Tuesday, May 01, 2012

One fake ID law

The push by many states to require photo ID for voting troubles me.

It's an issue pushed by nearly lock step by Republican governors and legislatures, over an issue that is virtually nonexistent.

ACORN is defunct today because enemies of truth and ethics like James O'Keefe decided that the organization wreaked havoc with voter rolls. BUT HERE'S THE THING — ACORN paid people to register others to vote, and paid them by the ballot. And because a lot of the people they hired were exactly the kind of down-and-out people who needed to make a living this way, they padded the applications with names of mascots, sports stars, etc. When ACORN officials discovered these, they pulled them out and announced that they had done so. Which is why any of us knew about it in the first place. But even if ACORN had deliberately registered the fake names, it's not as if someone was going to walk into their polling station and vote as Mickey Mouse. And even if that did happen, it would be enough of an isolated incident to merit national coverage.

So basically, ACORN's downfall lied in doing its job as an agency. It prevented false ballots from being registered as real, even as making them real would have had few, if any, consequences. Meanwhile, the Breitbart idiots commit several felonies in trying to prove such fraud and comparatively skate by.

Not that any of that matters anyway, because voter registration fraud is a different animal than voter fraud.  And I don't hear a lot of these politicians all that concerned with registration fraud, which seems like the bigger deal of the two. No, they're instead fixated on what they claim is an epidemic of people walking into polling stations and voting as someone else — a statistic I've seen represented only by thousandths or less of a percent. In other words, an urgent crisis.

So why dwell on demanding photo IDs at the polls? Well, it's actually a stroke of political genius. See, as long as civil rights has been a thing in the United States, right-wing conservatives have done all they can to subvert the voting power of minorities, women, the poor and other undesirables. Poll taxes. "Literacy" tests. Arbitrary questions with impossible answers. Misinformation campaigns offering the wrong election date. The expunging of alleged "felons" from voting rolls, whether they did anything or not — or just happened to have the same name as a convicted felon. All of these were effective means to Block the Vote, but these days aren't the coolest actions. So now it's the claim that voters need a state-issued picture ID. At least now they can say they're concerned about voter integrity with a slightly straighter face.

Of course, those who have no valid, state-issued picture ID tend to be minorities, the poor, the elderly and other undesirables who lean Democratic. People who have the right to vote, but who now face obstacles to that right.

It's hard for a lot of us to imagine, but millions of adult Americans do not have sufficient ID to meet such laws. Maybe the IDs are expired. Or the people can't afford them. Or don't have sufficient mobility to get one (after all, DMVs aren't as ubiquitous as polling stations). Or maybe they don't work or otherwise need one in their daily lives. That might make it hard for them to get by in today's world, but it doesn't make them ineligible to vote. As I put it in a blog in 2008:

My grandmother lived to 86, was an active voter until the age of 80 and never had a driver's license or ID card. When I think of mandatory-photo-ID rules, I don't think of Mohammad Atta being turned away; I think of my grandmother. Anyway, Atta had a valid Florida driver's license. What's the point?

The point is to clamp down on Democratic voters. Period.

1 comment:

Novelty Goon said...
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