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Indiana Voting Law Upheld:

Today, in Crawford v. Marion County Voting Board, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected a constitutional challenge to Indiana's new photo ID requirement for voting. Writing for himself and Judge Diane Sykes, Judge Richard Posner held that the photo ID requirment did not impose an undue burden on the right to vote, even though the law would deter some individuals from voting, and even assuming that the law would have disproportionate effects on voters of one party.

In ananlyzing the statute, Posner rejected strict scrutiny, observing:

The Indiana law is not like a poll tax, where on one side is the right to vote and on the other side the state's interest in defraying the cost of elections or in limiting the franchise to people who really care about voting or in excluding poor people or in discouraging people who are black. The purpose of the Indiana law is to reduce voting fraud, and voting fraud impairs the right of legitimate voters to vote by diluting their votes — dilution being recognized to be an impairment of the right to vote.
According to the majority, the law represents a reasonable regulation designed to balance the right to vote with the state's interest in reducing the likelihood of voter fraud.

Judge Evans dissented:

Let's not beat around the bush: The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic. We should subject this law to strict scrutiny—or at least, in the wake of Burdick v. Takushi, . . . something akin to "strict scrutiny light" — and strike it down as an undue burden on the fundamental right to vote.

UPDATE: I neglected to add that both opinions are short and worth reading in full. This was a high-powered panel addressing an important issue.

I've also fixed the link above, or try this one.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. More on Indiana Voter ID Decision:
  2. Indiana Voting Law Upheld:
Federal Dog:
"Let’s not beat around the bush: The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic."


Fraudulent voters?
1.4.2007 4:42pm
andy (mail) (www):
Seems like a reasonable restriction to me. I have to show my ID before buying a beer...is it to much to ask for an ID before voting in an election? And, buying a beer is much more important to my personal enjoyment and freedom than is voting.
1.4.2007 4:44pm
Bpbatista (mail):
The dissent is absolutely correct: The law was intended to discourage turnout by certain folks that skews Democratic, i.e., fraudulent voters.
1.4.2007 4:52pm
The General:
This law does in fact discourage an important segment of Democratic voters...you know the ones I'm talking about...the ones who voted Republican until the day they died and voted for the Democrats ever since. I can understand why they'd be upset.

In any event, if you read that passage from the dissent and substitute "Democratic" with "Republican," most Democrats would change their tune about the law.
1.4.2007 5:00pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
N.b. that all three judges on the panel are smart, respected jurists, and that reading each opinion in its entirety (rather than a quoted snippet) might be a good idea.
1.4.2007 5:00pm
LT (mail):
I'll echo Anderson here. This case presents tough issues that, as the opinions demonstrate, have never been squarely addressed by the Supreme Court (the recent per curiam in Purcell notwithstanding). Judges Posner and Evans are two of the finest writers on the federal bench today, and both of their mercifully succinct opinions deserve a full read.
1.4.2007 5:09pm
Jeff Shultz (mail):
I'd have to see a lot more of that opinion to believe that, after reading the snippet, Judge Evans is smart.
1.4.2007 5:09pm
Jeff Shultz (mail):
Oh, btw, the link doesn't work anymore.
1.4.2007 5:10pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
Yes, both Posner and Evans are excellent legal scholars. I think I come down on Posner's side on this one. Just because there may be a disparate impact on voters who lean Democratic (and that's not proven although I'll accept it for the purpose of argument here) doesn't mean it is the overt intent of the statute. And even if the overt intent is to dissuade democratic voters, showing an ID to vote is simply not unreasonable. Do you have to show an ID to collect welfare? If so, has anyone ever complained about that?
1.4.2007 5:12pm
Mark Buehner (mail):
Let’s not beat around the bush: The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic.

The dead, illegal aliens, felons... no, its not a thinly veiled attempt at all, its quite explicit.
1.4.2007 5:15pm
Random Commenter:
"Let’s not beat around the bush: The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic."

It's a bit hard to imagine the rest of the opinion creating a context in which the above does not read as an ugly politically-motivated slander.
1.4.2007 5:15pm
TomH (mail):
The dissent remarks that approximately 4% of the voters would be disenfranchised because they are incapable of obtaining photo ID (disabled or requiring unobtainable documents) or at least lack the desire to obtain the ID (they don't drive). I ignore the cost constraint mentioned, because there are lower cost options.

Now, could the state fix this problem simply by making a provision for free Voter IDs upon submission of some kind of proof of identity. Perhaps the issuing authority can have an advocacy branch to help people get the necessary papers. If the issue concerns so few people, it does not seem that the cost would be so great to ensure a valid vote.
1.4.2007 5:18pm
Carleton Wu (mail) (www):
Posner would've been more accurate had he said that the "expressed purpose" of the law was to reduce fraud, rather than the "purpose". There is very little evidence that voter fraud occurs in any significant numbers. Which is not to say that it isn't a legiitmate concern of the state, but it does make the balancing act apparent.
I would have been happier if Posner had explicitly weighed the two factors: demonstrably small amounts of voter fraud against small inconveniences to certain classes of legitimate voters who would not otherwise obtain a government ID. He is certainly not compelled to defer to the legislature's stated intent in cases such as this where important rights are (theoretically) at stake.

As for the above comments about fraudulent votes trending Democratic: you do yourselves little credit by pretending to be ignorant of the issues involved. At best, you'll manage to persuade others that you are, in fact, ignorant. Congratulations on that.
Andy- Buying beer is not a fundamental right - your analogy is fatally flawed. The government at every level puts restrictions on alcohol (selling liquor licenses, forbidding the sale of alcohol on Sundays, taxing it, etc) of the sort that would be unconstitutional if applied to voting (selling the franchise, having a poll tax, etc).
1.4.2007 5:18pm
Bobbie (mail):
You're not exercising a fundamental right when you buy a beer, collect welfare, etc. There's, therefore, not the same concern about the burden you're putting on people.

And as the dissent notes, there’s not a shred of evidence that this law will prevent any fraud; indeed, there’s no evidence there’s any problem of voter fraud in Indiana.

This law is mostly going to prevent poor and disabled people from voting -- a point even Posner seems to concede. Those groups of people are, of course, more likely to vote democrat.

(And if we're going to cast stones about whether democrats or republicans are more likely to engage in voter fraud, shall we add up the conviction totals for both groups stemming from roles in voter fraud?)
1.4.2007 5:19pm
Jeremy T:
Carleton,

Trust me, I've been an election official for years. Fraudulent votes have always skewed Democrat and always will.

To those who suggest this is a "tough case," it's not. The state has every right to ensure that the people who are voting are legitimate voters.
1.4.2007 5:21pm
Whadonna More:
Doesn't anyone care that there are less privacy-intrusive ways to combat vote fraud, or do you commenters only care about winning?
1.4.2007 5:21pm
TomH (mail):
1.4.2007 5:22pm
Jeff Shultz (mail):
Since Indiana now has this law, presumably Indiana has some way for verifiably legal citizens to acquire the proper ID - if the poor and disabled can get out to vote, they can also get out to get ID verifying that voting is legal for them.
1.4.2007 5:24pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Posner would've been more accurate had he said that the "expressed purpose" of the law was to reduce fraud, rather than the "purpose". There is very little evidence that voter fraud occurs in any significant numbers.
But Posner quite correctly analyzed and dismissed that canard. There's "little evidence" because the status quo makes it impossible to obtain such evidence.

Meanwhile, as Posner points out, there's "little evidence" that anybody who wants to vote has actually been or would be "disenfranchised" [sic] by such laws; the plaintiffs couldn't find a single such person to make a party to their suit.
1.4.2007 5:26pm
Steve:
Now, could the state fix this problem simply by making a provision for free Voter IDs upon submission of some kind of proof of identity.

Surely they could do many things, but they're not going to, now that the law has been upheld as-is.
1.4.2007 5:26pm
Virginia:
How does requiring photo id intrude on anyone's privacy?
1.4.2007 5:26pm
TomH (mail):
Less Privacy Intrusive - Showing ID in these circumstances is not a privacy violation, I am required to show an ID that contains my photo and address.

When I register to Vote, I submit my address so that I am registered in the proper district for the purposes of local elections (now my address is volunteered to the public)

When I show up at the poll, I show my face in public, and in some places sign a signature card (now my face is in public)

The ID does not make my identity public, It just shows that I am who I purport to be.
1.4.2007 5:28pm
K Bennight (mail):

"Doesn't anyone care that there are less privacy-intrusive ways to combat vote fraud, or do you commenters only care about winning?"

I don't recall ever voting without showing a voter registration card, which I had obtained well in advance. The cards always show my name and address. I never gave privacy a moment's thought in that context. I fail to see how pulling out my driver's license is a material additional burden on my privacy.
1.4.2007 5:31pm
Random Commenter:
"There is very little evidence that voter fraud occurs in any significant numbers."

Obviously you're not familiar with Chicago's storied history, to raise one obvious example.

Irrespective of which party benefits most from fraud, from a public policy point of view fraud only has to occur in amounts sufficient to make the outcome of elections less clear to be important. As we have seen in the last three national elections, this is a low hurdle where voting is regionally segmented and some districts are closely divided.
1.4.2007 5:36pm
andy (mail) (www):
Is getting an ID really *that* bad? I mean, come on...a flippin' ID card, of all things. Pardon my skepticism of the doomsday scenarios.
1.4.2007 5:39pm
Virginia:
Here's some recent voter fraud from a different Seventh Circuit state:



Wisconsin does not yet have a photo ID requirement; the Democratic governor keeps vetoing it.
1.4.2007 5:41pm
gab (mail):
Do you have to show ID to vote absentee?
1.4.2007 5:41pm
gab (mail):
Ok, I guess I shoulda read the link. But shouldn't the requirement for showing ID somehow apply to absentee ballots votes as well?
1.4.2007 5:44pm
Virginia:
Here's some voter fraud from a different Seventh Circuit state:
link

Wisconsin does not yet have a photo ID requirement; the Democratic governor keeps vetoing it.
1.4.2007 5:45pm
glangston (mail):
Bpbatista (mail):
The dissent is absolutely correct: The law was intended to discourage turnout by certain folks that skews Democratic, i.e., fraudulent voters.





I will have to give than a big Amen.

Just consider it a piece of the National Security not unlike the efforts to insure safe travel. I can't see an argument for LESS scrutiny because it is a Right. That makes no sense at all. Should my claim of real property ownership be satisfied merely by swearing an oath?
1.4.2007 5:52pm
Phil (mail):
Indiana also requires that one show ID before buying a rifle and even makes you acquire a special permit to carry a handgun. Creeping facism . . .
1.4.2007 5:53pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Creeping facism . . .

Is that because it's a *picture* ID?
1.4.2007 5:57pm
A.S.:
The dissent states:


The real problem is that this law will make it significantly more difficult for some eligible voters — I have no idea how many, but 4 percent is a number that has been bandied about — to vote.


This strikes me as an awfully strange statement. Is 4% something that a judge should be stating without any evidence whatsoever??? It doesn't strike me as something that one may take judicial notice of. I'm shocked that a judge would put something like that in an opinion without a shred a evidence supporting it.

If there really was some signficant number of voters for whom an ID requirement is a significant barrier to voting, isn't it incumbent on the parties challenging the law to provide some evidence to that effect?
1.4.2007 6:07pm
Mark Buehner (mail):
You need significantly more than a photo ID to obtain a firearm in many states, even if you are a member of the National Guard etc. Is that not a fundamental right?

Secondly, it is just as empty a statement to declare that their is little or no voter fraud to combat as it is to declare there is enough to worry about. Anybody got any data?
1.4.2007 6:08pm
Phil (mail):
Anderson

That, and I am too lazy to preview (and my Italian stinks)
1.4.2007 6:09pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Ok, I guess I shoulda read the link. But shouldn't the requirement for showing ID somehow apply to absentee ballots votes as well?


I don’t have a problem with requiring someone who tries to get an absentee ballot to produce a photo ID.
1.4.2007 6:12pm
Colin (mail):
Is 4% something that a judge should be stating without any evidence whatsoever??? It doesn't strike me as something that one may take judicial notice of.

It's a dissent. He's not taking judicial notice of a fact, he's explaining why he did not vote with the majority. It's an entirely different level of formality.
1.4.2007 6:27pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
My dad works with the mentally unstable patients at the Veteran Administration. One of these guys needed picture ID to collect one of his benefits. He had no recent ID and lacked a lot of documents most of us keep in a safe or filing cabinet. It took my dad a week of jumping through different hoops to get this guy a government approved picture ID. People who have their papers in order (I would assume anyone who reads this site) most likely have no problem getting an ID card made, but it isn't like that for everyone. Especially after 9/11 since the government has become more stringent about making ID cards for those with limited documentation.
1.4.2007 6:32pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Is 4% something that a judge should be stating without any evidence whatsoever??? It doesn't strike me as something that one may take judicial notice of.


Well judging by Judge Evans’ amateur Karnack act in which he tells us what he thinks the real motives behind the law are and his opining from the bench about what sort of laws he thinks the legislature should pass, I’d say that since his dissent is based on his own policy preferences (or partisan leanings), it’s not surprising that he picks his own “facts” as well.
1.4.2007 6:50pm
PeterH:
Indiana DMV

From their website:
The Indiana identification card resembles a driver license, but has a non-driver label at the top. All ages are eligible to receive a state ID. The cards cost $13 and are valid for six years. If you are at least 65 years old or disabled, the cost is $10. If you can't afford to pay for a state ID card, you may be issued one for free if the proper documentation is presented.


I'm genuinely serious here. Aside from the snarky answers (dead people), who is it that is supposed to be so inconvenienced by this that they are being disenfranchised? The cost is hardly prohibitive, but it can be waived. The card lasts six years, so getting it or getting it renewed is no more of a hardship than getting to the polls.

