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Justice Kennedy's Comments and Questions in the Voter ID Case:
The transcript of this morning's argument in the Voter ID case has been released, and is available here. As I read the transcript, Justice Kennedy had no questions for Indiana and only one question for Paul Clement, about whether as-applied challenges could be brought before an election. In contrast, Justice Kennedy had several skeptical questions addressed to Paul Smith, counsel for Crawford. You can read the transcript for the context, but here are Kennedy's significant questions/comments for Smith:
JUSTICE KENNEDY: I just think it's hard to confine your rationale if you say that any association could sue. If it says, you know, there are people that if they knew what we were doing, if they knew this problem they would really want us to sue on their behalf, I don't know if I'm going to confine your rationale.

JUSTICE KENNEDY: But clearly you answer all of those questions that you've just posed, that you've just responded with, "no". So then your answer to Justice Alito should be no.

JUSTICE KENNEDY: Although that leads to the next question, is whether or not there are ways in which the -- the central purpose of this law can be preserved but it could be less stringent. But I'd like you to respond to both of those things.

JUSTICE KENNEDY: That wasn't -- that wasn't the problem I had with your answer to that question. You posed a number of questions to Justice Alito, or a number of responses, but to each one of those your own answer in the brief was no, and therefore your question -- the answer to Justice Alito's question should be no, there is no system that you know of that can impose a photo ID.

JUSTICE KENNEDY: And even so is, there anything that prohibits the State from confirming the validity of the registration at the polling place?

JUSTICE KENNEDY: You want us to invalidate a statute on the ground that it's a minor inconvenience to a small percentage of voters?
Thanks to Howard for the before-the-SCT-website-even-added-a-link link. (Okay, so the URL is always predictable, but it's still helpful.)
Al Maviva (mail):
So called "voting integrity" laws are just efforts to surpress individual voters. They are so pernicious, that sometimes the laws surpress a given individual's right to vote in two or three states at once. And if surpressing an individual's right to vote in one state is bad, then surely surpressing their right to vote in a couple states is at least twice as bad...
1.9.2008 6:30pm
alias:
If you look really closely, you can see the triple-uber-secret code in his first comment...

JUSTICE KENNEDY: I just think it's hArd to conFine your rationale iF you say that any assocIation could sue. If it says, you know, theRe are people that if they knew what we were doing, if they knew this probleM they would really want us to sue on their behalf, I don't know if I'm going to confine your rationale.

However, it appears that he changed his mind shortly thereafter:

JUSTICE KENNEDY: But cleaRly you answer all of thosE questions that you'Ve just posEd, that you've just ReSpondEd with, "no". So then your answer to Justice Alito should be no.

But then, closer to the end, Justice Kennedy was back on the fence:

JUSTICE KENNEDY: YOU Want us to INvaLidate a statute On the ground that it'S a minor inconvEnience to a small percentage of voters?

Tossup, I think.
1.9.2008 6:34pm
Barbara Skolaut (mail):

JUSTICE KENNEDY: You want us to invalidate a statute on the ground that it's a minor inconvenience to a small percentage of voters?
Smith's (probably unspoken) answer: Well, yeah.
1.9.2008 6:36pm
Adam K:
I just have to wonder how anyone ever voted in this country before the government started issuing laminated pieces of plastic with their pictures on them.
1.9.2008 6:39pm
OrinKerr:
Hilarious, Alias.
1.9.2008 6:44pm
Kazinski:
Adam K.:
Most voted freely and fairly, some voted early and often, some didn't get to vote at all.

We've addressed the not getting to vote at all problem, nothing wrong with addressing the early and often problem now.
1.9.2008 7:19pm
DonP (mail):
"... nothing wrong with addressing the early and often problem now."

I will not drive past Holy Sepulchre and the other cemeteries along 111th street tonight on the way home.

I fear I will see the spirits and hear the ghosts of "Bathhouse" John Coughlin and "Paddy" Bauler, as well as five generations of Chicago election judges screaming NOOOOOO!
1.9.2008 7:29pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
Barbara Skolaut:

JUSTICE KENNEDY: You want us to invalidate a statute on the ground that it's a minor inconvenience to a small percentage of voters?

Smith's (probably unspoken) answer: Well, yeah.

Is there any doubt about that being the entire point?

Adam K:
I just have to wonder how anyone ever voted in this country before the government started issuing laminated pieces of plastic with their pictures on them.

Read a little about Tammany Hall. Very instructive.
1.9.2008 7:31pm
Sebastian Holsclaw (mail):
"I just have to wonder how anyone ever voted in this country before the government started issuing laminated pieces of plastic with their pictures on them."

For the most part they were personally known to the people running the polls.
1.9.2008 7:52pm
Linus (mail):

JUSTICE KENNEDY: You want us to invalidate a statute on the ground that it's a minor inconvenience to a small percentage of voters?

