Are these voters likeable enough?

Here’s far-Right ideologue and voting rights opponent Scott Walker making the usual deliberately misleading conservative comparison between a commercial transaction and the constitutionally guaranteed right to vote:

“Requiring photo identification to vote will go a long way to eliminate the threat of voter fraud,” Walker said. “If you need an ID to buy cold medicine, it’s reasonable to require it to vote.”

Conservatives like Walker continue to compare voting to buying cold medicine or cashing a check or driving a car, none of which are valid comparisons, because they want us to accept their belief that voting is a privilege, not a right. Fact is, it’s a lie to compare a right (like voting) to a privilege or commercial transaction (like driving or buying cold medicine), and every time you hear that comparison from a conservative, and you hear it a lot, they’re lying to you.

In a just and sensible world, we’d win on the facts and the law in voter suppression debates. Voting is a right, not a privilege or a commercial transaction. Many, many perfectly valid and worthwhile Americans (despite Justice Kennedy’s blissfully ignorant and inexplicably firmly held belief) don’t have a valid diver’s license or a bank account, and holding a driver’s license or a bank account is not now and was never a requirement or condition for exercising the franchise.

But, we’ve been yammering about efforts by conservatives to suppress voting for years, and I don’t think we’re getting anywhere. I think I know why we’re not getting anywhere, too. These are the voters conservatives have targeted for disenfranchisement up to this point (pdf):

Minorities and poor populations are the most likely to have driver’s license problems. Less than half (47 percent) of Milwaukee County African American adults and 43 percent of Hispanic adults have a valid drivers license compared to 85 percent of white adults The situation for young adults ages 18-24 is even worse — with only 26 percent of African Americans and 34 percent of Hispanics in Milwaukee County with a valid license compared to 71 percent of young white adults in the Balance of State.

A large number of licensed drivers have had their licenses suspended or revoked, many for failure to pay fines and forfeitures rather than traffic points violations.. Only 65 percent of adults in Milwaukee County have a current and valid Wisconsin drivers license, compared to 83 percent of adults in the Balance of State.

These voters aren’t popular or engaging because, let’s face it, no one who is important and serious knows any of them personally or is likely to run into any of them. Worst of all for them, they’re probably not a lucrative share of any market.

But, Americans get all misty-eyed and sentimental when earnest, future-leader college students vote:

“Nurturing America’s future leaders is the business of America’s colleges and universities,” said Your Vote, Your Voice co-chair David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. “Our students receive rigorous intellectual training, character development, and exposure to a world rich in new ideas. Just as important to us is fostering a strong sense of civic awareness and involvement in students of all political persuasions.”

“If our democracy is to be sustained and strengthened, we must continue to educate students about their rights and responsibilities as citizens and foster their engagement in the electoral process,” Curris said.

Future leaders. Citizenship. If our democracy is to be sustained, no less. I don’t remember hearing any of this lofty language during the ACORN witch hunt, do you? Maybe I missed it, what with the three weeks of playing that carefully crafted and extensively edited tape that was (incredibly) presented by media as a factual depiction of actual events.

No one cared when conservatives targeted poor and minority voters, but now they’re going after college students, and we like college students. Is that a bridge too far? What about a warning that if your kid attends college in Wisconsin, Ohio, Texas or any of the other states where there is a conservative in power, your kid may be denied his or her right to vote, or pulled out of line and placed in the second-class ballot (provisional) tier of voters?

Is that likely to resonate with the middle class or upper middle class parents of college students, thereby back-door benefitting the less marketable voters who are also disenfranchised by these laws? I had two who went out of state to college, to Michigan and Pennsylvania, respectively, and I would not have remained a happy check-signing parent if I had discovered that conservatives in those states had rammed through a law making it extremely difficult for my kid to vote. Why not focus on students? It’s all true, and we’re not making much headway drawing attention to efforts to disenfranchise poor and minority voters, and we’ve been at that for years.






97 replies
  1. 1

    Why not focus on students?

    More to the point, why not get students to focus on students as well? This could be an area where college republicans and college democrats groups could exercise legitimate bipartisanship.

    I seem to recall some ratfxing going on in the 2008 election (specifically in Va.) wrt student voting.

  2. 2
    Brian R. says:

    Sad, but shrewd.

    The civil rights movement in Mississippi got nowhere as long as it was just local blacks who were being jailed, beaten and killed. But as soon as SNCC implemented the Freedom Summer program and put white college kids from the North on the front line, the country suddenly gave a shit.

  3. 3
    Bob says:

    I hear the bill would accept a copy of Soldier of Fortune with your name and address on the label as proof of identity.

  4. 4
    Kay says:

    More to the point, why not get students to focus on students as well?

    Oh, sure. Them too :)

    I don’t think most of them are going to know about the changes. They move all the time, etc. When conservatives put the first Ohio law in (there is now a more restrictive version), they went out of their way to confuse and bewilder voters on the new and ever-changing statutory requirements. There was no public outreach at all, and the pollworker training was haphazard and poorly-planned. You’re asking regular people with better things to do to read and interpret a brand new statute. That’s a lot to ask.

  5. 5
    agrippa says:

    People such as Walker do not want members of certain groups to vote. Those people do not deserve to vote, as they have no stake in the system, according to people such as Walker.

    As for the concept of democracy, People like Walker tend not to believe in it.

    Focusing on students is a good idea. Students have a “stake in the system”.

  6. 6

    You’re asking regular people with better things to do to read and interpret a brand new statute. That’s a lot to ask.

    Agreed, but College Dems and College Repubs campus groups are already investing lots of time in politics. They would seem to be a good nexus for student information if they could work together on that type thing. Built-in infrastructure and all that.

    If only there were some sort of national funding mechanism to help people out. League of Women Voters or something.

  7. 7
    Bob says:

    I had two who went out of state to college, to Michigan and Pennsylvania, respectively, and I would not have remained a happy check-signing parent if I had discovered that conservatives in those states had rammed through a law making it extremely difficult for my kid to vote.

    In 1999ish, then Michigan State Senator Mike Rogers (R) sponsored a bill requiring your voter registartion and drivers license to have the same address. This essentially required students at Michigan State and other schools to vote at home, not on campus, or risk losing their insurance and causing other issues when their address did not match their parent’s address. In 2000, Rogers went on to win a seat in Congress by 88 votes. His district includes MSU.

    Sorry about all those checks you wrote.

  8. 8
    TomG says:

    Well, seeing as how I totally disagree with the absurd notion that you should need ID to buy cold medicine, I’m not buying Gov. Walker’s stupid attempt to make voting a privilege.
    What voter fraud? All these accusations of fraud amount to very thin actual “evidence” when they are investigated.

  9. 9
    cat48 says:

    I received an email from the Obama Campaign that discussed all the Voter laws changed & they said they would be keeping track & re-engaging so they will probably set up their website by states & laws, if they haven’t already. I’ve only visited the site twice in the past 6 mos. I thought they did a good job last campaign though with Voter info.