Can someone explain to me what the issue really is? Or is it really the contention that the people opposed to it really are promoting voter fraud with no cover story?
1.4.2007 6:52pm
Kelvin McCabe (mail):
Or simply the fact that to get a state ID in Illinois, for example, you have to pay $10.00. Voting, of course, is free.

This amount of money may be trivial to all of us here, but to some, that could mean the difference between two meals in a day or one. I dont know if the DMV takes welfare cards. But if not, it would surely suck to be some candidate who loses by a few hundred votes (less than 4% of the total) because those who would have voted for him couldnt afford the 10 dollars. Just a thought.

I think the ID requirement is reasonable, i dont think it will prevent fraud and i think it will burden some people who are either too poor or lazy to get an I.D. Other than that, the law is useless. Whats the old adage, its not the people who vote that matter, its the people who count the votes that matter? (Diebold anybody?)
1.4.2007 6:56pm
Sebastian Holsclaw (mail):
"Let’s not beat around the bush: The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic"

I understand this is a dissent, but how does he know this?
1.4.2007 6:57pm
1881 (mail):
Bobbie said: "And if we're going to cast stones about whether democrats or republicans are more likely to engage in voter fraud, shall we add up the conviction totals for both groups stemming from roles in voter fraud?"

Yes, please; would be interested in this.
1.4.2007 7:03pm
PeterH:
From the decision:
So some people who have not bothered to
obtain a photo ID will not bother to do so just to be al-
lowed to vote, and a few who have a photo ID but forget
to bring it to the polling place will say what the hell and
not vote, rather than go home and get the ID and return to
the polling place.


I'm sorry, but aren't we setting the bar a might low, here? I am all for voter participation, and I would love to live in a country where everyone felt passionately a desire to vote.

I understand voting is a right, but does the government really have a responsibility to make it so effortless to exercise that we seriously talk about whether people will "bother" to do so?

They need an ID to vote. They need pants to be out in public. What about the people who don't "bother" to dress first?
1.4.2007 7:03pm
PeterH:
Kelvin, the Indiana DMV site specifically says that poor people can get the ID for free.
1.4.2007 7:04pm
FantasiaWHT:


This amount of money may be trivial to all of us here, but to some, that could mean the difference between two meals in a day or one. I dont know if the DMV takes welfare cards. But if not, it would surely suck to be some candidate who loses by a few hundred votes (less than 4% of the total) because those who would have voted for him couldnt afford the 10 dollars. Just a thought.


It would surely suck to be some candidate who loses by a few hundred fraudulent votes that could've been prevented.

Personally, I don't think just a voter ID is enough to catch the majority of voter fraud. Combine the picture ID with indelible purple ink on the thumb and I think you've got it.
1.4.2007 7:27pm
Peter Wimsey:
I have to agree that this is an excellent opinion; both the majority and the dissent are well written and tightly focused.

I tend to agree with Evans that this case should be subjected to strict scrutiny (light). Voting is a constitutional right that is fundamental to our system of government. Any law that impinges on this right needs to be examined very carefully. If a statute has the effect of disenfranchising, hypothetically, 4% of the voters, there needs to be some real justification for the law.

I differ from Evans in that I am not at all certain that the statute would fail under strict scrutiny. It's easy to - again hypothetically - justify the statute on the basis of voter fraud...and it may well be the case that (some) disenfranchisement may be necessary to prevent (more) voter fraud. In this context, it's important to keep in mind that voter fraud itself is disenfranchisement.

But I believe that the strict scrutiny analysis needs to have been done.
1.4.2007 7:38pm
nelziq:
Both opinions are necessarily based on conjecture as the two key pieces of evidence are entirely missing: one, how many voters would be disenfranchised, and two, how many votes are currently fraudulently cast but would be prevented. As both judges concede, there is almost zero evidence regarding either number. A best guess is all that can be done here. From the content of the opinion that seems like exactly what was done.
1.4.2007 7:38pm
A.S.:
It's a dissent. He's not taking judicial notice of a fact, he's explaining why he did not vote with the majority. It's an entirely different level of formality.

I'm not aware that there is supposed to be a different level of formality to a dissent. It seems to me that the purpose of a dissent is to convince others that the majority opinion is wrong. But a dissent that is based, in part, on "facts" for which no support is provided seems to me to be not very convincing. What reason is there for me to believe the 4% number? I can't see any.

The dissent is extremely poorly argued, IMO. It is nothing more than a judicial temper tantrum; an argument that contains baseless charge after baseless charge. Perhaps Judge Evans is farming his opinions out to Judge Anna Diggs Taylor?
1.4.2007 7:46pm
KeithK (mail):

I think the ID requirement is reasonable, i dont think it will prevent fraud and i think it will burden some people who are either too poor or lazy to get an I.D. Other than that, the law is useless.

Voter ID laws make it harder to commit fraud by eliminating one of the easy ways to do it. Such laws won't eliminate the possibility of fraud - there are plenty of other ways to go about it - but if it eliminates one of the possibilities at minimal cost it's worth it.

With rights come responsibilties. In order to exercise your right to vote you have to register. Upi have to show up at the polls or possibly get an absentee ballot. If someone is too lazy to make the minimal effort required then he has chosen not to exercise his rights. As for the cost issue, as others have pointed out one can potentially get a state ID in Indiana for free. Certainly this takes more effort than paying the fee but requiring someone to make some additional effort is not unreasonable.

And if someone forgets their ID and then just says "to hell with it" and goes home then exercising their right to vote wasn't very important to them. I don't feel sorry for that person.
1.4.2007 7:48pm
James Dillon (mail):
Nelziq,

That's an excellent point, in light of which it seems to me that this statute might fail even under the "more searching form of rational basis review" that Justice O'Connor suggested might apply to issues of particular constitutional sensitivity in Lawrence v. Texas. It seems as if, to be a legitimately rational decision, the state would need reliable evidence that the statute would prevent more voter fraud than it would cause disenfranchisement. In the absence of such evidence, I would think that this should be struck down as an irrational infringement on the exercise of voting rights.
1.4.2007 7:49pm
BN (mail):
One issue that I haven't seen addressed is the efficacy of non-photo ID's. In my mind a utility bill or a bank statement will work well enough to weed out the in person voter fraud that everyone seems to be so concerned about. A photo ID only requirement seems like an excessive and unnecessary burden for those who do not posses a photo ID if we really are discussing how to stop voter fraud.
1.4.2007 8:08pm
Jim Rhoads (mail):
I predict Posner's opinion will ultimately prevail? Anyone differ?
1.4.2007 8:13pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> Doesn't anyone care that there are less privacy-intrusive ways to combat vote fraud, or do you commenters only care about winning?

Perhaps the advocates of such methods will work to put those methods in place in some jurisdictions.

Then we could compare the effects of different ways.
1.4.2007 8:14pm
Brett Bellmore:
In my mind a utility bill or bank statement only establishes that the potential voter has access to a registered voter's trash. It does diddly to establish that they're the person whose name is on the bill.
1.4.2007 8:19pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
The argument that this law will "disenfranchise" people who forgot to bring their photo ID with them and can't be bothered to go fetch it raises interesting questions. Some states, as I understand it, require (non-photo) assurance of identity to vote -- utility bills in one's name and to one's address, &c. will do. These are not things anyone habitually carries around. Aren't people who forget these proofs and don't bother to fetch them "disenfranchised" now in exactly the same way that it is claimed others will be with a photo ID requirement? And are such laws therefore suspect in the same way?

I only wish we had requirements so, um, burdensome in California. All I have to do to vote here in Marin County is sign my name to the register. No one, in twenty years of voting in this state, has asked me to demonstrate that I am who I say I am when voting. I find this peculiar and disturbing.
1.4.2007 8:21pm
Visitor Again:
I've lived and/or worked among the poor for decades in Los Angeles, and my experience is that a significant number of them have no photo identification, certainly not valid photo identification, and that a lesser, but still significant number have no identification at all. These people don't drive, or they drive without a license; they usually don't have regular jobs; they don't have credit cards and they don't have bank accounts. That includes the people who sleep on the streets and in the parks.

Not enough of these people participate in the electoral process to begin with. The addition of a photo id requirement will certainly preclude more of them from voting. I think that is the real purpose of these new photo id laws.

I would have thought the deliberate disenfranchisement of the poor by deleting their names from the registration rolls, as in Florida, and by understaffing and underequipping polling places where the poor vote, resulting in long lines and waits of several hours to vote, as in Ohio, were enough to prevent their vote, but I guess not.

If the requirement of a photo id is upheld, my suggestion to the Democratic Party and other political organizations concerned about fairness in voting is that they develop a program for getting free photo id's to the poor, one that will not only make voting easy for them but also encourage them to vote. Then, of course, there will be screams about fraud in the production and distribution of photo id's.
1.4.2007 8:25pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
BN,

I ought to add that there exist people without either bank accounts or utilities billed in their names. A fair number, in fact. Most of them are children, of course, but some are indigent adult citizens with a legitimate right to vote. What to do?
1.4.2007 8:26pm
BN (mail):
Brett Bellmore,

If we are shooting for a 100% fraud free election then you may have a relevant point but a non-photo ID is enough of a hurdle to ensure that material instances of in person voter fraud will not occur.
1.4.2007 8:28pm
BN (mail):
Ms. Thomson,

There are other forms of non-photo ID, leases, paystubs, government assistance checks, etc. If a person can't produce one piece of paper with his address and name on it then he probably couldn't register to vote in the first place.
1.4.2007 8:36pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Visitor Again,

I'm struck by your statement that "a significant number of [the poor in LA] have no photo identification, certainly not valid photo identification[.]" Meaning some have "invalid" photo ID? There are really only two reasons to have fake ID: You want to buy cigarettes or alcohol while under age, or you want to pretend you are a citizen when you aren't. There are an awful lot of noncitizens in LA, and I don't think they ought to be voting. Have you any thoughts on how we'd go about restricting voting to citizens without over-burdening the poor?
1.4.2007 8:37pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
BN,

There are supposed to be some thousands of homeless people in San Francisco alone. They by definition haven't fixed addresses, and most likely not jobs (of the kind that generate paystubs, anyway) either. As to whether they would have difficulty registering to vote in such circumstances: I doubt it, but if they did, wouldn't it just push the whole problem back to registration? Or is it OK to place burdens on registering to vote that would be wrong to impose on actually voting? I can't see why.
1.4.2007 8:46pm
Visitor Again:
I'm struck by your statement that "a significant number of [the poor in LA] have no photo identification, certainly not valid photo identification[.]" Meaning some have "invalid" photo ID?

Actually, I was thinking of expired drivers' licenses as invalid photo ID, the invalidity arising from the fact of expiration.

There are really only two reasons to have fake ID: You want to buy cigarettes or alcohol while under age, or you want to pretend you are a citizen when you aren't. There are an awful lot of noncitizens in LA, and I don't think they ought to be voting. Have you any thoughts on how we'd go about restricting voting to citizens without over-burdening the poor?

I don't no about other types of invalid photo ID's, although I saw TV programs a couple of years ago on a brisk market in creating and selling phony ID in the environs of McArthur Park. The purpose of the scam was to get illegal immigrants drivers' licenses. There has been a crackdown on this and there are new restrictions, including required provision of social security number, on getting a driver's license.

I don't know that the huge immigrant population here translates into a voting fraud problem. I do know that Republicans have tried to frighten even immigrants who have become citizens away from the polls in Orange and Los Angeles Counties.
1.4.2007 9:10pm
Visitor Again:
I have the feeling that illegal immigrants in Southern California are not eager to bring possible trouble on themselves by voting unlawfully. They do not like to attract attention from the authorities. Those immigrants who are here lawfully are generally law-abiding and likely to wait to get their citizenship before trying to vote. So there is no voting fraud problem with the immigrants, as I see it.

In any event, the Republicans usually have some sort of intensive campaign advising immigrants they cannot legally vote. Unfortunatley, they sometimes fail to distinguish between immigrants who have become citizens and other immigrants. Typical.
1.4.2007 9:22pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Visitor Again,

I can't imagine why anyone with a valid driver's license wouldn't renew it before it expired.

I don't know that the huge immigrant population here translates into a voting fraud problem. I do know that Republicans have tried to frighten even immigrants who have become citizens away from the polls in Orange and Los Angeles Counties.

I would say that if you have a large non-citizen population and no particular control on who votes, you have a potentially massive fraud problem, yes?
1.4.2007 9:25pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):

Not enough of these people participate in the electoral process to begin with. The addition of a photo id requirement will certainly preclude more of them from voting. I think that is the real purpose of these new photo id laws.


If any of them participate its too many, imho. They are not sufficiently mentally competent to vote. They are not sufficiently invested in our society to vote. These are the kinds of people that democrats love to load on buses with payments in booze and cigarettes and drive to various polling places within and without the state in which they might be found.

Any person in today's society who doesn't know how to get a photo ID when one is available for free or next to free; or can't be bothered to get one; or is incapable of caring for their own physical needs such as providing their own housing and food and clothes has not demonstrated sufficient intelligence, investment in the society, and/or sufficient mental competence to be allowed to vote.

There are way too many ill informed incompetent a**holes allowed to vote as it is, at a minimum those who are not competent to care for themselves or secure a voter ID card should not vote.

Also, to those who say voting is a fundamental right. You are wrong. Its only a fundamental right if the state in which you live chooses to allow you to vote. States are not bound by the constitution to pick presidents by the popular vote of the general population, and the states are free to establish voting requirements.

I for one think you should have to have a drivers license, have a lease of 6 months or longer on a home/apt, and own other property at a minimum to be able to vote. Anyone who is mentally or physically competent to work should be disallowed from voting if receiving any form of direct government aid. Its a blatant conflict of interest between their voting and their direct disposable income.

