Political Animal


September 03, 2011 11:00 AM The war on voting

By Steve Benen

A couple of months ago, Bill Clinton spoke to a group of young people and addressed one of the biggest national scandals that generally goes unmentioned.

“[O]ne of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time,” the former president said. He added, “There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.”

This was not at all hyperbolic. If you haven’t already seen it, Ari Berman has a tremendous piece on the Republican Party’s “War on Voting,” which is well worth reading. It points to a trend that could carry consequences that quietly dictate the outcome of the 2012 elections.

As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008. Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots.

“What has happened this year is the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century,” says Judith Browne-Dianis, who monitors barriers to voting as co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. […]

All told, a dozen states have approved new obstacles to voting….Taken together, such measures could significantly dampen the Democratic turnout next year — perhaps enough to shift the outcome in favor of the GOP.

It’s hard to say which is more astounding — the scope of the Republican efforts, the brazenness of their schemes, or the fact that this has gone largely overlooked by the establishment media in recent months. There’s nothing normal about any of this.

Indeed, the concerted Republican effort isn’t exactly subtle. Under the auspices of rooting out “voter fraud” — a problem that appears to exist largely in the over-active imaginations of GOP activists — Republicans are passing voter-ID measures, closing windows for early voting, and approving new laws restricting voter-registration drives, all targeting specific kinds of voters who happen to be traditional Democratic supporters. The GOP fears losing in a fair fight, so the party is trying to rig the game through voter suppression, plain and simple.

As E.J. Dionne Jr. explained earlier in the summer, “These statutes are not neutral. Their greatest impact will be to reduce turnout among African Americans, Latinos and the young. It is no accident that these groups were key to Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 — or that the laws in question are being enacted in states where Republicans control state governments.”

Commenting on Berman’s article, Digby added, “Democrats had better hope that the coming elections aren’t close. If they are, there’s just no way they can win with these laws that are coming on line. And that’s the plan.”

She’s absolutely right.

“Our democracy is supposed to be a government by, of and for the people,” Browne-Dianis told Berman. “It doesn’t matter how much money you have, what race you are or where you live in the country - we all get to have the same amount of power by going into the voting booth on Election Day. But those who passed these laws believe that only some people should participate. The restrictions undermine democracy by cutting off the voices of the people.”

Yes, but the people may not vote the way Republicans want them to, so apparently, the restrictions have been deemed necessary.

Read the piece.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


  • c u n d gulag on September 03, 2011 11:13 AM:

    The Republicans define "Voter Fraud" as anybody voting for anyone other than a Republican.

    Funny how this is never mentioned on the Sunday Bloviation Festivals, huh? And no, not "Ha-ha" funny...

    How long before the Republicans break out the brown shirts?

    We live in that "Chinese Curse" - interesting times.

    Now, what the f*ck DO WE DO about it?!?!

  • stevio on September 03, 2011 11:28 AM:

    The GOP is always successful because the people running it are organized, sectioned into neat groups that do their jobs, no matter how nauseating to us, to perfection.I'm sure it goes back farther than Nixon but he really was the first to get caught and exposed because there was still a free Press back then. Now? Not so much. It's tightly controlled and as much as Left-wing blogs do to expose this stuff, even Clinton pointing it out didn't stir the Forth Estate to bust in and seek out the cancer and expose it. Shoulder shrugging is all we got. If so it's what we deserve.

    You can add this to the litany of wrong-headed choices of the present failed administration. Obama must think the Bully Pulpit is found only in playgrounds.His handlers have made so many awful choices that it's no wonder his one term will come as a surprise to no one. No one.

    Democrats will never crash an economy for political gain. Karl Rove, on hindsight, was relatively nice compared to what he spawned. His perpetuate GOP controlled government is arriving, perhaps not on schedule, but very soon. They have figured out how to mean-spirit bludgeon weak kneed people like Obama into liberal mush.

