pageok
pageok
pageok
Justice Stevens and the Ghost of Mayor Daley:

John Fund speculates that Justice Stevens' experience with the rough-and-tumble world of Daley-era Chicago politics may have influenced his decision in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board.

Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the decision, grew up in Hyde Park. . . . [He saw] how the Daley machine has governed the city for so many years, with a mix of patronage, contract favoritism and, where necessary, voter fraud.

That fraud became nationally famous in 1960, when the late Mayor Richard J. Daley's extraordinary efforts swung Illinois into John F. Kennedy's column. In 1982, inspectors estimated as many as one in 10 ballots cast in Chicago during that year's race for governor to be fraudulent for various reasons, including votes by the dead.

Mr. Stevens witnessed all of this as a lawyer, special counsel to a commission rooting out corruption in state government, and as a judge. On the Supreme Court, this experience has made him very mindful of these abuses. In 1987, the high court vacated the conviction of a Chicago judge who'd used the mails to extort money. He wrote a stinging dissent, taking the rare step of reading it from the bench. The majority opinion, he noted, could rule out prosecutions of elected officials and their workers for using the mails to commit voter fraud.

Three years later, Justice Stevens ordered Cook County officials to stop printing ballots that excluded a slate of black candidates who were challenging the Daley machine. The full court later ordered the black candidates back on the ballot.

With this experience Justice Stevens was quite ready to accept that the state had sufficient interests in election integrity and voter confidence to justify the Voter ID rule. Thus, Stevens was unwilling to void the Indiana law on the basis of speculative claims about the law's potential impact. As Stevens' opinion stressed, "on the basis of the record that has been made in this litigation, we cannot conclude that the statute imposes 'excessively burdensome requirements' on any class of voters." (Slip. Op. at 18, emphasis added). Further, Stevens had little patience for his colleagues who were more willing to rely upon speculative claims or evidence that was not before the Court, writing in a Footnote (that responded to Justice Souter's dissent): "Supposition based on extensive Internet research is not an adequate substitute for admissible evidence subject to cross-examination in constitutional adjudication." (Slip Op. at 19, FN 20). To some it may be obvious that requiring photo identification to vote is an undue burden on the right to vote. To Justice Stevens, that is a claim that has to supported with record evidence, and such burdens need to be weighed against the state's interests.

I'm still working my way through the opinions. For more on the case, see this round-up of reportage and commentary from Rick Hasen.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Justice Stevens and the Ghost of Mayor Daley:
  2. Supremes Reject Challenge to Voter ID Law:
ithaqua (mail):
"Supposition based on extensive Internet research is not an adequate substitute for admissible evidence subject to cross-examination in constitutional adjudication."

No! It's not possible! It can't be true! (screams like Luke Skywalker at the end of TESB)
4.29.2008 8:51am
Randy R. (mail):
I have no problem with the intent of this law, which is to prevent voter fraud. However, I believe that a voter ID requirement is not the issue of whether it burden's your right to vote. The real issue is whether the necessary ID is difficult or burdensome for anyone to obtain. In some places, the answer may be yes, in others, the answer is no, and probably in others, it's mixed. Therefore, it would require a case by case analysis of whether any voter can easily and cheaply obtain the ID. A blanket greenlight would open the door to voter disenfranchisement.

Some of alleged that the Republicans are imposing this law as a way to make it more difficult for the poor and the elderly to vote, because they assume that they will vote Democratic. If this supposition is true, then it's actually fairly amusing -- it shows that the Republicans, after 20 years in power, still can't make a case for the poor and the elderly. I would also suspect that the effort will backfire in this election, where we have seen record numbers of Democrats signing up for the first time to vote.
4.29.2008 8:53am
kadet (mail):
What bugs me about this is the intellectual dishonesty of the people(Fund) who claim the new law is addressing a real problem. It isn't.
will the unnecessary law written to address a nonexistrant problem will disenfranchise enough real people to matter?
4.29.2008 8:54am
Randy R. (mail):
""Supposition based on extensive Internet research is not an adequate substitute for admissible evidence subject to cross-examination in constitutional adjudication."

in other words, don't bother us with facts we find inconvenient.

Okay, as a lawyer, I understand that decisions should be made upon evidence admissible in the court of law. There are good solid reasons to prevent the jury from seeing anything, because it might prejudice them in a certain way.

However, this is NOT a court as fact-finder (ie, determing whether the light was red or green). It's a panel of appellate judges reviewing a law, and that law will affect public policy for years to come. In such a case, extensive research can and should be done. Why limit the information? Is one side really that scared that there are facts that would go against them? If so, they should be discussed in briefs or argument.
4.29.2008 8:58am
Jay:
"Is one side really that scared that there are facts that would go against them? If so, they should be discussed in briefs or argument."

You're making Stevens's point. It's difficult to address such "facts" in your brief when no one has brought them up until the judge's law clerks look them up after argument in chambers. Also, (sit down before reading this) everything you find on the internet might not be true.
4.29.2008 9:21am
bittern (mail):
J.A. Thanks for the post. Fund's explanation has believable quality.
4.29.2008 9:25am
Irony:
Funny Souter would use internet research when he doesn't really believe in electricity.
4.29.2008 9:26am
Temp Guest (mail):

What bugs me about this is the intellectual dishonesty of the people(Fund) who claim the new law is addressing a real problem. It isn't


perhaps you ought to read the material before you critique it, e.g.,


That fraud became nationally famous in 1960, when the late Mayor Richard J. Daley's extraordinary efforts swung Illinois into John F. Kennedy's column. In 1982, inspectors estimated as many as one in 10 ballots cast in Chicago during that year's race for governor to be fraudulent for various reasons, including votes by the dead.

We understand that survival of the Democrat party depends on voter fraud and enfranchisement of felons and illegal aliens, but this is not a policy argument that will appeal to most Americans.
4.29.2008 9:42am
GV:
I guess Justice Stevens wanted to signal to future litigants that citing BruceM’s anonymous blog comments as “some authority” is just not acceptable. Pity.
4.29.2008 9:44am
PersonFromPorlock:
This is probably a case of 'no harm no foul' but, given the federal government's longstanding lack of interest in pursuing voter fraud, probably not much good either.
4.29.2008 9:48am
BBB (mail):
Jay, why do you want extensive research to be done by the court when it has already been done extensively by the Indiana legislature? Instead of trying to guess the right approach from research that will prove inconclusive, why not do what the Court is doing: let the states act as labratories of democracy. Some states will pass these laws, some will not. Let's see how it affects voting and then we can better analyze why the voting was affected. Personally, I think there is a lot more fraud than people want to admit, but I also think there are a lot more people without IDs who have every right to vote than people want to admit. The big question is how many of these types try to vote as it is and will be kept from voting under law. The law has very generous controls for indigents.
4.29.2008 9:49am
Justin (mail):
How many things can you find wrong with this sentence?

In 1982, (1) inspectors (2) estimated (3) as many as one in 10 ballots cast in Chicago during that year's race (4) for governor to be fraudulent for (5) various reasons, (6) including votes by the dead.