So forgive me if I don't get all excited because in this day and age we should try to take voting as seriously as we take opening a bank account or a movie rental account or any of the other hundred things we do each month that require showing a photo ID. Boo Hoo, Boo Hoo. Poor little incompetent can't bother to vote if they don't get paid mental incompetents incapable of caring for themselves.

Says the "Dog"
1.4.2007 9:30pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Visitor Again,

If voting in SoCal is anything like voting in the Bay Area, the "authorities" can be trusted not to give a damn who's voting under which voter's name.

Seriously, VA, what would you think allowable in the way of ascertaining that a would-be voter is a registered voter and a citizen? Do you take it on faith? If not, what do you require?
1.4.2007 9:34pm
Visitor Again:
I can't imagine why anyone with a valid driver's license wouldn't renew it before it expired.

Try getting out in the real world sometime. A huge number of people fail to renew valid drivers' licenses before expiration. Many of them don't do it until a traffic stop brings it to their attention by way of a ticket, sometimes years after expiration.

You obviously live an organized life. Many don't. They don't have calendars and reminders. Sometimes they don't have even the few dollars to pay for the renewal and put it off, then forget about it.
1.4.2007 9:56pm
Visitor Again:
If voting in SoCal is anything like voting in the Bay Area, the "authorities" can be trusted not to give a damn who's voting under which voter's name.

Seriously, VA, what would you think allowable in the way of ascertaining that a would-be voter is a registered voter and a citizen? Do you take it on faith? If not, what do you require?


I require nothing. I take most people on faith. I prefer it that way, even if I get burned occasionally.

Both political parties have representatives at polling places. They are able to challenge a voter if they think it is justified. I don't know the procedure. I'm not a voting rights attorney. But I have not read anything about immigrant voter fraud having been discovered here.
1.4.2007 10:01pm
Hattio (mail):
Judge Posner notes that dilution of the right to vote has been recognized as impairment. Anybody know of any case besides Bush v. Gore (which of course was a special case not to ever be cited for any reason...yeah right) which recognized that?
1.4.2007 10:12pm
Hattio (mail):
Second question. Several commentators have noted that you can get ID's for free. What sort of documentation do you have to have to get an ID? Doesn't this just push back the poll tax?
1.4.2007 10:13pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
If any of them participate its too many, imho. They are not sufficiently mentally competent to vote.

JYLD provides insight into the motivation behind the law.
1.4.2007 10:20pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Visitor Again,

Try getting out in the real world sometime. A huge number of people fail to renew valid drivers' licenses before expiration. Many of them don't do it until a traffic stop brings it to their attention by way of a ticket, sometimes years after expiration.

You obviously live an organized life. Many don't. They don't have calendars and reminders. Sometimes they don't have even the few dollars to pay for the renewal and put it off, then forget about it.

You seem to know an awful lot about me, VA; unfortunately, it's mostly wrong. I do not have a driver's license. I don't drive. If I need to identify myself, I use my passport. That is what we do out in my particular suburb of the "real world."

If I DID drive, I would have the elementary common sense to renew my license when it expired. Because, y'know, driving without a valid license is, um, illegal. This is not complicated.
1.4.2007 10:32pm
Bob R (mail):
I favor the law and the decision because I feel that using illegal is a very real deliberate strategy in many districts. But I'll throw out a point of information that I was not aware of until I helped my son (who is disabled and unable to drive) get a VDOT photo ID recently in Virginia. It is no longer a trivial exercise. I don't know if it's 9/11 or MADD, but a passport, birth certificate, and social security card wasn't enough. Had to get a certified high school transcript. So I would not discount the very real burden that the law imposes.
1.4.2007 10:50pm
Connie (mail):
Two data points:

1. While the voter ID may be free, a certified copy of your birth certificate, even if it exists and can be located, is not free.

2. In Wisconsin, the last time I renewed my drivers license, the woman at the DMV returned my old one and told me I could use it as a backup for, e.g., airline travel if my purse were stolen. Hence a real life example of a no longer valid ID.
1.4.2007 10:50pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Judge Posner notes that dilution of the right to vote has been recognized as impairment. Anybody know of any case besides Bush v. Gore (which of course was a special case not to ever be cited for any reason...yeah right) which recognized that?


Had you bothered to actually read the opinion, Posner cited three cases: Purcell v. Gonzalez, supra, 127 S. Ct. at 7; Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 555 (1964); Siegel v. LePore, 234 F.3d 1163, 1199 (11th Cir. 2000).
1.4.2007 10:51pm
Visitor Again:
You seem to know an awful lot about me, VA; unfortunately, it's mostly wrong. I do not have a driver's license. I don't drive. If I need to identify myself, I use my passport. That is what we do out in my particular suburb of the "real world."

Where did I say you had a driver's license or that you drove, Michelle? Nowhere. What I did do was say that you obviously lead an organized life on the basis of your statement that you could not imagine circumstances in which someone would fail to renew a valid driver's license. So am I wrong about you living an organized life? If I am, I will retract that and apologize.
1.4.2007 10:56pm
Avatar (mail):
Frankly, I don't have a problem with ID requirements making it more difficult for people with mental problems to vote. That is not a bug, but a feature.

That said, voter registration is not an unreasonable measure, and in order to register to vote, you have to be able to do at least a minimal amount of paperwork; there's nothing about obtaining photo identification that makes it obviously worse. Why, if voter ID is such a restriction on the right to vote, is voter registration not? After all, plenty of people move and don't renew their voter registration in time; those people are effectively disenfranchised in their new domicile...
1.4.2007 11:01pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Visitor Again,

I do not live an "organized life" as you evidently define it. I do not have "calendars and reminders." And yet I do have occasional contact with the "real world." I'd appreciate it if you would make it clear how one gets "real world" cred chez vous. Round here it involves just living, but possibly it's different in your neighborhood.
1.4.2007 11:14pm
Eli Rabett (www):
As Visitor says it's a different world out there. My mom, for example, was born at home. The doc said he would register the birth, instead he went and had a drink. Eventually the guy died, mom grew up and applied for a job, they wanted a birth certificate.........

It took years to straighten out and the only way it could be done was through the census records. When she went to get a passport at age 50 it got interesting and that was back in the 60s. Want to guess what would happen today?
1.4.2007 11:22pm
Visitor Again:
Since I'm arguing against what I regard as voter disenfranchisement, I feel I should disclose that I do not vote as a matter of choice.

From 1964, when I first became eligible to vote as a 21-year old, until 2000, I voted in every election save two minor local elections when I was out of town and forgot to get an absentee ballot. But I have not voted in any election since the 2000 election, when the Republican Party and the Republican members of the U.S. Supreme Court pulled off the biggest heist in world history, disenfranchising the poor and crowning the pretender Bush king of the U.S.A. for four and, ultimately, eight years and allowing the Republican Party and its backers to loot the country.

It's a matter of personal principle; I will not participate in and thereby lend credibility to an election system that is thoroughly corrupt, rotten and anti-democratic. Continuing successful efforts to disenfranchise the poor, motivated by elitist attitudes like those demonstrated by Junkyard Dog, confirm that. One less vote the Republicans have to worry about, I know, but it's the form of protest I feel most comfortable with--nonviolent nonparticipation. I don't urge anyone else not to vote, and I still occasionally exercise free speech rights, as my posts here show, because I still care passionately about the issues.
1.4.2007 11:23pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

It took years to straighten out and the only way it could be done was through the census records. When she went to get a passport at age 50 it got interesting and that was back in the 60s. Want to guess what would happen today?


Let me guess, you wouldn't wait 50 years to make sure that you had a birth certificate?
1.4.2007 11:25pm
JonC:
Several commentators have noted that you can get ID's for free. What sort of documentation do you have to have to get an ID? Doesn't this just push back the poll tax?

Hattio, what could the state of Indiana do above and beyond providing free ID's to the indigent, as it already does, to reduce what you refer to as the "poll tax" to zero? There will always inevitably be some costs to voting, i.e. the cost of gas to drive to the polling place, the 37 cents for the stamp on an absentee ballot, or just the opportunity costs imposed by voting instead of doing something else valuable with one's time.
1.4.2007 11:29pm
JoshL (mail):

I for one think you should have to have a drivers license, have a lease of 6 months or longer on a home/apt, and own other property at a minimum to be able to vote. Anyone who is mentally or physically competent to work should be disallowed from voting if receiving any form of direct government aid.



So college students with grants or student loans, who do not work, and live in dorms (or in an apartment that mom and dad are paying for, or live at home) shouldn't be allowed to vote?

How about a young professional, paying off said student loans, who lives in a house where the mortgage is in mom and dad's name, so that they can get, say, 6% interest instead of 7.5?
1.4.2007 11:31pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
So college students with grants or student loans, who do not work, and live in dorms (or in an apartment that mom and dad are paying for, or live at home) shouldn't be allowed to vote?


Well as somsone who worked all the way through college, didn't take a dime in financial aid, and paid taxes so that my future competitors in the job market had more time to study, I say damn right.
1.4.2007 11:34pm
Visitor Again:
I do not live an "organized life" as you evidently define it. I do not have "calendars and reminders." And yet I do have occasional contact with the "real world." I'd appreciate it if you would make it clear how one gets "real world" cred chez vous. Round here it involves just living, but possibly it's different in your neighborhood.

You get in touch with the real world by broadening your capacity to imagine that other people do things differently than you do--possibly because there circumstances are different--so that you no longer say things like


I can't imagine why anyone with a valid driver's license wouldn't renew it before it expired



or this


If I DID drive, I would have the elementary common sense to renew my license when it expired. Because, y'know, driving without a valid license is, um, illegal. This is not complicated.


For some people, regrettably, it is complicated, Michelle. Not for you, apparently, but put your thinking cap on about others.

I'm sorry I wrongly concluded that you live an organized life. I would have bet a lot that you did, but I accept your statement that I am wrong on that and apologize.
1.4.2007 11:41pm
Visitor Again:
"there circumstances" should be "their circumstances."
1.4.2007 11:42pm
Broken Quanta (mail) (www):
VA, you keep on about people who do not "live organized lives." But you treat this as though it is a constant of the Universe: opposite charges attract, and your LA friends do not have their papers in order. In truth, such people lead "disorganized lives" because that is what they choose to do. Thus they are disenfranchised not by ID or registration requirements but by (poor) decisions made of their own free will. It's unclear to many of us why we should share your concern for their poitical involvement.

Kelvin, a $10 fee (1000 cents) levied every six years (2191 days, give or take a leap year) is equal to a charge of ~0.46 cents per day. It's very difficult to believe that the difference between one and two meals a day is less than one half of a single penny. After all, one can very literally find that much money just lying around on the street.
1.4.2007 11:44pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
JoshL


So college students with grants or student loans, who do not work, and live in dorms (or in an apartment that mom and dad are paying for, or live at home) shouldn't be allowed to vote?


No they shouldn't, and the voting age should be raised back up to 21 at a minimum where it used to be before the hippies raised a ruckus and got it lowered to 18. If 18 is too young to buy booze its definitely too young to vote. The college student living at home could lease a room from mom and dad and qualify for voting under my "dream" scenario but the college student in a dorm room without a 6 month or longer lease is out of luck. Not sufficiently invested in society and the success of our society to need to vote, and for most too damn young to vote.


How about a young professional, paying off said student loans, who lives in a house where the mortgage is in mom and dad's name, so that they can get, say, 6% interest instead of 7.5?


That's easy. They do a lease with mommy and daddy until they grow up and stand on their own two feet. So not a problem for the young professional still sucking off mommy's tit.

Says the "Dog"
1.4.2007 11:45pm
Visitor Again:
Getting a birth certificate is extremely difficult for some people. I have a neighbor, an African-American in his seventies now, living in Los Angeles but born in Mississippi, who tried for years to get his birth certificate so that he could get a passport to visit Belize. He finally came to me about a decade ago, and I found a very helpful clerk in Mississippi who went to extraordinary lengths to find it. He eventually did, after several weeks of searching through the records of several counties. My client had one of his names wrong, his date of birth wrong by a couple of months and his place of birth wrong, but he had his parents right and that was enough for a diligent search to pay off. The clerk told me this kind of problem was very common across the South; the record-keeping for "these people," he said, was very haphazard and sloppy.
1.5.2007 12:05am
Visitor Again:
VA, you keep on about people who do not "live organized lives." But you treat this as though it is a constant of the Universe: opposite charges attract, and your LA friends do not have their papers in order. In truth, such people lead "disorganized lives" because that is what they choose to do. Thus they are disenfranchised not by ID or registration requirements but by (poor) decisions made of their own free will. It's unclear to many of us why we should share your concern for their poitical involvement.

I don't give a rat's ass whether you or others care about their political involvement. I do care when the state tries to make living an organized life with records at hand a qualification for voting. The fact is, whether it is their fault or not, many of the poor do not have photo id at hand, and some of them do not have the means to acquire it.
1.5.2007 12:13am
David M. Nieporent (www):
I can't imagine why anyone with a valid driver's license wouldn't renew it before it expired.
That having been said, I can't imagine why any voter fraud law requires an unexpired license. The only reason licenses expire is so the state can raise more money by charging licenseholders to renew; it's not clear what that has to do with identification. One's identity doesn't expire; only one's right to drive.
1.5.2007 12:41am
Visitor Again:
David,

You should be right about that. But try using an expired driver's license as identification at a bank and see where it gets you. Nowhere. Or as id to get into a jail or a prison as a visitor. Nowhere. Or as id to establish age sufficient to buy liquor. Nowhere. Will voting authorities act differently? I bet not.
1.5.2007 12:56am
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
VA,

You get in touch with the real world by broadening your capacity to imagine that other people do things differently than you do--possibly because their circumstances are different

Fine. If you can explain to me why anyone with a driver's license wouldn't renew it when it was about to expire, I'd appreciate it. If you have a driver's license, you likely have a car; therefore, you can drive to the DMV. And if you do have a car, and a license, it is very strongly in your interest to renew the license.