  10. 10
    Sheesh says:

    Last time we were talking about this issue I dropped by too late to say that provisional ballots are kind of the trick here. Here’s what I was rambling about on that last thread after everyone had moved on…

    We should also remember that absentee and provisional votes aren’t even counted under “normal” conditions. This means, if there is enough [subtle, tricky] disenfranchisement at the polls (all the poor, young, brown, or otherwise ended up having to vote provisionally, or absentee) that the at-the-polls results don’t trigger an actual count of all votes then MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

    (Provisional votes will only give those voters X amount of days to get right with their ID too — meaning more expense, more time off work, more transportation, more hassle, i.e. mission accomplished: a provision ballot is as good as disenfranchisement.)

    In any state with new voting laws it should be a standing order by any candidate to demand a recount regardless of the margin of the vote that Tuesday. […]

    Face facts: VOTER FRAUD is not a problem that needs fixing. Fixing non-existing problems costs money.

    So not only are they intentionally fucking over anyone that doesn’t traditionally vote Republican, they are screwing everyone else that uses government in their states for any other purpose because the budgets for the costs of enacting these changes came from somewhere. That money sure as hell won’t be from raising taxes on their buddies or floating more loans, right?

  11. 11
    Quarks says:

    Not to take away from the main message here, but I also have an issue with Walker’s casual assumption that yes, it’s ok to require an ID to buy cold medicine. I don’t like that my state (Florida) is now tracking my cold medicine purchases whenever I get a sniffle and trying to see if I have bought “normal” amounts, or harassing people who live in larger households trying to stock up on cold medications or forcing me to wait in line behind a sneezing, coughing person fumbling around to find an ID. I don’t particularly want people with colds (including me) to linger any longer in stores than they have to.

    Meanwhile, if you’re curious, yes, meth labs are still flourishing.

  12. 12
    kay says:

    to vote at home, not on campus,

    There’s a welcoming and generous attitude. He’ll happily cash the checks but he doesn’t want them voting, or anything.

  13. 13
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    I think you are right Kay, its a bridge too far, overreach. Even conservatives want their kids to go to college.
    to vote at home
    that is an old conservative fantasy, for kids to vote when they are 14 or 15 and still live at home.
    They are doomed and they know it, but the death throes of an organism are never pretty.
    This tactic means that Walker at least understands Salam-Douthat stratification on cognitive ability, even though conservatives NEVER discuss it, and prefer to whine about how academe is unfairly painted blue.

  14. 14
    mistermix says:

    Combating voter suppression is a two-pronged attack. First, it needs to become an issue, as Kay says, and students are the best “hook” since nobody wants their little snowflakes to be denied a fundamental right.

    The second part of the attack is voter education and registration despite all the bullshit they put in your way. Where I grew up, the state of the art in voter suppression in the mid-80s was requiring a notary’s signature to register a voter. So, with the help of the Democratic party, I became a notary public at 18, just so I could register voters. We had an army of notaries, and we registered a ton of voters. We also had good poll workers who knew the laws, because the party helped educate them. I have faith in the Obama campaign to organize around these obstacles, as much as I resent them.

  15. 15
    cleek says:

    i like how libs are mad that people are asked to present ID when voting but conservatives are OK, yet libs are OK with background checks for buying guns while conservatives are not.

    both voting and gun ownership are constitutionally guaranteed rights, subject to centuries of affirmation from courts at all levels. but, in one case one group is OK with a barrier while the other isn’t, and vice versa. which barrier you’re OK with depends on your real motivation, i suppose.

    ( one should assume i mean some liberals and some conservatives in all cases )

  16. 16
    El Cid says:

    The real problem here is all the ID fraud. Until we crack down on all the people making fake ID’s, from the Mexican illegals to under-21 college kids, we can never be sure that our votes are safe.

  17. 17
    Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods says:

    Devastating. I NEVER thought of it like that, how different the perceptions of ACORN and university students.

    THAT should get bigger headlines. And Breitbart should be torn apart by wild animals…

  18. 18
    Nicole says:

    Can someone explain to me what the Constitutional justification for denying people who are incarcerated their right to vote is? Because I’ve never understood that.

  19. 19
    Violet says:

    I don’t see focusing on students as a big win. At least not if you are trying to get parents on board. The kids aren’t being denied a vote, they’re being told they have to vote at home. And they can vote absentee. A lot of states have early voting, too, so if the kids live even somewhat close to home they can drive home and vote during that period.

    I don’t see parents getting too up in arms about this issue. The kids are getting to vote, they just have to do it at home. In cases where the parents are the ones signing the tuition checks, they may still think of their kids as “living” at home. Do the kids change their drivers licenses and residency? If not, then why should they get to vote in the college location?

    I get that the ID requirement is a voter suppression issue, and I’m not trying to discount that. But I don’t think that focusing on college students is going to be a winning concept. What am I missing here?

  20. 20
    Superking says:

    Conservatives like Walker continue to compare voting to buying cold medicine or cashing a check or driving a car, none of which are valid comparisons, because they want us to accept their belief that voting is a privilege, not a right. Fact is, it’s a lie to compare a right (like voting) to a privilege or commercial transaction (like driving or buying cold medicine), and every time you hear that comparison from a conservative, and you hear it a lot, they’re lying to you.

    Couple things: First, the Supreme Court doesn’t recognize any distinction between a right and a privilege. If the law allows you to do something, you get to do it unless there is due process to deny you the opportunity. That is to say that you’re more right than you think. They are not just lying, but drawing false distinctions. There is no difference between a legal right and a legal privilege, and anyone who begins an argument along those lines is misleading you.

    Second, the above point is made again through your examples: Driving is a right if you are qualified, i.e. 16 years old, pass the test, etc. The state cannot deny you the right to drive without good reason, e.g. you are caught driving drunk, which is dangerous to other people. So long as cold medicine is legal, you have the right to buy it, and the state cannot deny that right to you without some significant reason and process.

    The only reason you might have to show ID to buy cold medicine is that some states have found it necessary to track sales of cold medicine to prevent its use in the manufacture of methamphetamine. In other words, you have to show ID to buy cold medicine because some clear harm can come from the use of cold medicine. When Republicans say voting is like buying cold medicine and you should have to show ID to vote, what they are saying is that they believe some clear harm will come from voting.

    And of course it will. Republicans will suffer harm if more people vote.

