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Tilting at Windmills

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November 13, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

VOTER ID....The State of Indiana has the most stringent voter ID laws in the country. Democrats are always griping about this, and have even gone so far as to challenge Indiana's law in the Supreme Court. But this is just silly. In this day and age everyone has a photo ID anyway, so what's the problem?

Just in case, though, the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity and Race decided to check and see if this was really true. The three charts reproduced here illustrate the guts of their findings. By a substantial margin, the Indiana residents most likely to possess photo ID turn out to be whites, the middle aged, and high-income voters. And while this is undoubtedly just a wild coincidence, these are also the three groups most like to vote for Republicans. (2006 exit poll data here for the suspicious.) Overall, 91% of registered Republicans had photo IDs compared to only 83% of registered Democrats.

But like I said, this is probably just a coincidence. I'm sure Karl Rove and the RNC had no idea that the demographics broke down like this. Right?

Kevin Drum 7:29 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (112)

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Comments

The 24th amendment abolished the poll tax. But if the only way to vote is to obtain a state photo ID that must be paid for, that's a tax: someone who doesn't drive otherwise does not need one.

Perhaps Indiana should be sued, and offered the alternative of dropping the law or arranging for anyone who wants one to get a free state ID.

Posted by: Joe Buck on November 13, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

It isn't a poll tax! It is just a way to keep mainly rich white folk as the voters!

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on November 13, 2007 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Heh! Just like Ray-gun and "States' rights".
Probably just another coincidence.

Posted by: jay boilswater on November 13, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Change the required ID to a food stamp card and wait for the howling to begin.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on November 13, 2007 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

My cousin got her degree from Purdue. Her opinion of Indiana? "It's like the 1950s, but the music sucks."

Posted by: anonymous on November 13, 2007 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Well, most states offer State IDs to people who can't drive; back in college, I got one from New York State when my Illinois driver's license got suspended for 90 days. (I was 20 and had two moving violations--man, that was harsh).

What might be fair is to mandate states to offer these for free (and counties to offer copies of birth certificates) every 10 years. Chalk the increased administrative costs up to the transaction costs of a robust democracy.

Posted by: Pete on November 13, 2007 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

@pete -- that is a good idea and a good frame for it.

Don't ask the state to eliminate Voter ID requirements - that sounds fishy - instead ask that a state ID (with no driving priviliges) be available for free or for a minimal fee.

Posted by: Adam on November 13, 2007 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

I worked in foster care for ten years and was always amazed at how poor folks rarely had any kinds of ID. We used to enroll the kids on Medicaid as soon as they entered foster care and always had to apply for copies of their birth certificates and social security cards because the parents either could not afford them or had lost them due to frequent moves.

My friends who worked in adult services with vulnerable elderly people often found the same thing. Many of those people were born at home and never had a birth certificate to begin with. Some could not even tell you when they were born because they were the eleventh child and their mommma stopped keeping track. (Not being snarky -- just a common occurence with big farm families of a certain generation.)

Posted by: Teresa on November 13, 2007 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

I've lived in Indiana for the past ten years.

I play golf in Knightstown, our High School nickname is the Dragons, Whiteland is just a few miles away.


Posted by: jharp on November 13, 2007 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Here were the issues in Georgia:

Little proof of the kind of voter fraud used to justify the law.
Fees for obtaining photo ID create an unfair financial burden for low-income voters.
Traveling to an ID facility places an undue burden on voters without access to a vehicle;
a disproportionate number of minority voters are unlikely to have photo ID and
only one-third of the state's counties have offices where photo ID can be obtained.
I cannot find my source--had it on a post it note

Posted by: consider wisely always on November 13, 2007 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

I tested out the Arizona Voter ID law last week. Usually I vote ahead of time by mail, but this time I decided to see if the poll workers knew the ins and outs of the law. According to the state, I can use two forms of ID in place of a picture ID (bank statements with my name and address, official registrar mailings with my name and address, my voter registration card). Sure enough, they tried to tell me I wasn't allowed to vote without a government picture ID. Luckily the poll supervisor knew the rules and I was allowed to vote. I wonder how many people who don't know the law are turned away from the polling places.

Here in Arizona, they aren't so much out to prove you are who you are, as much as they are wanting to verify addresses. A funny thing happens with that, though. The demographic groups that tend to move around a lot (students and low-income families) tend to have discrepancies with their registered addresses. And they tend to vote for Democrats. I wonder how that happened.

Posted by: Jim in AZ on November 13, 2007 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

It has to be no fee. If there's no way to vote without paying, that's a poll tax and should be unconstitutional.

It doesn't mean states have to give out IDs for free, but it does mean that they cannot force people to pay for the right to vote.

Posted by: Joe Buck on November 13, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding the "poll tax" implications of Indiana's law: the Indiana law does state that ID cards may be obtained at driver license offices for no charge.

Of course, what the law does not address is the costs involved in obtaining that free ID. You might have to obtain a copy of your birth certificate, for example, and that costs money.

Posted by: ppp on November 13, 2007 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

Lots of people who grow up in the inner city (as I did) don't have photo IDs, at least not state issued ones. My mother didn't have one until she was 40-odd years old and got her first driver's license. She got by using her work ID, which had her picture on it, but no name. Lots of people didn't even have that. I got my first one at 24, when I learned to drive. When your transactions are in cash, and you don't travel, you just don't need an ID.

What's really angering is that those folks are easy prey for this sort of thing, because they are already a minority, many of them don't vote to begin with, and so they don't have much of a voice, while those white people who would be inclined to feel some outrage about the situation are never given the actual facts. It's a perfect opportunity for the Republicans to pick up a cheap edge while almost no one is looking. They can't run the country, but these kind of chickenshit, democracy subverting things, they can do.

Posted by: Martin Gale on November 13, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Also, those interested should check out the 7th Circuit Ct. of Appeals' decision (the three judge panel voted 2-1 to affirm the district court).

The opinion is authored by Richard Posner (yes, that guy). The real howler is when Posner says that votes have very little *instrumental* value (his emphasis) because elections are never decided by one vote.

Yes. He really wrote that.

And for bonus thrills, you should also read the District Court opinion by Reagan appointee Sarah Evans Barker, which fails utterly to contain its partisan nastiness.

Posted by: ppp on November 13, 2007 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Two questions:

1) This kind of disparity makes wonder why Jesse Jackson supported Motor-Voter.

2) Why in the world would Democrats or any group not have current IDs, if not picture IDs?

Even in Texas, a state ID card costs only $5.


Posted by: tx bubba on November 13, 2007 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Why are mail-in ballot voters not required to submit valid photo ID for inspection? Is it because mail in voters tend to be significantly Republican. Just curious; why the discrimination between different classes of voters?

Posted by: DaveA on November 13, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the deal -- I don't know anything about these people of course, but those without IDs must not be getting any kind of public assistance. I was getting some forms of public assistance when I was a student in California, just a few years ago, I had an ID. I HAD to have an ID. A walker's permit, we used to jokingly call it, it cost me $5 I think. The same as a Driver License, come to think of it. Now I'm sure California isn't alone in this (I had to have one in Virginia to do get state financial aid other in state benefits.) So I really can't fathom how these people live without getting an ID. And this seems like something that would be really easy to fix. Do they not have social security cards either?

Posted by: Inaudible Nonsense on November 13, 2007 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

I assisted a couple Democratic congressional candidates in the last campaign in Georgia, which had a similar voter ID law. Unfortunately for many poor and elderly people in rural areas, the only place to get a photo ID was the county seat, which in some instances was 100 road miles distant. If you didn't have access to a car, or if someone wasn't willing to drive you, getting an ID was obviously problematic.

This kind of law does not address vote fraud -- it's a thinly-veiled attempt to suppress the vote, plain and simple.