    Democrats are the party who have lost their way, not the GOP. The GOP have always been assholes. We really didn't get what we thought we voted for on so many levels that it saddens my heart. On election day I will go through the motions and pull the curtain to push the computer button that has been rigged by Diebold and even though it will say Obama, it won't make a lick of difference...


  • Gus Halberg on September 03, 2011 11:56 AM:

    Not at all astounding that the coporate-owned media are ignoring the issue.

    That's what they're paid to do.

  • FRP on September 03, 2011 12:06 PM:

    You let a little grey around the gills of an issue like torture permit your justice department to feel rather than investigate . Then one more little thing or other , exempts you from being able to manage in matters of law because offending a celebrity is worse than anything else anyone could think of .
    You let a little thing like using the Hatch amendment for a tool that prosecutes political opponents , while propagandizing their constituents with the tax dollars largely drawn from the same legally shunted citizen constituents who are made to pay for the enabling of their harassment , but discouraged from voting for what may consequently protect them . If legally shunted citizen constituents can manage to find an open voting booth that isn't preemptively arresting en masse . Hurdles composed through a maze of interesting guidelines which filter people specifically by their race , color , or creed . Then these fine upstanding citizen constituents may be examined more properly "downtoun" as to their bona fides , or maybe not , just better than letting them , arbitrarily , have the keys to the policy shed .
    The recent invention of lying has led to the utter incapacitation of critical faculties . Despite the fact that no examples of voter fraud can be matched to the , again preemptive , actions against the politically convenient presumptions of it , the party that has placed officials into office by controlling the vote count and the vote totals , or by judicial fiat , apparently are unamused by the possibility of any possible political opponent voting .
    Conservative is only one word that springs to mind , amongst others which are already notoriously significant acts of contempt for law . Standing alone as a legal matter though coward seems to fit .
    It is one thing to moralize over the cowardice of the whipping of the powerless , it s an entirely different thing to act* .

    * See Arab Spring 2011

  • tomb on September 03, 2011 12:27 PM:

    How long do you think it will be before Republican state legislators and governors start trying to enact voting laws that prohibit anyone who works for the government (teachers, state workers, etc.) from voting because it's a "conflict of interest."

  • Moonlight on September 03, 2011 12:38 PM:

    Maybe Democratic governors could respond by restricting all polling places to major urban centers. Force rural residents to drive into the closest metropolis if they want to vote. They could justify this policy by calling it a cost-cutting measure needed to balance their state's budget.

  • Moonlight on September 03, 2011 12:41 PM:

    Maybe Democratic governors could respond by restricting all polling places to major urban centers. Force rural residents to drive into the closest metropolis if they want to vote. They could justify this policy by calling it a cost-cutting measure needed to balance their state's budget.

  • r on September 03, 2011 12:59 PM:

    Government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. And the Dems are too in the pocket of the rich to fight back.

  • LRM on September 03, 2011 1:08 PM:

    The obvious question that comes to my mind........where is the Justice Department? There's little doubt that the intent of these laws is to suppress certain votes, so where are they?

  • FRP on September 03, 2011 1:10 PM:

    Maybe ...
    Then all of a sudden

    Which played back so slowly
    Encouraging signs everywhere

    Speculation wanted
    Apply within

    The wind Blew baby

    Those who can fly do

    Those who cannot

    Make Flying illegal !

  • Haystack Calhoun on September 03, 2011 1:12 PM:

  • AndThenThere'sThat on September 03, 2011 1:13 PM:

    All told, a dozen states have approved new obstacles to voting. Kansas and Alabama now require would-be voters to provide proof of citizenship before registering. Florida and Texas made it harder for groups like the League of Women Voters to register new voters. Maine repealed Election Day voter registration, which had been on the books since 1973. Five states - Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia - cut short their early voting periods. Florida and Iowa barred all ex-felons from the polls, disenfranchising thousands of previously eligible voters. And six states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures - Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin - will require voters to produce a government-issued ID before casting ballots. -Berman

    Looking at the "dozen" effected states, only five (Florida, Maine, Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin) are of any consequence. Maine is generally pretty blue in national elections, so I don't see that affected a lot. Iowa is purple, but a few thousand ineligible ex-felon votes aren't groundshaking. Wisconsin is waking-up to the consequences of the guanonutz party.