The fact is, whether it is their fault or not, many of the poor do not have photo id at hand, and some of them do not have the means to acquire it.

And many of the poor will have a hard time proving their US citizenship. Can we please start talking about what we should reasonably require as proof of elegibility to vote? Because anything we do is going to present some sort of inconvenience to some people who legitimately have the franchise.
1.5.2007 12:59am
John Herbison (mail):
JunkYardLawDog posits:


Also, to those who say voting is a fundamental right. You are wrong. Its only a fundamental right if the state in which you live chooses to allow you to vote. States are not bound by the constitution to pick presidents by the popular vote of the general population, and the states are free to establish voting requirements.


This at least overlooks Article I, § 2 of the Constitution, which provides for popular election of the House of Representatives, the Article IV, § 4 guaranty to every state of a republican form of government, and the Seventeenth Amendment, providing for popular election of senators.

Voting is indeed a fundamental right, and states are not free to establish voting requirements that unreasonably impinge thereupon, such as onerous requirements as to length of residence within the state. Last I knew, Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 92 S.Ct. 995, 31 L.Ed.2d 274 (1972), is still good law.
1.5.2007 1:01am
Truth Seeker:
I've lived and/or worked among the poor for decades in Los Angeles, and my experience is that a significant number of them have no photo identification, certainly not valid photo identification

This may sound harsh, but should people who live off government benefits have the same voting rights as people who pay large amounts in taxes? Oh sure we're raised to think that everyone should have an equal vote. But is it really fair for part of society to vote away the property rights of other members of society? What if 51% vote to take everything away from the other 49% because they are jealous? Maybe we should reconsider who has the right to vote and deny the vote to anyone who does not pay taxes.
1.5.2007 1:07am
Visitor Again:
Again I am not a voting rights attorney, but I did a little research in the area and posted it on another thread on this blog yesterday. The equal protection clause guarantees not a substantive right to vote but the right to equal treatment once the right to vote has been otherwise established by state law. Once the right to vote has been established by state law, however, the right to equal treatment in the voting process is regarded as fundamental and it may be impaired only by the most compelling interest.

In San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1, 35 n. 78 (1973) (emphasis supplied), the Court noted that:


Since the right to vote, per se, is not a constitutionally protected right, we assume that appellees' references to that right are simply shorthand references to the protected right, implicit in our constitutional system, to participate in state elections on an equal basis with other qualified voters whenever the State has adopted an elective process for determining who will represent any segment of the State's population. See n. 74, supra.





At note 74 (emphasis supplied), the Court said:




Dunn [Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330 (1972)] fully canvasses this Court's voting rights cases, and explains that




this Court has made clear that a citizen has a constitutionally protected right to participate in elections on an equal basis with other citizens in the jurisdiction.




405 U.S. at 336 (emphasis supplied). The constitutional underpinnings of the right to equal treatment in the voting process can no longer be doubted, even though, as the Court noted in Harper v. Virginia Bd. of Elections, 383 U.S. at 665, "the right to vote in state elections is nowhere expressly mentioned." See Oregon v. Mitchell, 400 U.S. at 135, 138-44 (DOUGLAS, J.), 229, 241-242 (BRENNAN, WHITE, and MARSHALL, JJ.); Bullock v. Carter, 405 U.S. at 140-144; Kramer v. Union School District, 395 U.S. 621, 625-630 (1969); Williams v. Rhodes, 393 U.S. 23, 29, 30-31 (1968); Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 554-562 (1964); Gray v. Sanders, 372 U.S. 368, 379-381 (1963).





In his concurring opinion in San Antonio, Justice Stewart said:




Unlike other provisions of the Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause confers no substantive rights and creates no substantive liberties. [n2] The function of the Equal Protection Clause, rather, is simply to measure the validity of classifications created by state laws.






411 U.S. at 59. In his footnote 2 (emphasis supplied), he wrote:




There is one notable exception to the above statement: it has been established in recent years that the Equal Protection Clause confers the substantive right to participate on an equal basis with other qualified voters whenever the State has adopted an electoral process for determining who will represent any segment of the State's population. See, e.g., Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533; Kramer v. Union School District, 395 U.S. 621; Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 336. But there is no constitutional right to vote, as such. Minor v. Happersett, 21 Wall. 162. If there were such a right, both the Fifteenth Amendment and the Nineteenth Amendment would have been wholly unnecessary.



In Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 104-05 (2000) (per curiam)(emphasis supplied), the Court majority noted:




The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint members of the Electoral College. U.S. Const., Art. II, §1. This is the source for the statement in McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1, 35 (1892), that the State legislature’s power to select the manner for appointing electors is plenary; it may, if it so chooses, select the electors itself, which indeed was the manner used by State legislatures in several States for many years after the Framing of our Constitution. Id., at 28—33. History has now favored the voter, and in each of the several States the citizens themselves vote for Presidential electors. When the state legislature vests the right to vote for President in its people, the right to vote as the legislature has prescribed is fundamental; and one source of its fundamental nature lies in the equal weight accorded to each vote and the equal dignity owed to each voter. The State, of course, after granting the franchise in the special context of Article II, can take back the power to appoint electors. See id., at 35 (“[T]here is no doubt of the right of the legislature to resume the power at any time, for it can neither be taken away nor abdicated”) (quoting S. Rep. No. 395, 43d Cong., 1st Sess.).

The right to vote is protected in more than the initial allocation of the franchise. Equal protection applies as well to the manner of its exercise. Having once granted the right to vote on equal terms, the State may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person's vote over that of another. See, e.g., Harper v. Virginia Bd. of Elections, 383 U.S. 663, 665 (1966) (“[O]nce the franchise is granted to the electorate, lines may not be drawn which are inconsistent with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment”). It must be remembered that “the right of suffrage can be denied by a debasement or dilution of the weight of a citizen’s vote just as effectively as by wholly prohibiting the free exercise of the franchise.” Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 555 (1964).
1.5.2007 1:22am
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
Does anyone have an estimate for how much money it cost William Crawford, et al. to pursue this suit all the way to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit?

Does anyone have an estimate for how much money it would have cost William Crawford, et al. to have set up a fund to pay the $13 for a legal photo ID for every indigent would-be voter who wanted one?

I believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the latter amount of money is minuscule compared to the former one.

From this, I think it's reasonable to infer that concern for the voting rights of the "disenfranchised" poor was not what motivated the plaintiffs. YMMV, of course.
1.5.2007 2:28am
Visitor Again:
If you can explain to me why anyone with a driver's license wouldn't renew it when it was about to expire, I'd appreciate it. If you have a driver's license, you likely have a car; therefore, you can drive to the DMV. And if you do have a car, and a license, it is very strongly in your interest to renew the license.

I already did explain.


They don't have calendars and reminders. Sometimes they don't have even the few dollars to pay for the renewal and put it off, then forget about it.


I disagree that the fact that someone has a driver's license means it is likely he or she has a vehicle; lots of poor people have a license, valid or expired, but no car.

That a main focus of the discussion has become expired licenses is ridiculous, and I will take the blame for that.

I said "a significant number of them [the poor] have no photo identification, certainly not valid photo identification, and that a lesser, but still significant number have no identification at all." You asked, "Meaning some have "invalid" photo ID?" I responded: "Actually, I was thinking of expired drivers' licenses as invalid photo ID, the invalidity arising from the fact of expiration." You replied you couldn't imagine circumstances in which people did not renew a valid license, and we then took off on a dispute engendered by my snarky remark, which I ought not to have made and for which I apologize, that you needed to get in touch with the real world, a dispute accompanied by much ado over whether and why people do not renew their licenses.

It is a fact that lots of people do not renew their licenses in timely fashion, including, by the way, otherwise perfectly respectable, law-abiding middle class people. It may be difficult for poor people to get their licenses renewed late because of the accumulation of ticket fine for nonpossession of valid license and penalty for late payment on top of the renewal fee. That may present a problem for them when it comes time to vote if they do not have the money to pay all this and get their photo id license renewed. It is my view that their neglect in timely renewal of their driver's license is not grounds for taking away the vote from them.

But the main problem is people who do not have any driver's license at all, expired or unexpired. There are plenty of them among the poor.

California DMV used to have a nondriver's id card available for a few dollars. I don't know if it still does. I vaguely remember reading that it is no longer available in the wake of 7/11 and increased security concerns, but I'm not sure of this.

Requiring people to pay to get photo id or to undertake any cumbersome or burdensome process in getting an acceptable id is, in my view, a violation of the equal protection clause's guarantee of equal treatment in the voting process.

The circumstances of the poor are simply not understood by many middle and upper class folks. They cannot imagine that the small expense of getting a photo id can be difficult.

People literally live on nothing the last week or more of every month. Those who have a little share food and a few dollars with their friends and neighbors until the first comes. I'm not talking just about recipients of welfare, unemployment and disability benefits, but about working people, too, those who subsist on the minimum wage or little more and those who scrounge around for odd jobs here and there and who find work only irregularly. Most of these people do not have cars or driver's licenses. A few dollars is a lot of money to them.

The very least the state should be required to do if this photo id requirement is upheld is to provide free photo id at the time and place of voter registration. No hassle, no trouble, no payment required.

There haven't been any voter frauds uncovered in Los Angeles County that I know of. All this talk about potential fraud is a bunch of mullarkey designed to put obstacles in the way of the poor voting and to aid the Republican Party, which has taken the mantra that every vote counts to new levels in its determination to ensure that as few Democrats vote as possible.

I hope that adequately explains my position.
1.5.2007 2:30am
Visitor Again:
And many of the poor will have a hard time proving their US citizenship. Can we please start talking about what we should reasonably require as proof of elegibility to vote? Because anything we do is going to present some sort of inconvenience to some people who legitimately have the franchise.

I forgot to answer this, although part of my answer is that there is no voter fraud problem requiring any sort of photo id system.

When people show up to register to vote, they might be asked to swear to their place of birth and/or citizenship on a form. That's all the state should require. If the state still wants to disenfranchise them, it should bear the burden of showing why they should be disenfranchised. That's fair. There should be a right to a hearing meeting standards of due process since the fundamental right of equal treatment in the voting process is at stake. In general, once a declaration or affidavit of eligibility has been filed, the state must accept it without further ado unless it has grounds to question eligibility. There's no reason why anything more should be required to become eligible to vote.
1.5.2007 2:46am
Ken Arromdee:
JunkYardLawDog:

Not sufficiently invested in society and the success of our society to need to vote,

Truth Seeker:

This may sound harsh, but should people who live off government benefits have the same voting rights as people who pay large amounts in taxes? Oh sure we're raised to think that everyone should have an equal vote. But is it really fair for part of society to vote away the property rights of other members of society?

We're getting into Starship Troopers territory here.

Voting is used to do more than vote how to use other people's tax money. Voting is used to affect *what the government can force you to do*.

College students and people who live off of government benefits may not be paying many taxes, but they can get arrested for having an abortion, put in jail for practicing gay sex, forced to use segregated drinking fountains, and all sorts of other things that were either established by government or eradicated by government, down to the smaller laws like no-smoking laws, zoning laws, and laws saying you can't buy beer on Sunday (not to mention the military draft). As such, they have enough of a stake that they should be allowed to vote.

Voting is fundamentally about a government run by the consent of the governed.
1.5.2007 3:17am
Ragerz (mail):
Visitor Again,

I am completely persuaded by your arguments. Keep up the good work. =)

As some of the responses to your persuasive points illustrate, it is clear that some people just don't care about the basic rights of the disadvantaged. This isn't suprising. Society has always had a decent number of completely self-centered individuals, totally devoid of character and compassion. Also known as sociopaths. Nowadays, those people tend to make up a subset of the Republican party. Fortunately, there are many other Republicans who are reasonable individuals. (EV comes to mind as an example.)

The point is, always remember that your inability to persuade a few fringe fanatics does not reflect on the strength and persuasiveness of your argument. You have made your point well.
1.5.2007 4:03am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Yes, Ragerz, where "A few fringe fanatics" = "a majority of the country." But keep trolling.
1.5.2007 5:40am
Brett Bellmore:

All this talk about potential fraud is a bunch of mullarkey designed to put obstacles in the way of the poor voting and to aid the Republican Party


As has been repeatedly pointed out, the absence of any ID check precludes there being any evidence of the fraud taking place; You can't see what you avoid looking for.

Free speech is a fundamental right. The BCRA decision allowed onerous restrictions on it to prevent the possiblity of the appearance of fraud.

Owning a firearm is a fundamental right. I have to undergo an FBI check to exercise it.

Nope, sorry, I'm just not impressed with how terribly burdensome it is, having to prove you're who you claim to be before voting.
1.5.2007 6:51am
Federal Dog:
"The fact is, whether it is their fault or not, many of the poor do not have photo id at hand, and some of them do not have the means to acquire it."


Bull. All they have to do is ask for it and ask that any fee be waived, as provided in the law.
1.5.2007 7:12am
SG:
Visitor Again:

A fraudulently cast vote disenfranchises a legitimate voter to exactly the same degree that wrongly turned away voter is disenfranchised. The difference is that the second case has a name associated with it, but that doesn't make it any worse to the legitimacy of the election than an illegitmate voter voting.

Given that the law waived the fee for the ID for need, you're essentially arguing against any mechanism to validate that a voter. With your political motivations duly noted, it seems that you're the one who doesn't care about respecting the franchise if it helps your party can win.
1.5.2007 8:10am
W.D.:
Anyone who doesn't think the intention (at least in part) of this measure is to suppress legitimate voter turnout is in deep denial or on crack. Kudos to Judge Evans for stating the obvious.

But leaving intentions aside, is there anyone here who would deny that this is an inevitable effect of the legislation? Regardless of how much of fraud this prevents, let's be honest that, like it or not, it will surely discourage some legit voters from voting. At least some posters above are forthright about desiring this outcome (those voters are too lazy, dumb, poor, etc., for democracy).