My wife does this kind of "rephrasing" to me all the time. I hate it.
1.9.2008 7:59pm
Why not me?:
Anyone else find it curious that Clement argued this case today and Gregory Garre argued the death penalty case? I've seen Garre argue before, and he's good, but I would have expected that Clement take the higher profile case. I assume that one case is not a lot more difficult than the other from amicus's point of view.
1.9.2008 8:09pm
genob:
I have read and understand the arguments of some of those who point out that the voter ID solution may be a sledgehammer for a the very small mail that is fraudulent voting. It's not a stretch to believe that a voter ID requirement might effectively exclude more valid voters than it prevents fraudulent votes.

But those critics never offer a solution. Even if voter fraud is uncommon and largely anectdotal, Kennedy's question is instructive. As a valid registered voter, there is absolutely nothing I can do to prevent a fraudulent voter from cancelling my vote and effectively disenfranchising me. It's more than a minor inconvenience, it's simply impossible. I cannot engage in any kind of self help to secure my right to vote.

On the other hand, any voter that doesn't have an ID probably can get one. If they can't for some reason, I agree the state needs to find a way to address that.

Balancing those two sides and the ability of the voter themselves to control their ability to cast a valid vote that really counts, it seems imposing a small inconvenience versus the impossiblility, an ID requirement probalby a good solution and certainly a legal one.

If there are more steps that can be taken to minimize fraudulent voting, we should take those steps too.
1.9.2008 8:10pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):
It is a solution looking for a problem. There's no need to offer an alternative solution, as there is no real problem to begin with.
1.9.2008 8:37pm
Why not me?:
Souter seemed pretty antagonistic to the attorney trying to invalidate the law.

A lot of the arguments that petitioners lack standing or that a facial challenge is inappropriate seem like bad arguments. Don't all the poll tax cases address those problems? There was never a whiff that we needed to inquire into individual voters' situations to determine what their total wealth was and how much the poll tax was and how much of a burden it would be, etc. Never a suggestion that someone needed to be turned away at the polls for failing to pay the tax before you can bring a lawsuit. And that seems right to me. It's up or down.
1.9.2008 8:46pm
genob:
Maybe it's rarely a practical problem. Just as it's pretty rare that someone who wants to vote would have a tough time obtaining the necessary ID.

But visit King County, Washington election offices sometime. In the last governor's race it was a problem.
1.9.2008 8:48pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Any person who can't bother to get a free voter ID card isn't intelligent enough or engaged enough in life and commerce to deserve to vote. Not that such an individual is likely at all to be worried about voting to begin with.

When even third world countries require photo ID and sometimes even finger prints to vote asking that voters in this country care enough and be engaged enough in the world around them to either already have a photo ID or get one for free from the state is the minimum we should do.

The people fighting this law should explain why it is so vitally important to our democracy to have people so uninformed, unengaged, and unconnected to the rest of the world that they don't already have a photo ID should be allowed to vote. If they are too stupid or too incapable of getting a free ID they are too stupid to be voting to begin with.

Here's another one. People who live off of the government instead of supporting themselves are under such a conflict of interest with regard to the tax paying public that they should be barred from voting until their conflict of interest has been removed.

Says the "Dog"
1.9.2008 8:50pm
Hmm:
There's another elephant in the room besides the de facto partisan implications.

1. Petitioners assert that there is no evidence of voter fraud.

2. Alberto Gonzales resigns in shame because he fired US Attorneys who refused to prosecute non-existent cases of voter fraud that the White House wanted prosecuted anyway.
1.9.2008 8:53pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
A lot of the arguments that petitioners lack standing or that a facial challenge is inappropriate seem like bad arguments. Don't all the poll tax cases address those problems? There was never a whiff that we needed to inquire into individual voters' situations to determine what their total wealth was and how much the poll tax was and how much of a burden it would be, etc. Never a suggestion that someone needed to be turned away at the polls for failing to pay the tax before you can bring a lawsuit. And that seems right to me. It's up or down.
Uh, that's because activists didn't try to invent a spurious argument for why poll taxes ought to be invalidated. They just amended the constitution to say that poll taxes were categorically invalid.
1.9.2008 9:11pm
Brett Bellmore:
Absent voter ID, how would you go about determining if impersonation fraud was taking place? I suppose, by going over the rolls of people who supposedly voted, and visiting a representative sample to see if they really exist, and did in fact vote. It's funny: Every time I've heard of somebody attempting that, it was labeled "voter harassment", and the courts were asked to stop it.

There's no evidence this type of fraud is frequent, and, darn it, nobody is going to be permitted to gather that evidence, either.
1.9.2008 9:12pm
Brett Bellmore:
Oh, this has got to smart:


WASHINGTON – On the eve of a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Indiana Voter ID law has become a story with a twist: One of the individuals used by opponents to the law as an example of how the law hurts older Hoosiers is registered to vote in two states.

Faye Buis-Ewing, 72, who has been telling the media she is a 50-year resident of Indiana, at one point in the past few years also claimed two states as her primary residence and received a homestead exemption on her property taxes in both (states.