I find six, without looking that hard. Remember the premise - that there was fraud that tainted the 1960(!) Presidential election.
4.29.2008 9:50am
T. Gracchus (mail):
As Stevens' opinion acknowledges, the locus of most voter fraud is absentee balloting. The law ignores that, making the remainder of the argument a little odd.
4.29.2008 10:10am
Andrew Paterson (mail):
The Chicago voter fraud was(is?) real. I witnessed it personally one spring primary in the early 60s while stopped for lunch in the Madison Avenue (Flophouse/Bowery)part of town. The bars are closed on election day, and conveniently the bar was the polling place. In the front door to vote. Out the side door to be met by the ward committeeman or pol helper who handed out a pint of cheap wine. Then get back in line to vote again. The self replenishing line was about 50 to 60 permanent resident winos. How many hundreds of votes they cast that day???
4.29.2008 10:30am
frankcross (mail):
I don't doubt this, but Stevens' opinion is curious. First, the use of "Internet" with research seems meant to be demeaning. That is very odd, as if the tool somehow intrinsically undermines the quality of the research. Second, if Fund is right, it certainly seems irrational to be influenced by 25 year old localized personal experience, rather than contemporaneous research, if if it does come from the Internet.
4.29.2008 11:03am
bittern (mail):
Andrew, they gave out a pint for each circle through the bar? Seems you could get more cooperation by being a bit more stingy.

If the vote-counters are crooked, an ID isn't much help. If absentee ballots are fraudulent, an ID isn't much help. A solution in search of a problem, no?

frankcross, welcome to the human race; who's a guy going to believe, some scientist or his own eyes?
4.29.2008 11:14am
Tony Tutins (mail):
http://www.leinsdorf.com/kennedy.htm
If the numbers on this website can be believed, many fewer votes were cast for Kennedy in Chicago (Cook County) than would have been expected:

In Illinois, Kennedy squeeked to victory while Otto Kerner, the Democratic candidate for Governor, and Paul Douglas, the Democratic candidate for Senate were winning by huge margins. The House Delegation was also Democratic by 14 to 11. So, 1960 was a Democratic year in Illinois.

In Cook County, Kennedy got 1,378,343 to Nixon's 1,059,607. Kerner got 1,455,674 to his Republican opponent's 937,625; and Douglas received 1,407,775 to his opponent's 970,050 votes. So, in Cook County, Nixon was running as much as 100,000 votes ahead of other Republicans, while Kennedy was trailing the other Democrats by 30,000 to 50,000. How could votes be stolen for Kennedy which result in his running behind the other Democrats while Nixon was running far ahead of other Republicans?
4.29.2008 11:22am
Andrew Paterson (mail):
T.T. plausible denial.
Bittern "If the vote-counters are crooked, an ID isn't much help. If absentee ballots are fraudulent, an ID isn't much help. A solution in search of a problem, no?" Agree. This will always be a problem in a one party town (state?), where no opposition party (or party worker) bothers to show up because... they have no candidate on the ballot, they know they will lose, resources are limited, etc.
4.29.2008 11:35am
Dave N (mail):
How many things can you find wrong with this sentence?

In 1982, (1) inspectors (2) estimated (3) as many as one in 10 ballots cast in Chicago during that year's race (4) for governor to be fraudulent for (5) various reasons, (6) including votes by the dead.

I find six, without looking that hard. Remember the premise - that there was fraud that tainted the 1960(!) Presidential election.
The problem with Justin's snark is that Fund was not talking about the 1960 Presidential election in that sentence. He was instead (shock of shocks) talking about the 1982 gubernatorial election in Illinois.

Justin might have even realized this if he had done a five minute Google search--though that would not have fulfilled his agenda of demonizing anything ever said from the right.

Now, in fairness to Justin and his desire to snark, I realize that Fund's parapgraph structure was not particularly clear and Fund provided no supporting details for that sentence.

However, the Heritage Foundation has a long, detailed report on fraud in the 1982 election, summarized as follows:
Chicago, however, is known for its fires, and there was a roaring one there in 1982 that resulted in one of the largest voter fraud prosecutions ever conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice. The telltale smoke arose out of one of the closest governor's races in Illi­nois history; and as for the fire, the U.S. Attorney in Chicago at the time, Daniel Webb, estimated that at least 100,000 fraudulent votes (10 percent of all votes in the city) had been cast. Sixty-five individuals were indicted for federal election crimes, and all but two (one found incompetent to stand trial and another who died) were convicted.
4.29.2008 12:01pm
NaG (mail):
Justice Stevens is obviously correct that the Supreme Court is not the proper time for anyone to be introducing new evidence. However, isn't that precisely what a majority of amicus briefs do on a regular basis? Especially in big cases, groups come out of the woodwork to argue how a decision by the Court will positively or negatively affect them -- evidence that surely was not introduced at trial since these groups rarely know the case existed at the trial stage. A lot of amici throw in historical analysis or the analysis of experts that would normally constitute evidence.

If we were to take Justice Stevens' comment to its utmost conclusion, how many of the amici in Heller should have been thrown out from consideration? Seems like almost all of them included some evidence that was not considered at the trial level.

Frankly, I don't know what to do about this. The Circuit Courts of Appeal are very strict on preventing consideration of evidence that was not vetted at trial. But does that go out the window when the Supreme Court takes the case? If the Court drew the line on amici, I wonder if that would make them much rarer and narrower.
4.29.2008 12:01pm
Elmer:

If the vote-counters are crooked, an ID isn't much help. If absentee ballots are fraudulent, an ID isn't much help. A solution in search of a problem, no?

Crooked vote counting requires a large conspiracy for success. Large conspiracies are usually discovered eventually. Voter ID addresses one source of fraud that is hard to counter, even if all poll workers are honest.

I agree that absentee ballots are a potential problem.
4.29.2008 12:02pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
Second, if Fund is right, it certainly seems irrational to be influenced by 25 year old localized personal experience, rather than contemporaneous research, if if it does come from the Internet.
Rational or not, that's how people are, and nothing is going to stop them from being that way.
4.29.2008 12:03pm
Justin (mail):
Read the whole paragraph in context. He's talking about allegations of fraud in the 1982 gubernatorial election proving that the 1960 election was actually fraudulant.

In any event, if Fund's research overall is correct (and its not), what it shows you is that state and local elected officials use campaign and ballot laws to their advantage, not to eliminate corruption. This seems, if anything, to support petitioners' arguments in the Indiana voter ID case.
4.29.2008 12:10pm
Justin (mail):
And yes, the heritage cite (assuming its true, which I have no reason to question) puts things in context - I was simply attacking the four corners of Fund's actual statement.
4.29.2008 12:12pm
Dave N (mail):
After I posted, the thought occurred to me that Justice Stevens, having lived in Hyde Park, may have been particularly incensed about the 1982 election if there was evidence he had "voted" in that election despite living in the DC Metro area since 1975 when he joined the Supreme Court.
4.29.2008 12:14pm
Dave N (mail):
A final note. I realize that some readers might dismiss my posts because I am one of the more regular "conservative" voices on the VC. However, despite the desire of many to make this a partisan issue, it is not. I care deeply about my vote (and yours) actually being counted rather than having my vote (and yours) cancelled by someone who should not legitimately vote or not being counted at all.

I agree that Voter ID laws are only one leg in a larger problem. I agree that there is the potential for fraud with absentee ballots and there should be a way to make sure they are secure as well.

The Federal Grand Jury that investigated the 1982 Illinois election made a cogent comment, that I endorse completely, in their final report:
Every vote that is fraudulently manufac­tured disenfranchises the legitimate voter and makes a mockery of our political pro­cess. Vote fraud is like a cancer, and it must be treated so that it will not destroy our con­stitutional right to vote, the basis of our American heritage.
Can anyone seriously disagree with that?
4.29.2008 12:29pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
I would love to try that argument in another context:

"Your honor, getting a driver's license was too burdensome for me, so you should dismiss the charges of driving without a license."