    This war on votes is clearly going to hit Florida, the biggest swing state in the country, the hardest.

    A big Democratic push back is absolutely necessary there.

  • doubtful on September 03, 2011 1:13 PM:


    The Justice Department has been missing for years. It's why war criminals are allowed to reap millions writing books about their war crimes.

  • Schtick on September 03, 2011 1:48 PM:

    They are suppressing the vote because they can do it and the people we elect, from both parties, go along with it. We still have two wars going we never should have been into along with a third war we are supposedly taking a back seat drivers position on, we still have Gitmo, we have a whole administration that should have been brought up on charges, but we have to look forward (in other words, leave it as is so the next repub can do an even better job of destroying us besides the fact that a bunch of those previous administration people are in this administration), a supreme court with members having conflicts of interest and throwing out laws not involved with the case at hand so they can get the tealiban result they want, and then the tealibans that sign a pledge with Norquist that takes precedence over the oath of office. WTF?
    I found out the tealiban owns the board of elections here a few years back when I tried to switch parties. It took me two years to switch parties and that was with a visit in person to ask what the hell the problem was. In the meantime, someone was wanting to run against a fellow repub and couldn't beat him in the primary so he switched to dem and beat him in the election and promptly switched back to repub. All this within the two years it took me to switch once. WTF?
    We keep the tax breaks for the rich, tax breaks for big business, subsidies for companies making millions an hour and now they are doing their best to rip out what little is left for the middle class and the lower class altho they do toss a little bone in there for us once in awhile. They out and out lie about everything and the retarded voters go along with it. (Did I mention they are ripping away at education to make sure the voters stay stupid?)
    This country is screwed. We have a President that is afraid of the tealiban and a whole dem party that is either afraid of the tealiban or they are actual tealibans themselves and go along with the program. How can you stop something that has been going on for the last 30 years with support from both parties?
    We are slipping into the type of government that our forefathers fought against. That last earthquake was our forefathers turning in their graves.

    crapcha....ionacem benefits....LOL

  • Jimo on September 03, 2011 2:01 PM:

    So why didn't Democrats pursue voting reforms 3 years ago and end the practice of voluntary fulfillment of this duty of citizenship?

    Imagine if people were actually required to vote (as they are required to pay taxes, serve on juries, and register with the military). Or at minimum, allowed to receive a refundable tax credit for having participated in their community by voting in the last general election?

    Democrats never play to win. They just play.

  • j on September 03, 2011 2:32 PM:

    SC Governor proudly announced that she is going to have 'a whole day' of voters registration. Yesterday I renewed my driving license, what a daunting experience, sitting in a room full of people waiting for my number to be called, if you can get in and out in 1 hour you are very lucky - how many voters in SC without photo ID's - I think at least 200,000. No way are these people going to be able to vote, I have been fuming about this for weeks now, is anyone going to do anything?

  • jami on September 03, 2011 2:38 PM:

    Excuse me for my stupidity. My day job is nothing more than being shit paper for the Repiglican assholes that I worship. That's why they call me 'shit for brains'. As you can see my job has created a state of total delusions within me because, after all, all the Repiglican assholes that I wipe are infected with nothing but delusions ...