Monday night from her Florida home, Ewing said she and her husband Frank “winter in Florida and summer in Indiana.” She admitted to registering to vote in both states, but stressed that she¹s never voted in Florida.
1.9.2008 9:49pm
Why not me?:
David M Nieporent:

Sorry, literacy tests. Not poll tax. My bad.
1.9.2008 9:56pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
1. Petitioners assert that there is no evidence of voter fraud.

2. Alberto Gonzales resigns in shame because he fired US Attorneys who refused to prosecute non-existent cases of voter fraud that the White House wanted prosecuted anyway.
I think that you would be more credible if you were claiming that there was little evidence of voter fraud, instead of that there was no evidence. Several people in the previous thread claimed personal knowledge of such, including one having found that someone had voted claiming to be he earlier in the day. Your claim sounds more like a DNC talking point or mantra, than based on reality. Besides, the trial court and appeals court found the methodology used to determine no fraud to be questionable.
1.9.2008 10:33pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I have a link on the previous thread about Faye Buis-Ewing. There is no evidence that she voted twice, or even tried to. But, there does seem to be evidence that she is really a resident of Florida, and not Indiana, where she was apparently refused the right to vote because she provided a Florida driver's license with a Florida address (and where she was also registered to vote and had claimed a homestead exemption for her house there, not available to non-residents).

My guess (as noted before) is that she has voted in Indiana for 50 years, and just assumed that she could continue to do so, despite really no longer being considered a resident there. And, notably, there is no indication that she has ever tried to vote in Florida.

Nevertheless, it is interesting that she was one of the people claiming to have been disenfranchised, but was likely not entitled to vote in Indiana, due to her Florida residence.
1.9.2008 10:41pm
Hmm:
You are right. "Little evidence" is better.

That doesn't change the point: Apparently some very powerful people are very worried that the dearth of reliable evidence of voter fraud seriously undermines the rationale for these laws.

Is it fair to say that Gonzales lost his job because, in part, he tried to make sure that voter ID cases never made it to the Supreme Court?
1.9.2008 11:01pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Wuzzagrunt,

Nice noting Tammany Hall. I agree that anyone really interested should read Plunkitt of Tammany Hall to understand some things.

As for this case, really, do you know anyone without an ID? I agree going to the DMV sucks and can be a real hassle, but c'mon. I think the worst of this is the challengers' arguments that basically say, "Blacks and Hispancis are too dumb to get IDs."
1.10.2008 1:19am
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/ plunkett-george/tammany-hall/
And yes, I know people without ID. I spent 2004 without ID, after I was told that I couldn't renew my license without a birth certificate, and couldn't get my birth certificate without my license. BMV denied me a hearing (a procedural due process violation) and I ended up having to hire a lawyer to get it sorted out. Expensive, time consuming, a hassle - I can see why many people don't bother, or try but fail.
1.10.2008 2:18am
ReaderY:
The Justices seem, in several cases including this and Crawford, to be mulling tighter standing requirements that would limit people's ability to bring challenges based on the possibility that a law will cause problems without proof it has actually done so to the named plaintiffs.
1.10.2008 2:18am
Fub:
arbitraryaardvark wrote at 1.10.2008 2:18am:
And yes, I know people without ID. I spent 2004 without ID, after I was told that I couldn't renew my license without a birth certificate, and couldn't get my birth certificate without my license. BMV denied me a hearing (a procedural due process violation) and I ended up having to hire a lawyer to get it sorted out. Expensive, time consuming, a hassle - I can see why many people don't bother, or try but fail.
Thanks for speaking up. I thought I was the only reader of this blog who "isn't intelligent enough or engaged enough in life and commerce to deserve to vote."

I've been going through much the same runaround circus for months, except for SS card and state ID. Neither agency will budge an inch or permit any alternative means to establish citizenship, and neither one will accept a certified birth certificate for that purpose.

Right now I'm expecting to be refused the right to vote in November. It will be the first time I haven't voted in a general election in about 40 years. Right now the state and federal governments both consider me a non-person, except for purposes of paying taxes.

Hmmm. Maybe that was the real reason for passing these laws -- to create a population who can't vote, can't leave, and must pay taxes.
1.10.2008 6:18am
Federal Dog:
"And yes, I know people without ID. I spent 2004 without ID, after I was told that I couldn't renew my license without a birth certificate, and couldn't get my birth certificate without my license"


I have no idea where you were born, but a very similar thing happened to me, and I had no problem at all getting my birth certificate without a license. Expired ID worked just fine for that purpose.
1.10.2008 8:01am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
For you two guys who can't get drivers licenses. I'm sure your situations are far more complicated than you describe, but that be as it may you aren't required to get a drivers license photo ID to vote. States that pass these laws provide a free and easy to get voter ID card. Voter registration and a utility bill is about all that's required to get a picture voter ID.

Now if you are so unconnected from the real world and unengaged in commerce and society that you are incapable of getting a free voter photo ID that is as easy to get and easier to get than I described above, then you don't deserve to vote so stop crying about it.

Your I can't get a drivers license meme's are inapplicable.

Says the "Dog"
1.10.2008 8:59am
Al Maviva (mail):
No evidence of voter fraud, eh?

