Political Animal


January 02, 2012 1:35 PM Malleable standards on voter ID

By Steve Benen

As part of an aggressive Republican “war on voting,” GOP policymakers in much of the country are putting new hurdles between Americans and their election process. The most common — and arguably most odious — are mandatory voter-ID laws, intended to block traditional Democratic constituencies (African Americans, students, the poor, the elderly) from participating in elections.

When defending the voter-suppression tactics, Republican invariably say the measures are necessary to prevent imaginary voter fraud. But it’s interesting to see when those concerns disappear.

While Republicans pushed for tough new voter-identification standards throughout the past year — passing stricter laws in more than a dozen states — the GOP’s Iowa caucusgoers won’t even need to bring a photo ID to the polls on Tuesday.

As blogger Brad Friedman first noted, the Iowa GOP enjoys full control over its caucuses, including determining voter eligibility. Iowa Republican Party spokesman Ryan Gough told The Huffington Post that would-be voters will be checked against rolls of registered Republicans taken from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. Attendees will have to prove their identity and address, but have plenty of options besides a driver’s license or passport.

“If you have, for instance, a student ID and utility bill or a pay stub with your address on it, you’re good to go,” Gough said.

Iowa Republicans will also be allowed to register on the night of the caucuses without any additional form of ID.

Remember, from coast to coast, Republican officials keep insisting (1) same-day registration is a scourge on democracy; (2) student IDs can’t possibly be good enough; and (3) voter IDs are absolutely necessary.

So are we to believe these same Republicans are outraged by the Iowa caucuses and consider the first nominating contest corrupt?

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.


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  • MikeBoyScout on January 02, 2012 1:38 PM:

    Rick Perry should lead a lawsuit in federal court objecting to Iowa state laws.

  • c u n d gulag on January 02, 2012 1:42 PM:

    Today's Republicans are characters in a farcical play in search of a credible plot.

    This would be funny, but somehow or other, close to 50% of the people in this idiotic country think that voting against their own interests every few years is in own their best interest.

    Rubes, idiots, and fools.
    That's what we're a nation of!

  • zandru on January 02, 2012 1:43 PM:

    We all need to start pointing out these discrepancies. The Justice Department is stepping in to invalidate these voting rights infringements where it can. The ACLU and League of Women Voters (to name just a few) are filing suit where they can.

    The least the rest of us can do is start talking about the discrepancies between Republican policy towards non-Republicans and what they do themselves. NOW - while the focus is on Iowa.

    (Another week, and we'll never have to hear from it again, until 2015).

  • c u n d gulag on January 02, 2012 1:43 PM:

    Oh, and I forgot one thing:

    The Grifters who love them!

  • jpeckjr on January 02, 2012 1:46 PM:

    The Iowa caucuses are not an election. No party caucus ever is. They are internal party events and the party can set its own rules.

    I am sure there are state laws in Iowa regarding voter registration that the caucuses rely on for the rolls, and probably some laws about reporting. But a caucus is a party event, not an election.

    The "winner" of the Iowa caucus has not been elected to anything.

  • JimL on January 02, 2012 1:50 PM:

    I am sure as long as they are voting republican they can vote as often as they like.

  • MikeBoyScout on January 02, 2012 1:55 PM:

    @jpeckjr on January 02, 2012 1:46 PM,

    I think I understand your point, but the Iowa caucuses are not internal party events. They are an Iowa state legally sanctioned process.

    Winners in the Iowa caucus is certainly elected to do something. They are elected to represent their district in the party's presidential nominating convention.

  • T2 on January 02, 2012 1:57 PM:

    There isn't any quantity of black or brown voters in Iowa, therefore no reason to worry about Voter Fraud.

  • jsjiowa on January 02, 2012 2:51 PM:

    Interestingly, the state House Republicans in Iowa passed a voter ID bill last legislative session that was pushed by the Republican Secretary of State who claimed it was necessary to combat voter fraud. But if the Secretary of State pushed the same proposal to limit eligibility for caucus voting, it certainly didn't make the news the way his voter ID proposal in the legislature did. (The bill stalled in state Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats).

  • Blue Girl on January 02, 2012 2:52 PM:

    So are we to believe these same Republicans are outraged by the Iowa caucuses are consider the first nominating contest corrupt?

    Only in the event of a Ron Paul blowout, which, if it happens, will happen because of...wait for it...students.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on January 02, 2012 3:17 PM:

    GOP policymakers in much of the country are putting new hurdles between Americans and their election process.

    Except in Virginia. The GOP wants to remove that pesky hurdle of state laws of eligibility and process to get the cuckoo club on the presidential primary ballot. I do love their sense of irony. Does any one know if the birther's have recommenced their efforts to get Obama off the presidential ballot?

  • Zorro on January 02, 2012 3:38 PM:

    So are we to believe these same Republicans are outraged by the Iowa caucuses are consider the first nominating contest corrupt?

    Well, duh, it only matters when it's not white people! Everyone knows that you can always trust white people!

    Its true, as long as you ignore literally all of human history,

  • Patango on January 03, 2012 8:52 AM:

    "There isn't any quantity of black or brown voters in Iowa, therefore no reason to worry about Voter Fraud."

    Actually there are colored folk here , but at this point a typical GOP voter/leader looks at any dem like they are a ni@@er , welcome to the jungle baby...

    " IOWA CITY The Black Hawk County Republicans envision hosting a caucus kick-off event on Jan. 3 in Cedar Falls, preceding the 7 p.m. precinct caucuses. Candidates are expected to address an estimated 5,000 Black Hawk County voters in the McLeod Center, University of Northern Iowa's basketball arena.

    After the kick-off, voters from all 63 county precincts will head to the neighboring UNI-Dome ( universities domed football field ) to choose which Republican they want to see atop the national ballot."

    So Iowa GOP election leaders are trying to tell us they are going to check 5000 peoples ID's before they vote , they would need the 63 counties precinct records on hand , and would have to go through all of them , that is complete bull $hit , they will not be doing that there ....

  • waddanut on January 03, 2012 9:13 AM:

    I could ALMOST understand the voter IDs if they were available at more places than the Motor Vehicle Department which can be closed down with little notice.

    What about having them available at the Post Office after all, if its good enough to get a federal passport, why isn't it good enough for a voter ID?

    How about your local town office? In many small towns you go to the town hall to register to vote, why can't you get a voter ID at the same time? Is the town records not good enough?

    Otherwise, maybe they should consider the purple ink on the finger like we require in other countries that we invade.

    Almost time to get the UN involved.