The most egregious instances of electoral fraud nowadays are committed not by voters, but rather by public officials nominally in charge of the process. There are still some 175,000 Florida presidential ballots from the 2000 election waiting to be counted, if anyone wants to bother.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 13, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

I have no doubt that Republican motivations are to suppress Democratic votes rather than to address voter fraud. But come on! Getting a photo id is simple and basic. Democratic voters just need to get on the ball and secure a photo id.

Posted by: fidelio on November 13, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK
2) Why in the world would Democrats or any group not have current IDs, if not picture IDs?

Even in Texas, a state ID card costs only $5.


Posted by: tx bubba on November 13, 2007 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

This is the exact incomprehension the Republicans count on (and they aren't disappointed). It's hard to convey to white, middle class people the weird sense of hostility mixed with apathy one acquires in that environment. You just don't care about such things, because they aren't necessary in your world. It isn't exactly about cost, but why cough up $5 or even 50 cents, plus all the hassle, interacting with a system you don't trust or like, to get something you don't need?

How many people even take a few hours off work to vote, or give up their favorite TV shows and so on? Now, imagine you have to pay money to do it, travel some place that's out of your way -- without a car -- to get some piece of paper that you'll use, at most, once a year, to participate in a process you have little faith in?

Posted by: Martin Gale on November 13, 2007 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Why are mail-in ballot voters not required to submit valid photo ID for inspection?

Dave A.-
IIRC, the majority of states do not even open the absentee ballots unless a particular race is close enough. I'm pretty sure this is true in Virginia, and at least used to be true in Florida at the time of the 2000 election.

Posted by: Kenny on November 13, 2007 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

the poor and indigent, i can understand, but who are these people making $80K+ who don't have an ID ?

Posted by: cleek on November 13, 2007 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

tx bubba: What's the minimum wage in Texas? (Hint: Less than $5)

What's the minimum wage for farm workers, workers on commission, workers in service (tips) industries? (Hint: Less than minimum wage for hourly workers.)

You don't need a valid photo ID to get federal or state assistance - you need a social security or tax ID, which isn't a photo ID. An address and a name.

Posted by: Crissa on November 13, 2007 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

So, just to be a pain in the neck, GO there, already: what would y'all say if a candidate for office wanted your vote to create a national identification system in which each American, for free, would be uniquely and reliably identified?

I got scars from this one, folks: so be CLEAR -- are you for it, or against it, and why?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 13, 2007 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Registered Democrats who vote should sue states like Indiana for diluting the value of their votes.

Posted by: emmarose on November 13, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

The classic How to Lie With Statistics calls charts like this "Gee Whiz" graphs, because the bottom was cut off to make the differences look larger. If the graphs went down to zero, the differences between groups would not appear as large.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 13, 2007 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

...who are these people making $80K+ who don't have an ID ?

Ron Paul's base. The problem with libertarians is that they can't be bothered to cooperate with the system enough to get their people into power...

Posted by: dr sardonicus on November 13, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

The classic How to Lie With Statistics calls charts like this "Gee Whiz" graphs, because the bottom was cut off to make the differences look larger. If the graphs went down to zero, the differences between groups would not appear as large.

The classic Trex's Guide to Trolls and Other Ignorant Assholes on the Internet calls your post a "red herring," because it is meant to distract from the issue at hand rather than address it on its merits.

If we talk about the graph rather than the issue, than the disparity in voting rights between the two groups will not appear as large.

Posted by: trex on November 13, 2007 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

trex, I think the issue is the disparities in picture IDs between various groups. The charts are supposed to help us understand the magnitude of the disparities. I think I was right on topic in pointing out that the differences are less than they appear to be, because the charts are designed to exaggerate the differences.

Also, the use of deceptive charts by the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity and Race raises the question of whether that organization is acting in good faith.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 13, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: tx bubba

"Even in Texas, a state ID card costs only $5."

So can I send you the bill?


Posted by: jharp on November 13, 2007 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

I think I was right on topic in pointing out that the differences are less than they appear to be, because the charts are designed to exaggerate the differences.

There is no confusing the disparity between the groups by looking at the bars because each bar graph is crowned with the percentage it graphically represents. It's right there in plain sight.

Secondly, 91% is a much bigger number than 83% when elections are won by 1%. Where is your much vaunted concern for those who lack equal access to participating in our democracy? Purple fingers anyone? Hello?

Posted by: trex on November 13, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it true that in some (maybe all) states, that if you don't have a photo ID on you and you commit a misdemeanor, then because you don't have a valid ID the officer cannot issue a ticket or citation, and therefore you will be arrested and required to post bail to be released.

It definitely happened to my son in Louisiana who was arrested for illegal dumping (leaving an old tire at a private dumpster) and did not have photo ID on him. Took him to jail and had to post $270 bail for his release. The police officer told me that if he had ID, he would simply have been issued a citation and could have mailed in the fine of about $100.

Would seem to be a good economic incentive for having a photo ID.

Posted by: pencarrow on November 14, 2007 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

People have an incentive to have a place to sleep every night, as well.

But it doesn't always happen that way, does it?

Also, I had to use my state representative to get my last ID issued... And now I've lost it. Great.

What are the odds I'll have to call upon her office for help again?

Posted by: Crissa on November 14, 2007 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

As Lily Tomlin noted,

"No matter how cynical you get, you just can't keep up."

Posted by: jprichva on November 14, 2007 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

But this is just silly. In this day and age everyone has a photo ID anyway, so what's the problem?

Kevin, we already have Matt Yglesias! We don't need another glib, obtuse, generalization-addicted blogger on this side of the spectrum!


Posted by: C.L. on November 14, 2007 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

Photo IDs are free in Indiana.

http://www.in.gov/sos/photoid/how.html

Since there is no cost, Kevin seems to be insinuating the minorities must be too stupid to get ID's. Next he'll be wanting to put them in concentration camps.

Posted by: Luther on November 14, 2007 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

Come on Kevin, if this were 1953 your argument would be commies support social security and congressman x supports social security so x must be a communist. About 80% of the American people want photo ID for voting, and after your side's paranoia fest following the last two elections I don't see how you can oppose making the ballot more trustworthy.

Posted by: cruel dude - no longer the minion on November 14, 2007 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know what [or care] Luther here is talking about?

I was looking at the ethnicity, age 18 and over, of Indiana, by county, and Allen count had the highest percentage of blacks with 10% the rest were significantly less.
www.eeoc.gov/stats/census/majorgroups/indiana/in_county_fips.pdf

So, obviously, many of these high income whites must be voting democratic. I doubt the photos have much to do with who wins the state race wise.

Posted by: Ya Know.... on November 14, 2007 at 4:04 AM | PERMALINK

To "Ya know..." I didn't read the pdf that you linked, but you are wrong about Indiana's black population. The total black population in the state is about 9 percent, with populations of over 25 percent in Marion County (Indianapolis) and Lake County (near Chicago) and over ten percent in a few other places. Indiana's black population percentage is below, but not dramatically below, the national average of 13 percent, so to the extent that the black vote matters nationally, it matters in Indiana, make no mistake.

As for the anonymous commenter above, anyone whose exclusive exposure to Indiana comes by spending four years at Purdue is bound to have a poor opinion of the place. While I won't claim Indiana is as cosmopolitan as NY or LA or any number of other places, it does get better than West Lafayette.

Posted by: John M on November 14, 2007 at 6:14 AM | PERMALINK

I have actually counted ballots (in the old paper days) and been a poll worker in Georgia, and it's clear that it's the weakly controlled absentee ballots where the real scope for cheating lies.
My own county elections often hinge on a few absentee ballots of dubious provenance, from a cluster of folks claiming residency here from Ohio and Michigan. (said to be natives..)
And I keep hoping some Civil right activist type would mount a campaign "Your generation fought for Civil Rights, and now the Republican Party and Bush Administration want to keep you from voting" that 1)organizes to get as many folks with out ID an ID and 2) then gets them to the polls.
This could be a great organizing point. We need to kick back on this one.