  21. 21
    Chris says:

    Nicole, here’s Wikipedia (which as we know is always right)’s musings on the topic:

    In Richardson v. Ramirez, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of felon disenfranchisement statutes, finding that the practice did not deny equal protection to disenfranchised voters. The Court looked to Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which proclaims that States which deny the vote to male citizens, except on the basis of “participation of rebellion, or other crime”, will suffer a reduction in representation. Based on this language, the Court found that this amounted to an “affirmative sanction” of the practice of felon disenfranchisement, and the 14th Amendment could not prohibit in one section that which is expressly authorized in another. However, many critics argue that Section 2 of the 14th Amendment merely allows but does not represent an endorsement of felon disenfranchisement statutes as constitutional in light of the equal protection clause; but is limited only to the issue of reduced representation. The Court did rule however in Hunter v. Underwood 471 U.S. 222, 232 (1985) that a state’s felony disenfranchisement provision will violate Equal Protection if it can be demonstrated that the provision, as enacted, had “both [an] impermissible racial motivation and racially discriminatory impact.” A felony disenfranchisement law, which on its face is indiscriminate in nature, cannot be invalidated by the Supreme Court unless its enforcement is proven to discriminate and it was enacted with racially discriminate animus.

    It would seem to be constitutionally legit in principle. Whether it ought to be’s another question. Never actually thought about that.

  22. 22
    joes527 says:

    OK.

    Baseline.

    It is clear that voter suppression is a bigger problem in our current system than voter fraud. And yes, even a little bit of voter suppression is a big fucking deal.

    That said, I can’t get behind the whole “asking for ID at the polls is fascism!” thing. Yes, it is a technique that can and is being used for voter suppression, but so is holding elections on a Tuesday, and we seem to be able to navigate that roadblock.

    If we are going to have voter registration then the registration card should be acceptable as valid ID and the problem is solved. If we are going registrationless or using instant registration, some reasonable ID requirement that takes into account the variety of situations of our citizens does not seem to be an insurmountable barrier to Democracy.

    Yes, without registration, local residency becomes a stickier problem, and YES, that issue can and is being used to disenfranchise particular classes of voters. Local registration x months before the election (and again, your proof of registration is your acceptable ID on election day) could address this.

    Political parties could have a role in seeing that folks are properly registered, and know where their registration cards are, and get replacements for lost cards, and work all the hard issues … all BEFORE election day. On the day, you show up with your registration card. You vote. Easy Peasy.

    Yeah, there will be some issues hard enough that individuals miss particular elections. But there are situations today where that happens. I didn’t vote in 2006 because I was sent on a business trip the week of the election. The trip came up after the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot, so I was stuffed. (I’m permanent absentee now. (with all the problems that THAT entails)) And yet Democracy seems to have survived.

    No solution can be perfect. But holding the line that any ID requirements whatsoever at the polls is the death of Democracy isn’t perfect either.

  23. 23
    burnspbesq says:

    In a somewhat related development, the NLRB issued proposed regulations that would make major, and apparently union-friendly, changes to the procedures for representation elections. Expect a major hussy-fit from the usual suspects.

  24. 24
    kanamit says:

    I go to a school where the Republicans have long practiced this kind of BS. Hardly anyone cares, unfortunately.

  25. 25
    kay says:

    If we are going to have voter registration then the registration card should be acceptable as valid ID and the problem is solved. If we are going registrationless or using instant registration, some reasonable ID requirement that takes into account the variety of situations of our citizens does not seem to be an insurmountable barrier to Democracy.

    It isn’t, though. If you read these laws, you’ll see that Wisconsin is going to spend millions of dollars developing and attempting to comply with federal law on a PHOTO ID.

    Specifics matter, a lot, when you’re talking about potential barriers to voting, and I think there is way too much hand-waving and a “no big deal” attitude over ID requirements. I saw it in Justice Kennedy’s views in the big voter ID law out of Indiana. He just made no allowance for practicalities at all. That’s easy for him to say, huh?

    Part of not having a driver’s license is having difficulty getting around. It seems that no one bothers to follow the step-by-step process of what these laws entail. There is a reason that 45% of AA men in Milwaukee don’t have a photo ID. If they were easy to get, they’d have one already.

  26. 26
    Violet says:

    @ kay:

    Part of not having a driver’s license is having difficulty getting around. It seems that no one bothers to follow the step-by-step process of what these laws entail. There is a reason that 45% of AA men in Milwaukee don’t have a photo ID. If they were easy to get, they’d have one already.

    So why don’t Dems focus on “Get Your Photo ID” pushes, then? Could there be a mobile unit to take the photos? Someone to help people get their birth certificates, or whatever else is needed to qualify for the ID? The law is bad, but it’s there. What’s needed to combat it so people DO have their IDs?

  27. 27
    cleek says:

    what Violet said.

  28. 28
    kay says:

    If we are going registrationless or using instant registration, some reasonable ID requirement that takes into account the variety of situations of our citizens does not seem to be an insurmountable barrier to Democracy.

    Yeah, but we’ve already been through all of your suggestions, and none of them were adopted:

    Lawyers who challenged the case cited the experience of one would-be Indiana voter, Valerie Williams, who was turned away from the polling place in November 2006 by officials who told her that a telephone bill, a Social Security letter with her address and an expired driver’s license were no longer sufficient.“Of course, I threw a fit,” she said in a January interview with The New York Times, recalling how she cast a provisional ballot which was never counted. Ms. Williams, in her early 60’s, is black — and is a Republican.

    It’s nice to pretend we have some nationwide voter ID law with reasonable requirements, but we don’t. And elections happen all the time.

  29. 29
    Zifnab says:

    “If you need an ID to buy cold medicine, it’s reasonable to require it to vote.”

    Yes. Because we wouldn’t want anyone voting in large quantities over-the-counter and turning it all into meth.

  30. 30
    Observer says:

    Couple of notes:

    Here’s just one link to a UK article with the headline (“New ruling to force British voters to show ID before voting”)

    Voter id is required in Canada, too.

    Also, Germany and a host of other countries.

    Can all these countries (Canada, UK, Germany, Australia etc) be try to suppress their black, union and young voters too? Those crazy Brits, who knew that blacks over there swung the elections?

    Perhaps if the Democratic party actually improved the lives of their largest constituent block to the point that many of their members would already have photo ID in the normal course of their lives, at least this wouldn’t be a racially tinged issue.

  31. 31
    japa21 says:

    A couple of people have commented about the real absence of any major episodes of voter fraud. However, and this is something that indicates that Walker is getting a little smarter. He doesn’t say there is voter fraud. He talks about the “threat” of voter fraud.
    Using the very term “threat” invokes soemthing dire, such as the “threat” of a terrorist attack, the “threat” of the government taking away your guns, etc.
    Republicans have gotten very adept of using “threats” to get what they want. Keep the populace terrified and they are easily manipulated.

  32. 32
    kay says:

    So why don’t Dems focus on “Get Your Photo ID” pushes, then? Could there be a mobile unit to take the photos?

    Well, they can, I suppose, but I’m old-fashioned. I think it’s the state’s job to administer elections in an equitable and fair manner, and if that includes providing access to a photo ID created especially for voting, I think the state should do the work and bear the expense. Democrats didn’t support or introduce these laws. Republicans did.

    In other words, if they’re going to impose new burdens, using a bogus and easily refuted justification, I think the state should craft a way for poor or otherwise marginal or transient people to meet the new burdens they’re imposing.