My absentee ballot was stolen out of the mails and voted in the 2000 election. I'd say that's evidence of voter fraud.
1.10.2008 9:00am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
Given that she's registered in both states, should she be considered an Illinois voter or a Florida voter?

When informed that the Florida voter office said she’d registered personally in 2002 for a Florida voter card, and that this newspaper had a copy of her application, Ewing said, “Well, why did I do that? I'm confused. I can’t recall.


Definitely a Florida voter.
[rimshot]
1.10.2008 9:42am
Aultimer:

JYLD: When even third world countries require photo ID and sometimes even finger prints to vote asking that voters in this country care enough and be engaged enough in the world around them to either already have a photo ID or get one for free from the state is the minimum we should do.

I, for one, think it a good thing that we have a less onerous procedure for voting than such "third world countries." It's shocking to me that the convenience of government is even close to a sufficient reason to force citizens to carry identity papers.

Voter fraud is bad, but this is worse.
1.10.2008 9:56am
BD:
It's simply a fact of life that you need a valid ID as well as a SSN in order to function normally in the modern world. Assuming the Indiana law is upheld, you can add voting to the list of things for which ID is or may be needed. (I recently had to show my driver's license to pick up my son early from school!)

The vast majority of Americans have already adjusted to this reality. Anyone who hasn't, really needs to. Offhand, I can think of at least three pressing issues that are likely to increase the importance of having personal ID: (1) identity theft; (2) illegal immigration; (3) post-9/11 security measures.

For the small percentage of the population that are experiencing problems in obtaining valid ID, the solution is to find ways to cut through the red tape. However, this doesn't seem to be a problem in regard to the Indiana statute.
1.10.2008 10:12am
BD:
Aultimer: What do you mean by "convenience of government"? The reason for voter ID is to protect legal voters. How does it make life more "convenient" for the government to put voter ID measures in place?

I can't believe people are opposed to this. We had a presidential election in 2000 decided by 500 or so votes in Florida. Back then, people were up in arms about making "every vote count." Now, some of those same people don't seem to care enough to support a common-sense measure to ensure the integrity of elections.

Also, this isn't about "forcing citizens to carry identity papers." (a) Nobody is being "forced" to do anything. (b) As for "carrying," it's once a year (on Election Day). (c) The requirement for identifying yourself isn't the novel aspect of the law. When you show at a polling station to vote, you ALREADY have to identify yourself by name to the poll worker in order to be given a ballot. All the Indiana law does is require that they check your ID rather than just take your word for it. It's not as if previous law allowed people to show up and vote anonymously.
1.10.2008 10:29am
Another Kevin (mail):
I must be odd. In my thirty-plus years as a voter, which have included several transcontinental moves, I don't think I've even once voted in a polling place where the poll workers were all strangers. Usually, I wind up greeting them while signing in with things like, "Hi, Ken. Is Nancy working this election too?" "Hi, Ann. How's your daughter making out at college?"

I dread the day that the law requires my neighbours to treat me like a fraudster.
1.10.2008 10:38am
Mike Gallo (mail):
Aultimer-

This is not about convenience of government, it's about the rights of voters to NOT have their vote invalidated by another private citizen (or a non-citizen) engaging in fraud. Voting is one of the most important, if not the most important, way that we exercise our authority. For the government NOT to take action against voter fraud is to fail in one of their most fundamental charges.
1.10.2008 10:55am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
The majority opinion at in the 7th Circuit pointed out that diluting your vote is as bad as not allowing you to vote. So, it isn't just that identity theft is rampant, and does happen at the voting booth, but also that people who vote early and often disenfranchise those on the other side who only vote once and do it legally.
1.10.2008 11:23am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Here is a link to the story about Faye Buis-Ewing: Voter cited by opponents of Indiana's ID law registered in two states

This is also a precautionary tale in response to Another Kevin above. Absent the photo ID law, Mrs. would likely have been allowed to vote. She had voted in Indiana for maybe 50 years, and much of that apparently at the same polling place among her neighbors. But there seems to be a lot of evidence that she was no longer eligible to vote there.

This isn't a country where you can vote anywhere you want around the country. Rather, it typically has to be your primary residence. I sure wasn't happy voting in MD some 30 years ago when I was living in the DC area. Rather, I would rather have done what Mrs. Buis-Ewing was trying to do, vote back home (in my case CO) where I knew the issues and candidates. I am now spending more time in NV than CO, so have to switch my voter registration again. This will be the sixth state that I have been registered in, all the while thinking of myself as on TDY from my home in CO. It doesn't help that I can pick up 850 KOA from Denver here after dark, and as a result am much better up on CO politics than NV politics.

The problem is that if I were allowed to vote in CO, or Mrs. Buis-Ewing (probably) in Indiana, I/we would be diluting the votes of those who were legally entitled to vote in our respective states. That would clearly affect state wide and lower level races, but also through the Electoral College, national races.
1.10.2008 11:55am
Ralph Phelan (mail):
Bruce Hayden:

I could imagine a reasonably fair system in which folks like you and Buis-Ewing were allowed to pick their residence based on preferred affiliation.