Posted by: MR. Bill on November 14, 2007 at 7:14 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with Mr. Bill on this one -- and I'll go further: this is one of those issues where progressives (and Democrats) are simply flat out LAZY. We don't like clarity cuz it's too much work.

1) There is a real argument about identification. Civil libertarians are deeply suspicious of "papers, please". So we face a choice. Let's make it.

If somebody wants to be anonymous, that's fine -- but not if they want to do business here, in any way. If you work, ya gotta pay taxes. If you vote, ya gotta register. To pay taxes or register to vote, you have to be identified. That's a good thing, not a bad thing.

The ACLU is wrong: there is no civil right to steal somebody's identity. Democrats (and progressives) ought to be ALL for protecting US citizens in Puerto Rico from the theft of their identities by Mexicans working illegally in Colorado: the Swift raids.

2) But the real risk to Senator Clinton's candidacy from her mumbling about driver's licenses for illegal residents isn't that she tried to have it both ways. It's that Republicans are gonna Willie Horton her next fall on VOTER FRAUD.

3) This reminds me of the naturalization drive the Clinton administration led in 1996. Instead of being something to LEAD with, that it's a GOOD thing so many were lawfully registered to vote in time for the election, Republicans turned it into a talking point for ATTACKING Democrats, as if voting 'cheapened' citizenship. (This, from the folks who debased citizenship by making naturalization the route to welfare.)

Mr. Bill is right: we should GO AFTER the folks without identification, make 'em proud to tell The Man who they are and VOTE.

Let's punch the bad guys in the nose first for a change.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 14, 2007 at 7:38 AM | PERMALINK

I think I was right on topic in pointing out that the differences are less than they appear to be, because the charts are designed to exaggerate the differences.

Well, they could have plotted the percentage of individuals without a current ID. When Kevin puts up a graph I suggest sticking your fingers in your eyes and screaming "nananananananana".

Posted by: B on November 14, 2007 at 7:46 AM | PERMALINK

Hi,
I white; I am educated, I might even count as rich. I went for many years without a picture ID. (I don't drive) The combination of a credit card (number but no picture) and work id (picture but no number) handled most transactions. I finally got the New York "walkers license". It was a real pain to get. It required one trip to get the needed documents and a second to get the official ID. If I had had to arrange for babysitting of lose pay I probably would not have gotten one. On the plus side my picture came out really nice.

Posted by: bostonian in Brooklyn on November 14, 2007 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

One more thing on the voter ID law. I did work the polls at our recent municipal election in Indianapolis. While I don't disagree that the general purpose of voter ID laws is to drive down Democratic vote totals, the only ID presented to me that I declined was a military ID. The IDs given to retired military personnel do not have an expiration date and therefore do not qualify under the Indiana law. I had to chuckle, not because I think it's funny that retired military types might be disenfranchised (and the guy had an Indiana driver's license, so he did vote), but I thought it was funny (and certainly unintended) that the Republican-driven law was drafted in such a way that a Republican leaning constituency's IDs don't count.

Posted by: John M on November 14, 2007 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Oh me, oh my - All of that vast voter fraud in the state of Oregon - As one may register to vote without showing a photo ID, although many do, and we are a purely mail-in of ballots state, it is no wonder why we have a Democratic Governor, one Demo Senator, 4 Democratic Reps, and a Democratic control of both the House and Senate in Salem.

Fraud, I tell you, fraud, right here in Stumptown.

However, if free IDs will be given out nationally, then, please add US Passports to the mix. Anyone out there have to upgrade a lapsed passport, recently, in order to fly or return from out of the country? And to believe I was grousing when they raised the fee to $45.

Posted by: bert on November 14, 2007 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Irony alert: "ex-liberal" claims that someone else is misleading...

Posted by: Gregory on November 14, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Jesus ex-lib. Screw the charts then you dishonest little hack. Just read...Overall, 91% of registered Republicans had photo IDs compared to only 83% of registered Democrats.

Not your best effort ex-

Posted by: ckelly on November 14, 2007 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

I'm just a construction guy who got just enough rain (yay! Rain!) to be out of work today, but I can come up with a script for an ad on this subject:

Long shot of small rural home, with a sweet old black woman on the porch, watering flowers: in kitchen, with bible in hand being picked up by neighbors for church, as announcer reads "Mrs. Ola Maye Jackson has always been proud, proud to have worked for civil rights" (flash black and white photo of women in civil rights march)"and proud to vote in every election election."(Mrs. Jackson reading local paper..)
"Now the Georgia voter ID law passed by the Republicans will take away that right,"(pan newspaper headline)" because Mrs. Jackson and hundreds of thousands of Georgians do not have a photo ID. Governor Purdue and his party doesn't think they should count."
"Don't let this happen, Contact us at 8000000000 and we'll make sure you get valid voter ID. And contact us as gavotes.com for more information to make sure everyone votes who has a right to."

Print ad might feature quotes from Niel Boortz on how the wrong people vote, and the gem from a Republican woman official about how 'they'll only vote themselves welfare benefits.."
I don't really expect the supine GA. Democrats to do this..

Posted by: MR. Bill on November 14, 2007 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

I dislike the voter ID solution for a lot of reasons. One is that voting should be as easy, not as dificult as possible. What requirement is Rove going to want next after we demand photo IDs?

But more than all the arguements pro and con, ultimately the photo ID for voting is bogus because it's a solution in search of a problem. There is NO documentation (outside of a few anecdotes) that people are using identity theft to vote.

So folks, how many more laws do you want the government to pass that make your life a little more difficult for no reason at all? I'm not a Liberatarian, but let's have a reason before we start regulating behavior.

Posted by: tomeck on November 14, 2007 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Not a single one of the "IDs are free so what's the problem?" folks have addressed the other issue: How the hell someone without transportation gets to where the IDs are given.

How is someone without a car supposed to get somewhere that could be a hundred miles away?

How is a poor working mother of three supposed to find the time to get somewhere to get the ID when she can't get off work to do it, and certainly can't do it after hours (due to the place being closed and having kids to take care of)?

Etc. etc. etc.

I'm not opposed to ID requirements in theory But like with most things the GOP comes up with, the theory doesn't mesh with reality and, naturally, affects those they could care less about much more than their own constituency.

Posted by: Mark D on November 14, 2007 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

@Luther: IDs are supposed to be free in Indiana, but there have been numerous reports of BMV employees who are unaware of the free ID policy. In addition, the ID law passed at a time when several urban BMV branches were being closed, consolidated, or moved.

@John M: I work the polls in Monroe County, and we had some discussion over the military IDs - it was argued that military IDs were the exception to the expiration-date rule. We didn't run across any, so I'm not sure on that one.

Posted by: BrianK on November 14, 2007 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

"I assisted a couple Democratic congressional candidates in the last campaign in Georgia, which had a similar voter ID law. Unfortunately for many poor and elderly people in rural areas, the only place to get a photo ID was the county seat, which in some instances was 100 road miles distant. If you didn't have access to a car, or if someone wasn't willing to drive you, getting an ID was obviously problematic."

Well then, it's simple justice that the various Secretaries of State of the ID law states provide mobile ID stations to reach out to every community in the state. NO ONE could argue with that, could they?
Even though it will cost a fortune--no price too high for justice and the sanctity of the polls!

Posted by: Steve Paradis on November 14, 2007 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Not bad, Mr. Bill. I'd add three images: make sure that little kids help her into the car... that when she reads the paper, one headline is about Iraq (Bush: "We're Winning in Iraq") and when she turns the page, some local issue ("County Developer Seeks Favor") ... and a tagline: They don't want to let you vote. Who do they think you are?

'Meck: you EPITOMIZE the lazy progressive on this one. 'Well, I'm not convinced, so it's not a problem: gee, how come we're losing?'

