Thursday, July 12, 2012

Are Voter ID laws 'poll taxes'?

Perhaps Eric Holder is trying to recover some of the stature his Fast & Furious battle has cost him. Or perhaps he feels as strongly as the fiery words he used this week at the NAACP's national convention about Texas' Voter ID law.


The full quote:

"Under the proposed law, concealed handgun licenses would be acceptable forms of photo ID, but student IDs would not. Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them, and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them. We call those poll taxes."

We're not sure that's the kind of discourse that moves discussions forward, but that barn has long been empty in Washington. The slap, however, has done what slaps do: Prompt an outcry. Texas Sen. John Cornyn called Holder's remarks "irresponsible" and added: "Shame on him." Conservatives have followed suit with varying levels of indignant condemnation.

We've said in editorials that Voter ID solve a problem that doesn't exist - widespread impersonation voter fraud - by creating a larger problem of potentially disenfranchising millions of voters. Most of them are poor. Most are black or elderly. They usually vote Democrat. The authors and supporters of state Voter ID legislation, of course, are Republicans. One, Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai, even boasted that his state's Voter ID law would help Mitt Romney in November.

In Texas, the law's proponents note that the IDs would be issued free to anyone who requests them, but Holder is correct in noting that the paperwork required to get the IDs is not free or, for some, easy to obtain. Voter ID proponents also argue that plenty of other democracies require their citizens to show ID when voting, but a Harvard University study showed that many of those countries either automatically give their citizens ID or allow them to bring non-photo IDs to the polls if they don't have a photo ID handy. Canada, for example, allows 45 different types of identification, including utility bills and student transcripts.

This is a sensible approach that can soothe those who note that we need ID for a lot of things - without making it unduly hard for people to vote. When Republicans start passing more Voter ID legislation like that, they'll have a better defense against the attorney general's words.

Peter St. Onge


30 comments:

budman said...

No one is required to "pay" anything. Just show a legal I.D.
If you are legal what's your problem?

Karl said...

Ironic that in order to attend the NAACP meeting that Eric Holder spoke at, attendees were required to show two forms of valid id in order to gain entrance.

If that isn't a double-standard, I don't know what is.

John said...

Absolute BS!.

Reality is, you can't cash a check, board a plane or drive a car without a state-issued photo ID. This is simply another case of Liberals screaming race to defeat common sense.

As to the Observer's assertion that voter fraud is a "problem which doesn't exist..." you can't prove that something doesn't exist, only that it does. Today, with no photo ID, we have NO WAY to verify if widespread fraud exists or not!

You can't tell if a problem exists or not if you don't have any way to measure it!

Garth Vader said...

It is a LIE that there is not widespread voter fraud in NC. Remember Pete Kaliner from WBT? He reports that hundreds of registered voters in Wake County claimed they were not US citizens in order to avoid jury duty. If they're not US citizens then they can't vote. But the Democrat-controlled NC Board of Elections claims they are citizens... because they have drivers licenses (which you can get WITHOUT BEING A CITIZEN).

Stop LYING about voter fraud that is DOCUMENTED TO EXIST IN NORTH CAROLINA.

Wiley Coyote said...

Not no, but HELL NO.

Wiley Coyote said...

The Observer will also tell us that everyone getting free or reduced lunches in CMS qualify...

Garth Vader said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Europeanexpat said...

How do those people buy Sudafed at CVS? In Illinois one needs photo ID to buy "Draino"

Garth Vader said...

Jimmy Carter disagrees with Eric Holder, and supports VoterID:

http://www1.american.edu/ia/cfer

Fire Coach K said...

Again, if the intent of these laws isn't to discourage legal citizens from voting, what is the purpose of Florida's Republican-enacted measure to ban early voting on the Sunday prior to election day?

What possible reason could there be for that, other than the fact that folks who attend black churches in Florida tend to go together to vote right after services?