"Sir, I am poor and a minority. It is too burdensome for me to get an ID. I demand you cash this check."

"What do you mean you can't sell me that Crown Royal? I'm 21. I'm a poor minority, and it is too burdensome for me to get an ID."

"What do you mean I can't get on that airplane? I'm an elderly man, and getting an ID is just too much trouble for me."

I want to see a story about the individual who actually can't vote because getting an ID is too burdensome. I want the proof, just like Justice Stevens does.
4.29.2008 12:40pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I am more concerned with wholesale fraud than retail fraud. In the 60s, lever-operated voting machines arrived at the precincts with totals already showing on the odometer-like tabulators. Today's touchscreen machines are vulnerable to all types of hacking. In contrast, one septuagenarian starting her voting day in Pennsylvania before flying down to Florida to vote from her other house strikes me as unlikely. As does a Tammany Hall parade of stewbums being bused from precinct to precinct to vote.(Hmm... wouldn't you think Mr. Wojciechowicz would be able to spell his own name?)
4.29.2008 12:55pm
H Tuttle:

To some it may be obvious that requiring photo identification to vote is an undue burden on the right to vote.


To some it's obvious that the world is flat, that the Easter Bunny exists and that taxes can be raised forever without consequence. For those living in the real world, however, it's not obvious that requiring photo ID to vote is burdensome to any significant degree. As Brian G aptly notes, production of photo ID is so commonplace today as to be a requirement to successfully get along in society. I'd add the requirement of producing photo ID to enter federal and state courthouses -- how did the plaintiffs enter the court to press their case if photo ID was too burdensome for them?
4.29.2008 12:56pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
Key question: What are the requirements for "photo ID?"

Would the photo ID credit cards being issued, which are already being used as secondary ID in many situations, qualify?

Could a national organization (say the NAACP) read the requirements and issue an official member’s photo ID?

I wonder if the national ID acts could be overturned because the extra requirements for obtaining a driver’s license would hinder voters?

All kinds of fun possibilities.
4.29.2008 12:56pm
SIG357:
"it shows that the Republicans, after 20 years in power, still can't make a case for the poor and the elderly."

Glib assertions that the Democrats are standing up for the "poor and the elderly" notwithstanding, all polling indicates that voter ID laws are overwhelmingly popular with Americans.



"The real issue is whether the necessary ID is difficult or burdensome for anyone to obtain."


I think you left out "for me" when you wrote that. The fact is that all constitutional rights come with caveats and restrictions. The notion that "the right to vote' should be treated differently is unsupported by any serious argument. I suppose that is why we get these silly wisecracks attempting to make political points instead.
4.29.2008 12:57pm
SIG357:
Justin

if Fund's research overall is correct (and its not), .... [it] seems, if anything, to support petitioners' arguments in the Indiana voter ID case.

I'd love to watch you try to make THAT argument before the Supreme Court.
4.29.2008 1:04pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
One of the things that I found interesting in the Fund article was the mention that BHO is strongly on the other side of the issue, representing ACORN in its registration efforts (including all of the fraudulent registrations its people filed?) and is responsible for the FEC not having a quorum due to his hold on the nomination of Hans von Spakovsky for backing the Georgia photo ID law.

What Fund did not say, but may be implying is that Obama got his start through the same Daley/Chicago machine politics that Stevens may be reacting to, and as a result is strongly against efforts to address it.
4.29.2008 1:06pm
SIG357:
"If the vote-counters are crooked, an ID isn't much help. If absentee ballots are fraudulent, an ID isn't much help."



All this is true. But the critics of this ID law seem to imagine that they are making an anti-ID case by observing that this law does not address every possible source of fraud. The obvious response to this attack is "Yes. So lets extend ID laws to voter registration, and to absentee ballots. And lets ensure that the ID is really secure, and that forging it is severly punished.'

But who's kidding who here? The critics real objection is to the laws existence, not that it does not go far enough.
4.29.2008 1:13pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
The real issue is whether the necessary ID is difficult or burdensome for anyone to obtain.
Luckily for the Indiana law, that is not the law of the land.

And I don't think that such an absolute statement makes sense. There has to be some balancing against fraud prevention. You may not believe that the law was designed to prevent voter fraud, or that it would indeed accomplish that, but in the context of this case, that is not overly relevant.
4.29.2008 1:14pm
Brett Bellmore:

As Stevens' opinion acknowledges, the locus of most voter fraud is absentee balloting. The law ignores that, making the remainder of the argument a little odd.


It's somehow escaped my attention that there's a constitutional requirement for state legislatures to address problems in strict declining order of importance. That voter ID laws don't do anything about absentee ballot fraud, which is more common, may be a good point from a policy standpoint, but it's irrelevant to determining whether such laws are constitutional.
4.29.2008 1:18pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I also found it interesting that Justice Stevens tarred Justice Souter for utilizing facts not in evidence but found on the Internet (Wikipedia maybe?) But this does bring up the problem that courts do routinely use amici briefs for just this sort of thing. But as Justice Stevens points out with Souter's evidence, it hasn't been subject to cross examination, and I think that we all know that "facts" found on the Internet, esp. in this sort of situation, can be biased.
4.29.2008 1:19pm
Adam J:
Dave N- Of course stopping voter fraud is very important. However my question is whether or not Voter IDs are likely to help. Voter IDs will help prevent individuals not entitled to vote from voting. However, individuals don't perpetuate voter fraud, it takes an organized group, there's no significant payoff for an individual voting illegally. The fraud that probably occurred in Chicago was done by the lovely democratic machine there, which could easily circumvent voter ids, because they would be the ones "checking" the ids. This seems like an ill-targetted effort, that's likely to have a significant collateral effect of preventing votes by indigents that are legally entitled to vote.
4.29.2008 1:20pm
bittern (mail):
"I'm sorry Brian G, I'll need to see your passport or photo ID drivers license before I can let you go to church." "I'm sorry, Brian G, but you can't post here til we get verification that you exist." "Mr G, before you start talking to two fellow citizens at the same time, I'd like you to wheel yourself down to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get yourself proper documentation." "National Review says they're sure there's been some ganja-smoking in church / sock-puppetry / seditious talk going on. It's hardly an imposition. Surely you won't object if you're not guilty."
4.29.2008 1:21pm
Brett Bellmore:

However, individuals don't perpetuate voter fraud, it takes an organized group, there's no significant payoff for an individual voting illegally.


There's no more payoff for individuals voting legally, but about half the qualified population does it anyway. It strikes me as dubious to assume nobody would do it illegally for the same minimal payoff.
4.29.2008 1:24pm
SIG357:
"As Stevens' opinion acknowledges, the locus of most voter fraud is absentee balloting."




I assume there is support for this claim cited somewhere in the opinion, but I don't have time now to dig it out. If anyone knows ...?

The problem with absentee vote fraud would seem the same as the problem with vote fraud in general - there is no 100% reliable method for even detecting when it occurs. So I'm curious as to how Stevens could "acknowledge" this.
4.29.2008 1:27pm
Adam J:
Brett- there's no more payoff, but there's a much more significant detriment to voting illegally... haven't you heard of it? It's called prison.
4.29.2008 1:28pm
Randy R. (mail):
"We understand that survival of the Democrat party depends on voter fraud and enfranchisement of felons and illegal aliens."

Whatever you need to comfort you when you lose....
4.29.2008 1:31pm
Ben P (mail):

Glib assertions that the Democrats are standing up for the "poor and the elderly" notwithstanding, all polling indicates that voter ID laws are overwhelmingly popular with Americans.