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 14, 2007 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

They're called political parties, Paradis.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 14, 2007 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

By a substantial margin, the Indiana residents most likely to possess photo ID turn out to be whites, the middle aged, and high-income voters. And while this is undoubtedly just a wild coincidence, these are also the three groups most like to vote for Republicans.

Duh. We are talking about Indiana, which at one time had one some of the most active Klan membership in the country.

Posted by: JeffII on November 14, 2007 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

There is a very simple solution to this "problem", non-photo ID's. Requiring a bank statement, utility bill, government check, etc., etc. will catch all 11 cases of in-person voter fraud that occur each decade. The fact that Republicans insist on sometimes difficult to obtain photo ID's is all the evidence I need to conclude that they are trying to suppress Democratic voter turnout. It is sickening.

Posted by: Blue Neponset on November 14, 2007 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Why are mail-in ballot voters not required to submit valid photo ID for inspection? Is it because mail in voters tend to be significantly Republican. Just curious; why the discrimination between different classes of voters? Posted by: DaveA

I don't know of a state that doesn't provide for mail in absentee ballots. Most of Washington uses mail in ballots. I can't think of a system better primed for abuse than this.

Posted by: JeffII on November 14, 2007 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Even though it will cost a fortune--no price too high for justice and the sanctity of the polls!

I can't tell if you are troll baiting or not, but in-person voter fraud is so rare that it is effectively non-existent. Spending a lot of money to fix a problem that doesn't exist is wicked stupid.

Posted by: Blue Neponset on November 14, 2007 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Or"Don't let them take your right to vote".

thnx, theAmericanist.

Another ad:
We see 4 real Georgia voters (against neutral background) who don't have driver's license/Photo ID. Two older and elderly, one young and blind, one a pretty woman, of mixed race. (such people must exist..)
They state names, (and their names, ages, and hometowns show up on Chiron). Each says in quick cuts that they always vote.
and then "When the Georgia republicans Passed the Photo ID law, i lost the right to vote because I don't have a photo ID." "I don't drive."(this the blind person)
"Don't let them take your right to vote. Get a Voter ID, and keep you citizenship. We can help.." and then the contact info.

Posted by: MR. Bill on November 14, 2007 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

There is a very simple solution to this "problem", non-photo ID's. Requiring a bank statement, utility bill, government check, etc., etc. will catch all 11 cases of in-person voter fraud that occur each decade. The fact that Republicans insist on sometimes difficult to obtain photo ID's is all the evidence I need to conclude that they are trying to suppress Democratic voter turnout. It is sickening.
This is precisely the case in Georgia. Formerly there were a number of possible id options.
It's all about the mindset of folks who can't imagine someone living without a driver license.
I'm a a rural area, and there are lots of people with no photo ID out there.

Posted by: MR. Bill on November 14, 2007 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats should make a law preventing mega churches from busing people to the polls to counter the voter picture ID law. My guess for Indiana is such a law would end all Republican victories.

Posted by: Brojo on November 14, 2007 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

We are 100 per cent behind "bussing" the Right people to the polls.

Posted by: Foley and Craig on November 14, 2007 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Fidelio - 9:14 PM,

When you say "Getting a photo ID is simple and basic." what you are really saying is that the process fits right into your normal life style, and you have no clue that there are people out here - a lot of them - who DON'T live your life style.

I would also point out that Texas has closed over half of the driver's licenses offices in the last decade or so because using the internet is cheaper - for the state. The ones that remain are rarely accessible to public transportation. Guess who finds it "simple and easy" to get a photo ID?

Posted by: Rick B on November 14, 2007 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

@Brian K: I just did some research, and it does appear that the (Republican) Secretary of State's Election Division issued an advisory opinion saying that an indefinite expiration date is a "date." That's the opposite of what I was told in my training. I don't think the SOS's opinion is binding, but I may bring that up before the 2008 primary. Something tells me Mr. Rokita's office might come down differently if it had been, say, a housing project ID.

Posted by: John M on November 14, 2007 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

The Americanist,

I am old enough to remember a lot of people who fought the Fascists in WW II, and one of the first things every Fascist government does is establish a national ID so that they can better control the population.

My first step should such a law be passed would be to set up the documents for at least two alternate identities and set up a contingency plan for an escape to another nation. No government that establishes a national ID is doing it to benefit me - just to control me.

And mind you, I am so law abiding that I remember my last two traffic tickets, one in 1984 and one in 1991. I just do not trust any government any more than I trust the Republican Party or Rupert Murdoch.

Posted by: Rick B on November 14, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, they said that about the Social Security #, too. Like I said, I got scars.

The thing is, there is a real choice here. Leaving the ethereal principled argument aside, the practical choices are a pretty straightforward tradeoff.... what are you willing to accept, RickB, to avoid the more abstract threat (too noble to neglect) you fear?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 14, 2007 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Bert 9:30 AM,

That $97 charge to get a passport is designed to keep low-income Americans trapped here in the U.S. Besides that, the GAO has reported that the actual cost to issue the passport is more like $20. Do you want higher taxes? The State Department is just practicing a little Republican price gouging - I mean, Entrepreneurship.

Should Condi cut back on her shoe budget just so Americans can get realisticly priced Passports?

Posted by: Rick B on November 14, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

TheAmericanist 12:32 PM,

Funny - I used to work for Social Security and strongly support it. But I was disgusted when tht number became my Army ID and my Taxpayer ID, for the same reasons I mentioned above. Now it is also my Credit ID.

I think every one of those agencies except Social Security should be required to stop using the SS number and issue their own. Then, consider ID to be a state function that the Feds cannot intrude on (as they are doing by requiring every state to issue a federally compliant driver's license.

Then eliminate all the laws requiring carrying an ID when the police stop you. If you have to have an ID to vote, then a variety of documents should continue to be permitted. Here in Texas the Republicans got a law passed requiring an ID to register to vote, and from then on your voter's ID allows you to vote. If you don't have that, then a driver's license, state ID, or even an official letter from a government agency or utility with your name and address. Last week we sent two people back out to their car to get the car registration and insurance document as ID to vote.

But NO NATIONAL ID! And restrict the use of the SS number as the original Social Security Law required.

If you propose a national ID because it makes law enforcement easier, well, so does warrantless wiretapping and no-knock and no-warrant searches.

[on the secret entry and search provision of the Patriot Act, under Texas Law I can shoot a burglar in my home. What if he is a cop doing a Patriot Act search of which I was not informed? Did I kill a cop or a burglar? I'm still waiting for an answer to that one.]

The authoritarian state run by arbitrary administrative power rather than the rule of law [real Locke] is a lot closer to us than it was even during the Cold War. I can't do much about a lot of it, but the National ID is such a red-flag of authoritarianism that I totally reject it. Administrative convenience for the cops simply isn't worth it.

Posted by: Rick B on November 14, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Rick: you didn't answer my question.

I asked what would you be willing to give up? The thread is a f'r instance -- without a reliable, cheap and universal identification policy, lots of folks can easily be blocked from voting.

You can bitch about how unfair that is -- but I am just pointing to the FACT of it.

Is that something you're willing to give up, the access of many folks who can't afford picture IDS to the ballot?

I got more examples, but how 'bout you just answer THAT one.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 14, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

There's definitely voting fraud going on. It got Bush elected twice. This whole mess is a "look at THIS (no ID) and not at THAT" (phony absentee ballots, crooked voting machines, poor ballot design, etc.) kind of issue. Any energy expended solving the ID issued will not be applied to the real fraud. It's diversionary tactic but it has to be addressed or somebody gets disenfranchised.

Don't pickpockets work in teams? One person distracts the mark, while another gets the goods and quickly hands the goods to a third who walks casually away. The Rethugs learned it on the street and they are good. The pickpocket teamwork technique also produces results for political issues.

Posted by: slanted tom on November 14, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

TheAmericanist,

I fail to see what the problem with the current system of allowing anyone who has a voter registration card to vote is. Nor do I recognize what the problem is that picture ID's will solve.