    As a practical matter, if Democratic volunteers are providing a free ID service for the state of Wisconsin, they’re not doing other things. I no longer do GOTV, because I’m the only Democratic lawyer in the county who can act as a pollwatcher. Since I was fairly good at GOTV, I’d rather be doing that than watching GOP pollworkers misapply another brand-new voter ID statute that they don’t understand.

  33. 33
    Zifnab says:

    @Violet:

    What’s needed to combat it so people DO have their IDs?

    It’s a new law, and I think people are still trying to figure that out.

    But the problem with new laws like this is that they’re slapped on with short notice and changed often so the goal posts keep moving.

    In Texas, they recently made Student IDs invalid for voter registration. You can wax poetic about “Oh, why don’t we just have a Texas ID drive?” but when distinctions between picture student ids and picture driver’s ids are getting tossed around, it is going to be obnoxiously hard to re-register everyone only to have the state pull the rug out from under us again with a “Now we’re discontinuing ID Type Y and replacing it with ID Type Z, so you get to do it again.”

    The best thing to do right now is to roll with the law and get people registered under the new rules. But they can always change the rules faster than we can register people.

  34. 34
    Xboxershorts says:

    PA is about to enact a voter ID law.

    Observer, what part of “voter fraud is a virtually non-existent problem” are you not grasping?

    Who gives a flying fuck if Canada and the UK do this. Voting is a constitutionally protected right here in America. Neither Canada nor the UK enjoy our constitution.

  35. 35
    Ash Can says:

    @ cleek:

    which barrier you’re OK with depends on your real motivation how directly life-threatening said right is, i suppose.

    There you go. (Or did I miss your snark? I’m admittedly caffeine-deficient at the moment.)

  36. 36
    SteveM says:

    I have a driver’s license, but, last time I looked, I didn’t have to show it to a government employee every time I wanted to drive.

  37. 37
    kay says:

    Can all these countries (Canada, UK, Germany, Australia etc) be try to suppress their black, union and young voters too? Those crazy Brits, who knew that blacks over there swung the elections?

    Unless those countries have a set-up like the US, where election law is state law, and there are 50 different laws with all kinds of varying requirements, it isn’t a good example.

    If Republicans had proposed a national voter ID that allowed for variance between voters, I would have a different attitude. They didn’t. They chose systems that are inconsistently applied (and applicable) depending on income status.

    I don’t know if laws vary between provinces or areas within those countries, so I don’t think it’s a good example. Voting has to be consistent and equitable, as a system, or we’re not doing it right. I would have to do a 50 state survey right now to tell you if a passport is valid ID. May be, may not be.

  38. 38
    Yevgraf says:

    Quit bitching. Get out and get prospective voters registered with proper ID, and do it now.

  39. 39
    kay says:

    “Oh, why don’t we just have a Texas ID drive?” but when distinctions between picture student ids and picture driver’s ids are getting tossed around, it is going to be obnoxiously hard to re-register everyone

    It’s not just that. It’s that every time there is a change (and you’ll find out in Texas that once they get going, they don’t stop, like we did in Ohio) there’s misunderstanding and misapplication.
    An example: “address mismatch” is a common problem. The address of the license doesn’t match the current address. Ohio “solved” this problem by providing a LINE in the poll book for the pollworker to put in the voter’s SS#, in that instance, and then the voter could get a first class ballot.
    No one understood it. They were handing out provisional ballots like crazy. They finally got it, 4 years later, and then Ohio changed the law again.
    Pollworkers only work at it once or twice a year. Every rule change leads to mass confusion.

  40. 40
    Skippy-san says:

    I’m not getting the outrage. For two reasons-first most state have a requirment to register voters. And second, it is not an unreasonable requirement to have someone prove that they are who they portray themselves to be, to prevent voter fraud or repeat voting.

    Second, there are many forms of proper ID and poor or not-people should have something. If they can’t get a proper ID, then these people have a bigger problem than voting.

    Finally, whether we like it or not-a national ID card is going to have to happen if we are ever to get our arms around illegal immigration problem without resorting to draconian measures like in AZ.

  41. 41
    japa21 says:

    kay’s comment about the state having to make sure people have the ability to obtain IDs is a good one. The state shoudl be getting out the mobile vans, etc., to make sure people are able to get the ids without having to inconvenience themselves. And personally, I think election day should either be a holiday or a Saturday/Sunday period.

  42. 42
    Sheesh says:

    Hrm. Let’s see. Am I going to miss one or two days of work to get right to vote (and spend what six hours wages doing it?), or am I going to make rent this month?

    Tough call. Well having a place to live is a bit more pressing than having a say in which asshole is pushing me around.

    Must be cool to be rich.

  43. 43
    kay says:

    The state shoudl be getting out the mobile vans, etc.,

    One state had to, Georgia, but only because a court ordered them to do so. Georgia somehow forgot they don’t have a whole lot of license or ID outlets, when they ordered people to go get an ID to vote.

    The Georgia law is now a model of restraint, compared to the more draconian Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin versions, but it was big news, oh, WAY back in 2005. It’s evolving. They’re worse every year.

  44. 44
    Chrisd says:

    I’m not getting the outrage. For two reasons-first most state have a requirment to register voters. And second, it is not an unreasonable requirement to have someone prove that they are who they portray themselves to be, to prevent voter fraud or repeat voting.

    I thought matching your registration signature they have on file when you presented yourself to vote was supposed to do that, or at least it used to always work fine until there was the potential that it wouldn’t work, or whatever.

    Absent proof of significant voter fraud, I’m with Kay on this one. Required photo ID’s seem reasonable until they also go the way of registration signatures and become insufficient to prevent the threat of possible fraud. You start conceding this kind of stuff, you open the floodgates for a escalating series of requirements designed to suppress voting.

  45. 45
    DKF says:

    If the Republicans weren’t wildly opposed to any kind of universal, easily obtainable form of personal identification I might take them a little more seriously on this point. They want to require identification but they don’t want the wrong sort of people to be able to identify themselves.

  46. 46
    joes527 says:

    Specifics matter, a lot, when you’re talking about potential barriers to voting, and I think there is way too much hand-waving and a “no big deal” attitude over ID requirements.

    I do not disagree with this at all. The point that I was trying to make was not that all voter ID plans are OK, or even that even any particular voter ID plan is OK. If Scott Walker is pushing a plan, my opening position is that it probably isn’t OK.

    The point that I was trying to make is the leap from “particular voter ID schemes are voter suppression in sheep’s clothing” to “voter ID is inherently voter suppression”, or “voter ID itself is a threat to Democracy” is not a leap that I am comfortable with. And I don’t believe that it is a winning position. Joe/Jane six pack will not get behind it

    In just the same way that generalizing Voter ID with a hand wave to make all schemes acceptable is bad, generalizing Voter ID with a hand wave to demonize the very idea is bad.