The GOP legislators behind the measure said it was done to prevent fraud, but couldn't come up with one example of fraud that arose from people being able to vote early on Sunday. They are now ending early voting on the Saturday prior to election day, as if that one day will magically result in less fraud, when they weren't able to find any fraud to start with.

Dishonesty likes that makes me question the intent of all similar measures.

Skippy said...

Speaking of Florida, genius, why did the racist and lying Eric Holder try and block Fl from removing NON CITIZENS from its voter rolls? That's rhetorical of course. And the lie that there is millions of black voters is down right nonsense and pathetic at best.. The left owns voter fraud and this is the ONLY reason why they are whiniing like stuck pigs over this.

Skippy said...

Speaking of Florida, genius, why did the racist and lying Eric Holder try and block Fl from removing NON CITIZENS from its voter rolls? That's rhetorical of course. And the lie that there is millions of black voters is down right nonsense and pathetic at best.. The left owns voter fraud and this is the ONLY reason why they are whiniing like stuck pigs over this.

kantstanzya said...

The Supreme Court has already ruled Voter ID's are not poll taxes in the 2008 Indiana case where the majority decision was writen by liberal John Paul Stevens.

Will voter ID laws help Romney as one Penn. lawmaker "boasted"? Certainly....no one denies that. But that is only because such laws will cut down on Democrat Party voter fraud.

KSH said...

All I know is when I went to vote in the latest primary at my new polling site (we moved because our house burned down), I was told I had already voted that day - at my old polling site. I've long felt that the workers there were shady. I reported them to the Feds a few years ago because the poll workers were only showing people who wanted to vote a straight ticket the Democrtic button, rather than pointing to both. They just said "Press here" on the Democratic button. While I have no proof that someone, knowing my house burned and I wouldn't be there that day to vote, voted in my stead that day I do know that I was in my office all day so there was no way I had voted. They were able to clear that and allow me to vote MY choices, which I have no doubt were not what had been chosen for me earlier. But, if someone had asked the person that voted for me for their ID, they probably would not have been allowed to vote. And, if I wasn't so driven to vote myself, no one would have noticed someone had already pretended to be me and voted in my place.

Fire Coach K said...

First of all, thank you for putting the right's level of maturity on display yet again. This is where the debate in America is today: The left making cogent, fact-based arguments, while the right is engaged in name-calling and vitriol.

But to answer your rudely-posed question, Holder did so because Rick Scott wants to illegally purge 180,000 names based on outdated DMV information. It's not just likely but a virtual certainty that some of those people were not citizens at the time they went to the DMV, but have since become citizens. They should not be wrongfully denied their right to vote -- especially when Scott's rationale is that he only found about 50 non-citizens who may have voted.

Fifty votes? Really? You're going to disenfranchise 180,000 people, spend millions of taxpayer dollars fighting over it and, by the way, do so in clear violation of federal voter registration law over 50 votes that were possibly cast by non-citizens, in a state with 19 million residents? Scott's intent is clearly partisan, as illustrated by his indefensible move to prohibit early voting on Sunday, for no reason whatsoever.

Now go right ahead and shriek some more about racism and stuck pigs and so on.

CarolinaDrums said...

Let's get real here - Holder is a fool and a criminal.....

Fire Coach K said...

Again, that's a typical response from the right; nothing more than name-calling and vitriol.

Please try to make a fact-based point that would hold some value in a grown-up discussion. Perhaps you could tell us the merits of ending early voting on Saturday rather than Sunday?

Surely it's not because 33.2 percent of Sunday voters last time around were black, and another 23.6 percent were Hispanic, right? And that overall, weekend voters were disproportionally Democratic (black or Hispanic, young and/or first-time voters).

WashuOtaku said...

Realistically, most people have a valid form of ID, like a driver's license and U.S. Passport. It's not unrealistic for a person to confirm who they say they are with some sort of ID.

It simply boogles the mind that there might be some people that have no forms of ID in this day and age when everything we do, from work to travel, requires some sort of ID to comfirm our identity.

Garth Vader said...