It seems clear to me that this has little to do with concern for fraud per se, but is a proxy war over voter turnout. If the poor, largely minority demographics we are discussing here (those likely to not have govt. issued photo ids) were to start trending heavily Republican, might not the parties reverse positions on "voter ID" measures? I suspect so.
1.5.2007 8:30am
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Visitor Again,

People literally live on nothing the last week or more of every month. Those who have a little share food and a few dollars with their friends and neighbors until the first comes. I'm not talking just about recipients of welfare, unemployment and disability benefits, but about working people, too, those who subsist on the minimum wage or little more and those who scrounge around for odd jobs here and there and who find work only irregularly.

Not that it matters at all to the point, but anyone who is short at the end of the month and waiting for the first to roll around is almost certainly waiting for a government check. Low-paying retail jobs (I should know; I have one right now) pay weekly or bi-weekly; odd jobs, obviously, pay on completion. The only checks I know of that arrive once a month are gov't checks, salaries, and rental income, and I can assume you're not talking about people living on the latter two.

Re voter identity: What, if anything, would you do to ensure that the person voting is the same person who registered to vote?
1.5.2007 8:36am
Eli Rabett (www):
No Thorley, mom waited about 20, while she grew up. The first time she needed a birth certificate was the first time she started looking, but no one issues retroactive birth certificates. She had to settle for something lesser which satisfied her employer. Requirements for a passport require proof of citizenship, and if you don't have a birth certificate or naturalization papers that is, as they say, difficult. But you, of course, always do everything right and Commander Coincidence never visits your neighborhood.

What happened to all the people here who say government ALWAYS messes up. Think it will get this perfectly right, or are you assuming that someone else will be disenfranchised?
1.5.2007 8:56am
JRL:
Both opinions are necessarily based on conjecture as the two key pieces of evidence are entirely missing: one, how many voters would be disenfranchised, and two, how many votes are currently fraudulently cast but would be prevented.

IMO, those 2 pieces of evidences are completely irrelevant to deciding the matter. See here.
1.5.2007 9:02am
DeezRightWingNutz:
I think holding elections so early in the month is just an attempt to disenfranchise the poor. The money from the welfare check won't have run out, so many people are too high/drunk to be able to vote. It's not right for the state to expect people to lead a sober, organized life in order to vote. Why should people be denied the right to vote just because they're passed out the entire time the polls are open (meth addicts, obviously, are excluded).

Back me up on this Visitor Again.
1.5.2007 9:24am
lsu (mail):
Why not a personal identification number (PIN) that you select when you register to vote? It would eliminate the cost aspect and the problems with people unable to obtain get old documents to get an i.d. card. And its good enough for banks, who probably have the most experience dealing with fraud issues.
1.5.2007 9:46am
PubliusFL:
Mark Buehner: "You need significantly more than a photo ID to obtain a firearm in many states, even if you are a member of the National Guard etc. Is that not a fundamental right?"

You're right! Here's an idea - instead of "Motor Voter," how about a federal law requiring states to use the same process for voter registration that they do for firearms purchases? ;)

Visitor Again: "My client had one of his names wrong, his date of birth wrong by a couple of months and his place of birth wrong, but he had his parents right and that was enough for a diligent search to pay off."

Are we supposed to be surprised or concerned that it's difficult to prove you're eligible to vote if you don't know your own name, your own date of birth, or where you were born?
1.5.2007 10:30am
Broken Quanta (mail) (www):
"The fact is, whether it is their fault or not, many of the poor do not have photo id at hand, and some of them do not have the means to acquire it."

OK. And some of them are in prison or stoned out of their minds on election day, "whether it is their fault or not." Should they be allowed to vote, too? Maybe, maybe not. You can take either side, I suppose. But it simply will not do to invoke "the fact" that some poor people have robbed liquor stores as the end of debate about the extent to which we should shield them from the consequences of these bad decisions.

Again: the people you describe find themselves disenfranchised by the undesireable consequences of their own poor decisions. So, the relevant question is, to what extent should the rest of us relinquish our power (through allowing fraudulent votes that offset our own) to shield these people from the consequences of their mistakes? If you care about your disorgnized friends so much, you had better "give a rat's ass" how much I and everyone else cares as well, because our level of caring about them will determine how we choose to answer this question.

As an aside: invoking deep, dark, scary Mississippi as a sort of rhetorical trump card will not work with me. ("For the love of God, some people are from Mississippi! How can you deny that there's no way they could possily have their papers in order?!") You see, I'm from Mississippi myself, and can assure you that navigating county bureaucracies is quite easy there --- as proven by your own example of the helpful clerk, a common species in the South that is on the brink of extinction in other areas of the country.
1.5.2007 10:43am
Bpbatista (mail):
For those against an ID requirement, I offer a compromise: IDs will be required for any voter registered by ACORN -- the liberal outfit that has had workers indicted in at least two jurisdictions for fraudulent voter registration. In Ohio in 2004 an ACORN worker was given crack cocaine in return for fraudulent voter registrations including registrations for Marry Poppins, Dick Tracy and Jive Turkey.
1.5.2007 10:56am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
This at least overlooks Article I, § 2 of the Constitution, which provides for popular election of the House of Representatives, the Article IV, § 4 guaranty to every state of a republican form of government, and the Seventeenth Amendment, providing for popular election of senators.


That’s interesting but what does it have to do with JunkYardLawDog’s point that there is nothing in the constitution which requires a popular vote of the general population to pick the President?
1.5.2007 11:01am
John M. Perkins (mail):
Why someone would not renew a drivers license?-
top of my head aided by the failure of a very similar law to get past the courts in Georgia.

Primarily because they can no longer drive.
Got to old, and child/doctor got judge/dmv to revoke.
New physical disability.
Driving Under the Influence.
Too many speeding points.
Cannot afford the required proof of insurance.
Moved to Atlanta, and MARTA is good enough.
And cited in Georgia lawsuits, many rural folks allowed to drive farm vehicles without a license.

My personal bias is that I don't like these laws adding an additional ban to pre-existing voters. If you are on the books, you should be able to vote by non picture ID. New registrants should have to go through the hoops to prove themselves and upon such proof, be issued a free voter ID. Particularly in Georgia where any new, renewed or change of address of a driver's license comes with an opportunity to register to vote. So that's a fee for the license to drive, but a freebie to vote. Every state except North Dakota requires pre-registration to vote, and pre-registration requires proof of id in some fashion. That's the time to give out voter ids. Grandfather everybody else.

Politically, I don't like the Indiana/Georgia law because it is openly a partisan issue. The Republicans want picture ID, the Democrats want the picture ID or notarization for absentees. Neither wants the other.

Personal note. After a hospital fire in Alexandria, Virginia I cannot get a certified birth certified. No problem since I had a military dependent's id at the time, which got me a passport and early driver's licenses. So I moved to Georgia in December 2001. Georgia wouldn't accept my then current Oklahoma driver's license. Georgia wouldn't accept my recently expired passport because it was expired. That same passport allowed me to fly 9/18/2001. My one and only option was to renew my passport. The passport office asked me why I was renewing. They then laughed and called the DMV "idiots." Now imagine the hoops if I didn't have a previous passport.

Interestingly enough, while waiting for my new passport, I registered to vote using the Oklahoma license and Georgia utility bill.
1.5.2007 11:01am
Costco Member:
If I don't have my Costco card when visiting Costco, they require a photo ID from me before I can make a purchase.

Those f*$#ing RACISTS!

;P
1.5.2007 11:11am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
My daughter, when living in California, needed a passport or birth certificate to get a drivers license. Her native friends told her that requiring the same of darker persons whose first language is not English is actually illegal.

True? Anybody know?

And if this is true, is the same true of voting registration?
1.5.2007 11:26am
Hans Gruber (www):
"If we are shooting for a 100% fraud free election then you may have a relevant point but a non-photo ID is enough of a hurdle to ensure that material instances of in person voter fraud will not occur."

Who the hell are you to decide what is material or not? People don't want non-citizens voting. That's not racist or unreasonble in the slightest. Bring a photo ID (if you drove to the polling station, you should have one anyway). It has nothing to do with disenfranchisement, it has to do with ensuring the integrity of the vote.
1.5.2007 11:29am
Hans Gruber (www):
"The dissent is absolutely correct: The law was intended to discourage turnout by certain folks that skews Democratic, i.e., fraudulent voters."

Best comment in thread.
1.5.2007 11:39am
Elliot Reed:
Gah, what a stupid debate. It's so transparent that both sides' positions are being driven by nothing but political expediency. There's no way liberals would be expressing similar concern about the disenfranchisement of Republican voters (see perennial Democratic complaints about the procedures for verifying and counting military ballots). Conversely, conservatives manage to be remarkably worried about poorly documented voter fraud while remaining wholly unconcerned with the well-documented insecurity of electronic voting systems manufactured by companies with Republican CEO's and boards.
1.5.2007 11:50am
DeezRightWingNutz:
Elliot,

While you're right that the Republican and Democratic parties are probably just taking a position out of self-interest, it doesn't mean that neither happens to be right, or that a legitimate debate can't take place between non-partisans.
1.5.2007 12:04pm
K Parker (mail):
how many voters would be disenfranchised
I think the answer to this, on any reasonable definition of the word "disenfranchised", is zero. Someone who doesn't currently have an ID, and decides it's too much bother to get one (and qualify for free issuance if qualified), has not been disenfranchised. Rather, they've deciding voting is not worth the effort. A little more resistance to the redifining of terms to suit one side's agenda would be useful, here.

Uhh, visitor, how could these extremely-undocumented people manage to register to vote in the first place?

PubliusFL,
how about a federal law requiring states to use the same process for voter registration that they do for firearms purchases?..."My client had one of his names wrong, his date of birth wrong by a couple of months and his place of birth wrong,"
Your idea sounds good at first, but then note that the mistakes cited by VA could well turn out to be felonies if you were trying to purchase a firearm. Talk about disenfranchisement!
1.5.2007 12:43pm
William Tanksley (mail):
Deez,

While you're right that the Republican and Democratic parties are probably just taking a position out of self-interest, it doesn't mean that neither happens to be right, or that a legitimate debate can't take place between non-partisans.


Sorry to quote your entire post, but this is a breath of fresh air. The partisan atmosphere in here is terrifying. Someone just posted a link to a picture of lady Justice as a supposed refutation of the need for evidence... Ugh. I don't even know (and don't care) which side that person thought they were arguing for.

There are also non-partisan arguments posted. Thank you to all who provided them.

Elliot, you're mostly right -- you are wrong only because you extend your claims too far, to claim that ALL liberals and ALL conservatives are partisan about ALL issues that affect them politically.
1.5.2007 12:52pm
Elliot Reed:
Elliot,

While you're right that the Republican and Democratic parties are probably just taking a position out of self-interest, it doesn't mean that neither happens to be right, or that a legitimate debate can't take place between non-partisans.
Indeed. That doesn't change the fact that such a debate is not actually happening; nor is there any indication that it ever will. Personally, I have no idea who is right, because in the scores of arguments I've read on this topic I have yet to see anyone on either side try to back up their factual claims with reference to evidence from a neutral source.
1.5.2007 1:07pm
josh:
Bpbatista wrote above:

"The dissent is absolutely correct: The law was intended to discourage turnout by certain folks that skews Democratic, i.e., fraudulent voters."

The notion that Dems are more engaged in voter fraud is such an irresponsible meme of the Right, it is almost not worth responding to. However, as but one of many examples, see here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16467965/

How 'bout a voter ID law for registers in California?
1.5.2007 1:20pm
CM:
Both opinions read more like op-ed pieces than modern appellate decisions.
1.5.2007 1:20pm
SG:
Elliot Reed:

It's so transparent that both sides' positions are being driven by nothing but political expediency.

Well, I think you should have to show ID to vote and that your vote should have a voter-inspectiable and human-auditable paper trail. Having unoffical electronic results is fine, but purely electronic voting is a spectacularly dumb idea. It's so dumb, in fact, that it makes me wonder if the people pushing for it intend to engage in fraud. I feel similiarly about the people arguing against having to show (free) photo ID to vote.

So am I conservative or liberal?
1.5.2007 1:21pm
KeithK (mail):
I'm with SG. ID to vote, clear paper trail for voting (maybe even paper ballots), strong restrictions on the use of absentee ballots and better verification for those who do vote absentee. For me it's not a partisan issue, it's an integrity of the vote issue.
1.5.2007 2:14pm
Redman:
Memo to Judge Evans:

I agree.

Let's stop beating around the bush.

We need laws like this one because the democrats commit SO DAMN MUCH voter fraud.
1.5.2007 2:14pm
KeithK (mail):

I don't give a rat's ass whether you or others care about their political involvement. I do care when the state tries to make living an organized life with records at hand a qualification for voting. The fact is, whether it is their fault or not, many of the poor do not have photo id at hand, and some of them do not have the means to acquire it.

Taking part in society means taking on some responsibilities. One is registering to vote. Another is (or should be) providing proof that you are the citizen listed on the voting rolls. These aren't large burdens if people are responsible and plan for it. If you let your driver's license expire out of carelessness or fail to get a n available free ID out of inattention then you have disenfranchised yourself by your own actions.

I do realize that some few people will have difficulty meeting the requirements. I think it is appropriate for the government to assist them in obtaining the necessary documents. Assisting the poor and indigent to get identification can only help them as proper ID is more or less a pre-requisite for functioning in society today.
1.5.2007 2:21pm
Ivan Le Sueur (mail):
I believe most states have now have a state issued picture id that you can get. In Georgia, you get it from the Department of Driver Services and it is good for either 5 or 10 years. Also, in Georgia, I have had both a driver's license and a state photo id (for flying after 9/11).