Social Security started requiring ID to get a new Social Security number back in the 70's. A new flea market industry in fake IDs appeared almost immediately, and I began to wonder what it meant to have an ID.

Ever hear of the book "The Paper Trip?" The last one I saw (in the 80's) has become quite dated, since the authorities and cops read it also. But just because someone has a piece of paper or plastic with a name on it does not mean that name is theirs.

The only value to ID in voting is to prevent the same person from voting multiple times for or against the same candidate or issue. Who they are is irrelevant. Requiring ID links a name to an address, and if there is a real legal question, then someone can go to there and determine if there was a legitimate person who has been observed by others. Even that's not perfect, but it does hold down multiple votes from the same individual. Supposedly the ID is a symbolic paper representation of that person's actual existence.

People are not blocked from voting by lack of ID. There are too many forms of paper out there that show some individual exists, even if that person does not always use the same name. People are blocked from voting primarily because someone has a political fear of their votes, and those people are allowed to control the voting administration process. A picture ID will not prevent that.

But good media coverage will. So will an effective voter registration drive.

Posted by: Rick B on November 14, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK
So, just to be a pain in the neck, GO there, already: what would y'all say if a candidate for office wanted your vote to create a national identification system in which each American, for free, would be uniquely and reliably identified?

I'd say, "give me details of how you want to do it and reasons I should want it in the first place". I haven't heard a good case for national ID in the abstract, and the combination of universal, unique, and reliable that you suggest seems unlikely in any acheivable system, so, even if I were sold on it in the abstract, I'd want to know the details and which of those three things its going to compromise to acheive the others, and how.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 14, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

I find it very funny that you all complain about neding to have a Photo Id to vote and about the difficults in obtaining one. I compare these to Afghanistan where the Afghanis dressed up in their best walked for miles under the threat of being shot by the Taliban and they had a better turn out than the U.S. did. Watching them and what they went through to vote, well lets just say it does not put you winers in a really great light.

Posted by: Glenn on November 14, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

I was a poll worker in Arizona last year and my job was to check IDs. As someone else already mentioned, if you didn't have a photo ID you could vote with two other forms that had your address. I had many, many people come who did not have a photo ID - tha vast majority were Hispanic and Native American. My partner was a poll worker in another location and she had even more than I did. At least here, it is simply not true that "everybody has a photo ID so what's the problem?" It was a nightmare, with people yelling, crying, etc. because they did not have the right forms of identification. As someone else pointed out many of these people are highly mobile so often times their addresses did not match. These laws cause all kinds of problems for poll workers, as well as voters, and hit many of our Native American and Hispanic citizens right in the chops.

Posted by: Todd on November 14, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

my mom doesn't have an ID. She doesn't drive, why should she? I think the last one she was was 30 years ago when we used to go to the public pool.

I've worked polls in MO, CA & MI, and it used to be all you needed was something with your signature on it, which was matched to what you wrote in front of a poll worker into the poll book. And when you were check for fraud, was checked against the signature when you registered. How many forgers are gonna be out there frauding the vote? Compared to any other type of fraud or human error it's negligible.

Lately I've been doing absentee ballots. Since they come from an address associated with the name, and has a signature on the envelope, you've got the same level of security. How are you going to scam it -- have someone mass mail scantrons? Please. Hacking the computer vote counting system is way easier and safer.

This kinda crap is a red herring. Voting fraud on this level is insignificant, especially compare to disenfranchisement.

Posted by: cp1919 on November 14, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

somewhat off-topic, but what was amusing to me about Indiana was that, there, the Dept Of Motor Vehicles, was a (republican) patronage sink.

(Maybe not so off-topic if the DMV is only place to get a state photo-id in Indiana)

It was a place where Rethugs could get their ne'er-do-well relations easy/essentially no-show jobs.

the amusing bit, was that the lowest numbered license plates went to Rethug honchos.

the lower the number the bigger the big shot;
(you would *never* see them getting a ticket, no matter how far past the speed limit they drove...)

Posted by: ldb_in_CO on November 14, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

I find it very funny that you all complain about neding to have a Photo Id to vote and about the difficults in obtaining one. I compare these to Afghanistan where the Afghanis dressed up in their best walked for miles under the threat of being shot by the Taliban and they had a better turn out than the U.S. did.

So, that's your reaction to complaints about a campaign to make voting more difficult--we should be grateful that the Republicans aren't shooting us on the way to the polls?

Posted by: rea on November 14, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Glenn-
I think you're on to something: Maybe here in the U.S. we can dispense with the idiotic voter ID laws and just have the purple finger thing -- that way no one can vote twice (as the GOP seems to think happens all the time).

Granted, Al and ex-lib would end the day with purple inside their nostrils, but that's just a bonus and I'm sure the ink is harmless when ingested ...

Posted by: Mark D on November 14, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

"The only value to ID in voting is to prevent the same person from voting multiple times for or against the same candidate or issue."

Not so.

Honest, if you're gonna do battle with the forces of darkness and their slavish minions, it really does help to know what they're doing.

The Republican argument about voter fraud insists that those who INELIGIBLE to vote are casting ballots. The idea is that better identification would prevent this.

Wanna try again, and this time engage the issue?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 14, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

So, that's your reaction to complaints about a campaign to make voting more difficult--we should be grateful that the Republicans aren't shooting us on the way to the polls?
Heh!

Posted by: MR. Bill on November 14, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

'Meck: you EPITOMIZE the lazy progressive on this one. 'Well, I'm not convinced, so it's not a problem: gee, how come we're losing?

Americanist

What the heck is your problem and with putting words in people's mouths?

Read slowly. Where... is... the... evidence... this... law... is... needed?

Sure, there are lots of people who would have no problem complying with this law. There are some who would. Why take their vote away from them for NO REASON AT ALL.

Posted by: tomeck on November 14, 2007 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican argument about voter fraud insists that those who INELIGIBLE to vote are casting ballots. The idea is that better identification would prevent this.

Fine, they can complain all they want. Let's see some evidence this is a problem that requires a problem.

Democrats have shown evidence that thousands of Blacks were removed from the voter rolls in Florida in 2000 because they had the same name as a felon. Not that they were felons, just because they had the same name and the MIGHT be the felon. Why don't we work on laws to stop real problems like that first before we go after imaginary problems?

Posted by: tomeck on November 14, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Why don't we work on laws to stop real problems like that first before we go after imaginary problems?"

The same reason you drive on a parkway and park on a driveway: cuz humans are quirky critters, and life ain't rational.

You want YOUR arguments to be persuasive. YOU'RE not convinced of the need.

So what?

You're not an elected representative or Senator, not a state legislator. You speak for no one but yourself --and when you DO speak, so far as I can tell, you convince no one who does not already agree with you.

And then you demand that YOUR arguments be engaged.

Honest, you make Paris Hilton look empathetic.

A main reason why voter ID laws are passed, is precisely cuz guys like Meck are too damned lazy to bother noticing that there are people who DON'T think like they do, who ARE easily persuaded that the prospect of ineligible voters casting ballots is something to be avoided and, well, there is no right to vote WITHOUT being identified, now is there?

You.prove.my.point, Meck.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 14, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Don't know if this has been mentioned above, but where in the hell are people getting photo IDs that do not have their full name on it?

Posted by: Disputo on November 14, 2007 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK
The Republican argument about voter fraud insists that those who INELIGIBLE to vote are casting ballots.

And yet, there is no evidence that this is true.

The idea is that better identification would prevent this.

Yes, that's clearly the propaganda line proponents of Voter ID laws are trying to sell. Its not clear that any of the actual proposals would prevent this if it was a problem, but that's rather immaterial, since there is no evidence that there is a problem in the first place.

Wanna try again, and this time engage the issue?