Except maybe the fact that this particular law was approved on a strict party line vote in the Indiana Legislature? I realize some people here seem to think the only way democrats could win an election is through fraud, but to most rational people that's not the case.

To be clear, I do think this decision was the right one. There's certainly not enough evidence to support a facial challenge to this law, especially when it already has provisions to deal with this hypothetical problem. But given the best example of systemic voter fraud people have posted in this thread happened in 1982, and this law, which plausibly provides a benefit to one party and was approved on a straight party line vote, calls for at least a little skepticism.
4.29.2008 1:33pm
p. rich (mail) (www):
Dave N

Funny. I didn't notice any subsequent responses to your post. The "against" argument here are the usual lib-babble, principles be damned. Highlight a governing principle and it's as though some leftist invisibility filter drops into place. Or maybe it is just a constant (though progressive) reinactment of the three famous monkeys: See no principle, hear no principle...
4.29.2008 1:35pm
bittern (mail):

Crooked vote counting requires a large conspiracy for success. Voter ID addresses one source of fraud that is hard to counter, even if all poll workers are honest.


Elmer, I was responding to Andrew Paterson who said he was eye-witness to recycling a large number of winos through a Chicago bar-cum-voting booth. I categorize that as crooked vote-counting, hence, wholesale. Please identify which kind of fraud you are trying to stop while making voting harder. And whether it exists to any meaningful extent.
4.29.2008 1:35pm
SIG357:
"However, individuals don't perpetuate voter fraud"




I find it remarkable that a person posting on VC, quite possibly a lawyer, could type the words "individuals don't perpetuate voter fraud" without a very loud alarm going off in the back of their mind.

"it takes an organized group"

So are you saying I'm incapable of voting in both New York and Florida, unless I join some "organized group"? Or, that this is not "vote fraud" in some sense?
4.29.2008 1:35pm
bittern (mail):
p. rich conservatives: A principle for every purpose. My principle: Don't throw obstructions up against the voters.
4.29.2008 1:37pm
Randy R. (mail):
I don't think any person here is actually saying that they are in favor of voter fraud. What some people are saying, though, is that IF there is an issue of voter fraud, and so far there is no evidence in Indiana of such fraud, then why the need for the law? If there IS voter fraud, then the law should address that.

Absentee ballots may be notorius for fraud. So if that's the issue, why not pass a law that addressess that?

We had discussion on this board recently about capital punishment, and several commentators agreed with Scalia and asked, is there any evidence that any innocent people have been executed? We said perhaps not, but the absense of evidence is not evidence of absence. This was pooh-poohed by the pro-death penalty types.

Here, we have the same situation. Where is the evidence of even a small amount of voter identity theft? There is none. now, you can argue that there surely must be some, it's just not identified, but then you can't argue also that no innocent people have ever been put to death.

A law should have some sort of nexus to the actual problem, don't you think? Or should we just keeping passing laws that are silly?
4.29.2008 1:39pm
bittern (mail):
My principle: Don't throw UNNECESSARY obstructions up against the ELIGIBLE voters.

Sorry, unpracticed at turning every thought into an overarching principle of the moment.
4.29.2008 1:41pm
Smokey:
...Republicans, after 20 years in power, still can't make a case for the poor and the elderly.
Yes, and black is white, up is down, and evil is good.

Randy R., how do you square your statement above with the multi-billion dollar Republican handout to the elderly for subsidized prescriptions? And are you still not aware of the tax relief that Bush handed to "the poor"?

And Mr T:
...one septuagenarian starting her voting day in Pennsylvania before flying down to Florida to vote from her other house strikes me as unlikely.
See, there's this thing called an absentee ballot...

Finally, those who have a big problem with photo ID's didn't seem to have nearly as much of a problem with the requirement that Islamic women need to show their faces on their drivers licenses. Situation ethics, I guess.
4.29.2008 1:42pm
SIG357:
this law, which plausibly provides a benefit to one party and was approved on a straight party line vote, calls for at least a little skepticism.


As for the party line vote, you'll need to ask the Democrats in question what on earth they were thinking. Obviously some could have simply voted for this simple and logical law, then we would not have the party line vote.

If we accept the thrust of your argument, it follows that defeating this law must also "plausibly provide a benefit to one party". And opposition was on a straight party line vote. Where does that leave your skepticism? You are arguing that the Democrats also are acting out of partisan self-interest, disguised as concern for the poor.
4.29.2008 1:45pm
bittern (mail):

There's no more payoff for individuals voting legally, but about half the qualified population does it anyway. It strikes me as dubious to assume nobody would do it illegally for the same minimal payoff.

Brett, you don't know why people vote, do you?
4.29.2008 1:45pm
Adam J:
SIG357- Did you only read half my post? What benefit do you get from voting twice? Are you more likely for your candidate to win? Obviously not- and because no benefit will innure to you, you won't do it, particularly when you have some risk of going to jail. Successful voter fraud (IE fraud that gets the person with less votes elected) requires group action, because you need hundreds or thousands of votes for it to be successful.
4.29.2008 1:52pm
bittern (mail):
Smokey, where you been? Good luck making the old folks gratitudy for your "handout." You wouldn't get that even if held off on the spittle.

Most commenters here have endorsed looking at better controls on potential absentee ballots frauds, I believe.

No comprendo on the burqa angle, senor.
4.29.2008 1:55pm
SIG357:
Where is the evidence of even a small amount of voter identity theft?

Let me repeat a question I asked yesterday. Where does the obsession with "identity theft" come from? I've read the bill in question. (Seemingly one of the very few here to do so.) It makes no mention of voter impersonation.


Absentee ballots may be notorius for fraud. So if that's the issue, why not pass a law that addressess that?


Because, as has already been noted, it is not the role of the SCOTUS to dictate to state legislatures what laws they should pass. The fact that this needs to be pointed out to people is staggering and depressing.


What some people are saying, though, is that IF there is an issue of voter fraud

Vote fraud is widespread in America. The evidence on that score is overwhelming. It's amazing that none of the Democrats here have even bothered to argue with the statement above the JFK stole the Presidency via massive vote fraud. While at the same time professing their deep vote-fraud skepticism.
4.29.2008 1:55pm
SIG357:
Adam J, I read all of your comment.

What benefit do you get from voting twice?

Two votes?

I'm bemused by the simultaneous arguements here that an individuals vote is so precious that NOTHING can be done which has even the theoretical chance of depriving him of it. While at the same time, it's so worthless that nobody will ever try to get more than one.


Are you more likely for your candidate to win?

Is that a serious question?



Successful voter fraud (IE fraud that gets the person with less votes elected) requires group action, because you need hundreds or thousands of votes for it to be successful.



No, not really. The social sciences/economics offer lots of examples of uncoordinated indivduals who behave as if they are all working from some central control. All that is neccessary is for everyone to know what they "should" do to get a desired result. Then a lot of them will do it, without need of specific instructions from VoteFraud HQ.
4.29.2008 2:08pm
k. mccabe:
Great - so now we have to show ID to prevent voter fraud when we punch in our selections on the Diebold machine, presumably with no retrievable paper trail. Why not have the machines compliant with REALID so we can test the biometrics of each voter and tabulate where and when they voted, how long it took, etc... I mean, if you have nothing to hide...

That way, we can easily pinpoint the bad apples in our communities and target them for elimination. Thanks Indiana! Thanks Sup Court! You are saving America one stupid law at a time.
4.29.2008 2:10pm
bittern (mail):
Let me repeat a question I asked yesterday.