For those who need to get a valid copy of their birth certificates, this can be a problem depending on the state. I recently helped a friend a her birth certificate from Ohio and it was easier than it I thought was going to be - it did cost some money. This is only a problem if you need to present the document.

The real problem with voter fraud is that there is no good way to prove my identity without using some form of photo id, whether it is a state id, driver license, of passport, that does not have my physical description on it.
1.5.2007 2:27pm
Mr L:
The notion that Dems are more engaged in voter fraud is such an irresponsible meme of the Right, it is almost not worth responding to.

It's not an 'irresponsible meme'. Rightly or wrongly, Democrats have been tarred as the party of vote fraud because of (generally Democrat) big-city political machines which practically ran on bought votes, much the same way the GOP is the 'party of racism' due to ancient history.

That meme is helped by the fact that the Dems are the ones quaking over electronic vote fraud and evil GOP plots to expunge felons from the voting records while seeming almost deliberately unconcerned with actual, proven fraud like zombie voters and minting ludicrous objections to common-sense measures like showing ID. It's such a jarring contrast one can't help but be suspicious.
1.5.2007 2:32pm
William Tanksley (mail):
Thanks, SG. I agree entirely.

I try to avoid accusations of intent to perform fraud -- although sometimes I also wonder -- because such accusations are certain to poison the argument by making the other side defend themselves rather than their ideas and/or actions.

It's easy to avoid such accusations when you consider that although it's effectively certain that SOMEONE is planning such fraud based on the arguments you're confronted with, it's almost as certain that the person you're talking with right now is not one of those persons -- and it's 100% certain that anyone who MIGHT be persuaded by one of your arguments isn't one of those persons.

-Billy
1.5.2007 2:34pm
devin chalmers (mail):
Some of the above comments are just incredible. I remember when this used to be a libertarian blog...
1.5.2007 3:50pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
I think I would support a voter photo ID requirement as long as the state created a program to get everyone a photo ID, e.g., help people track down birth certificates and apply for photo IDs.

As I see it, the real problem is not the Photo ID, nor the expense of that, but what the state requires as far as documentation in order to obtain the photo ID (e.g, birth certificate or equivalent), and whether that is fairly onerous and difficult to obtain.

I remember when I was in college and had to apply for a passport for the first time to travel to Europe. I presented the US Passport Agency what I thought was a birth certificate, which my mother had dutifully kept since my birth, only to be told that it was a "hospital" certificate and not a birth certificate. Fortunately, the passport office accepted it anyway, because I also had my original social security card, and a drivers' license. Otherwise, I would have had to track down some clerk in the vital records department of some county many miles away from where I was living, and ask him or her to search for it, and pay a fee to obtain a certified copy of it. So, imagine, even if I were an organized "planner" and decided, 30 days before an election, I had to do all of this, just to obtain a photo ID to vote. I don't know that I could do that in time to get the photo ID, at least not without some effort and expense (more than the $13 charged for an ID).
1.5.2007 4:24pm
markm (mail):
"My dad works with the mentally unstable patients at the Veteran Administration. One of these guys needed picture ID to collect one of his benefits. He had no recent ID and lacked a lot of documents most of us keep in a safe or filing cabinet." Just the kind of guy we want to vote, eh?
1.5.2007 4:50pm
Jeremy T:
The reason people believe more voter fraud is committed by Democrats is because that's almost certainly a true statement. As an election official, I keep track of stories about voter fraud nationwide, and the vast majority of them are Democrats doing things they shouldn't.

If the stories in the paper roughly coincide with the actual incidence of vote fraud, then Democrats really are (by far) more likely to commit vote fraud.

Anyone can claim that such a statement is unscientific, and that's fine, it is. But it's still my belief, anecdotally based though it may be, that Democrats commit far more voter fraud than Republicans.
1.5.2007 5:32pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Over my life, I've voted absentee from MA, VA, DC, and FL. All ballots have required the signature of a witness who was swearing that I was who I claimed to be on the ballot. One state, at the time, required two signatures.

Yes, the signatures could have been forged. But short of requiring notarization--something rather difficult overseas--there's not a whole lot more that one can do to verify ID for absentee voting.

In line with one of the commenters above, it would indeed be a better use of funds to help those with difficulty in obtaining documentation than the lawsuit to waive identification. It might also be a better use of ACORN and similar groups' time and money.
1.5.2007 5:46pm
RG:
devin chalmers,

So what exactly is the libertarian position on this? This seems to be more of a social issue, and certainly isn't a free-market vs. state control issue.
1.5.2007 6:09pm
Mark F. (mail):
"The dissent is absolutely correct: The law was intended to discourage turnout by certain folks that skews Democratic, i.e., fraudulent voters."

So, this judge is a mind reader. He ought to be playing in Vegas.
1.5.2007 6:32pm
KeithK (mail):
Several people here (and the dissent) have said that they don't think there is significant voter fraud and as a result a photo ID law is unnecessary. Yet some of these same people would probably support changes to electronic voting to make them more accountable even though there is minimal (if any) hard evidence that voting machines have been tampered with. The relevant question is not whether there is evidence that fraud has been committed. What matters is whether the voting system is vulnerable to fraud, because vulnerabilities are likely to be exploited at some point whether the system can detect it or not. Both vulnerabilities (paperless electronic voting and no ID) should be plugged to the best of our ability.
1.5.2007 7:01pm
keypusher (mail):
Since I'm arguing against what I regard as voter disenfranchisement, I feel I should disclose that I do not vote as a matter of choice.

From 1964, when I first became eligible to vote as a 21-year old, until 2000, I voted in every election save two minor local elections when I was out of town and forgot to get an absentee ballot. But I have not voted in any election since the 2000 election, when the Republican Party and the Republican members of the U.S. Supreme Court pulled off the biggest heist in world history, disenfranchising the poor and crowning the pretender Bush king of the U.S.A. for four and, ultimately, eight years and allowing the Republican Party and its backers to loot the country.


If one is trying to persuade others of the rightness of one's views on a topic, why insert an irrelevant aside seemingly calculated to alienate those others? Doesn't anyone study rhetoric anymore?
1.5.2007 7:28pm
Phil (mail):
Does anyone know if Oregon has experienced any fraud with its 100% vote by mail?
1.5.2007 7:44pm
Ryan Waxx (mail):

When people show up to register to vote, they might be asked to swear to their place of birth and/or citizenship on a form. That's all the state should require.


Well, that establishes that just about anyone who wishes can play you for a fool, but I wonder what your justification is to deamnd that we must ALL act like gullible suckers?
1.5.2007 8:03pm
Swede:
Well, this is just BS.

I mean, NOW how are dead people and the family pet supposed to vote for Democrats?
1.5.2007 8:25pm
eric (mail):
So if I forget to vote, should I get to vote later, or would you evil people with your rules stop me from voting a month after election day. You just want to disenfranchise this minority with your silly rules. Voters who forget to vote trend towards democrats. The person who had the idea of voting on one day is a racist, cracker, rethuglican.
1.5.2007 8:31pm
Eli Rabett (www):
The absolute certainty that bad things only happen to other people and it is their fault is amazing. However, be that as it may, and by the way, the constant insistance that there is a lot of voter fraud is nonsense. Of course, some of you believe that if any Democratic is elected there must be a crime.

Try this one. Why do all these laws insist that the voter pay a fee. How about if a) the cards were issued on demand, b) the government picked up the cost of copying/searching the birth records, c) the registrar of voters was mandated to help voters obtain their cards and d) the cards were issued at all voter registration locations and the DMV (BTW most places the cost of the ID card is the same as the cost of the drivers license even though additional infrastructure (vision tests, etc is needed for the drivers license)
1.5.2007 8:42pm
Visitor Again:
If one is trying to persuade others of the rightness of one's views on a topic, why insert an irrelevant aside seemingly calculated to alienate those others? Doesn't anyone study rhetoric anymore?

I made the disclosure out of my sense of what was proper. If people knew me, I could see them saying why are you bothering to argue against voter disenfranchisement when you don't even vote.

By the way, I'm not trying to win a popularity contest or even a debate or argument here. I would pick another forum if that were my goal. I'm here to state my position and find out what you folks are thinking. I'm not at all surprised at some of the reactions.
1.5.2007 9:11pm
Rick Rockwell:
But what about the nudists who have to dress to go to the polls? Do you know how much a pair of khakis is these days? If you're an indigent nudist there's just no way you're going to be able to vote.
My god, who's standing up for them? ?
1.5.2007 9:23pm
Eli Rabett (www):
The nudists can vote absentee. Besides which you can't find an eternal nudist these days anyhow.
1.5.2007 10:46pm
Jeremy T:
I do not disagree, as a Republican and as an election official, that ID cards issued for the purpose of voting should be free as a policy matter. I don't believe, however, that a state that charges a reasonable fee for producing an ID card illegally infringes on the right to vote.

Truth be told, I don't think there should be anything illegal about a state charging a reasonable poll tax intended that is no more than is necessary to defer the cost of an election, either, but as a policy matter, again, I think a state should not charge poll taxes.
1.6.2007 1:03am
fahagen:
Judge Evans wrote: "Let’s not beat around the bush: The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic."

Judge Evans seems to believe that Democrats rely on voter fraud, since he believes that a reasonable attempt to reduce voter fraud would skew against Democrats.
1.6.2007 1:24am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
In a Rasmussen poll out recently about the new speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi:

Pelosi is viewed as politically liberal by 52% of Americans and moderate by 22%. Just 5% consider her conservative and 20% are not sure.

I would suggest that the 5% be stopped from voting for the rest of their lives and the 20% should not be able to vote until they increased their awareness of the world around them to have an opinion.

The 5% and 20% would be another group for judge Evans that skews democratic, I suspect.

Says the "Dog"
1.6.2007 2:23am
Visitor Again:
Results from a survey, found here, conducted in January 2006 by Opinion Research Corporation and sponsored by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which pretty much supports everything I've said above, including the huge number who lack birth certificates, the difficulty in getting birth certificates, especially in the South, and the disparate impact of photo id requirements on the poor and African-Americans.

September 22, 2006


SURVEY INDICATES HOUSE BILL COULD DENY
VOTING RIGHTS TO MILLIONS OF U.S. CITIZENS
Low-Income, African American, Elderly, and Rural Voters at Special Risk
By Robert Greenstein, Leighton Ku, and Stacy Dean

On September 20 the House passed a bill (H.R. 4844) that would, starting in 2010, effectively deny the vote to any U.S. citizen who cannot produce a passport or birth certificate (or proof of naturalization). Although the bill’s supporters present it as a measure intended to prevent non-citizens from voting, the bill’s main impact will be on U.S. citizens themselves. A national survey finds that approximately 11 million native-born citizens currently lack the required documents. A substantial number could have difficulty obtaining or affording them.

The national survey, conducted in January 2006 by Opinion Research Corporation and sponsored by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, also indicates that the bill would affect certain groups disproportionately (see Figures 1 and 2) — including people with low incomes, African Americans, the elderly, people without a high school diploma, rural residents, and residents of the South and Midwest. Substantial numbers of these and other citizens could potentially be disenfranchised by the bill.


New Rules Would Effectively Require All Voters to Present Passport or Birth Certificate

Under current rules, U.S. citizens who are registered voters can demonstrate their identity by producing one of several kinds of documents, including a photo ID, a current utility bill, or a current bank statement. (Non-citizens are not permitted to vote in federal elections.) The new House bill, in contrast, would require all U.S. citizens who have completed the voter registration process to present a photo ID in order to vote in federal elections in 2008. Then, starting in the 2010 elections, all voters would be required to present a photo ID that proves the voter is a U.S. citizen. Persons who vote by mail would have to mail in a copy of the required documentation along with their completed ballot.

A U.S. passport would satisfy both the 2008 and 2010 requirements, but as explained below, large numbers of U.S. citizens do not have a current passport. The kinds of driver’s licenses (or other state identification documents) currently issued by states would satisfy the 2008 requirement but not the 2010 one, since states do not currently require proof of citizenship in order to obtain a license and do not denote citizenship on the license.

Under a 2005 federal law commonly known as the Real ID Act, starting in 2008 states must require citizens applying for driver’s licenses to prove their citizenship, so the driver’s licenses issued in coming years should meet the 2010 requirement.[1] However, an applicant will need to produce a passport or birth certificate (or proof of naturalized citizenship) to obtain such a driver’s license. The House bill would allow states to issue voter photo-ID cards to persons without driver’s licenses, but these voter ID cards likewise would require a passport or birth certificate. (While low-income citizens could supposedly obtain these voter ID cards without charge, they would still have to pay for the passport or birth certificate they would need to obtain the voter ID card.) Thus, the House bill would effectively require all voters to present a passport or birth certificate in order to vote.


Survey Shows 11 Million U.S. Citizens Lack Access to Passport or Birth Certificate

In January 2006, the Opinion Research Corporation conducted a nationally representative telephone survey of 2,026 adults, commissioned by the Center, to determine how many U.S.-born adult citizens do not have a passport or birth certificate readily available.[2] (The Center commissioned the poll in response to a proposal, since enacted as part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, to require U.S. citizens applying for Medicaid or renewing their Medicaid coverage to document their citizenship.) Key findings based on the poll include:



Roughly 11 million native-born citizens have neither a birth certificate nor passport in their home.[3] Under the House bill, those without these documents would be unable to vote in federal elections as of 2010.

Low-income people (those making less than $25,000) are nearly twice as likely to lack these documents as people with higher incomes. Nearly 3 million low-income citizens lack the required documents.

Elderly residents are much more likely to lack these documents than non-elderly ones. Some 2.3 million elderly Americans lack the required documents.

African Americans are much more likely to lack these documents than whites. Roughly 2 million African Americans lack the required documents. One reason is that a substantial number of elderly African Americans apparently were never issued birth certificates because they were born at home, in large measure as a result of racial discrimination or poverty that kept their mothers from delivering in hospitals (especially in the South). One study estimated that one-fifth of African Americans born in 1939-40 were never issued birth certificates.[4]

The poll also revealed significant geographic disparities:

Rural residents (those living outside metropolitan area) are more than twice as likely to lack a birth certificate or passport as non-rural residents. Some 4.5 million rural Americans lack the required documents.

