how any party or any citizen group benefits when the illiterate vote.

Democrats are way off base on this issue. I have to repeat my opinion that Democrats suffer because they are always scraping the bottom of the barrel in uneducated voters and their policies come out like a camel built by a committee. Republicans have been able to run with the religious right fantasy because even this fantasy seems more rational than the mixed up nonsense that often comes from Democrats.

If a literacy requirement was the law, then the Democrats would be the majority party, Republicans would end up with the illiterate voters. For proof, just look at the political balance among the college educated. If you made a two year college degree a requirement for voting, the Democrats would have a historical dictatorship.

Posted by: Matt on September 12, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

tim wrote: Perhaps ex liberal has a problem with facts or logic. But plainly, Kevin is not talking about wealthy people. No, the point concerns those who may not have an i.d., yet vote for Democrats. To pretend this is racism (or whatever) is just stupid.

If it were true that poor, or minority or elderly voters tend to lack IDs, then Kevin would have been simply dealing with facts. However, Kevin presented no evidence that such is the case.

His pre-judgment that these three groups are deficient in this respect is the exact definition of prejudice.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 12, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Peanut got it right at 12:56.

And I find it highly amusing that our Republicans are continuing to pretend that cost is the only issue here. La la la la la I CAN'T HEAR YOU!

craigie, it took me like 30 seconds to figure out what a "bouncy castle" is. And two more to start wishing I had one right now.

Posted by: shortstop on September 12, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Every house should have one!

Posted by: craigie on September 12, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

GOP = vote fraud: this is yet another example of how Dems debate stupidly. When a Repug says "voter fraud" you don't waste time defending yourself--you shove their organized voter fraud efforts up their ass until they shout uncle.

Oh wise pseudononymous poster, ye have that right. Fight fire with fire!

Posted by: alex on September 12, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, in Kevin's state of California, a picture ID is free for senior citizens age 62 and older and has a reduced cost for those who meet income requirements from a public assistance program.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 12, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

craigie: but at our house, the Festival of Cat Skinning is a big deal

At our house we have the Festival of Cat Skinner Skinning. It's a lot more fun, and leaves less fur lying around.

Posted by: alex on September 12, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Matt: I never understood how any party or any citizen group benefits when the illiterate vote.

I don't see how having the literate vote helps either. But until they make me king, I'm willing to live with it.

P.S. Look up the history of voter literacy testing.

Posted by: alex on September 12, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal": Incidentally, in Kevin's state of California, a picture ID is free for senior citizens age 62 and older and has a reduced cost for those who meet income requirements from a public assistance program.

Gosh, Lifetime Republican, I'm loving the way you keep ignoring the geographical/time/logistical challenges faced by many of the poor and elderly, and concentrating on the cost factor, just like I predicted!

Now, tell me, what is California doing to help those without drivers' licenses or vehicles--a situation not all that uncommon among the poor and elderly, despite many of y'all's limited introduction to how many small-town people live--travel the sometimes oppressive distances to the places where they can get those IDs? Is it like Georgia, which tried to shove through a voter ID law despite the fact that less than half the counties had facilities for obtaining one and Atlanta had none? Georgia, which only under great duress has made sure that each county has one location? No, no intention of voter suppression there!

Posted by: shortstop on September 12, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Alex: At our house we have the Festival of Cat Skinner Skinning. It...leaves less fur lying around.

Clearly, you haven't met craigie's friends.

Posted by: shortstop on September 12, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Republican Governor Matt Blunt (son of Roy) of Missouri had previously been the secretary of state. One of the qualifications he claimed was that he had made sure that Missouri elections were free of fraud. Once he became governor, he got the legislature to pass a law passed requiring photo ids due to the great peril of voter fraud. Ironic, no?

Posted by: FS on September 12, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop,

Are you seriously trying to say that someone who is so isolated that they can't get to town to get an ID, is going to be any less isolated when it comes time to vote? And how do these people get their kids to school? How do they get food and supplies?