  • stormskies on September 03, 2011 3:11 PM:

    Repiglicans, once again, live in a fact free universe. The psychological security is dependent of creating a universe of interlocking delusions that can not be penetrated by actual facts. If they allowed one actual fact to penetrate their delusional universe it would all come crashing down around them. Then what ? So of course this ignorant buffoons huddle within a universe with their fellow buffoons like Rush Limbaugh, Fox Propaganda, so as to maintain and reinforce their delusional universe. Witness the idiot above called 'jami'. And, sadly, our country is chock full of these buffoons. These are the buffoons that walk around with their signs that say 'keep government away from my medicare'. They are of course so stupid, imbecilic really, that they have no capacity to even realize they are in fact imbeciles. Quite the opposite: they celebrate and revel in their stupidity actually creating what appears to be thoughts that tell they that they are in fact right, everyone else is wrong, and that, indeed, they are superior.

    It is truly stunning ...... and the consequences of the stunning fact correlates to what has happened to our country ... these are the ones the elect evil creatures like Eric Cantor and the rest of them ......

  • Old Uncle Dave on September 03, 2011 3:38 PM:

    The repigs shout "voter fraud" to distract people from their blatant election fraud. Their compliant corporate media lets them get away with it.

    It won't change anything though. Obama has been too good for the banksters, big pharma, the oil companies, and the weapons makers. They will reward him with another term. The GOP is going along with it by putting up a field of guaranteed loser nut-jobs vying for the nomination.

  • Varecia on September 03, 2011 4:07 PM:

    Steve Benen, I hope you glance over these replies, because someone needs to strongly urge The League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote to get back in the game NOW! New Mexico has the same 48 hour restriction on turning in new voter registrations, and I and many other volunteers successfully registered many, many, many voters for the 2008 General Election with no problems. Yes, you have to stay on top of things, but it wasn't what I would characterize as a hardship. We're allowed to have only 20 forms at a time, you are assigned an individual registration number to put on all the forms you register to identify you as the person who registered those voters, and each form has its own number. You do go back to the Courthouse often to replenish your supply forms. Is it ideal? No. Is it impossible? Certainly NOT. The LWV and RTV caved to conservative tactics and that is the real outrage because that is exactly what they want! Shame on the LWV and RTV for demonstrating that dirty tricks work. Now is the time to stand up to these thugs instead of falling apart.

  • T2 on September 03, 2011 4:34 PM:

    If you can't win fair, cheat. That's been the GOP way since Watergate. Just look at Bush in 2000.....his Ace in the Hole- a big Electoral state which just happened to be run by his brother.
    When Bush was poised to lose to Gore, he called Jeb and said "rig it". Look at the decline of the nation since that night.

  • John on September 03, 2011 5:09 PM:

    Requiring a valid ID also affects women who usually favor Democrats. Divorced women often go through a process of name changes that leaves a mismatch between their voter registration and their drivers license.

  • stormskies on September 03, 2011 6:05 PM:

    DEMOCRACY is the real problem that Repiglicans have ... these goons want a fascist state defined by a plutocracy.... anyone that is not like them of course is an enemy of the fascist/plutocratic state ....i am sure these goons would be perfectly happy in brown uniforms that all must wear with some kind of corporate symbol on the shoulder ..

  • JW on September 03, 2011 6:36 PM:

    Obama is leader of the democratic party. Why is Clinton the one calling this attack on the democratic rank and file to people's attention?

  • jjm on September 03, 2011 11:21 PM:

    It's worse than anyone might think. The GOP is holding a national meeting on how they MUST get a WHITE MAJORITY.


    "Press Conference: Why the GOP Must Win White America for Victory in 2012

    The conference will take place on September 9, 2011 from 1:30 to 3 PM in The National Press Club’s Holeman Lounge."

    Together with that article on how being poor should disqualify you from voting ("it's like putting burglary tools in the hands of criminals") it tells you that the GOP is certain that whites in this country will rise up to keep the brown men down. (http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/09/columnist_registering_poor_to_vote_like_handing_out_burglary_tools_to_criminals.php?ref=fpb)

    South Africa? Didn't teach them any lessons?

  • ChrisRhetts on September 04, 2011 6:17 AM:

    Brad Freidman has been covering this issue for years over at TheBradBlog (.com). Probably the earliest, and one of the most revealing episodes involved Thor Hearne's "American Center for Voting Rights" - way back in 2005. You can still find Brad's coverage on this story in the special coverage section.