But there's no excuse for registering twice, and I hope she gets prosecuted.
1.10.2008 12:12pm
David M Nieporent is wrong:
The Poll Tax amendment only applies to federal elections. It applies to state elections through the Equal Protection Clause, in which case you would have to show standing. So the poll tax cases ARE relevant and they show that the new as-applied and standing requirements are contemporary inventions by conservative judicial activists.
1.10.2008 12:59pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
I really admire Associate Justice Kennedy; however, I have a big problem with the assumptions being made in the below question:

"JUSTICE KENNEDY: You want us to invalidate a statute on the ground that it's a minor inconvenience to a small percentage of voters"

How do we square the assumptions (obtaining a photo ID for voting is "a minor inconvenience") with (1) Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act, and (2) the Supreme Court's prior precedent in Goodman v. Georgia?

I can most certainly say from first hand personal experience, it can be a MAJOR DISABILITY BARRIER -- even impossible or nearly impossible -- for certain disabled people to perform the tasks (travel to get the photo ID, communicate with State officials of the desire to get the photo ID, and go into and about the physical building to get the photo ID). This is why Title II of the ADA mandates these Satte public entities and officials to remove (1)architectural, (2) transportation, and (3) communication barriers.

I know some States are better than others at the mandatory Title II ADA access compliance, but I can certainly say that the State of Florida does not train or adequately train State officials in its public entities about the mandatory access requirements of Title II of the ADA, has a Statewide policy of budget cutting that evisceerates Title II ADA access compliance, and as a result, it would be impossible for millions of disabled Florida voters to obtain such a photo voter ID -- thereby disenfranchsing millions of voters from voting in the elections.

In sum, the assumption it would be "a minor inconvenience" really lacks factual support that would demonstrate otherwise that there are MAJOR BARRIERS to a protected class of voters. And isn't it a no brainer that millions of disabled shut-in coters vote by absentee ballot sue precisely to the above-mentioned BARRIERS?

Perhaps if the States were required to make ALL their business accessible by electronic Internet (e.g. capture the photo for the ID by webcam, then mail the finished photo ID to the residence of the voter), such BARRIERS would be overcome.

I just could not help mentioning this apparent oversight, possibly due to the lawyers arguing the case being A-B-C-D test takers who cannot think outside the box to the BARRIERS faces every day by a certain protected group of the very voters they attempt to argue about.

Very reminiscent of the Sec. 508-type flaws in the Supreme Court's somewhat recent in forma Pauperis prison inmate case where it was held that prisoners are required to fill out prison grievance forms, forms to exhauset administrative remedies, and IFP forms that are no Sec. 508 accessible -- another decision very hard to reconcile with Goodman v. Georgia.
1.10.2008 1:46pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
corr: "millions of disabled shut-in coters vote by absentee ballot sue precisely to the above-mentioned BARRIERS" - millions of disabled shut-in voters vote by absentee ballot sue precisely to the above-mentioned BARRIERS
1.10.2008 1:50pm
snoey (mail):
Al Maviva is correct that absentee ballots are a known source of fraud.

Curiously, none of the new voter ID laws apply to them.
1.10.2008 2:08pm
BD:
"I dread the day that the law requires my neighbours to treat me like a fraudster."

And I dread the day when legislators are powerless to adopt common-sense measures to close a known loophole that enables untold thousands of people to cast illegal ballots, thus corrupting the democratic system on which my neighbors' liberty ultimately depends.
1.10.2008 2:11pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):
millions of disabled shut-in voters vote by absentee ballot sue precisely to the above-mentioned BARRIERS


If they're shut-ins, and they're already voting by absentee ballot, of what relevance is their inability to get the ID that they don't need because they can't get to the polling station anyway?
1.10.2008 2:16pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
could imagine a reasonably fair system in which folks like you and Buis-Ewing were allowed to pick their residence based on preferred affiliation.
Part of the problem I see with this is that there would likely be a lot of strategic registrations. Thus, a Democrat in WY might be tempted to register to vote down in CO, which is much more of a swing state, maybe in Fort Collins, which is where they often shop anyway. So, just combine the monthly shopping trip with voting on election day, and the election dynamics have changed down in CO. Indeed, there is an added incentive, since not only does WY have few Democrats, CO has a lot more electoral votes.
1.10.2008 2:25pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):
Bruce Hayden:

Allowing people to register in their "sentimental home" would be hard to do well, and probably isn't worth the trouble. I wasn't arguing in favor of it, just saying it was concievably valid, to distinguish it from what Buis Ewing did, which was to register in two places at the same time.
1.10.2008 2:35pm
Bunbury (mail):
And I dread the day when legislators are powerless to adopt common-sense measures to close a known loophole that enables untold thousands of people to cast illegal ballots, thus corrupting the democratic system on which my neighbors' liberty ultimately depends.