Posted by: Randy on September 12, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Phantom voters and other scams are more effective for an organized, disciplined party with an infrastructure in place to pull them off, like the old machines of urban America in the last century.

Who has those assets now? The churches. And mail-in ballots allow Pastor Phil to have Ballot Night in the church basement after Wednesday night Bible study.

Does the GOP really want to pass these laws, or are they for show?

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on September 12, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

'Cyntax' notes Republican fraud in voting in one instance. We could, if we wanted, talk about the multiple Democratic precinct workers convicted for vote fraud in East Saint Louis in the past year just to even the scorecard.

Back to point --

I need a picture ID for my job. I need one to drive. I need one to cash a check. These are everyday issues. Having a picture ID is no big deal. My state will issue me one (even if I don't drive) for $20.

Poor people need picture IDs and they have have them. They too have drivers licenses. They too cash checks. They too frequently have a picture ID for their job (and most poor people work).

Ditto for the elderly. Most elderly still drive and have a drivers license. Most elderly still cash checks. It's not a major problem.

But let's say the Dhimmicrats are right and it's hard for the poor and elderly to have a picture ID. After all, we want every eligible citizen to vote.

So let's make sure everyone has a state ID card with a photo. That isn't hard to do, and we can make it free.

Now what's the Dhimmicratic complaint going to be?

Posted by: Steve White on September 12, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, voter fraud exists.

By the way, whatever became of those third degree felony charges filed agains Ann Coulter in Palm Beach county for registering at a phony address and voting in the wrong precinct?

Posted by: Nonplussed on September 12, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop - What's your real concern? Helping people get IDs or avoiding a voters ID law? If you and Kevin want to lobby to make it easier to get a picture ID, I'lll be happy to support you.

I think some who complain about the alleged difficulty of geting a picture ID actually want to maintain fraudulent voting, which they think benefits the Dems.

BTW, I suspect that seniors have a higher percentage of picture IDs, because they've had more years to get one. Furthermore, they need picture IDs for many activities, such as cashing checks, proving that they deserve senior discounts, flying, etc. When my mother-in-law gave up her drivers license, she needed a pictrue ID. I drove her to the DMV where she went through the routine process of getting an official ID card. As a retiree, she had plenty of time to go through the bureaucratic process.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 12, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

I'm saying, Randy, that as tough as it is for the suburban SUV-worshiping crowd to twig, there is in fact a not-insignificant number of poor and elderly people living in big cities and very small towns who walk to get food and supplies, put their children (if they're young enough to have them) on the bus to school, and rely on friends or family members for rides to places they can't get to any other way. And yes, voting can be difficult, too, although in big cities and small towns you can usually walk to your polling place.

I'm saying that if you guys want a voter ID law, you first need to show that substantial voter fraud is taking place because of the lack of one--something no one in this thread has so far been able to do. I'm saying that you then need to show that the burden being placed upon voters who have to find a way to travel as much as a county away to stand in line to get an ID, perhaps taking off work to do so, is outweighed by this demonstrable voter fraud. And if you get through all of that successfully, I'm saying that you then need to figure out a better way for the state to make sure the right to vote isn't predicated on having cash and a set of wheels. Can you do that?

Posted by: shortstop on September 12, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

If the Democratic Party wasn't a complete supporter of illegal immigration--

El Wacko and his one-trick pony again. El Wacko, so bitter that his wife ran off with a swarthy folk.

The obvious point for dumb nativists is this: a state drivers' license or ID doesn't prove US citizenship. The Real ID Act is an unfunded mandate that ain't getting implemented.

Is it like Georgia, which tried to shove through a voter ID law despite the fact that less than half the counties had facilities for obtaining one and Atlanta had none?

Curiously enough, most Atlanta-area DMVs are located in places it's basically impossible to reach other than by driving. And the white burbs don't want the MARTA extended, since it'd just allow the black folks to come and steal their plasma TVs and rape their womenfolk.