    Republicans have been at this for a Hell of a long time. Its nothing more than a cynical attempt to manipulate elections - and is as UN-American as it gets.

    I don't fault a person for having views different from mine. But the way we resolve these differences is in the voting booth. Take that away, and we really don't have a functioning democracy anymore. And that's EXACTLY what kind of country this bogus state legislation is trying to create.

  • stormskies on September 04, 2011 9:55 AM:

    The bottom line is simple: there is zero evidence of any voter fraud beyond one here and there ....... that's it. These idiots who show up here spluttering their crap know this but don't want to accept the actual facts. So, of course and yet again, they create yet more delusions manifesting as rationals to defend that which can not be defended by the actual facts .......

  • Tim Safley on September 04, 2011 10:59 AM:

    The reason for having to present proof (driver's license, residence address, etc.) is to keep illegals, criminals, and other people who do not have the right to vote from voting. It also helps to prevent dead people from voting, as dead people vote overwhelmingly for democrats.


    There is nothing wrong with having to prove who you are. You have to at the library and many other places of business and government.

    Any of you ever heard of identity theft?

  • Jack on September 04, 2011 11:24 AM:

    The Constitution says you have to be at least 18 to vote. Are Democrats ok with that or are you outraged by the disenfranchisement of 10 year olds? If not, why not? Most normal people will tell you that of course 10 year olds shouldn't be allowed to vote, that you've got to have a certain level of wisdom, maturity, and itelligence to participate in the process that elects men and women who will make life and death decisions about the economy and whether or not we go to war, that affect millions of people around the globe. If it is important for voters to be wise, mature, and informed, then instead of arbitrarily determining this by age, because surely there are many 17 year olds who are wiser and smarter than a lot of 40 year olds, why don't we establish some standards to determine someone's elegibility to vote? My guess is that Democrats don't care at all about the quality of the voter and will accept anybody with a pulse as long as they are confident that person will vote the right way.

  • Covet on September 04, 2011 11:39 AM:

    I really have trouble seeing any problem with any of this. Washington state (where I reside) has required identification (a state issued ID, drivers license, bank statement, etc) in order to vote and has not allowed felons to vote for as long as I can remember.

    They also tend to remove your right to vote on a whim, I've known people who have had their right to vote revoked for assault 4 (ie. Domestic violence, a misdemeanor not a felony).

    Washington state also requires that you register at least 30 days before the date of the next election if registering by mail or online and 1 week before the next election if registering in person. No same day registrations which is another thing that the left has been taking up as an issue.

    And last I checked Washington is a blue state. So what is all the uproar about?

    Honestly, if someone is incapable of acquiring ID maybe they're also incapable of making an informed decision when voting.

  • Quek on September 04, 2011 11:55 AM:

    So the fact that you can't drive without a license, can't apply for SS without identification, open a bank account without ID, cash a check without ID, use a credit card without ID, apply for school without proof of vacinations and citizenship etc means that there simply is no way a person of color can get identification. What a crock. There is no reason for not having identification.

  • Ed on September 04, 2011 12:42 PM:

    I've already read that article, and though I do see a few troublesome issues (not allowing ex-cons to vote, for instance), I see no problem whatsoever requiring proof of citizenship. More importantly, the article ignores two fundamental issues that are behind these Republican efforts:

    1) If Democrats had stood up to the illegal alien issue with some spine, defining "illegal" as "you're breaking the law", then there would be far fewer of them in our country, and much less need to require proof of citizenship. Immigrants are what made America great, and my father was one of them. But if you want to vote, you have to become a citizen, and that starts with being a legal alien. My father had absolutely no problem with this.

    3) Both parties have been using inappropriate tactics to sway votes for generations, just in less obvious ways. How many votes have been promised by powerful lobbying groups? How many decades and billions of dollars have been spent getting long-term welfare dependents to keep voting for the status quo? (I'm all for helping the needy, but give them a fishing pole, not a lifetime of fish, save for those who can never hope to find a job, like the disabled.)