Agreed. This is one of the easiest calls of all time. Anybody who thinks that voter fraud isn't a problem is deluding themselves. Fraud is afundamental strategy of several interest groups, the key electoral "ground game" of many politicians. Without felons voting in Florida, there is no need for Bush v. Gore. It's been going on for years. Take a look at James Michael Curley, the "Rascal King" and mayor of Boston. Has Chicago ever had a clean election? The photo ID requirement will affect few Americans, who alredy can't walk into an airport, buy a beer, buy cigarettes etc., without one.
1.10.2008 3:03pm
Loren (mail):
Another Kevin,

I'll see your

"I don't think I've even once voted in a polling place where the poll workers were all strangers."

with my having lived in the same house for 20 years, and voted in every election and NEVER had a poll worker ever be anything other than a complete stranger.

Perhaps it is that those workers tend to be at least 15 to 30 years my senior, said workers not socializing in the same group as I, my working 20 miles from my home, and living in an urban environment that causes my experience to be so vastly different than yours.

I have often wondered what could be done if I showed up at the polls after work, and went to sign the book, only to find someoneelse had already signed for me. In Minnesota, there is no example signature to compare to, only a line on the printout next to my name and address to sign on. The poll workers have no way to know whether I am who I am or "Fred Turner" down the block.
1.10.2008 3:56pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Sorry, literacy tests. Not poll tax. My bad.
That doesn't work either, though. That was banned by statute, not by litigation over how much of a burden it imposed on voters.

The other difference, of course, is factual: literacy tests were clearly pretextual. The argument against them wasn't mere disparate impact, as the argument here is; the argument is that they were created and openly used to keep blacks from voting, without people even making a pretense that they were being applied fairly. Even if people believe the secret motive behind ID laws is political, such laws are applied objectively and not arbitrarily.
1.10.2008 4:01pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):
"In Minnesota, there is no example signature to compare to, only a line on the printout next to my name and address to sign on."

In NH there isn't even that, I just tell the little old lady I don't know my name, she looks it up and asks my address (which I can easily read upside down) and I give it to her, and she draws a line through my entry.

I also have no idea what I would do if I got there and I had already been crossed off. Sue the state for infringing on my rights by not requiring a picture ID?
1.10.2008 4:04pm
FantasiaWHT:
Lots of things are "burdens" on voting.

Having to register is a burden. Having to travel a short distance is a burden. Having polls only open one day is a burden.

Those and other burdens probably stop some people from voting because it's too much of a hassle. I don't see a voter ID requirement as significantly more hassle-inducing than the current procedures.

I've always wanted to see the thumb-dipped-in-indelible ink trick. The people committing impersonation fraud aren't voting just once in any election.
1.10.2008 5:48pm
Fub:
JunkYardLawDog wrote at 1.10.2008 8:59am:
For you two guys who can't get drivers licenses. I'm sure your situations are far more complicated than you describe, but that be as it may you aren't required to get a drivers license photo ID to vote. States that pass these laws provide a free and easy to get voter ID card. Voter registration and a utility bill is about all that's required to get a picture voter ID.
You may be sure, but you're incorrect on the facts. I know my own experience.

I am a native born citizen of the USA.

I don't have a passport.

My SS card vanished decades ago. SSA still keeps accounts of my FICA / SE tax payments and sends the accounting regularly, so I know that they know who I am and where I live, and have lived for over 35 years.

My DL expired a few years ago. I never bothered because I didn't need it until this photo ID voting law passed.

Now, every time I contact the SSA or the state DMV, the answers are the same:

State DMV: present us your SS card or a passport, or we won't issue you a state ID card.

Fed SSA: present a valid DL, state ID card, or passport, or we won't issue you a replacement SS card.

There are no other complicating factors. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zed. Zero.

I've heard the same recital from both agencies plenty of times over the past couple years.

When the photo ID requirement kicks in this November, it may mark the first general election in which I haven't voted in 40 years.
Now if you are so unconnected from the real world and unengaged in commerce and society that you are incapable of getting a free voter photo ID that is as easy to get and easier to get than I described above, then you don't deserve to vote so stop crying about it.
Perhaps your erroneous belief about "complicating factors" is related to your inability to tell the difference between stating facts and "crying about it".
Your I can't get a drivers license meme's are inapplicable.
Except that it isn't a meme. It's a fact. And I'm not trying to get a DL. I'm trying to get a photo ID.
1.11.2008 2:22am
DiverDan (mail):

It is a solution looking for a problem. There's no need to offer an alternative solution, as there is no real problem to begin with.