Posted by: ahem on September 12, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Lifelong Republican; as I explained in my post above, the burden is upon the supporters of a photo ID law to show that lack of same is causing significant voter fraud. While you're at it, show me how the people pushing for a photo ID law are also pushing to ensure an auditable version of electronic voting. What? Don't tell me you're not really interested in voter fraud, just in getting in the way of certain kinds of voters?

Your little anecdote about your mother-in-law simply highlights my observation that you guys really have no idea how the truly poor elderly live. Discounts for flying? Give me a break.

Posted by: shortstop on September 12, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop - yes, I passionately favor auditable voting. My preferred method would be paper ballots, punched out by machine. They are checked and counted by machine. The ballot is put into a machine to verify that the ballot is accurate, without double votes, etc. Machine can count the ballots. The paper ballots are always available for auditing after the election.

This method is used in a number of districts.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 12, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

For anyone who thinks there are only a few voters in the US who do not have a picture ID.

This is from the Georgia Secretary of State's website:

Secretary of State Cathy Cox reported today that a new database match between the state's file of registered voters and the Department of Driver Services (DDS) data file of persons issued valid driver's licenses or Georgia ID Cards shows that nearly 700,000 Georgians lack the type of identification most commonly used to vote under the state's new photo ID provision.
Posted by: Blue Neponset on September 12, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Alternatively, conservatives could put their money where their mouth is by supporting ID laws that include aggressive provisions to ensure that everyone has quick and easy access to proper ID, free of charge.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha, that's funny, Kevin...you crack me up! Conservatives caring about people being able to vote? Whoo, that's funny. I mean, if they wanted to enable more people to vote, while ensuring that those who did had photo ID, why would they have opposed the motor/voter law so strenuously?

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on September 12, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Neponset - thanks for your post. As Mx. Cox says, some of those who lack state IDs may have other IDs valid for voting, but 676,000 is a large number.

I was glad to see from your link that the state of Georgia has made IDs free for the poor. I think any state that requires an ID for voting should make it free for those who can't afford it. Such a policy might have an unintended benefit for the poor, since having an ID can be useful in ways other than voting.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 12, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon Kevin, you gotta admit, the Republicans KNOW voter fraud.

Posted by: ckelly on September 12, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Can we pass a law banning Al from voting?

I'd be happy with a law to prevent Al from posting.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on September 12, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Are you seriously trying to say that someone who is so isolated that they can't get to town to get an ID, is going to be any less isolated when it comes time to vote? And how do these people get their kids to school? How do they get food and supplies?
Posted by: Randy

Randy, can't you read? shortstop clearly said that GA law only stipulated that each county (not each town) had to provide a photo ID center. Counties can be rather large and, in Georgia's case, rather rural. Believe it or not, transportation can be an issue for many people.

I have little problem with a voter ID system, provided there is ample opportunity for all citizens - regardless of their economic, geographic, or educational backgrounds - to obtain these ID's. Until that requirement is filled, it is vote suppression, pure and simple.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on September 12, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Missouri passed one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation; a thinly veiled end-run around laws against voter disenfranchisement.

Representative Ike Skelton, ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, went to get a state issued ID and the state that sends him to congress, and has for as long as I can remember, Would not accept his congressional ID card as valid to receive a Missouri state ID.

Then there is the little tid-bit about the MO Dept. of Revenue failing to issue the no-cost ID's to 138,000 eligible voters. We are a crucial swing state. If approximately 10,000 votes had gone to Jim Talent(less) Hack in 2000, he would have been the Governor instead of the worst embarrasment Dems have elected in a long time, Bob Holden (who lost his reelection bid in the primary he was so pathetic.) Four years later, if approximately 10,000 votes had gone the other way, Bush would have been deprived of a loyal toadie (in the form of Talent(less) hack) who votes as he is told by his overlords a startling 94% of the time, and Jeanne Carnahan (beloved widow of our beloved former governor, Mel Carnahan, who died in a plane crash a couple of weeks before defeating Ashcroft for a senate seat) would still be occupying our junior senate seat, and voting in our interest, not the Publicans.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 12, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Steve White: 'Cyntax' notes Republican fraud in voting in one instance. We could, if we wanted, talk about the multiple Democratic precinct workers convicted for vote fraud in East Saint Louis in the past year just to even the scorecard.

