Prove It All Night

Following up on Dennis G’s history of the Southern strategy in Republican politics, let’s not forget the role of good, old-fashioned voter suppression. J.D. Hayworth’s latest birther outburst contains an example:

“He believes that that legislation is drawn too narrowly,” said Hayworth communications director Mark Sanders, when TPMDC asked for Hayworth’s position. “And his thinking on it is that we require every voter when they go to the polls to prove who they are and prove that they are eligible to vote, so we should require that not only of presidential candidates but also every candidate on the ballot.”

Hayworth just takes for granted that voters have to show identification at the polls, but that’s a new, Republican, innovation. In most states, a voter used to be able to sign their name and vote. New requirements for “proof” — a picture id — suppress turnout of poor voters who might not have a picture id. And they add a little fear factor for recent citizens.

So, Hayworth’s statement is a two-fer: Not only is Obama a secret Kenyan Muslim, but we’re going to keep Mexicans from voting.

58 replies
  1. 1
    Mudge says:

    The strategy also negatively affects anyone without a driver’s license, which includes many poor and city dwellers. It’s a more-fer.

  2. 2

    Arizona, rife with transplants from around the country, seems to be rabidly anti-immigrant these days. A new draconian anti-immigration law makes me wonder if anyone of Hispanic descent would even want to travel through Arizona, much less live there. As long as you are descended from non-Hispanic European stock you’re very welcome. If not, then you are shit out of luck. Can we rename Arizona, Dixie of the Southwest.

    What is interesting about this is that most of the Hispanic and Indian population have lived in the southwest US since long before any other Europeans ever arrived on this continent.

    So, yeah, go ahead and disenfranchise the people who were there first. I should work well for the GOP in the long run.

  3. 3

    More entertainment from Arizona. Goody!

    The politicians certainly deserve public shame and ridicule. Maybe we will spend the next few months pointing and giggling.

  4. 4
    RedKitten says:

    I don’t know if I really have an issue with having to verify your identity when you go vote. Voter registration cards can get lost or stolen, and I know I would be royally pissed if I found out that someone else voted in my name.

    When we vote, we’re required to bring our voter registration card and one piece of photo ID, or two pieces of non-photo ID (like your health card and your power bill). I have no idea how much photo ID costs in the U.S., but here, if you just want a non-drivers’-license photo ID, it’s about $15.

    Maybe I don’t see this as a big deal because there isn’t anywhere near as much anti-immigration sentiment here in Canada.

  5. 5
    DecidedFenceSitter says:

    Redkitten – is it more the onus it puts on poor people to get a picture ID. When you don’t have a car, and you are working a job that doesn’t give you time off (and possibly six days a week) when do you have time to make it to the DMV to get a gov’t issued picture ID?

  6. 6
    MikeTheZ says:

    Quick, someone call The Daily Show Singers!

  7. 7
    Svensker says:


    It’s because there is a history in the U.S. of using proof of identity to keep blacks from voting since, in the South anyway, they were often too poor to be able to afford the I.D. So there’s a lot of baggage associated with the whole topic now.

  8. 8
    RedKitten says:

    @DecidedFenceSitter: I can see your point — I suppose I would just find it odd for someone to not ALREADY have a photo ID, just so that they can buy a bottle of wine now and again. There are a lot of situations in which I’ve been required to have photo ID, so I suppose it just baffles the hell out of me to wonder how any adult could have been getting by for years without one.

  9. 9
    kay says:

    It’s bigger than ID. It’s an ideological battle, and it plays out in regulation. There are two legal camps: voting is a right or voting is a privilege. Is access important enough to risk an occasional instance of fraud, or is prevention of fraud sufficient reason to limit access, and possibly disenfranchise?

    The answer to that question depends on whether you consider voting a right or a privilege, because one or the other is going to happen. There will be instances of fraud without ID requirements, or there will be instances of wrongful disenfranchisement with ID requirements.

    You can split a room down the middle, the difference is so stark. The debate gets so hot because it’s about something bigger, and the “access” camp (which I’m in) want to further the analysis that starts with voting as a right, not a privilege, like driving. We believe that’s what’s at stake.

  10. 10
    stuckinred says:

    Georgia continues to fight for a voter ID law. The Attorney General has declined to sue so governor moonpie is going to do an end run just like with the health care suit.