    Instead of objecting to _any_ voter ID schemes, it seems that the productive response is to identify what aspects of voter ID schemes suppress the vote, and focus on those.

  47. 47
    kay says:

    I do not disagree with this at all. The point that I was trying to make was not that all voter ID plans are OK,

    To clarify, I don’t think you can craft a uniform, equitably administered system of voter ID in the US because it’s always going to be subject to the various peculiarities of state law.

    50 state laws. Always changing. We don’t have a uniform voting system in the US (except in the most basic sense: VRA, HAVA) so it’s almost inevitable we’re going to draft and apply inconsistently when adding additional requirements, state by state.

    Too, I’m not objecting to suggestions for voter ID law. This isn’t abstract. These are actual laws in actual states, and there are more and more of them every year. Could I craft a fair voter ID system? Maybe. But I’m not looking at a hypothetical, and there are no do-overs once the polls close.

  48. 48
    kideni says:

    I think many people who think the voter ID legislation in Wisconsin is no big deal don’t understand the circumstances. In Wisconsin somewhere along the lines of 20% of otherwise eligible voters don’t have the kind of ID that’s now required. It’s not so easy to get an ID either, especially if you don’t live in a major metro area: a number of counties don’t even have a DMV; some DMVs are only open one day a month; other DMVs are only open for half a day; no DMV is open on weekends or after 5 on weekdays. People kept pointing to the fact that Indiana’s legislation passed muster, but Indiana has a much, much higher concentration of DMVs for its population.

    The Democrats tried to get amendments to arrange for extended DMV hours or for mobile DMVs, at least during the run-up to elections, but they were all shot down. They tried to get state-issued student IDs covered, since now you can use that along with a local lease, utility bill, or other proof of address, but that was shot down. Your student ID now has to have your address on it, and no school’s ID in the state does so, since students move around a lot and don’t otherwise need a new ID every year; plus, for many schools, if you live in a dorm your ID is also your room key, so having your address on it is dangerous. Now all the universities will have to change their IDs to comply with the law, which won’t be cheap, in the face of slashed funding no less.

    There are also a lot of seniors in rural areas who don’t have drivers licenses and don’t need them, and they may not have the requisite paperwork to get a state ID once they manage the logistics of finding someone who can drive them to the next county on the one day a week the closest DMV is open. Not everyone has a copy of their birth certificate lying around. These people have voted in the same polling place for years; the poll workers are their neighbors and know them on sight; but that won’t be good enough under this legislation.

    If it’s against your religion to be photographed, however, you’re exempt. So apparently, you can just say you’re Amish and you’re good to go.

  49. 49
    kay says:

    I think many people who think the voter ID legislation in Wisconsin is no big deal don’t understand the circumstances.

    I think they’re going to find out.

    Wisconsin seems to be pretty good at protesting, however, so maybe you-all can make enough noise to get your provisionals actually counted.

    Don’t bet your house on it, though :) Constant vigilance. Get used to it.

  50. 50
    burnspbesq says:

    @kideni:

    “If it’s against your religion to be photographed, however, you’re exempt. So apparently, you can just say you’re Amish and you’re good to go.”

    That ploy may not work so well if you cruise up to the polling place in anything other than a horse-drawn carriage.

  51. 51

    @kay: Don’t bet your house on it, though

    or the House ^_^

  52. 52
    somegayname says:

    Isn’t the legal groundwork already out there for this type of legislation to restrict constitutionally ‘guaranteed’ rights? When I buy a gun I have to pass a federal background check (NICS) and show ID. If it is a handgun I also have to have a special permit that is granted after application to my local police department and is only valid for one year. Last I checked the second amendment was still in the constitution. I’m no lawyer, but are these legal precedents for similar restrictions to voting?

  53. 53

    Hey, this racist-ass WordPress comment system expurgated my Asian smiley.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    Second, there are many forms of proper ID and poor or not-people should have something.

    But that’s the point: these laws are specifying what counts as “proper ID” and removing things that used to be allowed, like combining an expired driver’s license with a utility bill to show your current address.

    If you have to spend $35 out of pocket to get an ID card so you can vote, are you still perfectly okay with that because, hey, who doesn’t have an extra $35 laying around?

  55. 55
    bemused says:

    Kevin Drum has a short sum up.
    Overwhelming, very well known research shows voter fraud is minuscule, 0.001% or so yet Republicans have been pushing voter fraud laws for two decades.
    This costs tons of money and sucks up a lot of energy.
    Parties don’t generally spend so much money and energy on things unless they benefit the parties or supporters in some way.
    The evidence that voter fraud laws reduce turnout among Democratic voters is also very well known among party apparatchiks.

  56. 56
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @kay #43:

    The Georgia law is now a model of restraint, compared to the more draconian Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin versions

    It strikes me as interesting that the current push to disenfranchise voters seems to be focused on traditional swing states in the Midwest, and Texas. The GOPers are tipping their hands here.

  57. 57
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ somegayname: One of the differences is that the 2d Amendment is limited. The right to vote is not (felons excepted). Voting also happens at certain times; getting a gun, if it takes a few extra days to do the paperwork, not such a big deal. If the paperwork required for voting changes and one cannot get the new paperwork before election day, one cannot vote.

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m no lawyer, but are these legal precedents for similar restrictions to voting?

    Show us an example where someone ran wild with their ballot at a polling place and killed three people with vicious paper cuts, and you might have a point.

    Jesus fuck, people literally DIED for you to have the right to vote, and all you can whine about is having to show an ID to get a deadly weapon?

    But, hey, I’m sure the KKK members who killed Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner had to show a picture ID to buy the guns they murdered them with, so it’s really just an example of competing rights. Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner wanted American citizens to be allowed to vote, and the KKK wanted to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights so they could kill them. It’s all the same thing, amirite?

  59. 59
    ppcli says:

    Observer @ 30

    “Voter id is required in Canada, too.”

    Let’s look at your link. Here’s what is required:

    [Quote]

    To vote, you must prove your identity and address. You have three options:

    Option 1

    Show one original piece of identification with your photo, name and address. It must be issued by a government agency.

    Example: driver’s licence.

    or
    Option 2

    Show two original pieces of authorized identification. Both pieces must have your name and one must also have your address.

    Example: health card and hydro bill.

    or
    Option 3

    Take an oath and have an elector who knows you vouch for you. This person must have authorized identification and be from the same polling division as you. This person can only vouch for one person.

    Examples: a neighbour, your roommate.

    [End Quote]

    So – either a driver’s licence, or both a utility bill with your address and another id with no picture (for example, a health card – recall that in Canada, everyone gets one of these, because, you know, national health insurance and all.) *or* someone who knows you and who has the right kind of id and will vouch for you. I urge you to check out the list of id at the link that will suffice. It is very long, and includes a wide range of ids, reflecting a wide range of possible life situations (homeless shelter id, for example).