I think challenging the unsupported premises of the propaganda effort here is a more fruitful way of "engaging the issue" than accepting it and trying to neutralize the issue by adopting the unjustified position of its sponsors as our own.


Posted by: cmdicely on November 14, 2007 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

"drive on a parkway and park on a driveway"

Shades of Dennis Lehane's work

Posted by: bert on November 14, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK
YOU'RE not convinced of the need.

So what?

So, your original question on the issue was, " what would y'all say if a candidate for office wanted your vote to create a national identification system in which each American, for free, would be uniquely and reliably identified?"

So, the above position that you now attempt to dismiss is a complete response to your question.

You're not an elected representative or Senator, not a state legislator.

That's hardly material to the question you asked.

You speak for no one but yourself --and when you DO speak, so far as I can tell, you convince no one who does not already agree with you.

And the evidence that we can see that you are somehow better is...where, exactly? Even if this was relevant to the context you have framed here, which it isn't.

And then you demand that YOUR arguments be engaged.

Well, yeah, I'd say that's a perfectly reasonable thing for a voter to demand if a candidate is asking for their support. That's, you know, the scenario you laid out. Now you are complaining because people are responding to that scenario, not to something else.

A main reason why voter ID laws are passed, is precisely cuz guys like Meck are too damned lazy to bother noticing that there are people who DON'T think like they do

Actually, a main reason why voter ID laws are passed is precisley because guys like Eame (hey, everyone can play the "pull the 3rd through 6th characters of a posters handle and treat them as a name" trick!) don't bother to challenge the premises of the proponents arguments.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 14, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK
There's definitely voting fraud going on. It got Bush elected twice….slanted tom at 1:38 PM
There is voter fraud [rare] and election fraud [Republican specialty]
….it does not put you winers in a really great light. Glenn on at 2:19 PM
So did those Afghanis have first have to obtain a photo ID? The issue is barriers to permit universal suffrage and blocking the disadvantaged. Try w-h-i-n-e-r-s: it would make you seem educated. Posted by: Mike on November 14, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: Well put.

Americanist: I clearly asked for evidence this is needed. Those who want to pass a law have the burden of showing it is necessary.

You didn't. Make the case or shut up.

Posted by: tomeck on November 14, 2007 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Time: 7:55 p.m.

Temperature: 57

Score (2007 to date): cmdicely 3,042, theAmericanist 0

Amusement level of assembled onlookers: Orange, approaching red

Posted by: express written consent on November 14, 2007 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

(patiently) Meck, you don't seem to understand it said plainly, so I'll try another way: it does not much matter what YOU think, or demand: you don't believe a voter ID law is justified.

D'ya suppose nobody made that argument in the states that passed 'em?

Meanwhile, Dice decides to prove why he's gonna wind up flipping burgers after law school: "I think challenging the unsupported premises of the propaganda effort here is a more fruitful way of "engaging the issue" than accepting it and trying to neutralize the issue by adopting the unjustified position of its sponsors as our own..."

Hmm. Lemme get this straight: Kevin posts a study that shows pretty clearly that the folks who benefit from Voter ID laws are... the folks who pass them. A series of posters bitch the the laws, in fact, have been passed. Several others wonder what to DO about these laws.

And you clowns think, well, we'll just announce that they weren't needed.

How's that working out for ya?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 14, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

It's working fine. You still haven't made your case, just more insults and junior high blustering.

Kevin's case is "But like I said, this is probably just a coincidence. I'm sure Karl Rove and the RNC had no idea that the demographics broke down like this. Right?" He's saying that rather than having a need for this law to stop vote fraud, the law, based on who's pushing this and the demographics behind it, is really about the Republican Party trying to suppress the Democratic vote.

I agree with Kevin. I've seen this issue argued on a number of blogs. I've NEVER seen anyone arguing for it present any data on actual voter fraud cases. No arrests, no convictions, nada.

So, my American friend, if as Kevin points out there is demonstrable harm caused to a least some people and if there is no benefit derived since identity theft vote fraud does not seem to exist, then what is the point of the law.

Make your case, please. You've swung and missed twice already.

Posted by: tomeck on November 14, 2007 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

No evidence of fraud? From the Washington Post at
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/18/AR2005091801364.html
"Approximately 9 million Americans move from one state to another in any given year. The commission [Carter-Baker Commission] cited news reports asserting that almost 46,000 voters from New York City were also registered in Florida. The panel recommended that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission oversee a system to allow easy sharing of state voter databases as well as requiring the use of a uniform identifier -- the voter's Social Security number -- to help eliminate duplicate registrations."

And the Carter-Baker Commission also recommended voter ID (Yes, that is the well-known Democrat Jimmy Carter.)
http://www.commonblog.com/story/2005/9/19/94333/1964
"The 21-member private commission is organized by American University. Comprised of former Members of Congress, scholars and nonpartisan leaders, the group identified "five pillars" of election reform: voter registration, voter identification, voting technology, increased access to voting, and nonpartisan election administration and recommended ways to strengthen them."

Posted by: Robert on November 14, 2007 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

While we are at it, lets give illegal immigrants driver's licenses so that they can vote. Guess which party would likely benefit from that?

Posted by: Robert on November 14, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

"almost 46,000 voters from New York City were also registered in Florida."

Robert

And how many of them voted in both places? If any did, it would have been in person in one state and absentee in the other, in which case your requirement for a photo ID is useless.

What you cite are legitmate reasons to keep the voter rolls clean, which I support and more or less takes place now, sometimes legitamately and sometimes not (see my earlier comment about Florida). But it doesn't make an arguement to require a photo ID to vote on election day.

As to your red herring about the driver's license, you'll note that Spitzer had to drop his campaign due to lack of support even from Democrats. Unlike the Republican Party, which marches in lock step in their drive to suppress the Democratic vote.

Posted by: tomeck on November 14, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK
Approximately 9 million Americans move from one state to another in any given year. The commission [Carter-Baker Commission] cited news reports asserting that almost 46,000 voters from New York City were also registered in Florida.

That's not evidence of fraud. That's evidence that, unlike for registrations in-state, where counties coordinate to transfer voter registrations, interstate moves have no such coordination, and no one bothers to "unregister".

Evidence of substantial fraud justifying corrective action that could jeopardize the ability of legitimate voters to vote would be some evidence that substantial numbers of people vote fraudulently, not merely that people who have moved from one state to another are still reflected on the voter rolls of the state from which they have moved.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 14, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK
D'ya suppose nobody made that argument in the states that passed 'em?

At least from the campaigns against them I've seen, none made a strong case that combined the three main points against them:
1) They jeopardize the ability of legitimate votesr to vote, and do so out of partisan interest, and
2) There is no substantial evidence of the problem they are intended to correct, and at the same time,
3) There is no reason to believe that they would, in fact, be a substantial barrier to the kind of fraud they are notionally designed to fight.

Most of the public responses I've seen have been weak on all three points, particularly point 2.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 14, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Are you guys really this stupid naturally, or did it take training?

Meck: "then what is the point of the law?"

I guess you missed the part where it prevents folks from voting who are more likely to vote for ONE side. Seemed to me like it was the point of Kevin's post -- but then, your literacy is sorta shaky, no?

Let's walk through the reality of this, for folks like Meck and Dice who are BOTH lazy and stoooopid.

1) Voter ID laws tend to prevent folks from voting who are more likely to vote for Democrats. That means there is a powerful motivation for Republicans (among others) to enact these laws.

2) Substantial bipartisan independent sources point to voter identification as a reasonable reform. That means there is bipartisan cover for Republicans to enact 'em.

3) Voter fraud is CREDIBLE. That means the burden of proof is NOT on those who want to guard against it. It also means that trying to prove a negative to oppose Voter ID laws is STOOOPID. You're going against what people tend to believe from what they properly consider to be common sense.

Note I didn't say it was PROVEN. And I ain't trying to prove it. I merely noted that it is stooooopid to pretend that it ain't credible, and lazy to sniff that cuz YOU'RE not convinced, it somehow stops being credible.