  11. 11
    Hypnos says:

    Voting in Italy requires your electoral card (which is sent by mail to all citizens when they turn 18) and your ID card, another thing which all citizens have by default, provided by the State.

    Explain me again why there is such strong opposition to a National ID in the US? Wouldn’t it solve this kind of problems?

  12. 12
    stuckinred says:

    @Hypnos: Oh, we can’t have that. They @Hypnos: Why do you hate our freedoms? :)

  13. 13
    geg6 says:

    Thankfully, here in purple PA we still just have to sign our names and nothing else in order to vote. I have never once been asked for my voter registration card or even drivers license. And I would scream bloody murder if I was.

    Of course, my precinct is one where everyone knows everyone else, so it really is not something that would come up.

  14. 14
    kay says:


    It was a mess, as enacted, in Ohio. They did no public education on the new law. None. Poll workers had no idea how to apply it, and the standards were applied differently from precinct to precinct. When people don’t know what they’re doing, they tend to go “better safe than sorry”, and they did that. They were turning people away with a name change due to marriage, or an address change within a precinct.
    The “provisional ballot” idea was the fail-safe: they use that get it past a state legislatures and survive a court challenge but I have watched voters handed a provisional ballot and they give up and walk away.
    Ours involves 3 separate forms (including the special bright yellow envelope) , one of which is an sworn statement with scary language about imprisonment. From talking to voters as a poll worker, I know they did not understand the forms, because they were written with the language of the statute.
    The voters who fail the ID test are pulled out of line, so the process is public. That intimidates people.
    It’s gotten better. The Secretary of State issued more inclusive guidelines defining a “government document” and they did better poll worker training. But, make no mistake. People were wrongly disenfranchised.

  15. 15
    geg6 says:


    From my experience in talking to people about this, the ones against it that I know are against national IDs because they are afraid it is the first step in the nefarious communofacist plan to purge all the kulaks and make the hammer and sickle our national symbol. Also. Too.

  16. 16
    Montysano says:

    OT, from the This Explains So Much Dept:

    I’ve been having a lib vs. conservative slapfight with some high school FB friends. Last night, one of them posted this article. There are comments….. I swear to FSM….. along the lines of:

    “Why isn’t the librul media reporting this!1”

    “Their keepin’ us in the dark!”

    The article is from The Onion….

  17. 17
    stuckinred says:

    @kay: Which SOS, this dope from Athens or the last one?

  18. 18
    Bob K says:

    I have to post this here. NOT safe for work. Turn your speakers off & swallow what is in your mouth. Believe me. Would I lie to you? I was in the boy scouts but i got kicked out for eating brownies and that’s also why i’m not in the young republicans club.

  19. 19

    I guess I am with RedKitten on this, but I am also Canadian and am used to this requirement.

    It’s nearly impossible for an adult to participate in society today without some kind of picture ID today. You need it to get a job. You need it to access government services – including, I believe welfare, and food stamps. You need it to cash a cheque, even at those hideous cheque cashing places in poor neighbourhoods. You certainly need it to have a bank account. And you’re supposed to have it so police can identify you if you’re suspected of a crime. Some jurisdictions even give some form of picture ID to illegal aliens who are arguably the more disenfranchised of all (not that I am advocating giving them the vote).

    Every state issues an ID card, which is separate from a Driver’s Licence, and is issued to anyone with proof of identity. They are not that expensive and Department of Motor Vehicle offices are everywhere (even if they’re slow and the requirements to establish proof of identity have gone through the roof.)

    I understand the checkered history, but in the 1950s I would reckon that a significant portion of the poor Black population didn’t have IDs and couldn’t get access to them because of poor record keeping and discrimination, and they weren’t as important. But times have changed and so have the requirements needed to participate in the modern economy. I can’t imagine that this is going to disenfrancise a significant portion of people who want to vote in this day in age.

    But I think the onerous voter registration laws do exactly. Why can’t someone with a picture ID and proof of citizenship go to their local precinct polling place and register AND vote on the election day like in other western democracies?

  20. 20
    flukebucket says:


    Of course, my precinct is one where everyone knows everyone else, so it really is not something that would come up.

    So is mine here in Georgia but I still have to show picture ID and I have voted at the same place and chatted with the same women every time I have voted for the last 34 years.