A false equivalency at best. Certainly the people involved in the vote buying for Kern's election to County Board chariman should be prosecuted. But if you think that's as egregious as a state wide phone-jamming attack, the coordinators of which were placing phone calls back to the White House during the operation, well... keep spinning friend.

Posted by: cyntax on September 12, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

In NJ, you need as many as 7 forms of ID to get a driver's license, or even to renew one. I happen to have a passport, driver's license, birth certificate, phone bill, credit card, etc to come up with the necessary "points" to qualify, but I can certainly understand that difficulty for many people.

If you want to tighten restrictions on driver's licenses (due to "national security" concerns), then don't turn around and say it's easy to get photo ID! What's the problem?! As I said, an equitable, fair and easily accessible system of ID'ing, fine. Other than that, no dice.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on September 12, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

The people most affected by the Missouri law are the elderly and the disabled who do not drive (Those most likely to go blue vs. red.)

Previously, the county of residence mailed out the voter registration cards, and we signed them. Then we signed the log book when we went in to our polling place. The signatures were verified, and the voter took their ballot and went into the booth to vote.

The reason that was given as the Publicans shoved this bill down our throats was to prevent voter fraud. But when the historical record is examined, the problem that has happened in Missouri, and elsewhere, is not with voter impersonation or duplicate voting, but with people, mostly inner-city voter-eligible residents in St. Louis and Kansas City, being wrongly purged from the rolls.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 12, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Oregon has a model vote-by-mail system. I started out skeptical about vote-by-mail, and protested to the county election board the first time I got a ballot in the mail, in Sedgewqick County Kansas in 1985, but have come to see the merits in the last couple of decades.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 12, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

The Repugnicans care less than zero about voter fraud. It always has been and always will be about disenfranchisement. Here in Oregon they attack our
"vote by mail". No evidence of fraud but they still attack the system as vulnerable to fraud. I guess the only fraud they do not care about is the Diebold kind.

Posted by: Paul the Cynic on September 12, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Fuck. I'm in the computer lab between classes, and the god-damned fire alarm just went off.

Back later.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 12, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Well, never mind. I stalled long enough that I didn't have to evacuate the building.

The Publicans are the ones doing the complaining about Oregon, and the ones forcing through the restrictive voting laws in other states.

Why do they hate America? Why do they hate the American democratic system?

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 12, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

The real question, Globe, is why do you scoff at authority, you fire drill flouter?

Posted by: shortstop on September 12, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

If one is really interested in secure votes as untainted by fraud as possible, then one must support presentation of photo-identification for both voting and registration. In addition, those who wish to vote absentee must present the ID when acquiring the ballot, and as one pointed out above, it is possible to validate the actual absentee vote by requiring/allowing the voter to take the ballot to any polling place or government office.

If you are only interested in gaming the rules for partisan benefit, then you may take the position of opposing voter ID while whining about electronic voting machines.

For what it is worth, I favor real paper ballots sequentially numbered.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on September 12, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Hey there ShortStop! How ya been?

The answer is obvious - I'm a scoff-law democrat.

And while I'm on the topic, when you other liberals teach your children to question authority, remember that you are authority.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 12, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

MeLoseBrain,

I grew up in a rural area. I know exactly how it works. The ID people show up at the courthouse once or twice a month and people have to stand in line to get in. Its inconvenient, but hardly impossible. And the cost is hardly an extreme burden. If somebody is really so poor that they can't come up with $10 for an ID, then by all means give them one. They should have it to register for assistance anyway. Sorry, not buying the rationalizations. In fact, the only reason I can think of to not require IDs to vote is to make it easier for ineligible people to vote.