Residents of the South and Midwest are more than twice as likely to lack these documents as residents of the Northeast and West. In fact, roughly four-fifths of those who lack the required documents — 8.4 million of the 10.7 million total — are residents of the South or Midwest.



Bill Would Weaken Democracy by Requiring Some Citizens to Pay for Documents in Order to Vote

The effect, if not the intent, of the House bill would be to make it more difficult for millions of eligible U.S. citizens to vote, and most likely to disenfranchise a significant number of these citizens. The bill would be especially hard on certain already vulnerable groups, such as individuals who are elderly or have low incomes. (It can cost $5 to $23 to get a birth certificate, while a passport costs $87 to $97.) In addition, in the case of many elderly African Americans, the bill would likely reinforce previous racial discrimination that prevented some of them from having birth certificates in the first place. For these reasons, the bill likely would do more to weaken Americans’ voting rights than to protect them
1.6.2007 3:07am
Visitor Again:
Does anyone know what happened later in this case, reported in the Washington Post on October 28, 2005?


Correction to This Article
The headline on an Oct. 28 article incorrectly said that a Georgia law on voter identification was overturned. A federal appeals court upheld an injunction barring the state from enforcing the law, which requires many voters without government-issued identification such as a driver's license or passport to get a new digital ID card. A secondary headline said the state can no longer charge for access to the Nov. 8 election. The state never levied a charge for voting; it did charge $20 for five years to get the new digital ID.

Voter ID Law Is Overturned
Georgia Can No Longer Charge For Access to Nov. 8 Election

By Darryl Fears
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 28, 2005; Page A03

In a case that some have called a showdown over voting rights, a U.S. appeals court yesterday upheld an injunction barring the state of Georgia from enforcing a law requiring citizens to get government-issued photo identification in order to vote.

The ruling allows thousands of Georgians who do not have government-issued identification, such as driver's licenses and passports, to vote in the Nov. 8 municipal elections without obtaining a special digital identification card, which costs $20 for five years. In prior elections, Georgians could use any one of 17 types of identification that show the person's name and address, including a driver's license, utility bill, bank statement or a paycheck, to gain access to a voting booth.

Last week, when issuing the injunction, U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy likened the law to a Jim Crow-era poll tax that required residents, most of them black, to pay back taxes before voting. He said the law appeared to violate the Constitution for that reason. In the 2004 election, about 150,000 Georgians voted without producing government-issued identification.

"Obviously, we're very pleased with the decision," said Daniel Levitas of the American Civil Liberties Union, which joined the NAACP and other groups in a federal lawsuit against the Georgia law. "It's especially timely to see the federal courts step in to protect the precious rights of voters. This decision confirms our contention that the Georgia ID law poses a constitutional hurdle to the right to vote."

State officials say they will challenge the decision by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that was handed down by Judges Frank M. Hull, Stanley F. Birch Jr. and Joel F. Dubina. Birch and Dubina were appointed by President George H. W. Bush, and Hull was named to the appellate court by President Bill Clinton. The case is being watched nationally as Republicans and Democrats in many states battle over who will be allowed on the voter rolls.

The Georgia ID law has been controversial from the day it was submitted in March. Conservative lawmakers said it was needed to limit elections fraud. Liberal lawmakers said that argument was a smokescreen masking another intent: to maintain Republican power in the state by diluting the minority vote, which typically goes to Democrats.

Because Georgia falls under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department had to approve the change in state law. It did so in August, prompting charges from outside and inside the department that it was backing away from strong enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.

Under the Georgia law, residents would need to produce original birth certificates and other documents to get the new digital identification card. The cards could only be obtained at Department of Motor Vehicles offices.

But critics say that many potential voters do not have the required documents and that some could not afford the $20 processing fee for identification.

State officials promised to provide free identification to anyone who swore under oath that they were indigent. But the law provided no definition of what constituted indigence in the state of Georgia, opening the possibility for possible perjury charges, activists said.

Liberal critics compiled statistics showing that far more white residents owned cars than African Americans. The law, they argued, gave an unfair advantage to white people while placing a burden on those who are black.

On top of that, the state recently reorganized the Department of Motor Vehicles, paring down the number of offices. After the reorganization, there were no DMV offices in Atlanta, a city with a wide black majority. The closest station is at least nine miles away. Fewer than 60 of the state's 159 counties have DMV offices.

State officials countered that they were providing a single vehicle, known as the GLOW bus, to traverse the state, providing applications and licenses to those with the proper documents. Critics expressed disbelief that one bus could accommodate the needs of so many potential voters.

Black lawmakers railed against the law. At times, they openly wept during the debates. Nevertheless, it passed both the House and Senate in near-lightning speed. The governor signed it in April.

"We did it because we thought it was the . . . thing to do to clean up Georgia election law," said Sen. William Stephens, a Republican from Cherokee County. He cited a report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper saying that more than 5,000 dead people voted in the eight elections before 2000.

Stephens said another Journal Constitution report stated that a poll revealed 80 percent of Georgians supported the voter ID law.

But Secretary of State Cathy Cox, a Democrat who oversees the election process, said there has not been a proven case of voter fraud in the state in nearly a decade.

As for the poll, Rep. Tyrone Brooks, president of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, said respondents, especially those who are black, were not informed of the law's impact.

"You talk to African Americans, and they will tell you that this is a hardship," Brooks said.
1.6.2007 3:12am
Visitor Again:
Another report citing studies showing the disparate impact on the poor and African-Americans of photo id requirements for voting, found here:


ID and Voting Rights
Tova Andrea Wang, The Century Foundation, 8/29/2005

Laws requiring all voters to present very specific forms of identification before exercising their right to vote are rapidly becoming the voting rights barrier of the 21st Century. Last Friday, the Department of Justice approved a new Georgia law requiring every voter to show a government-issued photo ID. The Department of Justice was required to review the measure and “preclear” it because that state is covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Although many legal scholars and voting rights advocates had argued the Department should deny its implementation because it would lead to disenfranchisement of minority voters, the Department evidently did not agree. Indiana passed similar legislation this year, and several groups have sued the state on the grounds that it violates the Voting Rights Act.

Next up is Arizona. Last week, after months of resisting, the governor of Arizona signed off on a plan for implementing Proposition 200, which required identification from all voters. Arizona’s new rule is that all voters must show government issued photo identification or a tribal identification to vote. Alternatively, the voter may present two current pieces of identification from a narrow list of potential documents that show the voter’s name and current address, such as a utility and phone bills.

The most problematic provision is this: if the voter is not able to present a government issued photo ID or these two documents to the satisfaction of the poll worker, that voter is simply disenfranchised, asked to leave the polling place without casting a ballot. The voter may not even cast a provisional ballot. For example, if the voter brings a gas bill and a water bill, but the poll worker decides the water bill is not “dated within ninety days of the election,” that person will be absolutely denied the right to vote. In addition to being a violation of the Help America Vote Act’s mandate that any voter who shows up at the polls and believes he or she is registered and eligible to vote must be given a provisional ballot, this raises serious voting rights issues.

As a group of preeminent voting rights scholars have argued in Georgia, under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a covered jurisdiction may not implement a change in its election laws or practices unless the jurisdiction demonstrates the change will be free of any racially discriminatory purpose or effect. The objective of Section 5 “has always been to insure that no voting-procedure changes would be made that would lead to a retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.”

As in Georgia , Arizona—especially given the possibility of a complete denial of the vote—has not met that burden of proof. It is up to the state to demonstrate that the ID requirement, which contemplates complete disenfranchisement of certain voters, will not have a discriminatory impact. So, for example, has the state examined whether most voters have or have easy access to the necessary documents? Have state officials investigated what groups are likely to lack the kinds of identification required? Since the law puts the burden on the state, the state must undertake these types of inquiries before it is permitted to go forward with this scheme—for there is a great deal of evidence indicating that it is indeed minorities who lack even one form let alone two forms of the types of identification contemplated.

The difficulty is that the poor and minorities are least likely to own motor vehicles and possess a driver’s license—the most commonly accepted form of identification. Indeed, in 1994, the U.S. Department of Justice found that African-Americans in Louisiana were 4 to 5 times less likely to have government-sanctioned photo ID than white residents. As a result, the Department denied pre-clearance for that state’s proposed photo ID requirement because it “would lead to retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.”

The evidence continues to mount. A June 2005 study by the University of Wisconsin. found that 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 outside Milwaukee. One Arizona county reported in February that it was forced to reject nearly 75 percent of new voter registration forms for failure to provide adequate proof of citizenship.

Furthermore, for those who do not have the kinds of up-to-date non-photo ID necessary—and many minority and urban voters, for example those who live in multiple family dwellings simply will not—getting identification from the government will present costs and burdens for voters who simply want to exercise their constitutional right to vote. A certified copy of a birth certificate costs from $10.00 to $45.00, depending on the state; a passport costs $85.00; and certified naturalization papers cost $19.95. It may not be so very easy for people who work more than one job or have small children to take the time during business hours, drive to a Department of Drivers Services, and wait on line to get necessary identification. Indeed, most of the state’s offices are open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Has the state researched the potential disparate impacts on getting non-photo ID? If not, it has not met its burden under the Act.

There has been a great deal of controversial discussion over the Voting Rights Act recently because some sections—including Section 5—are due to expire. The Act was passed in order to eliminate procedures aimed at the disenfranchisement of particular groups. That it is still necessary is being demonstrated today in Arizona and Georgia.

Tova Andrea Wang is a senior program officer and Democracy Fellow at The Century Foundation.


1.6.2007 3:17am
Brian G (mail) (www):
Blacks and Hispanics are just too stupid to get identification. How can we expect them to have the intelligence to master the process of going to the DMV? They are genetically unable to find a DMV office. They are so dumb, they only know how to make it to a voting booth.

Seriously, that is what the opponents of voter ID are really saying, and no one calls them on the carpet for it. I would like to see no ID laws for checks, airports, and federal courts. After all, forcing me to get an ID has a disparate impact on minorities right to travel, to have access to government, and to their SSI checks. Let's go the whole way with it.
1.6.2007 3:41am
Visitor Again:
This University of Wisconsin study of Milwaukee and environs supports pretty much everything I said about drivers' licenses and the poor or African-Americans, including the possession of invalid licenses:

The main findings:




Findings

1. Many adults do not have either a drivers license or a photo ID. An estimated 23 percent of persons aged 65 and over do not have a Wisconsin drivers license or a photo ID. The population of elderly persons 65 and older without a drivers license or a state photo ID totals 177,399, and of these 70 percent are women. While racial data was not available on the state population with photo IDs, 91 percent of the state’s elderly without a Wisconsin drivers
license are white. An estimated 98,247 Wisconsin residents ages 35 through 64 also do not have either a drivers license or a photo ID.

2. Minorities and poor populations are the most likely to have drivers 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 in the Balance of State (BOS, i.e., outside Milwaukee County). 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.

3. 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. The drivers license file shows 39,685 individuals in Milwaukee County who have drivers licenses but also recent suspensions or revocations on their licenses. Another 49,804 Milwaukee County adults had a
recent suspension/revocation but no license with the DOT. 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.

4. A portion of the population with a drivers license and a recent suspension or revocation may retain their license as an ID for voting and others may secure a state photo ID. These licenses cannot be renewed, however, without clearing up the outstanding fines and fees.

5. Students without a Wisconsin drivers license or a Wisconsin photo ID would need to obtain either one to vote. Those students and young adults living away from home but retaining their permanent home address on their drivers license need to provide proof of residence to vote prior to registration under current laws. Because the drivers license is a valid ID, regardless of address, few if any in this population would have a photo ID with a current address. These individuals may have a Wisconsin or out-of-state drivers license but not one with a current
address. At UWM, Marquette University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a total of 12,624 students live in residence halls, but only 280 (2 percent) have drivers licenses with these dorms’ addresses. All others require special handling to vote under proposed and current
legislation.

6. The population that changes residence frequently is most likely to have a drivers license address that differs from their current residence. This would include lower-income residents who rent and students and young adults living away from home (who are likely to have a drivers license listing an incorrect address or their permanent home address). To illustrate this point, 16
Wisconsin ZIP codes were identified which have the highest concentration of undergraduate students (both in dorms and in apartments). These ZIP codes had 118,075 young voting age have a drivers license with adults (ages 18-24) but 83,981 (or 71 percent) 18-24 year olds did not this current ZIP code address. Over half of the adults of the 18-24 year old age group did not have a drivers license with an address in their current ZIP code for college neighborhoods in Eau Claire, LaCrosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Platteville, River Falls, Stevens Point, Stout, and Whitewater. All of those without a current address on their drivers license or ID need to provide proof of residence.
1.6.2007 3:59am
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
Phil wrote:

Does anyone know if Oregon has experienced any fraud with its 100% vote by mail?

I've wondered about that myself. For last November's election, the mail ballot had a signature line for the voter, but IIRC no witness signatures were required.

If there is fraud, even massive fraud, how will we ever know?
1.6.2007 5:04am
Brett Bellmore:
Well, you could get a copy of the list of who voted, and do a door to door survey asking those people if they really did vote. That would be a pretty effective way of detecting any significant level of absentee ballot fraud, so long as it didn't involve simply substituting new absentee ballots for ones which really were sent in by the voters.

Of course, every time somebody tries to do this, Democrats attack them as being engaged in voter harassment.
1.6.2007 7:01am
Eli Rabett (www):
As was pointed out, if you think there was significant fraud in elections the place to survey is Oregon. You simply do it. Surveying a large enough sample would be very and it is not as dangerous as Iraq.