    The last time I voted my cell phone went off in my pocket and you would have thought I had brought a bomb in with me. People scrambling around telling me that I was not supposed to have that in there with me. I ask them if they were going to call the Sheriff.

    I told the lady that I could remember when voting was the easiest thing in the world to do but that it was becoming such a pain in the ass that I was beginning to feel that it was not worth the time or the trouble.

    Maybe that is what they are hoping for.

  21. 21
    Walker says:


    Number of the beast. Remember our demographic make up.

  22. 22
    mai naem says:

    Hey, we have a history of this in Arizona. William Rehnquist, the former USSC Chief Justice, no less, used to go to South Phx(poorer minority area) and try to intimidate voters in line at the polls by giving them tests.

  23. 23
    kay says:


    Now I’m completely confused, because there is an Athens on both Ohio and Georgia.
    I was talking about Ohio. We had Ken Blackwell, who (IMO) deliberately made the ID regs confusing, and then we had Brunner, who cleaned the whole mess up. She was a common pleas judge before she was SOS so she knows people can’t read forms.
    The poll workers needed a form. If this happens, go to this. They got this insane packet written in legalize that I spent 6 hours figuring out. They’re old people, and they had been doing this for years. They just sprung these draconian requirements on them.
    I was freaking out. I made enemies. I was chasing people into the parking lot telling them they were allowed to vote. At one point, precinct six and precinct seven were applying two completely different standards. The tables were 20 feet apart, and the voters standing in line at 6 could hear the difference, at my table, in 7. It was ludicrous.
    If Georgia institutes a process, pay attention. Make sure you educate your voters.

  24. 24
    Woodrowfan says:

    In Virginia they’re pretty liberal about what works as an ID. You can use any government-issued ID with your name on it (Fed, State, Country, Local), utility bills, voter id card, military ID, etc. OR, you can sign a statement swearing you are who you claim to be.

    Only time I ever saw a problem was in 2008 when we had both Rep and Dem lawyers watching and the Repub wanted to know why we accepted a certain ID. “Because the law says we can! (dumbshite)” “Oh, OK.”

  25. 25
    Xenos says:


    She was a common pleas judge before she was SOS so she knows people can’t read forms.

    LOL. Very, very true.

  26. 26
    kay says:


    It’s why I donated to her. “Okey-doke. An in-the-trenches judge. She’ll get it”. She does.
    I worked for a long time at the post office. Line by line. Sometimes I would act out the form, for visual learners.

  27. 27
    Cydney says:

    Here in Illinois, I have never been asked for ID when voting. They just ask for my name and address and whether I want a paper or computer ballot.

    The thing is, in the poor little suburb of Chicago where I grew up, a lot of people get by without ID. You can get an apartment without a background check, work under the table, and pay bills with money orders or cash, etc. People usually don’t have credit cards, debit cards, or checking and savings accounts, often because of bad credit.

    My uncle who is a semi-employed (crossing guard) alcoholic homeless person had a massive heart attack a few years ago. The changes we went through for him to get his birth certificate to get his ID to get some social services would be impossible for someone without a car, a phone, and some disposable income.

  28. 28
    Persia says:

    @flukebucket: Don’t kid yourself; that’s exactly what they’re hoping for. Depress voter turnout, because high turnouts traditionally favor Dems.

  29. 29
    PurpleGirl says:

    @kay: There’s also an Athens in NYS. It’s on the Hudson River and has a light house, which is still in use. (The Hudson still carries commercial traffic.)

  30. 30
    kay says:


    The thing is, in the poor little suburb of Chicago where I grew up, a lot of people get by without ID. You can get an apartment without a background check, work under the table, and pay bills with money orders or cash, etc. People usually don’t have credit cards, debit cards, or checking and savings accounts, often because of bad credit.

    Thank you. I remember exactly the moment I found out that there are people who can’t get a checking account, because they owe fees (with interest) on the prior account. I was shocked.
    The money order thing is a staple in poor communities. That’s their checking account.
    The first year the voter ID law went in, I was arguing (as a poll worker, with Republican poll workers) that an auto registration is a “government document”. Makes sense, right? They have it in the car, so they don’t have to go home, and it’s issued by the state. I battled over that. I’ve been vindicated. It’s official now.