Posted by: Randy on September 12, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Missouri had a perfectly servicable system before, as did most states. Who is going to go so far as to get utilities in a phony name to cast an extra ballot?

Nobody just walked in and said "Hi. I'm here to vote" and was handed a ballot. The rules in place before were reasonable. That is the difference. And those who are not being issued ID's are the most likely to vote Democratic.

When something walks like a duck...

Now I gotta go to class. Young minds await indoctrination - teach two to take two - The grad student mantra...

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 12, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

I actually came back to pose this question...

Can anyone justify the voter disenfranchisement of Representative Skelton?

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 12, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

During the recent washington state governers race our voting system was gone over with a fine toothed comb due to the closeness of the contest. Several cases of actual vote fraud were uncovered. Every one I heard of was an elderly person sending in an absentee ballot for a recently dead spouse. The two I heard described in detail were both republicans.

I am reasonably confident that my grandfather's mail in ballots are finding thier way into the ballot boxes marked all republican (as he would have marked them himself) and similarly confident that he doesn't know what year it is any more.

The main sources of election fraud in the US today are almost certainly registration and poll obstruction by republican election officials and absentee ballot fraud by family members.

By far the weakest point in identity verification is mail in balloting, and mail in balloting is continuing to be expanded.

Posted by: jefff on September 12, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Now Yancey and spacebaby are a good example of what I was talking about, craigie. They grew up in the same house. She can look past her own experience and see how other people live. Yancey--nuh uh. If he hasn't lived it, it doesn't exist. What's up with that?

Randy: In fact, the only reason I can think of to not require IDs to vote is to make it easier for ineligible people to vote.

Interesting, except for the "interesting" part, that you quickly fling charges of "rationalization" at simple facts about how other people live. You still have not produced evidence of measurable voter fraud that would be avoided with photo IDs; you carefully avoid the fact that Republicans are uniformly the forces behind photo ID proposals even as they ignore voter fraud by mail (an option more commonly used by Republicans); and you have nothing to say about inauditable e-voting and its potential for abuse. Come through on those, and then we'll talk.

Otherwise, the only reason we can think of to require IDs while ignoring the other issues is to make it harder for likely Democratic voters to vote.

Posted by: shortstop on September 12, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

If you are only interested in gaming the rules for partisan benefit, then you may take the position of opposing voter ID while whining about electronic voting machines.

Or proposing voter ID while relying on fraudulent electronic voting machines.

I can't believe I ever considered Yancey an honest commentor.

Posted by: Gregory on September 12, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop,

Yes, it is terribly, terribly difficult to get a photo ID in the United States. What was I thinking? Why, I remember that when I got my first driver's license, I needed a birth certificate and Social Security number. Oh the horrors of getting those two items. I thought I would never recover from the experience.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on September 12, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory,

And I can't even believe that I ever thought you could actually read. My mistake.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on September 12, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop,

Re; "You still have not produced evidence of measurable voter fraud..."

I don't need it. To me its just common sense that people should have to prove who they are in order to vote. If that isn't true, why do we even make people register? Certainly we can trust everyone to vote only once, right?

The truth is, we don't absolutely trust everyone. And presenting a valid government ID is a commonly accepted practice by which to prove one's identity. You're arguing against common sense, and you're going to lose.

Posted by: Randy on September 12, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Randy, but you do need it, I'm afraid. There's a reason why photo IDs haven't been required all along, or hadn't you noticed?

"Randy thinks it's just common sense" is not the standard by which laws are changed when the system has not been demonstrated to be broken. And the unbrokenness of the system is why your "Why do we even make people register?" question is not analogous. We make people register, we make people sign so their signatures can be compared with those on record, we don't require photo IDs (in most states) and the result is that in no cases do we have evidence of a voter impersonation problem. Burden of proof for change is on you, and you failed. Better luck next time.