    (Note also that the information is made available not just in the official languages of English and French, but in Arabic Bengali Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Croatian Farsi German Greek Gujarati Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Italian Korean Polish Portuguese Punjabi Romanian Russian Serbian Somali Spanish Tagalog Tamil Ukrainian Urdu Vietnamese and 11 Aboriginal languages)

    Those are the kind of rules you put in place when you want to make sure that everyone can vote if they are entitled to, but you want to eliminate fraud. The rules being proposed by Republicans are rules that are put in place to make voting difficult.

    But perhaps I’ve misunderstood you. Is your reference to the Canadian rules a suggestion that we should put those in place here? In that case, let’s agree – that’s a great idea. No need to argue any more. Welcome to our side, Observer.

  60. 60
    kay says:

    It strikes me as interesting that the current push to disenfranchise voters

    It’s a little overwhelming. I think there is legislation pending or passed in 22 states. I used to follow it closely, back in what I think of as “the early days” (2005) but now there’s just too much of it.

    What is alarming to me is this: Ohio had this crazy heated debate over the last round, in 2005. Nothing changed about Ohio voters between then and now. Yet, conservatives in Ohio came back for Round Two this year, and excluded a whole bunch more people.

    It gets tighter and tighter each year.

    It’s like they’re looking to hit a specific number of disenfranchised.

  61. 61
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @cleek

    LIBERTARIAN!
    /points and laffs

    why, you are not a liberal at all. This is the point i was making about universal rights vs. local rights. Liberals support national civil rights like the right of all citizens to vote, conservatives only support the civil rights of their tribe.
    Like having enough money to actually BUY a gun in the first place.

  62. 62
    Dr. Squid says:

    Add to that that Wisconsin is one of those antiquated states where they mail you your license after 2 weeks if you do go through the whole process. I’m sure that’s there so Republican lazy asses can go back to their base and crow how they held the line on spending by not bringing up their systems to late 20th century standards.

  63. 63

    @Mnemosyne: Jesus fuck, people literally DIED for you to have the right to vote, and all you can whine about is having to show an ID to get a deadly weapon?

    Well, come on. I’m not a big gun fanatic, but even I recognize that people also died for me to have the right to bear arms.

  64. 64
    kay says:

    Add to that that Wisconsin is one of those antiquated states where they mail you your license after 2 weeks if you do go through the whole process.

    They don’t give you much time to verify your provisional. COB next day? Mr. Walker better be hiring lots and lots of employees. He won’t, of course, because it is a conservative’s job to set up barriers, not understand or administer getting around the barriers correctly.

    It’s another freaking thought experiment to these people. They invented a fraud threat, and now they half-ass invented a system to deal with their own delusions. Nothing is tangible or real or works.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    Well, come on. I’m not a big gun fanatic, but even I recognize that people also died for me to have the right to bear arms.

    Really? When?

    And, “Well, we fought wars to protect the Constitution, and the 2nd Amendment is in the Constitution” doesn’t count. When, specifically, was someone murdered because they were trying to protect the 2nd Amendment?

  66. 66
    Dr. Squid says:

    I should add that even in Indiana they print your license then and there. At least they did in ’94, when it was still a cheaply laminated piece of paper.

    The thing I don’t get – if state universities have the technology to print out photo IDs immediately (hell if Sam’s Club has that technology), why does it take the state licensing authority weeks to make one?

  67. 67

    @Mnemosyne: And, “Well, we fought wars to protect the Constitution, and the 2nd Amendment is in the Constitution” doesn’t count.

    Yeah, my example was meant to be the American Revolution. And yeah, I know that the Constitution and Bill of Rights weren’t even drafted until five years after the war. So fine, doesn’t count.

    I guess my point was that people fought and sacrificed to establish or defend pretty much everything we consider a right. The fact that we no longer feel the urgency that the colonists felt about quartering of soldiers doesn’t diminish the fact that they were willing to raise quite a stink about it.

  68. 68
    somegayname says:

    @Mnemosyne I’d say voting is more dangerous. See our policies in the middle east, or healthcare policy if you are a woman in Indiana, or poor anywhere else. I’m not whining either, but curious if voter ID laws are challenged in court the proponents point to existing case law that allows for restrictions on other constitutional rights. I’m also fairly certain that the murder of Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner was not anyone’s second amendment right. Don’t let that get in the way of your adorable internet rage though.

    Gun laws are a pretty close legal parallel to this situation. Certain states or counties (NC) are still ‘may issue’ which means that you cannot exercise your constitutional right if you are black the sheriff doesn’t like you. It is a holdover from Jim Crow to keep the poor and minorities unarmed so the KKK didn’t have to worry about them shooting back. I think it makes sense to study existing parallel law in fighting new restrictions. It also allows for some interesting judo in forcing the right wing who support voter suppression to also support gun restrictions.

    Omnes Omnibus The second amendment is limited precisely because of extra legislation after the fact. Originally it was a right (felons excepted as well). My question is whether the legal path that limited the second amendment serves as a groundwork for similar legal limitations of voter rights.

  69. 69
    kay says:

    When, specifically, was someone murdered because they were trying to protect the 2nd Amendment?

    What gets me is it wasn’t that long ago. Poll tests weren’t that long ago. Women’s suffrage, even, wasn’t that long ago.

    So, for some of us who benefitted, it was a real (and relatively recent) battle.

    Oh, well. It’s just like using an ATM! If you have the wrong card, you’re out. No big deal.

  70. 70
    Makewi says:

    There is nothing wrong with having to show ID to vote, so long as the accepted ID’s are free and easily obtainable. There are qualifications for who can vote, such as citizenship, age, and legal residency in the polling district – so having an ID which verifies these 3 qualifications is appropriate.

    The left would be more believable on this subject if the form of election rigging most used by it wasn’t ballot box stuffing.

  71. 71
    kay says:

    There are qualifications for who can vote, such as citizenship, age, and legal residency in the polling district – so having an ID which verifies these 3 qualifications is appropriate.

    No, wrong. You don’t understand the process. That’s registration, that you’re describing. County Boards of elections verify registration, as they have always done.

    Stop listening to FOX. They conflate voting and registration. It’s misleading, and incredibly stupid. My assumption is they don’t actually vote. It’s not that hard.

  72. 72
    djork says:

    And, “Well, we fought wars to protect the Constitution, and the 2nd Amendment is in the Constitution” doesn’t count. When, specifically, was someone murdered because they were trying to protect the 2nd Amendment?

    RUBY RIDGE!!! [/wingnut]

  73. 73
    Makewi says:

    Which means that just anyone can show up at the polls and vote, that as long as they are able to state a valid name and address and perhaps write out a signature – then they are able to cast a ballot. It’s a situation ripe with the possibilities for fraud. Name me one other situation in which you have an interaction with the state in which you don’t have to prove identity?

  74. 74
    kay says:

    There are qualifications for who can vote, such as citizenship, age, and legal residency in the polling district – so having an ID which verifies these 3 qualifications is appropriate.