  31. 31
    geg6 says:


    Every state issues an ID card, which is separate from a Driver’s Licence, and is issued to anyone with proof of identity. They are not that expensive and Department of Motor Vehicle offices are everywhere (even if they’re slow and the requirements to establish proof of identity have gone through the roof.)

    Well, you’re right in that every state issues an ID card that those who don’t drive can get. However, you have to go to the PennDOT drivers license center to get it. And in my county, there is only one PennDOT drivers license center, so, no, they aren’t everywhere. And there is no public transportation that goes anywhere near the PennDOT office. So the poor and working class who don’t drive around here would have a hell of a time getting there unless they take a bus to the closest bus stop to the PennDOT office, about 3 miles away, and walk along a busy main artery four-lane highway to get there.

    So you can see the difficulty. But, as I said, PA does not require ID other than a voter registration card.

  32. 32
    kay says:


    That was exactly the issue in one of the Georgia cases. The court looked at where the centers for issuing the cards were, and how people might get there; public transportation, etc. That’s an access issue, all by itself. One more barrier.

  33. 33
    BC says:

    Older people who no longer drive also do not have picture IDs. Here in Montana, I just get my ballot by mail and do not have to show anything to vote. Each January, the county clerk for voting sends a form to see if I want to vote absentee for individual elections or for all elections (I opt for all). This was also the way Colorado worked when I lived there. I think all states should allow this, then a lot of the problems with ID will not be sprung on voters at the polls (but here in Montana you can change your voting address at the polls by showing a piece of official mail, such as a utility bill). I am opposed to a national ID because I don’t think we Americans should have to carry “papers,” but it seems the citizens of Arizona disagree. Persia is right, Republicans want to make voting as difficult as possible in hopes that some may just decide it’s too big a hassle. We should fight for making voting as easy as possible while reducing fraud. Republicans think that fraudulent registration is the same as fraudulent voting. We know better and should be able to make that case more articulately than we have been.

  34. 34
    kay says:


    Republicans think that fraudulent registration is the same as fraudulent voting. We know better and should be able to make that case more articulately than we have been.

    Well, okay, but why do they think that? They must know Mickey Mouse isn’t actually going in and signing the poll book. I mean, there are fail-safes.

    Additionally, Republicans advocate absentee voting, which is much more subject to fraud than voting in person. So why do they do that? Because older voters are more conservative, and older voters vote absentee.

    I don’t believe the basic premise. I don’t believe it’s about fraud. It’s why I won’t extend them that argument. The data doesn’t show a lot of fraud. It’s a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, except in their paranoid fantasies, or they wouldn’t be pushing so hard for absentee ballots, which are so vulnerable to fraud.

  35. 35
    Little Dreamer says:

    Two things:

    1. As an Arizona resident who is fully aware that Obama has already released proof that he is an American resident (and if anyone doesn’t agree, check out the statement at the bottom of the Hawaii Certification of Birth which states the document is “prima facie evidence”, which is admissible in a court of law), so if Hayworth is too stupid to realize that Obama is an American citizen, he’s too stupid to be my senator (but, I still hope he gives McCain a good run for his money). ;)

    2. As someone who has recently been receiving medicaid in Arizona (short term, I’m going off of it this month), I’m fully aware that the state offers voter registration to those who may not be able to pay for identification, and perhaps one more reason that Hayworth is doing this is to keep welfare recipients out of the voting booth. I would hope that the people that the state employees register to vote at the Arizona Department of Economic Security offices all carry photo identification, but somehow, I’m thinking that may not be the case. This, to me, seems like a way to keep those they consider to be ‘lazy liberals’ who ‘suck off the welfare tit’ at home on election day… [and really, when you think about it, who is more deserving to be heard on election day than those who the state has failed in their employment, economic security and ability to care for their families?]

  36. 36
    Seanly says:

    Shorter Hayworth:
    “Ve need to see your papiere, please.”

    Watched “Downfall” last night, but will avoid going full Godwin.

    I do love how Teabaggers complain about loosing ‘liberty’ under Obama when it is Republican administrations (federal & state) who seem hellbent on stripping us of our rights. Of course, the Republican efforts do seem to be melinan-targeted.