Posted by: shortstop on September 12, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

From MeLoseBrain: "In NJ, you need as many as 7 forms of ID to get a driver's license, or even to renew one. I happen to have a passport, driver's license, birth certificate, phone bill, credit card, etc to come up with the necessary "points" to qualify, but I can certainly understand that difficulty for many people"

I went to the NJ DMV website to verify your statement and found it to be either incorrect or highly misleading. They have a 6 point system in which a birth certificate counts for 4 points by itself. If you also supply a Social Security card and a bank statement or ATM card, and you get a driver's license. The rules for a simple photo ID are the same.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on September 12, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

If one is really interested in secure votes as untainted by fraud as possible, then one must support presentation of photo-identification for both voting and registration.

Really? The UK doesn't require proof of identity when voting. Canada makes it optional, and if you don't have ID, you have the further option of swearing an oath. You give your name, they look it up, they cross it off, they give you a ballot.

Where there have been cases of fraud in the UK, it's invariably been with postal ballots, which our wingnut commenters haven't addressed. Are Americans just more fraudulent as a culture when it comes to elections?

Posted by: ahem on September 12, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

For those who argue "virtually everyone has to have a photo ID," I would remind you of one result of Katrina. Everyone got to see that there's a subset of the old, the infirm and minorities that don't have the ability to do things we take for granted - and for some that includes the ability to readily obtain a photo ID.

With that said, however, if free photo IDs are readily available, then I can support the requirement of a photo ID to vote - as long as there's also a requirement for a paper trail for all votes. That is, there's no "hidden code" in voting machines, e.g. Diebold, and there's the option of auditing results to verify accuracy.

If you're going to argue for a photo ID and not support legislation for a paper trail, then I must conclude that you're not interested in "clean" elections; you're only interested in suppressing some votes.

Posted by: Rich S on September 12, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop,

True, my version of common sense isn't what counts. But then neither is yours. I'm happy to let the voters decide. And it seems that, more and more, they are deciding to require IDs.

Posted by: Randy on September 12, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the statistical EXPERT John Lott published research showing that requiring voter ID can increase turnout, because legitimate voters don't worry that their votes are diluted by fraud. Or something like that.

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Posted by: Connie on September 12, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Fraud concerns aside, exactly how many people are we talking about here? I would have to think that someone whose life does not require some form of picture ID is probably not going to be rushing down to the polling booth come election day.

Posted by: robertl on September 12, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals are so either genuinely or intentionally naive. Of course the requirement of a photo id would reduce voter fraud. We need id's for a variety of common life activities. As a matter of simple common sense, we should have it for voting.

Liberal mythology on this insists that there are poor, elderly or minorities who would want to support democrats but would be unable to vote due to an id requirement. Where is the proof of that?

Posted by: brian on September 12, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I think photo ID is a good idea, provided it is made free to those who genuinely can't afford it and can prove their eligibility to vote. I'm sorry, but a certain amount of hassle in the voting process does not bother me. If convenience stores are now insisting on photo ID to buy alcohol or tobacco if you look under 40, as they ostensibly are in this area, if you need one to open a bank account, cash a check, board a plane, or whatever it will be next, why the hell not? Voting is important, and one way of making it rightly appear so is to make it just a little inconvenient.

Yesterday, my husband and I received in the mail, completely unsolicited, applications for "Permanent Mail Voter Status." Presumably they went to every registered voter in the state (CA). Now this just pisses me off. If I want to vote by mail, I know how; if the worry is that some people don't know how, for God's sake send them informational postcards telling them how to request vote-by-mail status. Don't send the applications themselves in one huge mass mailing and leave millions of them sitting in mailboxes all on the same day for any enterprising fraudster to collect merrily while all the addressees are at work. Jeez.

(Yeah, they say that the signatures are to be checked against existing voter rolls. And if you believe that will be done with exacting care, you'll believe anything.)

I agree absolutely that the main problem is voting by mail. I think that voting by mail is a terrible idea, and that absentee ballots ought to be filled out in the presence of a witness and with the same proof of identity required of those who vote in person, which is to say something more than walking into your polling place, announcing that you are so-and-so, and scrawling something indecipherable next to your name in the roll, which is how it works around here.