While I disagree about Jeremy's conclusions wrt to poll taxes and such (and so evidently does the Supreme Court) let me agree that he has found the middle ground. IF the objection to these new voter ID laws is really ballot security, then there would be rapid agreement IF an efficient and cost free to the individual voter system were established. It actually need not be a card. IMHO it would be better to have a photoID system on a CD that could be distributed to each polling place with the IDs of the voters in that precinct. If a new photo was needed every 10 years or so it could be done at the polling place when the citizen voted.

I am not so naive as to believe that there would be no attempt to manipulate such systems by the registrars, particularly for minorities as has happened too often, but I am equally sure that organizations would spring up to supress such chicanery.
1.6.2007 7:20am
Mark Field (mail):
VA, your efforts in this thread are nothing short of heroic.
1.6.2007 11:02am
SG:
Visitor Again:

Beyond a demonstration of your disdain for copyright law, what's your larger point? I don't think anyone's denying that some people will be affected by having to produce an ID, after all that's the point of the law. If it were entirely ineffectual, no one would care.

Does society have an interest in a fair election?

Do you believe voters should have any responsibilities when voting? If so, what responsibilities do you feel the voter legitimately bears?

Is the franchise more important than any number of other activities that require ID? If so, why should it be held to less scruitiny? If not, then why are you concerned that some might be disenfrnachised?

Do you believe illegal aliens should be allowed to vote?
1.6.2007 11:39am
MnZ (mail):
Visitor Again,

I had a state issued ID before I was sixteen. It was as legal as a driver's license (other than the driving part). It was very inexpensive (just a few dollars in today's dollars). Furthermore, obtaining it was basically as easy as...registering to vote.

As long as state-issued IDs are cheap (free - if need be) and straightforward to obtain, I don't understand why anyone would oppose requiring official picture IDs to vote.
1.6.2007 1:24pm
Visitor Again:
I don't think anyone's denying that some people will be affected by having to produce an ID, after all that's the point of the law. If it were entirely ineffectual, no one would care.

A number of commenters here spent a great deal of time poo-pooing the notion that this law would have any effect on the poor.

The effect of the law will be to disenfranchise many people who are in fact eligible to vote. It is its efficacy in that regard that bothers me. None of these states considering such a requirement have shown any proof that voting fraud has been a problem warranting such an imposition on the right to equal treatment in the voting process.


Does society have an interest in a fair election?

Yes.

Do you believe voters should have any responsibilities when voting? If so, what responsibilities do you feel the voter legitimately bears?

I would like people to cast informed votes but that is not a responsibility that may lawfully or constitutionally be enforced. I can't think of any responsibilities unless you have in mind a responsibility not to cast a fraudulent vote. Yes, I believe that is a responsibility.

Is the franchise more important than any number of other activities that require ID? If so, why should it be held to less scruitiny? If not, then why are you concerned that some might be disenfrnachised?

Yes, it is more important, which is precisely why I believe putting obstacles in the way of voting is unfair and unconstitutional. I am concerned some might be disenfranchised because our government is supposed to govern by consent of the governed, not just the consent of the governed who have ready access to photo id. I am also concerned because the photo id requirement will have a disparate impact on the poor and on members of racial minorities who are otherwise eligible to vote.

I note that we send people to prison on the basis of statements sworn under oath. Why a sworn oath of facts establishing eligibility to vote is not sufficient to gain the vote is beyond me. If the State believes people who have sworn they are eligible to vote are not eligible it should come forward with proof instead of imposing requirements that will disenfranchise poor people who are eligible to vote.

Do you believe illegal aliens should be allowed to vote?

No. In fact, I don't believe even legal aliens should be allowed to vote until they gain their citizenship.

Now let me ask you a couple of questions.

Do you believe a requirement that would disenfranchise a significant number of poor and minority voters who are otherwise entirely eligible to vote is fair? If so, why?

On the alleged copyright violations, why don't you bring it to the attention of the authors or publishers and see whether they regard what I did the way you do?
1.6.2007 1:40pm
MnZ (mail):
The notion that Dems are more engaged in voter fraud is such an irresponsible meme of the Right, it is almost not worth responding to.


However, Dems tend to oppose efforts to thwart voter fraud before it happens (e.g., their opposition to voter ID requirements). They also tend to oppose checking for and prosecuting acts of voter fraud after it happens (e.g., ACORN).

Dems might oppose voter fraud, but they don't want the government to do anything that will prevent or discourage it.
1.6.2007 1:48pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Obviously, the Democrats opposed the Indiana voter security initiative for the same reason that the Republicans in Indiana passed it: it was in the self interest of the party to do so. That does not mean that the Democrats favor voter fraud anymore than it means that the Republicans are racists for supporting a measure that will have a disparate impact in disenfranchising many minority voters who were not engaging in voter fraud before this measure was enacted, but who may not bother to vote given the photo ID requirement.

I remember, when Clinton passed a "motor-voter" initiative that enabled people to register to vote when they obtained their drivers license, the Republicans filed all sorts of legal challenges to that law. Why? Because they obviously felt that the people who were likely to register to vote at the DMV were not likely to vote Republican. Kind of ironic, anyway, that now the same Republicans are trumpeting the DMV's photo ID as the great panacea to voter fraud, but no one seems to notice irony much these days.
1.6.2007 2:39pm
MnZ (mail):
Visitor again said:
When people show up to register to vote, they might be asked to swear to their place of birth and/or citizenship on a form. That's all the state should require. If the state still wants to disenfranchise them, it should bear the burden of showing why they should be disenfranchised. That's fair.


OK...let's logically consider that statement. Suppose that I am a representative of the state and someone tells me they are an eligible voter. On what basis would I have to doubt the voter? There wouldn't be much. If I meet a woman and she says that she is Sally Smith from the east side of town, would I have any reason to doubt her?

In the unlikely event that I suspect someone of lying about his or her voter eligibility, what am I to do? Do contact the police and have them trail the voter to look for evidence that the voter was lying?

Your formulation makes voter fraud virtually impossible to detect both ex ante and ex post.
1.6.2007 2:45pm
SG:
Do you believe a requirement that would disenfranchise a significant number of poor and minority voters who are otherwise entirely eligible to vote is fair? If so, why?


While there may exist eligible voters who can't meet a photo ID requirement, as a practical matter, I believe an ID requirement will disenfranchise fewer people than the current system, and far fewer than your honor system proposal.

I question the number of people living in a manner indistinguishable from an illegal alien (without ID, a person can't legally hold a job, receive public assistance, drive a car, ride on a plane, cash a check or hold a bank account) who actively attempt to vote. And if the desire to vote causes them to get an ID, it's a net positive in that they can then much more fully particiapte in society.

Now, as a matter of policy, I would support waiving all fees (including those for supporting documentation) on a need basis for those wishing to receive a voter ID. (Although only once. If the voter loses the ID, a replacement is on their nickel.)

Frankly, I find your putative concern over dienfranchisement to be highly disingenuous. Every illegally cast ballot disenfranchises a legal vote, yet you express no concern over that. Illegal votes are even worse than someone being turned away for no ID, because in the no ID case 1) has failed to meet their responsibility as a voter, 2) the voter can cast a provisional ballot and 3) the voter can rectify the situation for the next election. The person whose vote has been illegally nullified holds no responsibility in the matter, is ignorant of what has happened, and has no chance to rectify it the next time.

Furthermore, given that you've previously complained about previous efforts to prune current voter rolls of ineligible voters, I find it hard to believe that you would support any efforts at enforcement of your propsed honor system. You don't support enforcing the current system and you wish to make it more lenient, so as a practical matter you want to enable fraudulent voting. So please spare me the self-righteousness. You don't want a fair election, you want your side to win and if it takes cheating to do so, you're OK with that.
1.6.2007 4:27pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
Brett Bellmore wrote regarding fraudulent mail ballots:

Well, you could get a copy of the list of who voted, and do a door to door survey asking those people if they really did vote. That would be a pretty effective way of detecting any significant level of absentee ballot fraud, so long as it didn't involve simply substituting new absentee ballots for ones which really were sent in by the voters.

Of course, every time somebody tries to do this, Democrats attack them as being engaged in voter harassment.


Alas, there's another opportunity to break the system: "stuffing" the ballot box with counterfeits. Oregon's mail ballots are distributed weeks in advance of election day, and would be ridiculously easy to counterfeit. They are printed on ordinary paper, there don't seem to be any distinguishing, un-counterfeitable markings on the ballots, and of course there's no way to trace them back to individual voters.

And apologists for the fraudulent election could simply say that voters for one particular party tend to be more difficult to find in a post-election survey, because they tend to be less organized in their personal lives, or because they tend to move from place to place more often, or because they are seldom home, or because they are suspicious of strangers and don't answer the door. See how easy this is?
1.6.2007 5:39pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):

or because they are seldom home, or because they are suspicious of strangers and don't answer the door. See how easy this is?



Just show up with a six pack in one hand and some cups in the other. Just like the democrats do when rounding them up to register and vote.

Says the "Dog"
1.6.2007 8:12pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Christopher Cooke, you are wrong. Motor Voter was opposed because it was an open invitation to almost demand that illegal Aliens in California, Arizona, and many other states be registered to vote when they show up to get their drivers licenses.

The fact that voting illegal aliens tend to skew democratic was a plus for sure, but the opposition was based upon the simple principle that we shouldn't be doing things to guarantee increased illegal alien vote participation.


Says the "Dog"
1.6.2007 8:21pm
Visitor Again:
Well, guys, we will have to agree to disagree.

I do not believe voter fraud is the problem you say it is; the states don't back up their claims of voter fraud with showings that they have ever caught anyone or prosecuted anyone, certainly not showings that it is a significant problem. Had it been a significant problem, a significant number of cases would have come to public attention. Most voting precincts are quite small and monitored not only by precinct workers usually from the precinct itself but also by representatives of all the concerned political parties; someone would have noticed something awry at some point if voting fraud were a significant problem.

On the other hand, it is fairly clear that the requirement of photo id would disenfranchise a significant number of the poor, who have difficulty either obtaining the documentation required for photo id and/or cannot afford to pay for either the documentation or the id itself.

If a photo id requirement is upheld it should be on the conditions that the State pays all costs of obtaining the id, makes the id available at the time and place of registration and throws no other burden--no jumping through hoops--in the way of the poor voting. No requiring extensive searches for birth records, no requiring payment of fees for searching for birth records, no requiring payment for photo id, no requiring numerous trips to secure the photo id.

There should also be a simple waiver process, readily available, for those who lack proof of birthplace; perhaps an examiner could ask a few questions to satisfy himself that the registrant was indeed born here. The waiver process should be simple and available at the time of registration.

Any denial of voter registration on the basis of the photo id requirement should be accompanied by the right to a speedy administrative hearing meeting due process standards with provision of free counsel and in the event of an adverse administrative decision prompt free access to the courts with free counsel provided. If the state wants to place burdens on equal access to the voting process, it should pay all the costs.

If all this were in place, then I would not be nearly as concerned.

As to why I'm concerned, it's not merely because of partisan interests, although I plainly have those. It's also because, having left law school in the late Sixties to work as a poverty lawyer on 103rd Street (Charcoal Alley) in Watts and having represented the poor throughout my career, I know how important it is that the state treat the poor with respect and accord them dignity rather than contempt. For one thing, it's what they're entitled to as citizens and human beings. For another thing, when you do that, you save on the costs of mass civil uprisings or riots as they are popularly known; the poor know when they are being treated unfairly, and they have their breaking point. I dearly hope that some of the people on this blog who have expressed their personal contempt for those less fortunate will never hold power beyond that they have as private citizens. Those who truly believe in the values of freedom and democracy should be encouraging the poor to participate in the voting process, rather than endorsing measures which make them a class apart, not truly part of our nation or its governance.
1.6.2007 10:50pm
William Tanksley (mail):
"the constant insistance that there is a lot of voter fraud is nonsense."

Who ever insisted or claimed that? It hasn't been brought up in this debate. We don't have the evidence to prove it. The fact that there IS voter fraud is obvious.

"Of course, some of you believe that if any Democratic is elected there must be a crime."

Now this is a testable statement. Simply compare the reaction of Republicans to losing the last election to the reactions of Democrats to losing the previous several elections.

Incredible.

-Billy
1.7.2007 1:21pm
Toby:
Visitor Again:

Have you ever worked Polls? It was quite clear in the rural county that I live in that two polling stations routinely delivered fraudulent votes. They happened to be Deomcrat votes, but they were actually driven by a single state representative.

Every election, two polling stations were late delivering. Every time they delivered no votes until the rest of the lection was counted. Whenever this Politician was behind, each of the polling stations would deliver a pile of votes sufficient to make up the difference. These votes were all stright party line - so you could see them in the sudden upserge in votes for Water Conservations Distric and Dog Catcher.

Since that one politicion was redisctricted out of office, these odd voting patterns never have been seen again.

This sort of stuff happens all over. Anyone who actually works election day has seen a variant of it.
1.7.2007 2:52pm
Visitor Again:
Have you ever worked Polls? It was quite clear in the rural county that I live in that two polling stations routinely delivered fraudulent votes. They happened to be Deomcrat votes, but they were actually driven by a single state representative.

This sort of stuff happens all over. Anyone who actually works election day has seen a variant of it.

I haven't worked the polls, but the woman I share life with has. If this fraud was obvious, as you say it was, why was nothing done about it? I suspect voter fraud, where it has occured, has been overlooked because it has been a low priority on the law enforcement agenda. Well, turn that around; report it and investigate it where it is suspected.

I don't believe this sort of stuff happens all over; if it did, something would have been made of it by someone, somewhere. People, including even poll workers like yourself, are not all uniformly sheep. There was hardly a peep about voter fraud until these new schemes for photo ID came along; suddenly it became a huge problem and if not a huge problem then a huge potential problem.
1.7.2007 10:31pm