@ Fire Coach K -

1. VoterID is not the same as Early Voting. Take your meds so you can stick to the issue at hand.

2. Election DAY (note the SINGULAR form) was ONE DAY for hundreds of years and worked just fine. "Early Voting" is an invitation to abuse. Countries all around the world vote on ONE Election DAY (note the SINGULAR form) and have higher turnout than the US, so obviously "Early Voting" is not the solution to low turnout.

3. What's your answer to the OBVIOUS voter FRAUD in North Carolina with people who vote but then declare themselves to not be citizens?

Joy Motte said...

This is a very bad idea. Some people can not drive and can't get to the DMV. City busses do not take you directly to the DMV, if at all, and some people can not get rides for one reason or another.
It would disinfranchise a large number of people, mostly the elderly and disabled.

Fire Coach K said...

Garth, I'm not on any "meds." But thank you for your concern and, yet again, for putting the right's maturity level on full display.

I'm well aware that voter ID and early voting are different concepts. My point is that they are both part of concerted GOP efforts to discourage groups of legal voters that are disproportionally Democratic from casting ballots.

And again, if early voting is an "invitation to abuse" as you say, please provide one example of that in Florida. Maybe you'll have better luck than Republican Gov. Rick Scott, because he sure hasn't found one.

J said...

I am going to ask the same question I asked on Fannie's post yesterday about voter ID laws, which went unanswered:

I need someone who is not white to explain to me how asking you for a photo ID at the polling place is an attempt to keep you from voting.

Lack of access is not an issue. Everyone, regardless of ethnicity, has access to the same DMV offices as whites. Do you really expect me to believe that there are millions upon millions of minorities that have no transportation, no family, no friends, no neighbors and absolutely no way in this world to ever get to a DMV office? I cannot imagine this is the situation for more than a miniscule amount of people. If there really are a lot of people in this situation, any sensible politician would push legislation to make a free ride to the DMV available to them. Again, I can't imagine it's any more than 1/100th of 1 percent of the population, if that.

Cost is not an issue. The cost of a state ID card is $10 every 4-8 years (depending on age). In other words, 5 cents a week. I do not believe there are ANY people that can't come up with that.

No one is going to say this out loud - except me, of course. The real reason you think requiring a photo ID to vote is an attempt to prevent someone from voting is because you think people are either too lazy or too stupid to get one. None of your other "answers" makes even the smallest amount of sense.

Fire Coach K - Stopping early voting on the Saturday before the election instead of Sunday is not an attempt to keep black people from voting. You say that it will eliminate whole blocks of voters who all go vote together after church? There are tons of holes in your theory. For one, early voting lasts more than one week. Where is it written that all the folks in those churches are only permitted to go vote early on the last day of early voting? Go after church the week before. Or go any other day of the 3 weeks of early voting. And again, by saying stopping early voting 1 day earlier to prevent groups of people from black churches from voting should be considered an insult. You are saying those people are too lazy to vote on any other early voting day, or that they are so dumb the can't find their way to the polls without their church group, or that they are too lazy to go any other day.

As for "We've said in editorials that Voter ID solve a problem that doesn't exist - widespread impersonation voter fraud - by creating a larger problem of potentially disenfranchising millions of voters" - I must disagree. Anyone who screams that showing a photo ID to vote is such persecution has something to hide. Numerous media outlets have pulled voting records across the country and have found thousands upon thousands of votes cast by dead people. Like was said earlier, people routinely claim they are not US citizens when called for jury duty but those same people vote. They're lying at least once.

I asked my wife last night how she as a black woman feels about the NAACP calling voter ID laws the biggest attack on rights since segregation." She said that was an insult to her; that she is just as capable of getting a photo ID as any white person. (She also thinks the NAACP is every bit as racist and terrorist as the KKK, but that's another sermon for another time.)