    I agree that Republicans need to be more careful about crossing the lines of Constitutional law, like the Patriot Act. But this "overreaction" is an understandable one. They and many others have reached the point of both frustration and terror that if allowed, Democrats will push our nation into insolvency (with much of the blame, admittedly, on Republicans who keep pushing for these bloated wars).

    The wolves of the world are smelling blood (both here and in Europe). Both parties had better drop their political love-children and get their act together.

  • Rastus on September 04, 2011 1:41 PM:

    The lead-in to your piece quotes President Clinton: "[O]ne of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time...."

    How does a law that requires a voter to present a valid ID burden Democrats, or young people or minorities more than it burdens Republicans? Is it more difficult for an African American to get a photo ID? It sounds like you (and others) are arguing--at least implicitly--that the people most likely to vote for Democrats are too dumb to obtain and remember to carry with them a photo ID. If not, then what is your point?

  • Hans on September 04, 2011 1:48 PM:

    So where in the Constitution does it say you need a state-sponsored ID to vote?

  • Anonymous on September 04, 2011 3:14 PM:

    "So where in the Constitution does it say you need a state-sponsored ID to vote?'

    From the US Constitution:

    "No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President..."

    If you can come up with a better way of proving people are "natural born Citizens, or Citizens of the United States" without "state-sponsored ID," go right ahead. No one really cares what the mechanism is as long it proves citizenship.

  • Kevin (not the famous one) on September 04, 2011 4:39 PM:

    It's a GOP'r control issue for better things to come, you wouldn't understand.
    Prophetic: Revelation 13:17
    "So be it"

    Craptcha Accesqu PERSONAL

  • Bruce on September 04, 2011 6:58 PM:

    I don't see how requiring someone to have a valid driver's license is too much to ask before letting them vote.

    If someone isn't competent enough to obtain proper identification (which apparently, many Obama supporters are not), then they probably have no business voting anyway.

    Of course, most progressives will find this train of thought shocking... the thought that people actually have to be responsible for THEMSELVES, instead of depending on someone else to take care of them.

  • Varecia on September 04, 2011 7:35 PM:

    Bruce, the problem is what data base is used for the voter registration, versus what data base is used for the poll books, versus what data base is used for the voter ID, and most of all, WHO HAS CONTROL OF EACH. If they don't match, for whatever reasons ranging from human error in data entry to names changed for valid reasons like marriage or divorce, address changes, etc., then the voter is disenfranchised. Some voter registration data bases are managed by private companies, and I'm not comfortable with that, either. There are lots of reasons to be worried about voter ID issues. And voting is a RIGHT, not a reward for competency or a special privilege. If that were the case, there would be a lot of people not qualified to vote, including a lot of conservatives!!!!

  • Varecia on September 04, 2011 7:48 PM:

    And for all the wingnuts posting here, conservatives are quite open and vocal about wanting to prevent legitimate voters from voting because they know that's the only way they apparently think they can win elections. And for all who somehow think that illegals are just brazenly voting all over the place, I volunteer for a disaster relief organization and we can't even get illegals to accept disaster relief services when they're huddled in a pile of rubble because they're afraid they're going to be revealed as illegals. Anyone who thinks they'd march into a polling place with all kinds of people checking poll books is just paranoid and deluded. That is totally ridiculous. It's not happening except in wingnuts' freaked out imaginations.