It's inconvenient, yeah. This is good; it means you aren't going going to do it casually. It is also expensive for the government, because accommodations will obviously have to be made for those who are bedridden or really so isolated that they can't even get to a polling place: Basically, for a certain number of people to vote, someone will have to come to them and watch them do it. This is also good, because, again, it at least suggests that we're doing something serious here. Hard though that may be to keep believing in CA, but anyway . . .

And paper ballots. Please. Touch-screen voting if you must, but the voter gets to see a printed copy and review it before turning it in.

Posted by: waterfowl on September 12, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

My voter ID was provided with two pieces of heavy paper advertisements with my name and address printed on them. One was 81/2x11 and the other 13x5(est.), both from banks. No argument from the gate keeper, who did not even blink when he took them to look up my name on the roll.

I have two observations. I'm a normal visual sample of the local demographic and if I was different, official correspondence might have become an issue without a picture ID. Maybe. Maybe not. The other thing is the problem with quality control. Management ideas, especially ball room or emotion based, usually are not implemented by the actual people who do the work. I am pretty sure my 'ID' was not up to the quality expected by the (deleted)politicians and other (deleted)demagogues who came up with this hysterical need to provide a bona fide ID to vote. Because of the voter rolls, it is useless to try and influence a majority vote by voting under someone else's name enough times to make a difference. It most likely was created specifically to keep the under privileged under represented.

Albertson's grocery was the last big chain in my city to require that now ubiquitous scanning card. When I finally broke down and bought something there, I asked for a fill out sheet but the very young adult clerk just gave me the cards without me even having to fill anything out. Management bullshit does not translate to execution without good built in quality procedures, practices and assurances.

Posted by: Hostile on September 12, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK
And it seems that, more and more, they are deciding to require Ids. Randy at 5:25 PM
How well is the problems set forth to the voter? It is presented with actual data on the amount of "voter fraud" taking place or is it presented as the equivalent of "welfare queens" with a lot of heat and smoke about illegal aliens voting and others double voting?
but would be unable to vote due to an id requirement. Where is the proof of that? brian at 7:58 PM
The Georgia ID law was overturned as new form of poll tax. Others are similar and equally unconstitutional. The fact is that Republicans want to limit the voter franchise; Democrats want all legal voters to have their right to vote upheld. There are many poor rural people in many states without formal birth certificates and other identification. They are Americans and deserve to be able to exercise their right to vote, although the Supreme Court has problems with that right when their rightist political agenda is threatened.

The majority opinion expresses in no uncertain terms the Court's contempt for the American people: "The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States," unless granted that right by the state legislature. Even then, according to the Court, the State "can take back the power to appoint electors ... at any time." In other words, if you don't vote the way the State wants you to, you can simply be overruled.

Posted by: Mike on September 12, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: mms on September 12, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

I have voted absentee for the last 10 years.

Posted by: merlallen on September 13, 2006 at 6:34 AM | PERMALINK

Yancey,

The charge of "gaming the rules for partisan benefit" applies equally, if not better, to the Republicans -- who, despite your loony libertarian philosophy, you seem to reflexively support. Leveling phony aspersions to reading comprehension -- the first resort of the loony libertarian, whose intellectual dishonesty is equaled only by their narcissism -- hardly refutes my calling you on the imbalance, if not inaccuracy, of your comment.

My point about your lack of honesty stands unrefuted -- indeed, I'd say, reinforced. Thanks.

In general:

What the GOP apologists have not done in this thread, for all their appeals to "common sense," is demonstrate that there's enough of a problem to require this remedy (which, of course, begs the question of whether the remedy is effective, but we'll let that go for now). That alone, coupled with the highly appropriate inclination not to trust the Republican Paty, is enough to oppose these initiatives.

Posted by: Gregory on September 13, 2006 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK
This is, rather plainly, an effort to reduce Democratic turnout, since people who don't have picture IDs (the poor, the elderly, and minorities) tend to vote disproportionately for Democrats.