And while I'm on a roll, I challenge everyone to find the place in the Constitution that guarantees a right to vote. HINT: It isn't there. There are Constitutional amendments that prohibit discrimination of allowing voting based on race, gender, age above 18, but the right to vote itself? Isn't there. And considering how clueless a lot of people are, should everyone be allowed to vote? I am no longer convinced. Go ask a 20-something to find Iran on a map or when the income tax was instituted and watch them stare at you like a deer in headlights. But ask them who won American Idol or who Kim Kardashian is doing this week, and they'll be able to answer before you finish asking the question.

J said...

Joy Motte - I have a visiual impairment and cannot drive. I have held a valid state-issued photo ID all 24 years I have lived here, since I was 18. You actually can get to one DMV office in Charlotte by bus. Yes, there may be some people in rural areas that don't have such access. I believe most of them have family, friends, neighbors, church friends or someone that can get them there. For the miniscule number who have no transport, and absolutely no human contact that can get them to a DMV, it is sensible for the state to provide transportation for them. But I don't think it's all that many. In NC, I think this would be a severe hardship for dozens or hundreds, not thousands or millions.

Fire Coach K said...

J, if banning Sunday voting is not an attempt to keep black people from voting -- knowing that black churches vote en masse immediately after services -- then what is the rationale for doing it?

It's ostensibly to reduce fraud. In what way, shape or form will it do that?

What fraud has arisen from people being able to vote on Sunday?

If you can come up with an example (which Rick Scott has not managed to do), I'll be impressed. For the life of me, I can't imagine a form of voter fraud that is specific only to Sunday.

I think we all know there's no legitimate reason for it, and that it's a transparent attempt by a Republican governor to reduce the number of votes cast by blacks, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic.

joe dupont said...

Dear Editor,
It is estimated that between 5 and 10% of the votes the Democrats get to elect people who are bankrupting this nation are from voters who should not qualify. If Obama truly cares about the little people , why would he not want every eligible voter to have proper identification which would assist them in every phase of life. Oh Obama wants to get every last person he can on food stamps. Obama wants as many trained mice as he can generate to give him and his thugs more and more control. With almost 1/2 of our households paying no Federal Income Tax we are about to turn into a third world nation. Associated Press and most of the media seems to cherish this thought. Rich People should pay their fair share? What fair share are those paying no Federal Income Tax paying? America is being defeated from within without a shot being fired.. Yet!.

Christina H said...

The attorney general is correct that it will now require money and greater inconvenienced for likely Democratic voters to cast their ballot now. This is very much a return to the kind of America that republicans can only dream of where wealth and priveledge are the sole determinants of political power. They would like nothing more than for the 1% to rule every aspect of American life and it shows with their choice of presidential candidate. Naturally, they will have to suppress more than a few votes to get there.

Fire Coach K said...

"It is estimated" by whom, Joe. Again, in Florida, they found about 50 votes possibly made by non-citizens ... in a state with 19 million residents, and 11 million registered voters.

Fifty (some of whom, I'm sure, voted for Republicans) out of 11 million is a far, far cry from 5%-10%. I'm not sure who reported that figure, but you should do more reading on your own, because your entire rant is predicated on a wild falsehood.

To answer your question about the people (many of whom as seniors or students) who pay no federal income tax, you're conveniently overlooking the fact that they pay every single other tax under the sun: State taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, gasoline taxes and on and on.

If America is being defeated from within, it is by poorly-educated people who are too arrogant to subject themselves to any facts that might challenge their adamant beliefs.

Jim said...

You folks who have no way to get to the DMV to get a photo ID -- how are you going to get to a polling place to cast your vote?

Shamash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shamash said...

July 12, 2:21 PM...

A lot of time people say they are concerned about blacks, Hispanics, or other "minorities" when it's obvious they really mean ignorant, lazy, or otherwise incompetent people of all races.

If I were one of those "protected" groups that keeps getting singled out as especially unprepared to cope with modern life, I'd feel insulted.

I don't see why showing an ID discriminates against any "race", strictly due to their "race" and no other factor.

It's pure garbage, but so is a lot of stuff that we do today to "protect" others from their own incompetence.