  • Tiffany on September 04, 2011 7:56 PM:

    As someone who has worked as a poll watcher and knows that people do try to cheat the system and vote multiple times I am encouraged when I see safeguards put in place. My husband watched as a woman came in and voted, five minutes later came in with sunglasses on and tried to vote under a different name, the judges were letting her sign the rolls when he pointed out that she was the same person that had come in five minutes earlier so they stopped her from voting a second time. For good measure the next time she waited ten minutes before coming back this time with a scarf on her head and tried to vote under yet another name. Again the judges were letting her sign the ledger when my husband had to step up and point out that she was trying to vote, again. If this real life example were the only thing I could point to, it would be enough in my mind to say, we need to protect the integrity of our voting system to insure that no legitimate votes are being disenfranchised by illegitimate ones, but when we have even democrats complaining about the wide spread corruption in voter registration drives by Acorn you know we have a real problem that needs addressing.


    As to an earlier poster's complaint about sitting for an hour to get a state issued I.D. being too much of a burden on voters, I have to ask are you serious? Are we such pampered brats in this country that we won't sit in the DMV for an hour to get a state issued I.D. so we can vote, there was a time in this country that we would die for that right and honor, there are people in Iraq willing to stand up to the Taliban for that honor, and you think it is just too much to ask that people be able to prove they are legal voters. And to those who say why don't we move all polling locations into urban centers, supposedly to disenfranchise those "country" voters, I'd put money on the fact that those country voters would still take the time, regardless of the inconvenience, to vote, after all they are used to inconveniences, they live in the country, many times their livelihood is dictated by one "Act of God" after another and they still choose that life over city life. I doubt moving their polling centers would stop them from voting.

  • Varecia on September 04, 2011 8:15 PM:

    gommygoomy: "...You need I.D. to Drive, to buy Liquor, to buy Cigarettes, to buy a Plane Ticket, to get Married..."

    BUT when you buy a pack of cigarettes, a six pack, a plane ticket or get married, you aren't checked against a poll book of registered cigarette smokers, registered beer drinkers, registered airline customers, or registered engaged people before you can make those transactions. The clerk at 7-Eleven doesn't have a book of registered alcohol drinkers on hand that your ID has to match precisely or you are denied your purchase. Conservatives are clueless about the way voter registration and voting actually works. "I'm sorry, your name isn't in my book of registered drinkers; you'll have to fill out a provisional alcohol purchase form, place it in the official provisional alcohol purchase envelope and insert it into the provisional alcohol purchase box and hope it gets examined and counted before you can even think about completing this transaction."

  • Varecia on September 04, 2011 8:29 PM:

    Tiffany, your story doesn't pass the smell test. Poll watchers are NOT allowed to communicate with any poll worker, only to report what was observed to people situated outside the polling place, and only after stepping outside the polling place. Poll CHALLENGERS are the only ones who are allowed to talk, and even then only to the election judge on the premises, and even poll challengers can't communicate directly with voters. If you insist your story is true, then your husband BROKE THE LAW.

  • Tyson on September 04, 2011 8:33 PM:

    You ARE checked against a list when you board a commercial airline flight.
    All that other nonsense you posted was a strawman argument.

  • Herb on September 04, 2011 8:38 PM:

    The article and most responses are hysterical overstatement with little grasp on reality.

    Fact: you have to show a drivers license to buy many varieties of over-the-counter cold medicine in the US. I had to do so the last time I had the flu.

    Is requiring that same minimum standard of identification for voting eligibility a hardship and a 'conspiracy', as most posters seem to be saying? Is voting a less serious activity than buying Claritin-D? I think not. You folks should get a grip.

  • harry on September 04, 2011 9:26 PM:

    Interesting that people are complaining about this. Here's why -

    I need I.D. to do the following - rent a movie, open up a bank account, drive, buy a gun (which is a right btw). There are more examples, so I have to ask why is not making sure someone lives here "legally" a problem?

    I don't care how you vote the choice is yours, but I do care if you shouldn't be voting and you are...this is a huge problem.

    I live in Chicago and I have a right to carry a gun if I wish, so why is it my rights are taken away in this city? I can prove I'm a citizen so therefore i should be able to get a gun.

    Having legal voters would be a good thing IMHO, why people cannot understand this and the need for verification of citizenship is beyond any sense of reason.