You wind up telling the very people you are trying to convince that THEY'RE stoopid -- and pretty much every post I make here proves how effective that is.

4) There is a rumor being spread by interested parties, that a couple of the 9-11 terrorists were actually registered to vote. That means that you're bringing a plastic butter knife to a gunfight.

Personally, I doubt the rumor. (For one thing, I dunno why they WOULD have registered.) But I understand its power. Since two of 'em got notices they'd been approved for green cards months after they were not only killed, but had become the most famous dead terrorists in the world, it's not like many people are likely to say 'naa, could NEVER happen' when they hear something like this.

So the mere fact of the rumor moves a helluva lot more votes toward Voter ID laws than your 'prove it' moves the other way.

Read that again, cuz you're obviously too fucking insular to get the point from a first reading. Your "prove it" just shows I'm right -- you ARE too lazy and stoooopid to be worth much in this fight.

5) There are roughly 7 million foreigners working illegally in the United States, of whom at least 5 million are working in jobs for which they had to produce documentation establishing that they were not working here illegally -- yet they are, so they either presented real documents as imposters, or fraudulent documents.

So it's not like the prospect of fake IDs aren't credible.

6) Adam (and Pete) posted uptop a sensible approach that I echoed: "Don't ask the state to eliminate Voter ID requirements - that sounds fishy - instead ask that a state ID (with no driving priviliges) be available for free or for a minimal fee."

But that's too SENSIBLE for you assholes. (And Clinton should also have snapped "I"m with Orrin Hatch", when she was pressed about Spitzer's drivers license plan, but I digress.)

7) I asked (as a hypothetical, to spare my scars): what about "a national identification system in which each American, for free, would be uniquely and reliably identified?"

I promptly got the this is Fascism response, so I asked: Okay, what would you be willing to give up, to avoid this? Cuz it's a tradeoff -- as a f'r instance, Voter ID laws that selectively disenfranchise Democratic voters.

I further noted that "this is one of those issues where progressives (and Democrats) are simply flat out LAZY. We don't like clarity cuz it's too much work."

And then Meck and Dice set out about PROVING my point. Again.

Remember -- I'm one of the folks who argued that we shouldn't have backed off intiatives like the naturalization drive in 1996 (which I said at the time), cuz helping people to vote is a GOOD thing. I explained that the stoooopidity and sloth Meck and Dice exemplify is how the natz drive in '96 went from being a powerful Democratic rallying cry to a favorite Republican attack on Democrats.

And then you guys set about proving my point. The arguments you're making and the attitudes you show, you couldn't carry an ACLU chapter.

I can just see Meck and Dice on the stump: "There is no proof of voter fraud."

"Oh, yeah? Didn't Mohammad Atta register to vote?"

"We've seen no proof of that."

"Didn't they try to give him a green card AFTER he died? You guys are fucking ignorant."

"Well, that was different."

"There are 7 million illegal aliens working on false IDs in America -- haven't you heard?"

"Well, yeah, but that's different, too."

"So what would YOU do about voter fraud?"

"Well, it's really absentee ballots, so what we need to do is crack down on the troops in Iraq voting in American elections..."

So, back to my original question: are you naturally this stooopid, or did you get training?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 15, 2007 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

Strike three. You're out.

Laws are supposed to provide a public benefit, not advance the partisan agenda of one party or another.

Just because something is possible doesn't mean it's credible. It' certainly not a reason to pass a law.

Laws are supposed to prevent public harm, not cause public harm to individuals because somebody starts a rumor that Mohamed Atta registered to vote.

Take my advice:

1. When you get to sophomore year in high school, take a civics class.

2. Use spell check, stupid is spelled with a "u", not multiple "o's".

3. Have mommy get a therapist to help you with your anger issues.

Posted by: tomeck on November 15, 2007 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

Um, Meck... has anybody mentioned that big "Kick Me" sign on your back?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 15, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Jeff Jacoby's Boston Globe column:

"How to steal an election
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist
Boston Globe

RECENT story that didn't get nearly the attention it deserved was the New York Daily News report that 46,000 registered New York City voters are also registered to vote in Florida. Nearly 1,700 of them have had absentee ballots mailed to their home in the other state, and as many as 1,000 have voted twice in the same election. Can 1,000 fraudulent votes change an election? Well, George W. Bush won Florida in 2000 by just 537 votes.

It is illegal to register to vote simultaneously in different jurisdictions, but scofflaws have little to worry about.
As the Daily News noted, "efforts to prevent people from registering and voting in more than one state rely mostly on the honor system." Those who break the law rarely face prosecution or serious punishment. It's easy -- and painless -- to cheat.

I learned this firsthand in 1996, when I registered my wife's cat as a voter in Cook County, Ill., Norfolk County, Mass., and Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and then requested absentee ballots from all three venues. My purpose wasn't to cast illegal multiple votes but to demonstrate how vulnerable to manipulation America's election system has become.
It was a simple scam to pull off. "Under the National Voter Registration Act -- the `Motor Voter Law' -- states are required to accept voter registrations by mail," I wrote at the time. "No longer can citizens be asked to make a trip to town hall or the county office. No longer do they have to provide proof of residence or citizenship. In fact, they don't have to exist. Motor Voter obliges election officials to add to the voter list any name mailed in on a properly filled-out registration form. Anyone so registered can then request an absentee ballot -- by mail, of course. The system is not only open to manipulation, it invites it."

As journalist John Fund shows in an alarming new book, "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy," the United States has an elections system that would be an embarrassment in Honduras or Ghana.

It is so unpoliced, he writes, that at least eight of the 9/11 hijackers "were actually able to register to vote in either Virginia or Florida while they made their deadly preparations."

How fouled up are the voter rolls? So fouled up that in some cities there are more registered voters than there are adults. So fouled up that when the Indianapolis Star investigated Indiana's records a few years ago, it discovered that hundreds of thousands of names -- as many as one-fifth of the total -- were "bogus" since the individuals named had moved, died, or gone to prison. So fouled up that when a Louisiana paper filed 25 phony voter registration forms signed only with an "X," 21 were approved and added to the voter list.

Illegal aliens have been registered, too, since under Motor Voter, any recipient of government benefits can sign up to vote, no questions asked.

Did that wide-open door to fraud cost former GOP Congressman Robert Dornan his seat in Congress? An investigation by the Immigration and Naturalization Service following Dornan's 1996 defeat by Democrat Loretta Sanchez found that 4,023 noncitizens may have cast ballots in that election. Dornan lost by 984 votes.

It shouldn't take a degree in rocket science to fix a system this sloppy and chaotic. But not everyone wants to fix it. Some operatives don't mind cheating if it brings more of "their" voters to the polls. Fund cites the findings of Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson and political scientist Larry Sabato, co-authors of a recent book on corruption in American politics. Some liberal activists they interviewed go so far as to justify voter fraud on the grounds that such "extraordinary measures" compensate for the weaker political clout of minorities and the poor.

One simple fix -- requiring every voter to show ID when registering and voting -- would seem to be a no-brainer. Opinion polls show that the vast majority of Americans favor such a reform. After all, ID is required when boarding an airplane or buying liquor. Why not when voting?

Yet, incredibly, powerful political interests have long fought to block an ID requirement. The NAACP and La Raza liken it to the poll tax that Southern states once used to keep blacks from voting. A Democratic Party official says that "ballot security" and "preventing voter fraud" are simply code for voter suppression. That willingness to play the race card is not merely dishonorable; it is undemocratic. For as Fund notes, "when voters are disenfranchised by the counting of improperly cast ballots, their civil rights are violated just as surely as if they were prevented from voting."

The drift toward Third World-caliber elections in the most advanced democracy in the world is scandalous. Then again, if Americans can't be bothered to scrub the voting rolls or to make sure that voters are properly ID'd, maybe they've got the election system they deserve. "


Note two very powerful techniques in Jacoby's piece:

First, he did it himself, registering his wife's cat to vote in three different jurisdictions and then asking for absentee ballots.