    Here’s what has to happen for the conservative fantasy of voter impersonation fraud to occur, because voter impersonation fraud is the only problem voter ID “solves”.

    The voter has to survive the verification process at registration, and then appear to vote that fraudulent registration.

    Alternately, the voter has to impersonate another registered voter, which is a felony. Actually arrive and just hope the voter they’re impersonating has not already voted, sign the book with that persons’s name, and then hope the real voter doesn’t show up later.

    It’s ludicrous.

  75. 75
    kay says:

    Which means that just anyone can show up at the polls and vote, that as long as they are able to state a valid name and address and perhaps write out a signature – then they are able to cast a ballot.

    Are you unfamiliar with voting? There’s a registration process. There’s voter rolls. There’s a record. There’s a poll book, or a poll tally. It has previously verified valid addresses and signatures. It’s marked if you voted absentee. We’re not just making this up as we go along.

    I mean, Jesus, Makewi. Where are you just “showing up to vote”? On Mars?

  76. 76
    Makewi says:

    Yeah, it only solves one problem. Might as well not even bother with it then. What other things only solve one problem, foods stamps? I laugh at how you think the fact that it’s a felony is dissuasive – or that the worry is the real voter will show up later. People in graveyards don’t show up later. Homeless and incapacitated people don’t show up later.

    We both know that the prize is big enough, and that historically both sides have tried to put their fingers on the scale.

    As I said before. It isn’t the burden you are making it out to be. You need ID for everything in this world, having one for this is just logical.

  77. 77
    Makewi says:

    I’m talking about just showing up after registration Kay. Now you’re just arguing things in your head because you think they will help. Easier then arguing the points I guess.

    Still waiting for one other interaction with the state in which ID isn’t required.

  78. 78
    kay says:

    Makewi

    Mickey Mouse’s (submitted) registration doesn’t actually make it into the poll book, to answer your next question. Voter registration people have to submit each and every registration, so a poll worker can determine validity. You can understand why that might be so. We can’t just have random people throwing out registrations willy-nilly.
    That only happens on Greta Sustern, or in the pages of the WSJ. Not in real life. Mickey Mouse voting is a fantasy. But a resilient fantasy, adopted by people who are apparently unable to follow a simple, logical two step process.

  79. 79
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    So how did Americans manage to conduct legitimate elections before the invention and widespread use of photography? I guess Lincoln wasn’t really President after all, since none of the people who voted for him could prove who they really were. Fucking democracy, how does it work?

  80. 80
    kay says:

    I’m talking about just showing up after registration Kay.

    Because you don’t understand that there’s a predicate inquiry and validation process at registration, and that is ongoing.

    You should remember this, actually. Remember when conservatives mistakenly purged valid AA voters in Florida? They were using the Bd of Elections registration database to do that.

    But some people verify properly. Not conservatives in Florida, but that was an outlier. We’ll assume no bad faith.

  81. 81
    kay says:

    I’m talking about just showing up after registration Kay

    Aaand, we’re back to square one. Fraudulent impersonator voter is “showing up” to vote valid registration of another voter.

    You find me one of those. I’ll check back. Remember! Not registration. Voting. NOT same thing.

  82. 82
    gene108 says:

    Perhaps if the Democratic party actually improved the lives of their largest constituent block to the point that many of their members would already have photo ID in the normal course of their lives, at least this wouldn’t be a racially tinged issue.

    Do Canada, UK, etc. have a long history of state sanctioned voter suppression of minorities?

    Given the history of voter suppression in this country and the problems it caused, with regards to institutionalized discrimination, I don’t get your point. America has a history of voter suppression targeted at the poor and minorities.

    The laws that are being passed are clearly targeted to make sure people, who vote for Democrats, do not vote.

    Regarding the comparison to the 2nd Amendment. I don’t get the parallel. My right to shout “fire” in a crowded movie theater is restricted. There is harm that can come from being able to say or organize protests in any manner you want, like getting a 1,000 people to stand in the street and block traffic. Therefore there are some restrictions on 1st Amendment rights.

    Also, too guns are used in crimes, a lot, like say shooting a Congresswoman in front of a grocery store in the head and killing a nine year old girl and few other folks. There is a quantifiable legal problem that can be caused by gun owner ship, such as shooting people in the head. The government has a legitimate reason to keep tabs on people owning guns because of this, just like they have reason to require permits to organize large protests in a city, where as there is very little quantifiable evidence of voter fraud.

    Republicans have a documented history of denying people, who are eligible to vote the right to vote. Going back to the 2000 Presidential election if Florida, where thousands of eligible voters were purged from the voter rolls to these ID requirements, this is not a deliberate attempt to curtail the non-existent problem of voter fraud, but to suppress groups of people from voting for Democrats.

    The parallels to the 2nd Amendment or the 1st Amendment fall short, because in these cases the government has put in laws to make sure harm cannot be caused by people abusing their rights under these amendments. There is not any substantial evidence that people are abusing their right to vote, by voting early and often.

  83. 83
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Hard to understand how voting is a right when you can lose your right to vote.

  84. 84
    Makewi says:

    You intentionally ignore the parts of the debate you have no answer for. As such, might as well just end it here.

  85. 85
    kay says:

    As such, might as well just end it here

    .

    Start reading, bubba.

    That’s Ohio. I think you’ll be comforted when you understand the process better, and your irrational fears of voter impersonation fraud will end.

    I don’t know where you live (don’t tell me!) but there’s a process to verify your registration. You’re just not aware of it, but it’s been secretly operating this whole time.

    They know where you live.

  86. 86
    kay says:

    Do Canada

    Just for the record, we later found out that the Canadian process protects voter rights much more robustly than was indicated to us by that particular commenter.

    Of course, right? They’re fair in Canada. Maybe we can aspire to fairness, but right now we’re going in the wrong direction, fast.

  87. 87
    rdldot says:

    ok, Kay, but what do we do about it? Are there plans to fight these laws in court? Or do we have to wait and hope that college students’ parents will get pissed off enough to try to change the laws? Or are we going to work with the laws as they are and try to register and properly educate these voters? I’ve decided that this is the issue I will personally work for, but I don’t know what the best course of action is for the next election.

  88. 88
    Mnemosyne says:

    It’s a situation ripe with the possibilities for fraud.

    And yet there’s absolutely no proof — none whatsoever — that fraud has ever been committed. Widespread investigations of thousands of votes cast have turned up maybe one or two fraudulent votes cast.

    Absentee voter fraud, on the other hand, is widespread, and yet not a single one of these laws being passed will do anything to curb it. Weird how you guys are so laser-focused on avoiding voter fraud but ignore the one area where it actually is known to be widespread. Instead, you spend all of your time and money on an area where it’s almost completely unknown.

    Almost as though you’ve made up a fake problem to cover up the fact that the real problem area tends to favor Republicans. But that couldn’t possibly be the case, right? Because now that you know that absentee voter fraud is a much bigger problem than in-person fraud, you’re going to start lobbying your state legislators to close the loopholes for absentee ballots, right?