The assumption that there "is no real problem" with voter fraud does not logically follow from the finding that "there is little evidence" of voter fraud. Voter fraud at the polling place, whether from allowing unregistered or ineligible voters to vote, or allowing individuals to vote multiple times at many polling places by using false identity papers, is: (a) rarely looked for, whether because of political decisions (i.e., Chicago during the Daley era), or because it is just a low priority for both prosecutors and law enforcement; and (b)almost impossible to catch in the absence of photo ID laws. Assume that someone votes in my name using a false ID, or no ID at all, at 12:15 p.m. (during the noon hour - usually a busy time), and I show up at 5:45 p.m. after work, only to be denied my vote. Even if I file a complaint, what are the chances that the imposter will be caught? Even if, by some miracle the imposter is caught, the chance of a successful prosecution is low since there will be no solid evidence (other than the questionable memory of a poll worker harried by the noon rush) that the imposter was the one who voted improperly. Thus, I am hardly surprised that there is "little evidence" of voter fraud - I am more surprised that there is any evidence at all, other than in blatant cases like the Daley Machine in Chicago shipping buses of winos around to different polling places with the Ward Boss handing out new Voter information at each stop. The simple fact is that voter fraud changed the outcome of a presidential election in 1960; without the Chicago fraud by the Daley Machine, Richard Nixon wins Illinois, and the electoral vote, instead of that overrated hack Kennedy. That should be enough to take steps to stop this problem.
1.11.2008 12:10pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
FUB, why are you talking to the DMV if what you claim you want is a VOTER photo ID. A drivers license and a voter photo ID are not necessarily the same thing nor issued by the same agency.

What have you done to get a new/replacement social security card? They are not hard to get at all so what's the problem?

What did you do with your expired drivers license?

In what city do you live and how far is your residence from your place of work?

Try speaking to them in a heavy mexican accent. That should keep them from asking you any tough questions and you should get your ids ASAP. Dress up like an illegal alien and go to the DMV and ask for a drivers license application. Tell them you don't have a previous drivers license, and you left your Mexican government counselor card at home. Take the drivers test and get your license.

Says the "Dog"
1.11.2008 12:42pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
FUB, your basic mistake is in appearing to be a white male citizen of the USA. That places you in the category of having the least possible rights and empathy from government workers.

Says the "Dog"
1.11.2008 12:44pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Fub, and for God's sake don't tell any of these government workers you are a Christian. That will only make things worse.

Says the "Dog"
1.11.2008 12:44pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
FUB, from your story I assume you don't have a checking account or savings account and never try to cash a check. That you don't have a credit card and never try to use your credit card to buy anything. You claim you've had no picture ID for years and you can't do any of the above without a drivers license or other state issued picture ID.

So how do you make a living all cash, tax cheat, pot grower or what?

Says the "Dog"
1.11.2008 12:47pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
FUB, last pointer. Vote absentee ballot. You don't need a drivers license or voter photo ID for that. Since you are apparently absent from life with no checking account, credit cards, or means of personal transportation for the last several years voting absentee ballot would seem to be quite appropriate.

Says the "Dog"
1.11.2008 12:50pm
liberty (mail) (www):
Fub,

All you should need to get a ss card is a birth certificate.
1.11.2008 1:12pm
Fub:
I'll try to respond to all questions in this barrage in one post.

JunkYardLawDog wrote:
FUB, why are you talking to the DMV if what you claim you want is a VOTER photo ID. A drivers license and a voter photo ID are not necessarily the same thing nor issued by the same agency.
Because in my state the DMV is the agency that issues photo ID cards soon to be required for voting.
What have you done to get a new/replacement social security card? They are not hard to get at all so what's the problem?
SSA's response to my inquiries attempting to get a replacement card is as I stated it above: SSA wants a passport or a state photo ID. They told me they accept nothing else.

They require a birth cert and an SS# to issue benefits checks, but that's different from the requirements for replacement cards.
What did you do with your expired drivers license?
Still have it, contra to DMV's instructions to destroy it. Whether I am admitting to a crime there, I don't know. But the DMV refused to issue an ID card based on my expired DL, because (they told me) "it's not a valid DL", and they told me to destroy my expired DL.
In what city do you live and how far is your residence from your place of work?
Irrelevant, and none of your business. But distance to nearest DMV (that is also close to an SSA office) is 7 to 10 miles, which I travel by bus and bicycle.
Try speaking to them in a heavy mexican accent. ...
I've considered that. But I continue to deal with them honestly.

JunkYardLawDog wrote:
FUB, from your story I assume you don't have a checking account or savings account and never try to cash a check. That you don't have a credit card and never try to use your credit card to buy anything. You claim you've had no picture ID for years and you can't do any of the above without a drivers license or other state issued picture ID.
Your assumptions are incorrect. I've had accounts with the same bank for about 40 years, with associated cards since they began issuing them 30+ years ago. I have other accounts for securities, annuities, and other financial instruments. I never needed a DL or PID either to withdraw cash, deposit checks or cash, transfer funds between accounts, or for merchant transactions with the card.
So how do you make a living all cash, tax cheat, pot grower or what?
My means of support are legal, and I pay taxes honestly. Have you stopped beating your wife?

JunkYardLawDog wrote:
FUB, last pointer. Vote absentee ballot. You don't need a drivers license or voter photo ID for that. Since you are apparently absent from life with no checking account, credit cards, or means of personal transportation for the last several years voting absentee ballot would seem to be quite appropriate.
Absentee ballot might be viable. I haven't tried that yet. Otherwise your above conclusions about my life are entirely erroneous.

liberty wrote:
All you should need to get a ss card is a birth certificate.
Not in my recent experience. SSA does not allow a birth cert for identification purposes, only for purposes of establishing place and date of birth (for citizenship and SS eligibility purposes) after identity is established. Establishing identity for benefit eligibility also does not require a picture ID, only an SS# and history of transactions with SSA.