Let me suggest you go back to the answer I gave you yesterday. :-)
4.29.2008 2:11pm
A.W. (mail):
Yeah i am sorry, but standing up against this law is to stand up for voter fraud. I don't care if it means that otherwise eligible persons won't be able to vote. Its their own stupid fault for not getting the ID. I have no patience with endangering my right to vote to accommodate people too lazy to protect their own rights.

That's exactly the attitude I had in Bush v. Gore. Why should we risk massive voter fraud just to protect the vote of a bunch of people WHO DIDN'T FOLLOW THE DAMNED DIRECTIONS?

It takes an amazing amount of chutzpah to pretend that this or the Gore case is a defeat for democracy.

Btw, as for JFK, respectable studies have shown that while he did gain from voter fraud, the purpose of the fraud was not to help him. Tip O'Neil once said that all politics is local, and i suppose most voter fraud is local, too, because the real goal of the fraud was to help local dems. they just happened to hit kennedy's button while they were at it. At least that is my understanding. Kennedy didn't win it fairly, but he didn't steal it, either.

And i think in retrospect, Nixon's decision not to challenge the election looks downright patriotic, considering the bitter lefties reaction to Bush v. Gore.
4.29.2008 2:13pm
SIG357:
That way, we can easily pinpoint the bad apples in our communities and target them for elimination.

And bittern thinks the right are paranoid!! Since mccabe has tumbled to our insidous plot, I guess we had better "emininate" him right now. Send the black helicopters!

You guys make the Birchers seem sane.
4.29.2008 2:18pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Vote fraud is widespread in America. The evidence on that score is overwhelming.

Actually the evidence of ringers voting in place of properly registered voters is underwhelming.

It's amazing that none of the Democrats here have even bothered to argue with the statement above the JFK stole the Presidency via massive vote fraud.

It didn't happen. I posted a link. Chicago Democrats deliberately split their tickets to vote for Nixon. You're right in that I am a registered Republican.
4.29.2008 2:21pm
SIG357:
Let me suggest you go back to the answer I gave you yesterday

Your answer was basically, "I dunno". Which is not a bad answer. I wish you'd employ it more often.
4.29.2008 2:22pm
Adam J:
SIG357-
First, a second vote's only benefit is the increased odds of your chosen candidate being elected. And a vote only has a minimal chance of doing so. And I don't know of many occasions where a single vote has actually tipped the balance so that a chosen candidate was elected.

I'm bemused by the simultaneous arguements here that an individuals vote is so precious that NOTHING can be done which has even the theoretical chance of depriving him of it. While at the same time, it's so worthless that nobody will ever try to get more than one.

Maybe you aren't following my entire point... not that actions shouldn't be take that could theoretically deprive a vote, only that anything which can theoretically deprive a vote (which I take it you agree a voter ID could) must have adequate justification. And I don't think voter IDs do, because they are unlikely to stop voter fraud.

The social sciences/economics offer lots of examples of uncoordinated indivduals who behave as if they are all working from some central control. All that is neccessary is for everyone to know what they "should" do to get a desired result.

I'd love to see those examples. One of the biggest problems is social sciences is getting groups to act rationally, particularly when individual action has a direct cost and any potential benefit that relies group action.

Heck, it's tough enough to get people organized to vote legally, where there is active organization &there's no threat of prison.
4.29.2008 2:25pm
SIG357:
Actually the evidence of ringers voting in place of properly registered voters is underwhelming.

I notice you guys have a habit of carefully defining "vote fraud" in very narrow ways. But I repeat, this obsession with "voter impersonation" is peculiar. Nobody but you is taking solely, or in some cases at all, about "ringers voting in place of properly registered voters".
4.29.2008 2:26pm
Adam J:
Oops, i meant particularly when individual action has a direct cost and any potential benefit relies upon group action.
4.29.2008 2:26pm
frankcross (mail):
SIG, when you say the evidence is overwhelming, you would be more convincing if you pointed to the source of that evidence or where it might be found (I mean roughly contemporaneous, not decades ago).
4.29.2008 2:36pm
SIG357:
anything which can theoretically deprive a vote ... must have adequate justification. And I don't think voter IDs do, because they are unlikely to stop voter fraud.


Wow. Mind if I ask what you think CAN stop vote fraud? Nobody is saying that ID is a panacea that will cure all ills, but it seems clear to many of us that ID must be a part of the solution.

Of course, once you start by defining the problem as organized attempts by a political party to game the system by sending ringers to the polls, which seems to be what you are doing, then you have (surprise!) taken many solutions off the table.



One of the biggest problems is social sciences is getting groups to act rationally

I never said anything about acting rationally. I said acting in unision. People do this all the time. Remember the dot com bubble? Much, maybe most, human behavior falls into this category. I'm pretty sure, for instance, that you are not here making the arguments you are making because you have been instructed to do so by the DNC. Even though, from the standpint of 'rational self interest', it could be said that you, and I, would be more profitably employed at other things than what we're doing right now.
4.29.2008 2:41pm
SIG357:
roughly contemporaneous, not decades ago

Well, why not decades ago? Has human nature been drastically altered in the interm? I can see why you would want the Chicago machine of the sixties or Tammany Hall taken off the table, but not why I should accomodate you.
4.29.2008 2:45pm
bittern (mail):
But I repeat, this obsession with "voter impersonation" is peculiar. If you cannot update your thoughts based on the conversation, then maybe you should give it a rest.
4.29.2008 2:46pm
SIG357:
it's tough enough to get people organized to vote legally, where there is active organization &there's no threat of prison.



You have a better chance of being struck by lightening in America than of being prosecuted for vote fraud. And I said "prosecuted". Forget prison. I don't know what to make of your focus on top-down "active organization". Perhaps that's the liberal mindset on display. In any case the world does not work that way.
4.29.2008 2:51pm
SIG357:
If you cannot update your thoughts based on the conversation

I don't have the foggiest idea what that is supposed to mean. From what I'ves seen of you, you don't either.

My point is that the law in question makes no mention of voter impersonation, yet the critics of the bill pound on the concept relentlessly. Given that I pointed this out to you yesterday I'd like to think you've grasped it by now.
4.29.2008 2:55pm
Adam J:
SIG357-

Nobody is saying that ID is a panacea that will cure all ills, but it seems clear to many of us that ID must be a part of the solution.

Still not getting it I see... if the consequences of the deterrent (creating barriers that prevent indigents from voting) are greater than the benefits of the deterrent (stopping voter fraud [which is unlikely to occur because of group action difficulties]), then we shouldn't use the deterrant. Really, I'm just talking about simple economic analysis, you might dispute whether or not I'm right that the negative outweighs the positive, but not whether we should perform this analysis.

Of course, once you start by defining the problem as organized attempts by a political party to game the system by sending ringers to the polls, which seems to be what you are doing, then you have (surprise!) taken many solutions off the table.

Gee, silly me, I thought I was identifying the source of the problem. I guess you think its best to try to fix a problem without knowing what its cause is...

Remember the dot com bubble? Much, maybe most, human behavior falls into this category...

What category is this? It's completely irrelevant. So is your DNC point, I'm not doing this for the DNC or depending on group action to convince you or others on this blog. I'm talking about problems akin to the plight of the commons, where the costs of an action are felt directly and a benefit only occurs if others also engage in the same action.
4.29.2008 3:08pm
Ben P (mail):

As for the party line vote, you'll need to ask the Democrats in question what on earth they were thinking. Obviously some could have simply voted for this simple and logical law, then we would not have the party line vote.