  89. 89
    gene108 says:

    Maybe we can aspire to fairness

    Given the level of voter apathy in this country, I don’t see that happening. Too many people don’t vote as it is.

    Until that changes all the talk about restricting voting rights won’t create popular outrage, because you can’t piss someone off by restricting their ability to do something they do not care to do.

  90. 90
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m not whining either, but curious if voter ID laws are challenged in court the proponents point to existing case law that allows for restrictions on other constitutional rights.

    Point to another constitutional right that makes it as easy to kill people as having a gun does.

    I’m also fairly certain that the murder of Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner was not anyone’s second amendment right.

    Hey, those KKK members were just exercising their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. It’s not their fault that Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner got in the way of their bullets after the KKK members beat them into unconsciousness.

    But, heigh-ho, voting rights, no big deal. Who really cares if eligible people aren’t allowed to vote, amirite? It’s not like voting makes a difference or anything. Getting upset that people are being blocked from voting is just adorable internet rage, like getting mad that people are saying mean things about Britney Spears.

    Leave poor and minority voters aaallloooonnnnneee!!

  91. 91
    kay says:

    Are there plans to fight these laws in court? Or do we have to wait and hope that college students’ parents will get pissed off enough to try to change the laws? Or are we going to work with the laws as they are and try to register and properly educate these voters?

    I think the best way to protect voting rights it to explain to people what they are (state-specific) and that they have them. Don’t accept a provisional because you’re embarrassed that you got pulled out of line, or you don’t want to hold up the line. Ask to speak to a “presiding judge” (poll worker supervisors have different titles in different states).
    Start with this idea: “I want to vote a first class ballot. I don’t want a second class ballot. How do I jump through these barriers and do that?”
    Take an adversarial approach: they don’t want me to vote, and I want to vote. I think that’s the right approach.

  92. 92
    somegayname says:

    gene108
    You can shout fire in a theater.
    Schenck was overturned in 1969.
    Ignore the ‘gun’ aspect of my questions, and the point I am concerned with is that Constitutional rights are currently restricted by existing case law (I’m just working with examples I am familiar with). In a court, aren’t all constitutional rights equal? How would a court determine that barriers to one right are not appropriate to another right?
    My additional point is that if you can’t stop it, flood it. Force a system similar to NICS (the gun check) and require EVERYONE at the poll station to be approved. Force ID proponents to establish and maintain this behemoth of a database. You’ll get the anti-national-ID guys on your side in an instant. The cost benefit ratio will go to hell, and since errors should be spread about evenly you should get plenty of angry middle class voters.

    The parallels to the 2nd Amendment or the 1st Amendment fall short, because in these cases the government has put in laws to make sure harm cannot be caused by people abusing their rights under these amendments.

    This is just wrong. Despite the laws, harm is still caused by people abusing their rights, as you pointed out yourself. Furthermore, the end result (and probably intention) is to limit exercise of these rights by raising the overhead – see Brad Manning – or restricting access – see abortion rights. This is the parallel I’m interested in, pushing voter suppression under the guise of VOTER FRAUD! is similar to suppressing speech under the guise of NATIONAL SECURITAH!!1!

  93. 93
    Mnemosyne says:

    Schenck was overturned in 1969.

    Sort of:

    The First Amendment holding in Schenck was later overturned by Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969, which limited the scope of banned speech to that which would be directed to and likely to incite imminent lawless action (e.g. a riot).

    So, no, free speech is not completely free as you seem to be claiming. Inciting a riot is still illegal. What was rejected was Holmes’ metaphor that compared falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater to encouraging men to avoid the draft for WWI. If you literally — not metaphorically — stand up in a crowded theater and shout “fire” and there is no fire, you will be prosecuted if people are hurt or killed and claiming your 1st Amendment free speech rights will not be a defense.

  94. 94
    gene108 says:

    My additional point is that if you can’t stop it, flood it. Force a system similar to NICS (the gun check) and require EVERYONE at the poll station to be approved. Force ID proponents to establish and maintain this behemoth of a database. You’ll get the anti-national-ID guys on your side in an instant. The cost benefit ratio will go to hell, and since errors should be spread about evenly you should get plenty of angry middle class voters.

    No expense will be spared to make sure the “right” people vote, so Republicans can maintain a stranglehold on power. You aren’t dealing with people, who want a fair system. They want to rig it so only their guys can win.

    You’ll probably see some form of grandfather clause come in to keep their base from being adversely affected by ID laws, sort of like how literacy tests were waived for whites after slaves got the right to vote.

  95. 95

    Honestly, I think a bigger question is “why the *fuck* do we need a photo ID to buy cold medicine?”

    Yes, yes, yes, meth. What I want to know is, why is *the government’s* drug war *my* problem?

    But the other point is valid. The government doesn’t care about the people 364 days out of the year[1]. The one day they should be complete servants, serving humbly on bended knee, is election day, the day when we grant them the right to not-give-a-fuck the rest of the year.

    [1] Yes, I know, there are sometimes multiple elections in a year. Sue me.

  96. 96
    Mnemosyne says:

    Honestly, I think a bigger question is “why the fuck do we need a photo ID to buy cold medicine?”

    What bugs me about the cold medicine thing is that it’s restricting something that could potentially be dangerous if someone mixed it with other things, but is not actually dangerous in itself.

    Restrictions on, say, morphine make sense to me because morphine and other opiates can be dangerous in and of themselves. You could potentially kill yourself or someone else just with the morphine and not have to mix it up into another compound.

    Though now I seem to be saying that we shouldn’t keep track of people who buy large amounts of the kinds of fertilizer that can be used in bomb-making. Hm. Of course, a bomb is more dangerous in and of itself than meth (or even morphine), so we may have a vested interest in trying to keep people from making fertilizer into bombs. I’ll have to think about it.

  97. 97
    somegayname says:

    Mnemosyne Schenck was overturned, but the metaphor used to explain Schenck ruling was found a reasonable restriction. I used a bad metaphor to try to point that out. The point is we don’t restrict the right, but will prosecute for other offenses after the fact, and the right is no defense for these other offenses. We don’t duct tape peoples mouths as they enter crowded buildings to prevent them falsely shouting “Fire!”. Similarly, the right to vote is no defense for voter fraud, but I don’t expect the government to restrict everyones right to vote on the off chance that some will abuse that right. However, existing law does allow for restricting gun ownership based on the off chance that a few abuse their rights. Real world differences between owning a gun and voting are obvious, but are the legal differences so obvious if they are both enshrined in the constitution? Can either side use this to advantage in court? If it can be argued in favor of suppression, how do we prepare to counter it.

    Point to another constitutional right that makes it as easy to kill people as having a gun does.

    I’d like to introduce you to the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections and Iraq and Afghanistan. They (as well as Libya) are still undecided about the 2008 elections.

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