That's what the SSA told me.

I have considered the possibility that the responses I've gotten from DMV and SSA over the past couple years may be the result of my believing the statements of ill-informed agency personnel. In that case I've encountered only ill-informed personnel on the occasions that I've contacted the agencies. It raises the question of how to find correctly informed personnel within the agencies.
1.11.2008 6:17pm
GCB (mail):
Fub, just wander up to the DMV office and say something like, "Hi, I need to renew my driver's license." The set of acceptable documents needed to renew a DL are probably much more extensive. A utility bill should do the trick. If you have any military papers, like a DD-214, that should also help.
1.12.2008 1:04am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"If they're shut-ins, and they're already voting by absentee ballot, of what relevance is their inability to get the ID that they don't need because they can't get to the polling station anyway?" ---> ask a stupid question, and you are likely to get a stupid A-B-C-D test taker beureaucratic answer. The A-B-C-D test takers that populate government, at leats I can speak for Florida, use their "common sense" which leads them to apply the voter ID requirement to both polling places and access to an absentee ballot.

See, otherwise, according to the line of thinking the A-B-C-D linear beaureaucratic thinkers, if the voter ID requirement does nto apply to both the polling place AND the absentee ballot, then voting by absentee ballot could be used for committing election fraud by one Republican voter voting in multiple places by absentee. In such a case, what political party would recommend anyone vote at the polling place, rather than by absentee?

"What did you do with your expired drivers license?" ---->

Well in FLORIDA, the state that has such lousy drivers license computer records security that the State Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles effectively aided the 9-11 hijackers with multiple drivers license IDs to be able to board airplanes, even if a person moves to Florida and turns in another State's valid (non-expired) driver's license, FLORIDA DHSMV WILL TAMPER WITH THE COMPUTER DATABASE RECORDS TO REMOVE AS MUCH AS A 23 YEAR DRIVER'S LICENSE HISTORY IN THE PREDECESSOR STATE FROM THE COMPUTER DATABASE RECORDS TO EVISCERATE A PERSON'S IDENTITY!

This way, donntchaknow, those people who are over 50 years old under the RealID Act can have more than a 40 year safe driving history completely eviscerated by database deletion -- along with their identity -- so all sorts of "Counterterrorism" *concerns* can be simply be made up out of thin air about them.

Like, e.g., that they are "blind" or "unable to see" rendering them by virture of the fabricated blindness to be irrebuttably "incompetent," or causing others to believe they never actually tested to obtain their driver's license but were simply "given out" a driver's license like candy, or that they may not have a 40 year stable mental/emotional driving history, 40 years demonstrated safe driving abilities, and a 40 year non-criminal background.

Great fodder for all those derivative background database checkpoints used by the Feds to go after suspected "terrorists."

THAT WAY, it is SO EASY, donchaknow, to fabricate a "terrorist" so Barry Sabin can *get the numbers up* to make it look to the President and Congress like he is doing something useful ...

and the rest of us end up with the Detriot Sleeper Cell bungle (Sabin supervised), lack of supporting evidence in gun case prosecutions (Sabin), the Miami homeless mentally disabled "Terrorist Cell" trying to get some money for food and shelter, etc.

Oh, and I forgot, "AnnTM," who was an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals law clerk with no medical license, is ever so much help in this Sabinesque Orweillian respect by making up psychiatric evaluations for the "Counterterrorism" program just so we all can know who Sabin's next "future homegrown terrorist" Teddy Kazinsky might turn out to be --

it could be anyone of us, or all of us!

And wait until Florida DHSMV finds out "AnnTM's" non-licensed "psychiatric diagnoses" made their way into Florida DHSMV's drivers license databases ... say, wonder if "AnnTM" diagnoses phony "blindless" conditions, too.

And so, we enter the World of Alice in Underland -- who can ever know anymore who anyone really is before someone boards an airplane.
1.12.2008 11:42am
markm (mail):
Adam K:
"I just have to wonder how anyone ever voted in this country before the government started issuing laminated pieces of plastic with their pictures on them." In rural areas, the poll workers once knew nearly everyone in their district, and that's the most reliable form of identification. They'd also have heard about anyone newly moved in, and could check the bona fides of any strangers with a few questions about their new home.

And in the cities, there was lots of corruption...
1.14.2008 12:15am
markm (mail):
Diver Dan: "The simple fact is that voter fraud changed the outcome of a presidential election in 1960; without the Chicago fraud by the Daley Machine, Richard Nixon wins Illinois, and the electoral vote, instead of that overrated hack Kennedy."

Look it up. By my arithmetic, switch Illinois's electoral votes from Kennedy to Nixon and Kennedy still wins. OTOH, Texas was also a very close race with allegations of voting fraud by the Democrats, and Illinois + Texas certainly would have changed the winner.
1.14.2008 12:22am