  37. 37
    mattH says:

    With the passage of RealID, Utah decided to make it’s requirements more stringent when getting a drivers license. Used to be that you could go down, fill out a form and that was about it. Now you need to bring in a SSCard, two pieces of mail, and a birth certificate or old picture ID. I’m not sure if you can still easily get an ID card other than a Driving Privileges card that states explicitly that it’s not valid for the government to use it as identification. Supposedly they had to do this because other states were not accepting Utah ID as valid identification.

  38. 38
    Seanly says:


    America has a long and proud history of disenfranchising everyone who is not white, male and a landowner. It is not about proving who an individual actually is. It is able using intimidation and people’s fear of authority to keep segments of the population from participating in our democracy. It is hard to fully grasp how recently and severely the powerful and rich in the USA keep the underclass from voting.

  39. 39
    john b says:

    also, photo id’s have to be updated every time you move. as someone who has never owned a home (and lived in a state that didn’t require photo id at the polls), i’ve probably saved >$100 not having to renew my license every time I moved to a different part of town (even though it technically is required). and how convenient that the poor are more likely to move around as well.

  40. 40
    Little Dreamer says:


    People can get a bank account now without ID, by using a load card that can be purchased at drug stores and/or convenience stores and load a debit card issued by an online bank with the funds from that load card (which is linked to a bank account) from their own money, or have direct deposit sent to that account. The account I use does this, it’s online. I never had to prove my identity to the bank at all. There are other banking companies that do this now too, as I understand it. It’s called Second Chance banking for those who are on credit lists (I got on a credit list when I withdrew money, the merchant or bank didn’t record the withdrawal for a few days and I thought my balance was correct and that the withdrawal had gone through, so I got overdrafts, sometimes 3 in a single day – this new system will not allow me to overdraw my account, and I’m much happier not paying $30 because the bank or merchant was too slow and I was too lazy to write it all down and calculate it all out each time I made a withdrawal). If you want the name of a bank company that does this, look up Account Now online. I know there are others, this is the one I use.

  41. 41
    Little Dreamer says:

    @john b:

    And, poorer people tend to move a lot more often, so it gets expensive having to keep updating the addresses.

  42. 42
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Hayworth and McCain definitely deserve each other. Hard to decide which of them is more repugnant asshole.

  43. 43
    tc says:

    Voter fraud by impersonating a voter is pretty hard to get away with if you think about it. When I go in to vote, they check my name off a list. If my name was already checked off, everyone would know a fraudulent voter had been there. And after I vote, my name is checked off, so no one else can vote for me.

    If someone is registered and doesn’t vote, the fraudster has to know who the person is. Then the fraudster is only going to be able to vote that once in the precinct, because after that, they’re going to be recognized.

    So it would be very hard to make the fraud work on any scale that is going to actually make a difference in the final tally. Unless, of course, you’re ACORN.

  44. 44
    Cydney says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Thanks. My cousin has something like what you describe, but the terms, imo, are insane. You have to pay extra for every little thing he wants to do with the debit card, including $5 for lost cards and $3 for an account summary. Poor folks get ripped off coming and going.

  45. 45
    Little Dreamer says:


    I pay two dollars to withdraw funds at an ATM. I pay no other fees at all. The only additional cost is the purchase of a load card (which I used once, it cost about $4.00).

    I get an online accounting, I can see pending transactions and I have also requested a statement to be sent to my home. I’m not being charged for any of that. They do offer SMS text updates, but as I realize that would put charges on my phone expense, I opted out of that.

    What I’ve been doing is loading merchant’s private company purchase cards (Dunkin’ Donuts, Quik Trip, Starbucks and other companies are going to these more and more now) and I’m paying only for the loading of those cards with exact amounts that I ask to load, so I’m not paying extra. I tend to remove money out of the ATM very rarely.

  46. 46
    ChockFullO'Nuts says:


    That’s why vote fraud is so rare. I scoured the airwaves for signs of voting fraud over the last couple of elections could never find anything worth mentioning. ACORN or otherwise.

    The threat seems to be mostly mythical.

  47. 47
    tc says:


    Exactly right. The whole ACORN thing was nothing but a way for wingnuts to convince themselves that they really are America, and Obama could never have won if it wasn’t for the massive fraud.

    But if you really think about it, the only way you could do voter fraud on a mass scale would be to tinker with the input (cut down on the people who come out to vote), or with the output (the machines that record the vote).