I think this is rather simplistic. Sure, that's part of it, but its also an effort to limit participation for its own sake, which conservatives like ideologically and for the benefits to other conservative plans of a narrow electorate of whatever nominal partisan affiliation, not just for tribal partisan reason. Its not purely partisan: its really easy to find conservative ideologues going on about the "right" people voting and benefits of narrowing the franchise. (Such as Jonah Goldberg.)

The consistent, to me the defining, feature of conservatism is the desire to see power concentrated narrowly: whether that power is in the form of effective political power, wealth, or whatever (the form doesn't matter because power is fungible.)

So to create barriers to the practical exercise of electoral franchise is not merely a partisan exercise by which Republicans seek to defeat Democrats, its a perfect expression of fundamental conservative interests in and of itself. And the left would, IMO, be better off politically if it would fight it on that basis, rather than complaining about the partisan effects, whether or not those are part of the real motivation. Because, really, what's worse? That Republicans want to beat Democrats, or that conservative ideology is fundamentally incompatible with popular government?

Of course, bursting transparent cover stories like the fraud excuse here, as you do, is part of that, and good job on that. But don't get so focussed on the partisan motive (which is real, don't get me wrong) and miss the ideological reasons.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 13, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK
I'm a Democrat, and to be honest, I don't see what the big fuss is over photo ID's, unless its on privacy and civil liberties grounds. Virtually everyone has one (you pretty much can't get a job or open a bank account without one), and it's would not be that hard to make sure that the elderly and infirm get one if needed.

I agree, it wouldn't be hard. Which, actually, is an enormous argument against every actual proposal for requiring voter ID, since none actually does make the modest effort to make sure that there is a process in place to assure that every eligible voter can get such an ID without the imposition of a de facto poll tax.

Which is, to me, prima facie evidence that the intent is voter suppression, not verification.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 13, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK
Well, I think photo ID is a good idea, provided it is made free to those who genuinely can't afford it and can prove their eligibility to vote. I'm sorry, but a certain amount of hassle in the voting process does not bother me. If convenience stores are now insisting on photo ID to buy alcohol or tobacco if you look under 40, as they ostensibly are in this area, if you need one to open a bank account, cash a check, board a plane, or whatever it will be next, why the hell not?

Yes, because government should be able to put any kind of limit on the exercise of Constitutional rights that private industry is allowed to place on private transactions that are not protected Constitutional rights, right?

Posted by: cmdicely on September 13, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

But they don't. I wonder why?
Kevin Drum 11:59 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (114)

Because they don't believe in democracy and the democratic process, they only beleive in winning at all costs. This has been true about American conservatives since the constitutional congress when they snuck in the 3/5ths rule for slaves into Constitution. It's about them staying in controll by any means necessary, including treason, impeachable offences, and civil war.

Posted by: Nemesis on September 13, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

I know you guys run from the concept of personal responsibility like Dracula from a crucifix, but here's the oh-so-insensitive right wing perspective. We believe people should treat voting as a solemn right that thousands of people have died to give us, not something you go and slap down without prior thought. If you're so disorganized that you can't get a state ID you're too disorganized to cancel out my vote in an election. It doesn't really matter though, we'll always have Diebold.

Posted by: minion of rove on September 13, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

What state was it where the registrar of voters allowed GOP operatives into her office to "correct" Republican absentee ballots that were incorrectly completed? We should really have laws against that.

Posted by: Bring back the poll tax on September 14, 2006 at 4:20 AM | PERMALINK

I support requiring photo ID to vote as long as it is coupled with instant registration and making election day a federal holiday. Or how about multiple day voting. Or maybe since voting is so important how about we make it mandatory.

Posted by: suppress this on September 14, 2006 at 4:34 AM | PERMALINK

Has no one on this blog ever had a fake ID?
For a couple hundred bucks there a places you can get a fake driver's license and social security card
Plus I thought the DMV was a liberal boondoogle.

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