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Fight Against Voter ID Card Registration and Laws Exposed
Fight Against Voter ID Card registration Requirement and laws Exposed - states with voter id laws - is it a conspiracy to deny voter rights, or fight voter fraud - you decide
States Reject Voter ID Card Requirement
Reporting for the Daily Constitutional: GA Anderson
The controversial new voter registration and photo ID card laws that require voters to present photo ID cards in order to cast their ballots seem - at first glance, to be fairly common-sense requirements to avoid voter fraud. What could be wrong with asking a voter to prove they are who they say they are, and that they are properly registered and qualified to vote in a particular election?
Anti-voter ID and registration proponents say plenty! And they also say that states with voter ID laws*, on the books and in the legislative pipeline, are trying to restrict people's right to vote.
Considering that they are making decisions in a process that will have an important impact on the governance and laws of the land, whether local or national, and the lives of their fellow citizens, shouldn't they at least be able to prove they are who their voter registration card says they are?
No, say opponents of the new voter ID laws, who cite voter suppression and disenfranchisement of; young, elderly, and minority voters, and also Constitutional issues, as their reasons for their opposition to these new laws.
*a national map showing state-by-state voter ID requirements is included below.
Why would photo ID requirement be bad?
Although the specific objections vary, the bottom line for most opponents is that any voter ID law with a photo ID requirement would either cause an undue burden, if getting one involves any cost, or could be an undue hardship for people that do not already have an acceptable photo ID card.
The undue burden objection usually refers to costs. Many states offer programs for free state ID cards, but other states charge fees that can range from $25 to $70. For the groups cited as being most disenfranchised by these costs; the elderly on fixed incomes, those on social services rolls, and many minority groups, that additional cost could be a factor causing them to not be able to vote.
Others have argued that requiring an ID card which has an attached cost - could be construed as a back-door poll tax, which is forbidden in the Constitution. Also, many state Constitutions contain clauses that require "free elections", so requiring a photo ID card that has a cost could possibly be a violation of those clauses.
This was the case recently in Massachusetts (2011), where Attorney General Martha Coakley rejected a proposed ballot initiative to require a government-issued photo ID as unconstitutional, because of a "free election" clause in the state's constitution.
The argument that the requirement would be an additional hardship, cites the examples of wheelchair and home-bound voters, (among others), that can not easily get to where the ID cards are issued. Which in most states is their Motor Vehicle/Transportation Departments.
There are other less supported arguments, like the folks that don't want any type of government record of their ID, and variations of the above objections, but as an illustration - that's generally the case against requiring photo ID's to vote.
The states are mixed about voter photo ID's
Nationally, the requirements of state's voter ID laws are a mixed bag of yes, no, and maybe. Thirty-one states require all voters to show ID before voting at the polls. In 15 of these, the ID must include a photo of the voter; in the remaining 16, non-photo forms of ID are acceptable.
These numbers are not really as they appear. Of the 15 that require photos, only two are serious about it; Georgia and Indiana - no ID, no vote. 6 more require a photo ID, but allow you to vote a provisional ballot if you can't immediately provide one. (the voter then has a few days to return to an elections office with proper ID to confirm their identity and their ballots)
The remaining 7 of the original 15 offer alternative identification methods if a photo ID can't be produced at the polling place. Some can be as simple as New Mexico, which has a rather unorthodox alternative - you just tell them who you are, where you live, and your birth date. Bingo! ID accepted and you get to vote.* Others need a little more work - like getting a voter with an accepted photo ID to vouch for you. "Yes, that's Bob Smith, he lives two doors down from me." Bingo!" ID accepted and you get to vote.**
16 other states have voter ID laws that require an ID, but they don't have to have a photo. Examples of acceptable voting ID's include things like; Social Security card, birth certificate, or even a bank statement or utility bill - if they also include your address.
Of the 29 remaining states? Just properly register to vote, then tell them who you are when you show up to vote, (unable to resist), although you might get a second look when you are the 27th Jose' Smith in a voting population of 312.
*a "unique" identifier is also required. ie. tattoo or scar - and others. **a completed "vouch-for" form may be required. Source: National Conference of State Legislatures
States that require voter ID
...as of 7/26/2012
(1) In Alabama, South Carolina and Texas, current non-photo voter ID laws stay in effect for the time being. The new photo voter ID requirements will take effect after receiving preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. South Carolina and Texas were denied pre-clearance in December 2011 and March 2012, respectively. Alabama's new photo ID law has a 2014 effective date, and the state has not yet applied for pre-clearance.
(2) Wisconsin's voter ID law was declared unconstitutional on March 12, 2012. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess issued a permanent injunction barring enforcement of the law, which the state has said it will appeal.
(3) There are some who prefer to call Oklahoma a photo voter ID state, because most voters will show a photo ID before voting. However, Oklahoma law also permits a voter registration card issued by the appropriate county elections board to serve as proof of identity in lieu of photo ID.