If we accept the thrust of your argument, it follows that defeating this law must also "plausibly provide a benefit to one party". And opposition was on a straight party line vote. Where does that leave your skepticism? You are arguing that the Democrats also are acting out of partisan self-interest, disguised as concern for the poor.



A person who posted immidiately before you addressed this perfectly.


"I don't think any person here is actually saying that they are in favor of voter fraud. What some people are saying, though, is that IF there is an issue of voter fraud, and so far there is no evidence in Indiana of such fraud, then why the need for the law? If there IS voter fraud, then the law should address that. "

You're basically asserting that the Democrats have an interest in voter fraud, meanwhile republicans are only acting out of their sincere desire to enforce the states voting requirements. That's beyond silly.

The the ones proposing the law are generally the ones who demonstrate a reason for passing it. I thought libertarians were generally against the government passing new laws just for the sake of passing laws. But I guess that all goes by the wayside when it's "the democrats" that are opposed to a law.

The evidence for this law seems to be shouts of "JFK in 1968! Mayor Daley!"

And somehow it doesn't get mentioned that despite Alberto Gonzales declaring in 2005 that prosecuting voter fraud was a "top priority" of the justice department, less than 120 people nation-wide have been charged with attempting to vote improperly, and only 86 of those were convicted.

I'll say again, none of this necessarily makes the law unconstitutional, but it should make any objective observer be skeptical.
4.29.2008 3:11pm
KeithK (mail):
Back in the days before the motor voter law how did people actually register to vote? I suspect many folks had to march down to the county courthouse and sign the voter rolls. No doubt this wasn't trivial for some folks who lived in out of the way places. It might even have been a burden. But does anyone argue that this was unconstitutional? That it would be unconstitutional to repeal motor voter because it would make it harder for people to register?

How is this any different from the ID requirement? Yes, there is some small minority of folks who don't have ID and for whom it is inconvenient to get one. But that doesn't make it unconstitutional. They have take time out on one occasion to get an ID (which is free) and then they are set. It's really a very minor thing (and considering how useful ID is in our society probably helps these individuals significantly).
4.29.2008 3:14pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Nobody but you is taking solely, or in some cases at all, about "ringers voting in place of properly registered voters".

Sorry, I cannot picture another type of voting fraud that showing a photo ID could cure.

I registered to vote, once, when I turned 18. Unlike renewing my drivers license, that one time showing up in person has been good for a lifetime.
4.29.2008 3:20pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Bittern said:


"I'm sorry Brian G, I'll need to see your passport or photo ID drivers license before I can let you go to church." "I'm sorry, Brian G, but you can't post here til we get verification that you exist." "Mr G, before you start talking to two fellow citizens at the same time, I'd like you to wheel yourself down to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get yourself proper documentation." "National Review says they're sure there's been some ganja-smoking in church / sock-puppetry / seditious talk going on. It's hardly an imposition. Surely you won't object if you're not guilty."



I and everyone else is much dumber for having read that nonsense.

By the way, I did have to verify that I exist before I posted here. Took me all of 30 seconds way back when.
4.29.2008 3:50pm
bittern (mail):
Just returning the favor.
4.29.2008 3:59pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Tony Tutins,

Sorry, I cannot picture another type of voting fraud [other than impersonating a legitimately registered voter] that showing a photo ID could cure.

I can: Voting by (registered, albeit fraudulently) illegal immigrants, who can't currently obtain US passports, state driver's licenses, or state photo IDs. An ID requirement specifying those forms of state-issued ID designed to be unavailable to illegal residents would obviously stop much noncitizen voting, yes?
4.29.2008 4:11pm
Adam J:
Michelle- How did they register? By submitting a false ID to the state? That sounds likely...
4.29.2008 4:29pm
bittern (mail):
Adam J, I don't think that's necessarily so. Can't one register by mail most places? I believe that if you you've registered by mail and then you show up to vote in MY precinct, you ARE required to show a photo ID at least the first time you vote. Seems to work, and the requirement certainly seems reasonable. I don't know how they were doing it in Indiana. Michelle's point is a fair one.
4.29.2008 4:38pm
Adam J:
bittern - I was being sarcastic. In most places you can register by mail, but you typically need to include your drivers license number or social security number... which obviously still requires "impersonating a legitimately registered voter", since (I assume) the government checks to make sure the license or SS# is legit. And since you need to prove you can legally vote in order to register, the only thing that a voter ID can stop is a person voting that is claiming to be someone else.
4.29.2008 4:44pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
Tony Tutins wrote:

Nobody but you is taking solely, or in some cases at all, about "ringers voting in place of properly registered voters".

Sorry, I cannot picture another type of voting fraud that showing a photo ID could cure.

In NY, all that is required to register to vote is a signature on a voter registration card. No proof of citizenship. No verification that you are who you say. No criminal background check. No proof of age. The barrier to voting under multiple assumed identities, in multiple precincts, is virtually nonexistent. A voter ID requirement would not make that impossible to accomplish (multiple fake IDs can be had), but would significantly raise the cost--in time, money, and risk--of that type of vote fraud.
4.29.2008 4:44pm
Adam J:
wuzzagrunt - I dunno about all of NY, but here in the city you need to have either your drivers license number or your social security number.
4.29.2008 4:48pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Adam J,

I just checked the registration requirements in CA — you're right, they do ask for a CA DL or ID# or the last four digits of your SSN. (I registered to vote here more than 20 years ago, and don't remember whether this was required then. If it was, I would've had to go with the SSN, since I didn't have CA state ID of either kind.) If you don't provide any of these three numbers, you are supposed to supply photo ID the first time you vote.

But do they actually check this stuff? The numerous accounts of illegal immigrants, family pets, Disney characters, &c. showing up on voter rolls suggest not. And somehow I think a stink would've been raised before now if voter registrations were being rejected for SSN non-match. The very idea of doing the same thing wrt work eligibility is sending people into conniptions right now.
4.29.2008 4:56pm
bittern (mail):
Adam J, Michelle will want to know if your assumption is solid that "the government checks to make sure the license or SS# is legit".

Turns out that for Indiana, you need to give an ID #.
6. ID Number. Your state voter ID
number is your ten digit Indiana
issued driver's license number. If
you do not possess an Indiana
driver's license then provide the
last four digits of your social
security number. Please indicate
which number was provided.
(Indiana Code 3-7-13-13)
4.29.2008 5:01pm
bittern (mail):
Michelle, it's a good question. But I guess I'll ask whether, when Mickey Mouse comes in to vote, they are going to check his ID any more carefully than they do now. I mean, everybody knows Mickey.
4.29.2008 5:05pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I get it now.

In the back of my mind I kept thinking that although my mother had all the usual forms of ID -- drivers license, Social Security Card, utility bills with her name on it -- as a non-citizen she lacked the fundamental document that would allow her to register to vote.

But now I see that, apparently with the advent of the National Voter Registration act, proof of citizenship is no longer necessary to register to vote. Declaration of U.S. citizenship relies on the honor system.

Well that is bs. Common sense dictates that prospective voters must show proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, or passport. This also means that a voter registration card is useless to show citizenship.
4.29.2008 5:06pm
Adam J:
Michelle- But do they actually check this stuff? I honestly have no freaking idea, they obviously should. But is the solution to create an even greater burden on the state and voter, or to simply make sure the state follows thru and checks them?