  48. 48
    SB Jules says:

    No ID required in CA as far as I know. When I’ve worked at the polls, we sometimes look at the voter’s sample ballot to be sure they’re in the right precinct, otherwise, we just thank them for voting :)

  49. 49
    catclub says:

    Voter ID requirements solve a problem that DOES NOT EXIST.

    They never show case after case of voter fraud that would be solved by a voter ID law because they don’t exist.

    If democrats tried to impose an ID law to solve a problem that does not exist, just imagine the holy hell that would erupt from the GOP. Just consider the holy hell that erupts when democrats propose an government ID to solve problems that DO exist – like uniform the uniform ID law.

  50. 50
    Taobhan says:

    Given demographic trends in this country, voter suppression or, essentially, disenfranchisement is about the only option that privileged white people have left to retain political supremacy. Clearly, the GOP has bet its political future on whites being able to exert power at the ballot box disproportionate to its declining percentage of the population for years to come. If this ploy doesn’t work, how else are the GOP and white people going to maintain their control over the political process? Once non-whites discover there is political power in their ascendant numbers, it’s all over for the GOP and its base of privileged white Americans. Or for our democratic form of government – take your choice.

    PS: I think it’s fear of this outcome which has driven a lot of the “tea party” rage. They must sense their time is almost over, at least under our current form of government.

  51. 51
    aimai says:

    Kay’s points are all really good. I, too, have been a clerk at local elections and the complexity of laws regarding various forms of ID can not be imagined–also the importance of simplifying and unifying rules across jurisdictions.

    On the question of ID something else needs to be pointed out–our voting system is based on residency, not just ID. A permanent ID card, like a SS number issued at birth, is by definition not related to your place of residence. But its your place of residence at the time of voting and for a few months before that determines eligibility to vote in a specific place, and a specific race. That’s why there’s already a huge, cumbersome, and expensive system of purging the rolls (here we do it through a local census. If you don’t return it and demonstrate that you live at a certain location, you get moved from “active” voter to “inactive” and eventually, if you don’t show up to vote, are stricken from the rolls entirely.

    The old method of showing up and simply signing your name works really well in a small ward like the one I’ve worked in. Someone coming in and voting in your name is incredibly unlikely because of the risk that that person will show up, or voted absentee (in which case an absentee vote shows up and the duplication would be noticed). Its possible that one or two people could vote a newly dead person. But its not a good way of stealing or even influencing a given election. The system just doesn’t permit a lot of extra or fraudulent votes. We still use an optical scanner system, btw, and every ward/town/state needs to print out special ballots for local and national races. Its very costly in terms of handling and training.

    However, with new technology there’s no reason why people should be forced to vote locally–something that is very difficult for people who live in one area and work in another–and we really should work on creating a cheap, mailable, unique voting card issued to unique citizens that has all the information necessary for them to vote at an ATM whenever and wherever they want. You would be issued the photo/ATM style ID when you were 18 and you would authenticate it and update your residence every time you moved–say at city hall–at election time every polling station in the city would already have that information available and when you went to vote you’d see a screen that contained the correct information for your ward/city/state.


  52. 52
    Dee Loralei says:

    Anyone else remember that group of elderly nuns in Indiana who were turned away at the polls because none of them had driver’s licenses or passports? I think it was during the primary season and Indiana had just passed its rather draconian laws? Talk about unintended consequences. I think they got it straightened out for the general though.

  53. 53
    kay says:


    I vote absentee now, and I resigned as a poll worker. I made such a pain in the ass of myself during the 2008 primary ( Limbaugh people were breaking the law) that my fellow poll workers sort of turned on me. I don’t care. I was right. I had to resign though. I was going to have a nervous breakdown, or an assault charge, one or the other. I feel strongly about voting.

    Here’s my new cause, aimai:

    “On the final day of the 90-day legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill setting a uniform voter registration age of 16-years-old. With the governor’s signature, Maryland will become the fifth state with 16-year-old youth voter pre-registration. Other states with 16-year-old pre-registration include Hawaii, Florida, North Carolina and Rhode Island. FairVote has had a presence in every state that has passed this policy into law within the past three years. In Maryland, the bill was championed by former FairVote board member, Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-20) and a range of groups endorsed the policy this year, including Common Cause Maryland, Maryland League of Women Voters and Maryland PIRG.”