Second, he quotes John Fund, who isn't a dummy, saying carefully that 8 of the 19 hijackers "were actually able to register..."

Note that Fund did NOT say that they DID register. He simply says they COULD have, cuz they had valid drivers' licenses.

I keep pointing you guys to the TECHNIQUE, which is what you're too damn lazy to notice is kicking your ass. (The meanest moment in Ted Williams' autobiography is when he recalls a hitter who couldn't tell him which pitch struck him out; Larry Bird carried a grudge from HIGH SCHOOL about the teammate who blew off free throw practice ... and missed one in a crucial game.)

What Fund said is at least arguably true -- if a non-citizen can get a driver's license and then register to vote with that license, then 8 (not the specificity of the #) of the 9-11 terrorists "were actually able to register..."

And that immediately became the rumor that they HAD registered. The definitive reply to that rumor is a Professor Overton at GW Law school: "Daniel Taylor contacted John Fund and asked about the source of the fact that eight of the hijackers were registered in either Florida or Virginia, John Fund indicated that he obtained the fact from an interview with then-Assistant Attorney General Michael Cherthoff. Taylor then contacted the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, the Counterterrorism Section, and Voting Section, and no one knew about the claim. At the suggestion of these offices, Taylor filed a FOIA request. He also repeatedly called the Department of Homeland Security (Cherthoff is now Secretary of Homeland Security), but so far no has responded to Taylor. Taylor also contacted the former Virginia Secretary of the Board of Elections, Cameron Quinn. Quinn indicated that she was unable to confirm or deny that the September 11 hijackers were registered to vote in VA. She was familiar with the claim, and indicated that they looked into it while she was Secretary of the Board of Elections. However, they had a difficult time getting from federal officials the actual names of the hijackers, their Social Security numbers (which is how they usually look up registrations), or their actual voter registration numbers. As a result, she believes that her agency was never able to prove or disprove that any of the 9/11 hijackers registered to vote in Virginia. Taylor’s calls to the Florida Secretary of State have not yet been returned."

So the BEST response to this crap is 'we don't know...'

That ain't very good.

Then you have Jacoby's cat with three absentee ballots, the Louisiana newspaper that registered "X" 21 out of 25 times ...

... and you clowns, who are too damned stooopid to notice how Voter ID laws get enacted, and too damned lazy to bother learning how to fight back effectively: cuz 'we don't know, we're not convinced, and we don't care' don't cut it.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 15, 2007 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for proving my point.

Requiring a voter photo ID at the polls would not stop people from voting in person in New York and by absentee in Florida.

Requiring a voter photo ID at the polls would not have stopped Jeff Jacoby's cat from voting (with Jeff's help) by absentee ballot.

Requiring a voter photo ID at the polls would not have prevented the 9/11 terrorists from filling out a form to register to vote.

So, please tell me what the hell good your law would do, other than from the Republican persepctive of suppressing the Democratic vote?

Posted by: tomeck on November 15, 2007 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Golly, you really ARE as stooopid as I keep saying you are.

It's not MY law, you rectangular asshole. And it is entirely sufficient to its actual purpose that it benefits Republicans by dampening Democratic turnout.

So -- what are we gonna DO about it, since manifestly listening to folks as stoooopid and lazy as you and Dice is useless?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 15, 2007 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

It is your law, you asshole. If you want to buy into all the bogus reasoning behind it (TERRORISTS CAN REGISTER!!! HELP!!!! HELP!!!!) then that's your problem. If you think it's necessary to pass a law because someone illegally registered his cat, then that's your problem.

Since you (unbelievably) claim to be a progressive, all you're doing here is letting the other side set the agenda and frame the arguement and when someone presents an arguement against their premise you say their "stooopid."

Really, I'm supposed to take seriously that someone says the 9/11 terrorists could have registered to vote? Hell, man, they could have applied for mortgages, they could have opened a Dairy Queen, they could have donated to Bush's Campaign. Why not have a law requiring a photo Id for campaign donations, especially since there are more proven instances of illegal campaign donations than voter identity theft.

As to doing something about it, what the heck are you doing about it other than insulting people who say the law is unwise and unnecessary?

Posted by: tomeck on November 15, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

(grin) I keep that part separate from this shit -- and you might bear in mind that when a law has already passed in several states and is moving in several more, when the leading Democratic Presidential candidate committed her worst debate mistake on the subj. and when the Governor of New York was forced to back down over it, it's waaaaaaaaaay past "letting the other side frame the agenda", or rejecting their premise as if the situation is neutral.

As I keep pointing out to you, but you're still too stoooopid to notice. This notion of before/after too slippery?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 15, 2007 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Um, the Clinton/Spitzer thing was driver licenses for illegal immigrants, not voter IDs. Or didn't you notice? And the fact that the law has passed in some states only shows that they have legislatures that are dominated by Republican hacks. In Minnesota, we've been cleaning those guys out of office for the last two elections. Maybe the rest of the country should take some notice.

And really, man, what do you expect to accomplish with the insults? You remind me of the old Wobblies back in the 60's and 70's, so convinced of your superior moral standing and intelligence that you attack anyone who comes within shouting range of you.

You asked how many people I've convinced here? Well first of all, I come here to state an opinion and others can do with it as they like. Second of all, how many have you convinced, eh? I didn't see too many rallying to your cause.

Posted by: tomeck on November 15, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

"This could be a great organizing point. We need to kick back on this one.
Posted by: MR. Bill on November 14, 2007 at 7:14 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with Mr. Bill on this one -- and I'll go further: this is one of those issues where progressives (and Democrats) are simply flat out LAZY. We don't like clarity cuz it's too much work.

1) There is a real argument about identification. Civil libertarians are deeply suspicious of "papers, please". So we face a choice. Let's make it.

If somebody wants to be anonymous, that's fine -- but not if they want to do business here, in any way. If you work, ya gotta pay taxes. If you vote, ya gotta register. To pay taxes or register to vote, you have to be identified. That's a good thing, not a bad thing.

The ACLU is wrong: there is no civil right to steal somebody's identity. Democrats (and progressives) ought to be ALL for protecting US citizens in Puerto Rico from the theft of their identities by Mexicans working illegally in Colorado: the Swift raids.

2) But the real risk to Senator Clinton's candidacy from her mumbling about driver's licenses for illegal residents isn't that she tried to have it both ways. It's that Republicans are gonna Willie Horton her next fall on VOTER FRAUD.

3) This reminds me of the naturalization drive the Clinton administration led in 1996. Instead of being something to LEAD with, that it's a GOOD thing so many were lawfully registered to vote in time for the election, Republicans turned it into a talking point for ATTACKING Democrats, as if voting 'cheapened' citizenship. (This, from the folks who debased citizenship by making naturalization the route to welfare.)

Mr. Bill is right: we should GO AFTER the folks without identification, make 'em proud to tell The Man who they are and VOTE.

Let's punch the bad guys in the nose first for a change...."

But Meck wears that "kick me" sign like it's a badge of honor.

(re-posted way upthread cuz Meck is dense)

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 15, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Kenny said:

"IIRC, the majority of states do not even open the absentee ballots unless a particular race is close enough. I'm pretty sure this is true in Virginia, and at least used to be true in Florida at the time of the 2000 election."

This is absolutely not true in the case of Virginia. All jurisdictions are required to count absentee ballots. Indeed, most of the shady characters expect to do so, since absentee ballots provide the most opportunity for vote fraud. The rural counties in southwest Virginia have a particular reputation for this.

Posted by: Randy on November 15, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

A

Well, enough slumming. Have a nice day in whatever world you live in. Don't forget those meds, ok?

Posted by: tomeck on November 15, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

there is the professional world of warcraft power leveling here. welcome.

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