(4) Rhode Island's voter ID law takes effect in two stages. The first stage, requiring a non-photo ID, took effect on January 1, 2012. On January 1, 2014, a photo ID requirement will replace the non-photo ID law.
(5) Alabama's new photo ID requirement takes effect with the 2014 statewide primary election. The new law also requires preclearance. The delayed implementation date was intended to ensure that the timing of preclearance did not occur between the primary and general elections of 2012, thus creating voter confusion.
(6) Mississippi's new voter ID law was passed via the citizen initiative process. It takes effect 30 days after the certification of results, a date that will likely fall in late December 2011 or early January 2012. However, the language in constitutional amendment passed by MS voters on Nov. 8 is very general, and implementing legislation will be required before the amendment can take effect. The MS provision will also require pre-clearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act before it can take effect.
Voter ID proponents offer solutions
Showing the strength of their convictions, proponents of voters ID laws requiring valid photo ID's have offered what appear to be common-sense solutions to the two most common objections.
Legislators supporting photo ID's have offered legislative efforts to waive ID card fees for people that qualify for, or are already enrolled in, Social Services support or safety-net programs, and also to establish waivers for cases where procurement could be an actual hardship. Such as Texas, which has strengthened its voter ID requirements - now mandating a government-issued photo ID, but the law also includes a “laundry list” of exemptions for people who may have a hard time obtaining the required identification, such as living more than 50 miles away from the nearest Division of Motor Vehicles.
Other NGO's, (non-government organization), like state and community-level Republican Party groups, (and other non-party affiliated groups), have offered solutions programs that range from grants that will cover the costs of state ID fees, to door-to-door assistance for people that can not easily get to the ID-issuing locations.
Sounds reasonable - after all, a voter's registration card doesn't prove identity - so where's the beef?
The "beef" is the Democrat Party
As a headline, that was pretty broad, but also accurate. The largest, and most powerful anti-voter ID law groups are the Democrat Party, and the ACLU - at national, state, and local levels. The "why" of their opposition is easily identifiable - votes. The largest blocs of voters potentially effected by stronger voter ID laws are also traditionally Democrat candidate voters.
Students traditionally vote Democrat preferences. In the 2008 presidential elections, students voted 3 - 1 Democrat (Obama), vs. Republican (McCain). source: Students.com survey. The loss of this group in the Democrat vote column could result in radical election results changes.
In Wisconsin, which has a large college student population, the state ACLU branch has become involved - stating that the voter laws require that the listed voter registration address be the same as voter ID address, which for college-resident students, could be a problem.
A report from New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice showed that in Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin, all of which will enact stricter photo ID laws before the 2012 election, 3.2 million potential voters do not have the state-issued ID that will be required for them to vote.
*new and amending legislative efforts to accommodate this particular issue - at state and local levels, to ensure this does not become a disenfranchising obstacle, are works-in-progess.
Minorities have demonstrated essentially the same voting preferences as students, and support for opposition to voter ID requirements for them is essentially coming from the same groups as for the students. In the case of minorities, the argument is the potential difficulties they may have with acceptable documentation of residence, and also, getting to the ID-issuing locations.
Can't prove where they live, or get to the ID-issuing location, but they can get to the polls?
That is a large potential loss for Democrat Party candidates. Votes they traditionally counted on solely due to party affiliation, rather than candidate preference.
What's the REAL Democrat objection?
In almost every instance of legislative efforts to tighten voter ID laws, including the ones with state constitutional conflicts - waivers, special accommodations, and procedural changes, have been offered to ensure no voter has their right to vote compromised. So where's the beef?
From this author's prospective, a photo ID requirement is solely intended to combat voter fraud. How many ACORN-originated voter registrations with names like Mickey Mouse do you need to see before you might consider the need to ensure that a real person, with a real right to vote in a particular election... is only common-sense?
How many documented instances of bus-loads of voters hitting local precinct polling places, with no verification of actual residence or identity other than the say-so of the folks disembarking the bus, required, do you need to see before considering that... just maybe there's something rotten in Denmark?
Denmark, ME - Denmark, SC - Denmark, TN - Denmark - IA - Denmark, WI, that is.
Since stating the obvious usually elicits groans and grimaces, just asking the question seems a more objective choice.
What are the Democrats really afraid of?
A lucky find...
Planning to include a video showing potential voter fraud, ie. busloads being trucked in, hundreds of Asians or Mexicans, or Blacks, or whatever - voting in precincts not generally composed of their ethnicity - I instead stumbled across this video - which I think illustrates the illegitimacy of the anti-voter ID card objections much better than any expose'-type images.
This is the REAL power of the ID
About the Author
Writing for the Daily Constitutional, and commentary from the Curmudgeon's desk - GA Anderson
"Seeing it does not make it real, and reading it does not make it true. Use a little common-sense and trust your instincts." - GAA
*Composite image component source citations: Creative Commons images from:commons.wikimedia.org, flickr.com/creativecommons, search.creativecommons.org, http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2009/06/find-creative-commons-images-in-google.html. *photo and image source credits: divider and separation images - http://gaanderson.hubpages.com