    Get everyone registered starting at 16, and they are listed as “pending”, then they go to “active” when they turn 18. Give them the form when they go to get a drivers license.
    That way, if they approach this with their customary leisurely nonchalance, they’re registered when they get the urge to vote :)

  54. 54
    aimai says:

    I totally hear you on the difficulties of actually working the polls. And I’m in a totally blue state. In fact, during the 2008 election there was a stupid screw up by our inept but well meaning city elections board that led to people fearing that they weren’t on the list. My little ward got approached by Fox News which scented a good chance to taint the election results by implication. What a freak show that was–they were trying to interview me, since I was in charge of the poll, and I was trying to courteously explain that I wasn’t allowed to be interviewed.

    And I agree with you about locking in the youth vote. I think that if people can work hard on rising college students and get them registered, informed, and fired up –lets call it “rock the vote? huh?” they are golden as a candidate. It takes different skills and, to my mind, a more honest approach to politics than the Fox news/gop version of getting out the vote. Kids aren’t motivated by fear and rage so much as they are by information, hope, and good intentions. If the Dems only focused on younger voters I think the natural result would be secure democratic elections and *better policies* than this “massage the fears of old white farts” politicking we have today.


  55. 55
    kay says:


    My little ward got approached by Fox News which scented a good chance to taint the election results by implication. What a freak show that was—they were trying to interview me, since I was in charge of the poll, and I was trying to courteously explain that I wasn’t allowed to be interviewed.

    Isn’t pollworking harder than it looks? Like everything else.

    I felt bad about resigning, but I had to get out of there. I (of course) live in my precinct, so I know these people, and the Limbaugh Voters For Hillary just pissed me off to no end.

    What they were doing was against Ohio law, and I’m standing there wondering if any of the GOP pollworkers
    ( my “friends” on the other end of the table) are going to mention that. They don’t, so I start mentioning that, loudly, and once I got going I couldn’t stop. I was standing in the parking lot calling the Bd of Elections on my cellphone, by the end of that horrible 14 hour day.

    One thing that was encouraging. They weren’t the tried and true Repubs, who come out every election, the Limbaugh drones who tried to throw a Dem primary. I had never seen a lot of them before. They’re not regular voters.

  56. 56
    Taobhan says:

    I want to amplify on something I wrote in comment #50, lest it be misunderstood. The white establishment has been in charge of the American government since its inception and thus it accepts this control as a given. Non-whites are allowed to participate in our political process as long as long as the predominantly white establishment control isn’t threatened.

    I do believe it, the white establishment, sees our current democratic and representative form of government as useful and beneficial but not essential. That is, it is likely willing to replace the current form of government with one that’s more amenable to its retention of political power if necessary. I see foreshadowing of this in the GOP’s unwillingness to cooperate at all in governing the nation, its active fostering of the tea party movement and in its silent nod toward the resurgence of militia movements within its base constituency. This is what I was trying to suggest in my earlier comment.

  57. 57
    aimai says:

    Experiences like yours and mine ought to remind us that the entire process of voting in a contested election in a mixed neighborhood can be incredibly scary and stressful for people involved–from workers to voters. On the one hand, I’m proud of our democracy and its a great experience to help people vote at the ward level. On the other hand, my experiences are very much conditioned by the fact that as a solidly blue ward and state everyone I’m working with is more or less politically on the same page that I am–if everyone in our ward is voting republican we are sad, if everyone is voting democratic we are happy. But we share a common bond which includes a fierce loyalty to the process–to the right of every citizen to cast a vote, to their right to do so privately and secretely, etc..etc…etc… I can’t imagine doing it with Republican voters (and no doubt they can’t imagine doing it with democratic poll workers) when the intense hostility of some of these election scenarios get going.

    Its not in our tradition, here, to challenge voters to prevent them from voting, to hassell non white or non traditional voters, to try to prevent old people from voting in case they vote “the wrong way.” But there are large swathes of the country where exactly this has always gone on and its only by perpetuating these kinds of exclusionary activities that the poll workers and the authorities can be sure of maintaining that calm sense of “we’re all in this together.”

    So I can imagine it must have been really tough to work the polls in a hotly contested community.


  58. 58
    miwome says:

    Not to mention the major Reconstruction/Jim Crow echoes. Literacy tests, anyone?

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