And somehow I think a stink would've been raised before now if voter registrations were being rejected for SSN non-match. Sure, some would complain, but it wouldn't be a particularly legitimate complaint. I have no problem protecting the integrity of voting, I just want to make sure no unnecessary burdens are being placed on voters.
4.29.2008 5:07pm
Adam J:
Tony Tutins - so, you think your mom or any other legal alien would create a written record that they illegally registered to vote by providing their "drivers license, Social Security Card, utility bills with her name on it" to the voter registration board? And you do realize these documents are all anyone needs to get a voter ID card? Doesn't exactly make it a "fundamental document that would allow her to register to vote."
4.29.2008 5:17pm
A.W. (mail):
You guys can't picture anything but an issue with "ringers?"

How about the dead voting?

How about the living voting in alphabetical order?

How about illegal immigrants voting?

How about having your dog vote?

How about voting in the stead of your demented grandmother?

And admittedly, not being a crook, i probably won't imagine all of the different scenarios that can come up. But only a fool utterly ignorant of american history will claim that voter fraud is not a serious problem, and that showing an ID might help solve it. no, not by itself, but it will help.

Sorry, everyone who argues against ID is the pro-fraud lobby and their idiot pawns. Anyone who believes in the principles that make america great recognizes this as simply sensible legislation.

What has happened rhetorically, is that the Supreme Court pretended the poll tax was in itself offensive, when in truth it was all about what motivated it. Likewise with literacy and citizenship tests. We all know what they were really about: keeping the n-----s down. but only if you are one of those lunatics who thinks nothing has changed in the last 40 years, will you impute that same motivation to this ID law. The real reason is because of rampant voter fraud.

Btw, to the people who say there is no need... since when do you have to have people doing an evil thing before you ban it. if you live in a town blessed with being able to boast there hasn't been a murder in 10 years, do you suddenly legalize murder? of course not. A logical person understands the inherent value in a good process, not just a good outcome. That is why the framers put the impeachment clause in the constitution. Many questioned the need for it, but they figured it was better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. The same with a constitutional right to freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and so on.

Likewise, i would rather card everyone before they vote, and discover that it was completely unnecessary than not do it and wonder if it was necessary.
4.29.2008 5:17pm
SIG357:
since you need to prove you can legally vote in order to register


Say what? Legally, you are not supposed to be able to vote (for national office at least) unless you are a US citizen. There may be a few places that actually check for that, but to my certain knowledge most places do not.

A utility bill will get you registered to vote in many parts of the country.

We can't check for ID at all in most cases. Why do you imagine that this super strict ID check happens at registration time?
4.29.2008 5:24pm
SIG357:
A.W.

I can tell you their answer to that. They need proof that it happens before they'll consider doing anything about it. Not evidence, proof.

They also define vote fraud as "voter impersonation", and NOT as any of the things you mention.

Lastly, they only consider it vote fraud IF it has been perpeptuated as part of an organized effort to steal an election. People acting individually is not vote fraud, in their eyes. Nuts, but there you are.

As usual, the liberals wish to define the rules of the game in such a way that the only possible outcome is the one they want.
4.29.2008 5:29pm
SIG357:
In most places you can register by mail, but you typically need to include your drivers license number or social security number... which obviously still requires "impersonating a legitimately registered voter", since (I assume) the government checks to make sure the license or SS# is legit.

Adam's other job is stand-up comedy.
4.29.2008 5:31pm
Adam J:
A.W.- If you want others to take your posts seriously, you might try not referring to blacks as "n-----s", some people might find it offensive (like myself).

SIG357- you're propensity to make up stuff off the cuff doesn't add alot of legitimacy to your arguments. Please tell me in what jurisdiction a utility bill will suffice to register to vote. Utility bills are typically only used to prove residence, when coupled with an ID that shows you are the person on the utility bill. And if a "super strict ID check" doesn't happen at registration, why on earth do you think the state would do a "super strict ID check" before issuing a voter ID card?
4.29.2008 5:45pm
NaG (mail):
Bruce Hayden: You and I are the only people to notice this confusing aspect of Justice Stevens' opinion, regarding the role of amici. Guess it's not that interesting...
4.29.2008 5:45pm
Ben P (mail):

You guys can't picture anything but an issue with "ringers?"

How about the dead voting?

How about the living voting in alphabetical order?

How about illegal immigrants voting?

How about having your dog vote?

How about voting in the stead of your demented grandmother?


Can you not see that each of these falls into the category of "ringer" voting? (Except in the instance where the fraud is on the "counter" side, in which case voter ID will do nothing)

Take a second and think about how any of these work.

Dead Voting - A person (a ringer) comes in and votes under X's name. X is actually deceased.

Voting in "Alphabetical Order - this would seem to be more an instance of top down fraud, but on an voter level it would work by someone (a ringer) coming in and saying "I"m A" and the next person coming in and saying "I'm B"

Illegal Immigrants voting - the II comes in and votes under a false registration, since they couldn't legally register in the first place.

Having your dog voting - you (a ringer) go in and vote under the name of your dog, who you apparently (as a ringer) provided fraudulent documentation to get on the registration list in the first place.

Voting in the stead of someone else - you (a ringer) go in and say you're voting under "X" name.
4.29.2008 5:48pm
bittern (mail):
A.W.:

When they talk about the dead voting, it's kind of a figure of speech. But when I want to know what happened rhetorically, I'll check in.
4.29.2008 5:53pm
Adam J:
SIG357- Adam's other job is stand-up comedy. Sure, I'm uncertain whether or not the state bothers to check registration. However, how this differ with a voter ID card, we still rely on the state to make sure the information provided is legit.
4.29.2008 5:59pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Illinois is typical in its ID requirements:

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
• If this form is submitted by mail and you have never registered to
vote in the jurisdiction you are now registering in, then you must
send with this application either (i) a copy of a current and valid
photo identification, or (ii) a copy of a current utility bill, bank
statement, government check, paycheck or other government
document that shows your name and address. If you do not
provide the information required above, then you will be required
to provide election officials with this information the first time you
vote at a polling place or by in-person absentee ballot
4.29.2008 6:06pm
bittern (mail):
A.W.'s got the nub of it, farther down than I had been willing to read, what with fools, idiots, and other helpful pointers offered. A.W. says I "impute that same motivation [as for poll taxes] to this ID law." Indeedy. A lot changes in 40 years, and a lot doesn't change. "The real reason [for the ID law, he says] is because of rampant voter fraud." Well, that would be more convincing with some good evidence. Until I see that, I'm sticking with the acknowledged historical reason.
4.29.2008 6:12pm
Adam J:
Tony Tutins- well I stand corrected... good old Illinois. Still, the solution is beefing up registration requirements a little bit, not issuing some stupid voter ID that people need to lug around.
4.29.2008 6:24pm
bittern (mail):
Tony, I think that on the form itself you have to put down your ID number to show who you are; the utility bill weakly verifies that you live in the place. The utility bill alone should not get you on. Then, the election department maybe uses your ID number to see if you're legal, depending on the state.
Illinois
Updated: 03-01-2006
Registration Deadline — 28 days
prior to each election.
6. ID Number. Your driver’s
license number is required to
register to vote. If you do not have
a driver’s license, at least the last
four digits of your social security
number are required. If you have
neither, please write “NONE” on
the form. A unique identifier will
be assigned to you by the State.
4.29.2008 6:34pm
bittern (mail):
Voter impersonation. Hah! If you're trying to be the dead guy, be really stiff. If you're trying to be the dog, bark. Maybe they won't check your ID closely!!
4.29.2008 6:37pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Adam J,

Still, the solution is beefing up registration requirements a little bit, not issuing some stupid voter ID that people need to lug around.

