There is a drumbeat in this country to require voters to have photo identification. For years now both sides of the aisle have balked about voter fraud. In fact the Democrats and Republicans alike cite various voter fraud instances almost every election. Whether or not they are proven is often not reported and in fact the media says it does not exist.
Here is how an editorial titled “The Myth of Voter Fraud” from the NYTimes from October of 2011 begins.
It has been a record year for new legislation designed to make it harder for Democrats to vote — 19 laws and two executive actions in 14 states dominated by Republicans, according to a new study by the Brennan Center for Justice. As a result, more than five million eligible voters will have a harder time participating in the 2012 election.
Of course the Republicans passing these laws never acknowledge their real purpose, which is to turn away from the polls people who are more likely to vote Democratic, particularly the young, the poor, the elderly and minorities. They insist that laws requiring government identification cards to vote are only to protect the sanctity of the ballot from unscrupulous voters. Cutting back on early voting, which has been popular among working people who often cannot afford to take off from their jobs on Election Day, will save money, they claim.
Wow, I don’t think you can get more partisan than that. The NYTimes jumping in the tank for the Democrats! But I have Democrat friends and they seem to have photo ID’s. The State of NJ will give you a photo ID. It costs 6 bucks and they will issue after your 17th birthday. How about PA? 13.50 will get it done. What with the 40 Dollars that everyone is getting (what a lie that was) surely we can get our kids photo identification for voting purposes.
Here is a good explanation of discrimination
In Constitutional Law, the grant by statute of particular privileges to a class arbitrarily designated from a sizable number of persons, where no reasonable distinction exists between the favored and disfavored classes. Federal laws, supplemented by court decisions, prohibit discrimination in such areas as employment, housing, voting rights, education, and access to public facilities. They also proscribe discrimination on the basis of race, age, sex, nationality, disability, or religion. In addition, state and local laws can prohibit discrimination in these areas and in others not covered by federal laws.
Now unlike our current President I am not a Constitutional Scholar (he says with tongue in cheek). But a law that equally applies to all residents can hardly rise to the level of discrimination. Unless it is a perceived one. In this case the perception seems to be coming from the man whose job it is to enforce the laws of the country. Attorney General Eric Holder. If you read this blog regularly you know I don’t think Holder is either a good lawyer or a defender of the laws of the land. In fact more than once Holder has chosen not to enforce exiting law. That is not his job. His job is to defend the law from false accusations. Now we come to the case of voter ID laws. Nowhere in any of these laws does it prevent anyone from any particular class from voting. What it does do is make the act of voting a one time event for everyone. The requirement to present ID is nothing more than a check to prevent any potential voter fraud. Remember the NYT called it a blatant play by the Republicans to disenfranchise the Democrats. Are all Democrats so poor that they can’t get a photo ID? I doubt it. But like I said the argument goes both ways. Doubt me? How about Wisconsin?
As Yogi Berra once said it’s déjà vu all over again as for Wisconsin Democrats as they allege that the Waukesha County clerk is once again tampering with votes to hand an election to the Republicans.
Here is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate,
The race to determine control of the Wisconsin Senate has fallen in the hands of the Waukesha County clerk, who has already distinguished herself as incompetent, if not worse. She is once more tampering with the results of a consequential election and in the next hours we will determine our next course of action. For now, Wisconsin should know that a dark cloud hangs over these important results.
Nate Silver of 538 projected that in the critical District 8 race the incumbent Darling will finish 1,800 votes ahead of the Democratic challenger Pasch, but the Silver also said that based on his modeling Democrats would be crazy not move forward with a recall of Scott Walker. He found that the race would be a tossup.
Since George W. Bush and his Florida shenanigans in 2000, it has become the norm for one side or another to allege fraud in every close election. This habit is nothing more that the collective psychological damage and distrust that the results of the 2000 election left us with, but in Wisconsin the skepticism is merited.
So who are the people passing these laws protecting, or for that matter harming? Don’t you think if the photo ID laws were implemented that the potential for fraud from either side is diminished.
Now on to what AG Holder had to say:
As Congressman John Lewis described it, in a speech on the House floor this summer, the voting rights that he worked throughout his life – and nearly gave his life – to ensure are, “under attack… [by] a deliberate and systematic attempt to prevent millions of elderly voters, young voters, students, [and] minority and low-income voters from exercising their constitutional right to engage in the democratic process.” Not only was he referring to the all-too-common deceptive practices we’ve been fighting for years. He was echoing more recent concerns about some of the state-level voting law changes we’ve seen this legislative season.
I am mystified by the deceptive practices comment. We have been fighting for years? Who are we and what practices are they? Oddly the criteria for the AG having to review is the 1965 Voters rights act and specifically section 5. Holder discusses this in his speech
Although I cannot go into detail about the ongoing review of these and other state-law changes, I can assure you that it will be thorough – and fair. We will examine the facts, and we will apply the law. If a state passes a new voting law and meets its burden of showing that the law is not discriminatory, we will follow the law and approve the change. And where a state can’t meet this burden, we will object as part of our obligation under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
As many of you know – and as I hope the law students here are learning – Section 5 was put in place decades ago because of a well-documented history of voter discrimination in all or parts of the 16 states to which it applies. Within these “covered jurisdictions,” any proposed change in voting procedures or practices – from moving a polling location to enacting a statewide redistricting plan – must be “precleared” – that is, approved – either by the Justice Department, or by a panel of federal judges.
Without question, Sections 5’s preclearance process has been a powerful tool in combating discrimination for decades. In 2006, it was reauthorized with overwhelming bipartisan support – passing the House by a vote of 390 to 33, and the Senate by a vote of 98 to zero – before being signed into law by President Bush.
Let’s be clear here. What AG Holder and others in this fight on the Democrats side are saying, in my opinion, is that these laws are racially discriminatory. Period. They will use section 5 as the club to “level the playing field” even though these laws are nothing but even. Covering all the people of the state. Unlike Section 5 of the federal law which selected specific states for over site. Wouldn’t that be considered uneven application and therefore discriminatory? In fact on the DOJ website we find this little tidbit.
Under Section 5, any change with respect to voting in a covered jurisdiction — or any political subunit within it — cannot legally be enforced unless and until the jurisdiction first obtains the requisite determination by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or makes a submission to the Attorney General. This requires proof that the proposed voting change does not deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group. If the jurisdiction is unable to prove the absence of such discrimination, the District Court denies the requested judgment, or in the case of administrative submissions, the Attorney General objects to the change, and it remains legally unenforceable.
Voter ID laws do not even come close to this level. Unless you are an agenda driven Democrat true believer who sees everything in two colors. Right Eric?
(Holder lost another voter ID case, this one in Indiana. The Supreme Court voting 6-3 ruled the law constitutional. So far 20 states have ID laws. )