But, really, how much "lugging" is necessary? The very large majority of Americans already have a state-issued photo ID to obtain which they had, at some point, to provide proof of legal status, though not necessarily of citizenship. It would take comparatively little tweaking to add citizenship status to state ID/DL, and even without it, asking for a DL/state ID would screen out those who can't legally get one.

And frankly, I don't see why folks on the left don't see this as an opportunity — an opportunity, that is, to get free, reasonably secure identification for those who don't have it now. It is useful, you know.

I ought to know: I don't have a car and haven't had a driver's licence for something like 20 years. Until recently I used my passport when I knew I would need state-issued photo ID, which wasn't often (new-job paperwork, mostly). But I didn't routinely carry my passport around with me, for obvious reasons, and so occasionally I'd be stuck needing a photo ID and not having one with me. Our local hardware store, it transpires, needs one for all credit/debit card transactions, so I had to run home and fetch it. On another occasion I was reviewing a concert and the presenter, who hadn't met me yet, demanded photo ID before letting me have my press tickets. (I talked my way into that one.)

A few months ago I finally went out and got a CA ID. I'm glad I have it. Given that ID requirements for voting will basically make it necessary to supply the same service I had to pay (not much) for to indigent Americans free, so as to avoid running into the ban on poll taxes, isn't this a good thing? Seriously?
4.29.2008 6:51pm
eric (mail):
I just love the argument that evidence of voter fraud 40 years or 25 years ago is not evidence that voter fraud occurs. I suppose if there have been no prosecutions for beastiality in 25 years in a jurisdiction, then the law should just be taken off the books, because people aren't screwing animals anymore.

For evidence of voter fraud, read Dale Bumpers "The Best Lawyer in a One Lawyer Town." Bumpers talks about massive voter fraud in the Arkansas Democratic primaries in the race between him and Orval Faubus.
4.29.2008 6:55pm
Ryan Waxx (mail):
Also, I love the hand-waving and distraction exercises that people are engaging here.

"Requiring Voter I.D. is bad because, umm... oh look! Lax registration requirements!"

"We can't require Voter I.D. before we do something about absentee ballots!"

An honest person might observe that improving validation in one part of the system is a worthwhile goal in itself, which would make the other reforms they helpfully suggest work better... that is if they were actually interested in such reforms.
4.29.2008 7:23pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
Adam J wrote:

wuzzagrunt - I dunno about all of NY, but here in the city you need to have either your drivers license number or your social security number.

Why wasn't I informed of this?

My bad. The last time I registered to vote in NYC, it was purely on the honor system--your signature was your affirmation that you were eligible to participate in the franchise. I recently moved out to the "savage frontier" (Long Island) and changed my registration by filling out the back of the DMV form, when I applied for a COA on my driver's license.

A small improvement over the former practice, but an improvement nonetheless.
4.29.2008 7:27pm
Smokey:
bittern:
Smokey, where you been? Good luck making the old folks gratitudy [sic] for your "handout." You wouldn't get that even if held off on the spittle.

Most commenters here have endorsed looking at better controls on potential absentee ballots frauds, I believe.

No comprendo on the burqa angle, senor.
Yer losin' it, bittern, me boy. The prescription handout wasn't mine: IANAR. And from the look of your posts upthread, 'spittle' is just your projection.

But on the question of absentee ballots, I agree, and I'll go one better: it is the initial registration that is being gamed. When registering to vote, the potential voter must be required to prove citizenship, and not just with a utility bill or similar nonsense. Any dispute about that? [If so, google Ritzy Mekler -- a registered dog.]

And for the folks crying crocodile tears over the anonymous old person who can't spare the time or money to get a photo ID, that example is called a red herring. It's meant to distract from the very real problem of escalating voter fraud -- which the Court understands more than the folks who want the current system maintained and unquestioned.
4.29.2008 8:30pm
Randy R. (mail):
eric: "I just love the argument that evidence of voter fraud 40 years or 25 years ago is not evidence that voter fraud occurs. I suppose if there have been no prosecutions for beastiality in 25 years in a jurisdiction, then the law should just be taken off the books, because people aren't screwing animals anymore. "

And yet, when people argue in favor of the death penalty, they argue exactly this. They state that there is no evidence of any person being executed who was innocent; therefore, no person was in fact ever executed while being innocent. Scalia made that arguement, as did many others here on the VC just a few days ago.

So, surely, if they can make this argument, why can't I?
4.30.2008 2:16am
steve (mail):

"Supposition based on extensive Internet research is not an adequate substitute for admissible evidence subject to cross-examination in constitutional adjudication." (Slip Op. at 19, FN 20).


Stevens must have skimmed over the extensive behavioral research in Political Science over the last 60 years that has quite clearly demonstrated that greater burdens to voting disproportionately impact people with fewer resources, like the poor, racial minorities, etc.

Stevens also must have missed the Barreto, Nuño and Sanchez study cited in 7 briefs which showed that minorities in Indiana were less likely to have photo identification.

At least Alito, Thomas and Scalia say that it doesn't matter whether or not there is a disproportionate burden on certain groups.
4.30.2008 4:44am
NickM (mail) (www):
Requiring photo ID is also a deterrent to voting under multiple registrations. About a decade ago, a city councilman in Minnesota got caught doing this, because he was recognized in line by another voter in the city where his alternate registration was (i.e., not the one where he was on the council). If he hadn't been a well-known figure whose city of residence was also known, he would have gotten completely away with it. Showing an ID that doesn't match the address you're trying to vote from would be caught by alert polling workers.

As far as catching ringers goes, we can often prove that ringers voted without knowing who voted for them - the easiest example us when someone votes in the name of a dead person. Unless one of the pollworkers or someone close enough in the polling place to overhear knows the person showing up is not the deceased voter, and stops and arrests the ringer right then and there, there won't be an arrest, let alone a conviction.

A Miami mayor's race was overturned in 1993 for vote fraud (including dead voters). The 2004 WA governor's race was found to have over 1700 illegal votes cast (including dead voters), although WA law leaves illegal votes on the books unless you can prove whom they were cast for!

Voter registration rolls around the country are full of deadwood, which includes both legitimate registrations of people who have since moved or died and false registrations.

Without requiring showing photo ID, how would you prevent people from showing up at polling places and voting deadwood registrations?

Nick
4.30.2008 6:52am
Adam J:
NickM - If the councilman was capable of registering in two places, why wouldn't he be capable of getting two voter IDs? And stop making up stuff about WA, even McKay, the Republican Attorney General who investigated these allegations, said there was no evidence of fraud. Of course, we all know what happened to McKay for daring to say this.
4.30.2008 11:07am
Adam J:
Michelle Dulak Thomson - The very large majority of Americans already have a state-issued photo ID to obtain which they had, at some point, to provide proof of legal status, though not necessarily of citizenship. Of course, to you or me &most others the burden on voting is minimal, even if I have to shlep out and get a voter ID &store it somewhere until election day (assuming I don't forget to bring it). However, what about an indigent, who may never have received a drivers license &may not have the necessary documents to obtain them? There also exists the possibility of them losing or having the ID stolen, an indigent's property isn't exactly secure. There's a balance here, between ensuring illegal votes aren't cast and making sure legal votes aren't deterred from being cast.
4.30.2008 11:29am
Dave N (mail):
AdamJ,

The balance you seek is allowing the person without ID to cast a provisional ballot and then giving the person 10 days to take the necessary steps to demonstrate that the provisional ballot should be counted.
4.30.2008 12:33pm